Royal Carribean Cruise to Malacca

Posted: April 29, 2013 in Asia, Globetrotting, Malaysia
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63166_10151181962002918_1240098170_n598998_10151181961692918_1659820006_n“It’s better to be ashore wishing you were at sea, than at sea wishing you were ashore.” (The former is generally inspired by longing, the latter by panic.) – Anonymous

I grew up watching the price is right on TV. I was always fascinated with the prices they gave away on that show and how Bob Hope’s signature intonation presentation of the showcases always left the contestants grasping for air, like ‘… a brand new car!’ or ‘…a trip to Bahamas!’ it was so extravagant and fun to watch comparing it to winning ‘…a sack of rice’ in our local shows or whatever bingo social events. In my young mind, this show has made me aware of the stuff I wanted to acquire when I grow up more so, it made me aware that there’s ‘…a royal Caribbean cruise…’

A cruise is traveling in a passenger ships used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship’s amenities are part of the experience, as well as the different destinations along the way. For the longest time I have always wanted to go on a holiday cruise and know how it feels like being in the sea and just seeing the great blue ocean for days.  While attending a travel fair, I finally get the chance to inquire more about this type of journey and booked myself 3 days, 2 night’s trip to Malacca, Malaysia.

Malacca is 5 hours’ drive off Singapore and I haven’t been there so the thought of travelling there via the Royal Caribbean liner was an exciting idea. The thought of getting sea sick is a possibility in my head reason why I decided not to go to long journeys or take a cruise to nowhere. A cruise to nowhere is a cruise without ports of call but it doesn’t really actually go nowhere – in fact, ships on these short voyages head out to sea to a point where opening on board stores and casinos is legal, and passengers can spend their time on the ship enjoying all the activities and amenities without being distracted by port preparations and time in the dock..  The trip to Malacca, Malaysia was a test the water for me before taking the plunge on long voyages.

311194_10151177907267918_1892138284_nCome first week of November 2012 I was on board the Legend of the Seas. This was the first of the Vision Class cruise ships owned by the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The ship can carry 2,074 passengers. Its maiden voyage was May 16, 1995. Its facilities include a golf course, a theatre and cinema, a solarium, two pools, a spa, a fitness centre, a 2 story dining room called the Romeo & Juliet, the Windjammer Cafe, 4 themed bars, a dance centre, a shopping centre, a teen disco, a piano bar, an observation centre, a rock-climbing wall and the Viking Crown Lounge.

A piece of history, cruising begun in 1835, Arthur Anderson proposed the idea of sailing for pleasure as a passenger in an ocean going vessel. Sailing for pleasure did not really become popular until the twentieth century. The word ‘POSH’ originates from this period. In these days before air conditioning the Brits travelling on a vessel to India would favour a cabin on the shaded side of the ship, away from the glare and heat of the sun. Thus travelling from UK to India a north facing port cabin cost more than a south facing starboard one. The opposite applied on the return journey. So only the richest could book a cabin that was PORT OUT STARBOARD HOME. This became shortened to ‘posh’.

But cruising got crushed by the development of the jet engine and long haul passenger aircraft saw a dramatic reduction in passengers using these ships. The decline began in the late 1950’s and resulted in ships like the Queen Elizabeth becoming redundant. By the 1970’s the advent of the Jumbo jet really saw the end of the golden period of transatlantic cruise liners.

Back to my experience, all food and accommodation are included in the fee so you just eat want you want, buffet breakfast and lunch and fine dining or 3 course meal for dinner. The room was fine, it’s suffocating at first but I got the hang of it when I was declined for a transfer for a much bigger room with balcony because the accommodation was already full. So I watched some shows, went into the casino, hang in the pool area while eating pizza and got off at Malacca when we arrived in the morning.

There is a timeframe when you can stay out because the boat will be heading back at 5pm. There’s this small boat that took us to the dock and we just walk around until our feet took us to a mall and ate at McDonalds. We hang in the mall looking for spa and massage but since we don’t have appointments we ended up waiting and moving to other malls searching for spa saloon who accepts master and visa and money changer because we don’t have their local money until it was time for us to go back to the mother ship or otherwise we will get left behind like ET and phone home. So it was just a frustrating experience for us. We should have hopped on a cab and went to Fort A Famosa, St. John’s Fort, St. Peter’s Church, etc. we might have enjoyed the place.

46504_10151181962982918_750804650_nFacts about Ships

1. From the time of the Vikings up to today, ships have used figureheads to ward off evil sea serpents and represent the spirit of the ship. This carved wood figure, placed on the bow of the ship, had no function other than to “see the way”. In addition, it was believed that a storm could be calmed by a woman exposing her breasts. This is why ship’s figureheads are often of naked women.

2. The original unsinkable man was Frank Tower survived the sinking of the Titanic, the Lusitania, and the Empress of Ireland.

3. Long ago the least-valued member of the crew was sometimes sacrificed in the event of bad weather. This crewmember was often the poor cook.

4. Sailors have adopted beliefs that animals, birds, names, even whistling, can all be dire omens at sea. These beliefs are taken so seriously that the British Admiralty still takes enormous care in naming ships in the fleet. Reptile names are almost completely banned nowadays. The Navy, in the past, lost 4 Vipers, 4 Serpents, a Cobra, an Adder, an Alligator, and a Crocodile. They also lost 2 Snakes, 2 Dragons, and Lizards.

5. Perhaps the most curious of all beliefs at sea is that whistling is often banned. Whistling was thought to encourage high winds and was allowed only when the ship was becalmed or shrouded in mist.

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