Who says cruising can break the bank? My family and I have been planning our own mini-cruise but had to wait till this great deal came along. It was a dream come true for my family. And it suited our budget too.
Royal Carribean’s Legend of the Seas is going to Malacca, Malaysia for the very first time! Just for the weekend. A very short cruise from Singapore to Melaka. Of the 1,800++ passengers, about 1,000 are Singaporeans who could have taken the road but opted to enjoy the pleasures a cruise ship offers. When we checked out of our Singapore hotel before noon, we called for 2 cabs to take us to the cruise terminal. Just a 10-15 minute ride. We planned on taking our brunch somewhere in the Terminal as we have not had our breakfast yet, having slept through most of the morning. But the Royal Carribean crew welcomed us in , processed our papers seamlessly, and invited us to instead enjoy our lunch on board. We dropped our bags in our 4 cabins (twin sharing for the 8 of us) and proceeded straight to the Windjammer’s Buffet for a sumptuous lunch. My, we weren’t shy at all as we enjoyed our first meal on the boat. We ate the equivalent of a big breakfast, a big lunch and a big snack. Not content with that, the kids asked for their Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (this one at an extra cost of US$4 each) on top of their desserts from the buffet spread. Hmmmm.
To Swim, To Sleep or To Eat?
We enjoyed our tea and coffee on the deck, while the kids had more ice cream (the free ones this time, not Ben & Jerry’s) and prepared to cool in the pool. There was an outdoor pool, and a Solarium. The younger ones swam in the outer pool, momentarily surprised that the swimming pool water is saltwater. The older ones donned their suits , took a dip, and then slept in their wet bathing suits on the deck chairs. Does that surprise you? I’ve seen that many times before. Lol.
Before long, the Food and Beverage crew are grilling away some burgers and hotdogs. Pizzas from the oven. Fries from the frying pans. The aroma is so inviting. Dear God. If one loses all control and discipline, he or she would be rolled out, literally, off the ship. Even if he/she actually swims laps in the pool! We had to remind ourselves that our fine-dining reservation is for early dinner so we can enjoy our champagne at the Captain’s Welcome Night after the dinner, and then a show at 8:30 pm. We weren’t sure how long the kids (or the adults) would last. But energy was at an all time high. The first-time cruising experience for most members of my family must be like an adrenaline shot that kept those energy levels up despite the late nights, all-afternoon walking the day before, swimming, and what-nots.
Elephants On My Bed, Monkeys Hanging On The Wall
Having skipped the sausages and burgers grilling away at the Top Deck, we checked out the other facilities of the ship. Martin putted away in the mini-putting link at the Sun Deck, Patricia checked out the Library/Reading Room. There was also a Spa and Parlor, which looked inviting especially for those who can really afford it. (Not us . We trooped back to our cabins and were pleasantly surprised to find the towels arranged like monkeys or elephants or dogs. I had the same pleasant surprise when I tried other cruises, but remember this is a first for the little ones. I attempted to check how it was done, then later decided I’d never remember. Cute-sy. We managed a bath in the just as cute-sy showers and toilets. (Tip: Be sure to turn around a full 360 degrees while taking a shower. No sidesteps, no backsteps. Just turn around while the shower is on)
And they were singing O Sole Mio !
Fine Dining and Some Entertainment
For our first dinner, Martin asked for freshly-squeezed orange juice. We let him sign up for it too. That was when we realized that this little boy does have a “signature”. Not just your run-of-the-mill writing of his name. He actually knew how to sign. He must have practiced that signature several times before now. I reminded myself to refrain from telling him that he can actually shop on the boat and just sign for it.
How can u diet while cruising?????
Having enjoyed our first dinner on board, we proceeded to the Captain’s Welcome Night to errr, meet the Captain. Wine for the adults, Punch for the little ones. From cocktails, we went straight on to the Show scheduled that night. Not content with that, dear Patricia asked me to accompany her watch a movie in the theater lounge. I had to will myself from sleeping , and snoring during the movie.
Melaka for the Day, Then Back to the Boat
There were tenders the following morning to take us to Melaka’s jetty port. I earlier blogged on this already and you can go check it out on what the family did for the day. The boat departed from Melaka at 6 pm sharp but we got onboard way earlier than that. Need I tell you? The kids were eager to get back on the ship knowing fully well that it would be their last night onboard as we head back to Singapore.
We enjoyed another 5 star fine-dining, complete with a parade of chefs and restaurant staff singing “O Sole Mio”. Amazing. Not one of them is even Italian. The staff assigned to our Table #11 at the Romeo and Juliet Lounge (yes, that is how it is called) is Chinese who really attended to us very well, especially to Patricia and Martin. We so loved their Pumpkin Soup, Minestrone, Lamb Shanks, Grilled Prawn , Alaskan Cod, Five Spice Noodles, Baby Shrimp Salad, Sherbet, Sugar-free Mint Chocolate Cake, Pecan Pie, and so much more! Get the idea now? I know , I know. So much food, and at so short intervals!
There were 2 shows in the theatre — one is called Acro-Magic, some acrobatic show combined with magic. And there was a Musical starring a pianist by the name of Linda Gentille. The shows were good but as you may have guessed, the little ones were yearning to get back on deck and wait for their pizza, burgers and fries! There was a full midnight buffet on deck and I was floored that some went on to enjoy their congees and fried rice dishes at that hour. I have yet to digest my dinner and there is this buffet spread. Surely, most people who go on cruises must have gained at least 2 pounds . And ours is just a short cruise!
No, It Won’t Break the Bank
So now, how much did it cost us to join this cruise?
This Singapore-Melaka-back to Singapore cruise for the weekend meant 3 days and 2 nights on the boat. We got the interior stateroom which is the cheapest . At twin sharing, it cost us US$306 each inclusive of port taxes and gratuities. Remember that this all-in price tag includes 2 nights accommodations, 3 shows, 2 movies, 2 breakfast buffets, 2 lunch buffets, 2 fine dinners, cocktails (@Captain’s Welcome Night), 2 midnight buffets, endless snacks or in-between meals, unlimited coffee, tea and ice cream. Plus the use of the swimming pools, Solarium, Library, Rock climbing and putting on deck. The cruising experience for big families like mine is truly a dream come true. If you want some luxury, this is one way of doing it. And without really burning a hole in your pocket.
Since we also got our Manila-Singapore-Manila airfare online, it cost us US$270 each. There are cheaper fares, like Jet Air which flies out of Clark north of Manila. Or there could be better deals for Manila-Singapore round trips as low as US$100 depending on the Season or how lucky you are to snag a deal. The single hotel night in Singapore was another US$75 triple sharing, so that’s only US$25 each. Plus we took taxis from the airport to the hotel, then to the cruise terminal, as well as taxis in Melaka. Of course, you can save more if you walked in Melaka or if you took the subways in Singapore.
That sums it all up at US$610 as follows:
US$306 cruise (Royal Carribean’s Legend of the Seas. Interior Stateroom. Twin sharing)
270 airfare (Cebu Pacific. Leaving just past 6 am)
25 hotel night (Lloyd’s Inn. Budget Hotel 3 blocks from Orchard)
9 taxi/transpo (Metered taxis from/to the airport in Singapore. Cabs in Melaka fr port)
=US$610 per person for this 4 day, 3 night adventure.
With cheaper airfares (my niece just booked her friend on a manila-singapore return trip at less than US$100!), you can bring this down further.
Oh, not to forget, we had to pay for our Universal Studios tickets too, but that is entirely optional on your part. Some of you may rather shop , or tour the sites in Singapore. Or do the Zoo or Night Safari. Maybe visit Sentosa Island. We’ve done all these before, so we chose to spend what’s left of the day when we arrived at the Universal Studios Singapore. Just think US$610 per person (or lower) for a short cruise, a trip to Malacca, and a night in Singapore. You bet my family will be saving up for our next trip or next cruise.
More photos can be viewed in my TravelBlog site. Just click here.
As for me, I am only too happy for this reunion.