During India Summer vacations (Months April and May) we decided to plan a quick 1 week trip to Singapore. As 1 week is a bit too much for a city/country like Singapore, we decided to go on a cruise from Singapore. Even if this review is for the Voyager of the Seas from Royal Carribean, it is important that we see a few important aspects of pre and post-cruise vacations which are very important parts of the whole experience. It will also highlight the mistakes we made for the cruise considering we were first-timers when we planned for this vacation.
Planning the Dates
Cruises start and run on a very specific schedule. They are not round the year and neither they run every day, so make sure you plan the cruise first and then plan your trip around those days. The first mistake that we did was we first booked the flight tickets from India to Singapore and then we started planning and searching for the cruises. Flights generally run on a daily basis but cruises do not, so make sure you first book the cruise and then book/plan the other travel around it.
From Singapore, there were a lot of cruising options, however, considering we were traveling in the month of May-2019, the 2 prominent ones were:
– Star Cruises (Running under the name of Genting Cruises in Singapore)
– Royal Carribean
There were a lot more options available on Singapore’s travel website, we did not find a lot of booking options online apart from the above 2 in the month of May-2019.
Star Cruises offered a few short 1 night/2 night cruises, the dates were not convenient with our travel dates and also, the ones that were convenient had no tickets left. Hence we had to settle in unwillingly with Royal Carribean since it was a much more expensive and longer option and also left us with only 1.5 days window for our other travel plans, but to our surprise IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT!!
For first-timers like us, the booking process of this cruise was quite daunting to some of the other cruise liners we travelled on like Jalesh in India (Review coming shortly for the same). Probably due to the fact that this was an American Cruise liner and had a lot of paperwork and huge forms to be filled out once you booked the tickets.
We had opted for 3 nights 4 days cruise: Singapore – Malaysia (Penang) – Singapore named The Voyager of the Seas. It costed us a total of 1500 USD for 2 adults and 1 kid of 2 years (Note: Price may vary according to dates and people traveling).
We did explore a lot of aggregator websites online for the cheapest option, however, we went with booking directly on Royal Carribean’s official website due to the lack of clarity regarding insurance/date changes/cancellation destination cities/countries available on these aggregator websites.
The actual booking process was pretty simple if you are used to booking air flight tickets, it’s a breeze. All booking links and details are readily and easily available on Royal Carribean’s official website.
Online Check-in and Physical Check-in Process
The online check-in process is the part where we were over whelmed. We typically do not prefer a agent doing any/all of our bookings since we want to experience the whole end-to-end process involved in travel. Post ticket booking, they sent us a ~20 page ticket booklet with all the details, one thing we have learnt in all our travels is to read all the content that is given to you to avoid any last-minute surprises/hassles.
The provide with a Online check-in link on the ticket booklet which will guide you through the whole online check-in process. Although the process is easy, it is a long process depending on the number of travellers you are travelling with.
They offer you 2 options to choose from: Credit Card and Cash for on deck purchases, we opted for Credit Card since we were traveling from India and were not sure about how much cash we will carry when we travel. Noteworthy to check if Indian Credit Cards work on American Websites (Our’s worked).
The online check-in process takes in a whole array of details including your passport number, VISA details and other travel details. Make sure whatever details you enter match exactly to your passport and VISA to avoid any last-minute issues.
Once the online check-in is done most you can do us relax 🙂 and wait for your voyage date. In the mean time you can check about your cruise, its features as well as the activities it offers. It’s worth while to book these activities before hand online to avoid long queues on the cruise.
On the sailing day, reach on the given time mentioned in your ticket booklet. The physical check-in process is relatively quick in case you have checked in online. They verify your documents and then provide you with a key card which acts as your room access key as well as keeps track of all your on desk purchases. Post you getting the access card, proceed towards the immigration check and then proceed towards the cruise. Just before you enter the cruise, they will take your original passport with them and will give you back once you disembark from the ship. This is done to avoid any loss of passports which might be a cause of concern when you return back to the country of origin.
Once we board The Voyager of the Seas, its total fun after that for the next 3 days. It took almost a couple of hours for us just figure out what is where on the cruise. Note: It is worth carrying a pram with you in case you are travelling with a kid since on such huge ships they are bound to get tired running around.
The very first activity we did was Rock Climbing and Surfing (Yes, you heard it right, they have a small surfing area on deck). Once that were done, we were pretty much hungry and went towards our dinner area. On our first night of the cruise, we chose the fine dining option to dine (The provide either buffet / fine dine options for dinner – both included in your ticket cost) and although you do not get variety you get in buffet, the ala-carte was good enough to satisfy our taste buds so much so that we decided to use the same ala-carte option for the second night too. In case you miss out on the dinner time provided to you, then you have to choose the buffet options since fine dine rules don’t allow you to dine in early/later than the given time.
The next day, starting with breakfast, we went in for the sea-facing table and was a unique first-time experience of having breakfast by the sea. Then there were a few more activities we opted for like ice skating, salsa classes, some karaoke as well as some basic dance classes that they regularly held in the main hall area. Not to mention that when there were not activities going on, you can head straight to the pool for a dip along with some good music, awesome alcohol as well as a good view (Since our room was not a see facing room, we needed the view).
The room was a tiny room with all the amenities that you probably need, but we did not complaint since you ideally should not spend time in your room when you are on a cruise and rather spend time out of it 🙂
On the last day, we attended a couple of shows that they had hosted. First one was ice-dancing and their main show which has some dance performances and singing / music performances. Both of them were exceptional and were on par with the ones that take place in Las Vegas. Worth mentioning that ice-dancing was one of the best shows we have ever witnessed.
Note that we have not put much about the destination of the cruise which was Penang since we visited it only for 3-4 hours and had taken a short tour of the city and had come back on the cruise ship. Probably that will be a separate blog post about the details regarding the same.
They do provide a tour of the whole working of the ship and even take you to the control room, but sadly we missed that as we were out of time. Probably next time we will visit that for sure. Some of our pics from the cruise: