This is my first cruise ever, and I found some pleasant surprises, big and small. Here are the 10 things that amazed me on the trip.
1. There are nearly 2,000 passengers but they are so well-dispersed throughout the huge ship, you never feel like you are crowding with people. There is always a seat at the theatres and restaurants. You never have to fight for the machines at the gym. And even the swimming pool is never packed!
2. The kitchen. They churn out 10,000 to 12,000 meals a day every day on board Legend of the Seas. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and supper (plus 24-hour room service), and the crew needs to eat too. The 120 kitchen crew work very hard. We thought perhaps they rotate on shifts, but no, they just take breaks! And yet, they manage to maintain a certain level of quality and consistency in the food. The kitchen is also very well-equipped and clean (no scary, appetite-diminishing scenes behind the polished restaurant). No wonder it's won awards in the industry.
3. They serve not just a variety of ethnic cuisines, but also cater for special dietary needs. There are daily vegetarian, eggless, flourless and sugarless creations. Not all drinks are pre-sweetened, and sachets of Nutrasweet (these are expensive!) are readily available for those needing to reduce sugar intake.
4. You get to meet people from all over the world. It's so cosmopolitan here. Your waiter Justin might be from Peru, another from Macedonia or Indonesia. There are housekeeping stewards from China. The guy leading a towel-folding demo is from Trinidad and Tobago. And among the passengers, you'll find people from as far as Sweden, Korea, South Africa and New Zealand.
5. The staff from China speak incredibly FLUENT English! Every single one of them! And they give excellent service, whether waiting tables or doing housekeeping. This is especially astounding because we've been beleaguered by China foreign talent in Singapore who cannot speak a peep of English, and who have no idea what good service is.
6. The Seapass card - this is your all-in-one card that they issue you when you check in at the counter. It serves as your identification (they even link it to a photo of you they'll take during security checks while boarding). It's also your boarding pass for going off and back on the boat (no passports required!) at all ports-of-call. And it records all purchases on board the ship (to be settled at end of voyage, either by cash at the purser's desk or by credit card). So everything is cashless.
7. You get an animal folded from towels in your room each night. We've seen elephants, turtles, monkeys, peacocks, puppies and swans. And on the final day, they hold a demo teaching everyone how to fold a simpler version of these animals.
8. The rooms are serviced TWICE a day! They keep everything spotlessly clean, especially the bathrooms. Kudos for that, and for ice cubes in the room! Actually a lot of background work goes on for a smooth-sailing cruise. There are about 740 staff on board, from engineering maintenance to F&B.
9. The gym has quite a few snazzy treadmills from Life Fitness, along with a small but comprehensive selection of work stations. There is also a mirrored dance floor for aerobics, dance and pilates.
10. The baby grand piano in the Royal Suite. A touch of class that's so elegant. How we all went "Wow!" when we saw this!
I'll confess that before this, I'd never heard of Royal Caribbean and would never have gone on a cruise of my own volition. But after experiencing one, I can now understand why some people become cruise junkies! It's a nice change from the usual holiday, and a great way to spend quality time with people whose company you enjoy.
So I'd like to thank OMY.SG and Royal Caribbean for the lovely 5D4N cruise, granting me this change of perspective and lots of fond memories to keep.
As a recap, here are the 12 posts I have in the Royal Caribbean series.
- Royal Caribbean's "Legend of the Seas" (the preview)
- Camemberu is going on a 5D4N Royal Caribbean cruise!
- The Royal Caribbean Cruise: What's Most Priceless?
- Royal Caribbean Cruise: Day 1 - Overeating. Yeah, Already!
- Royal Caribbean Cruise: Day 2.1 - Heading into KL, Breakfasts and the Mahathir-Owned Loaf
- Royal Caribbean Cruise: Day 2.2 - Sek Yuen, A Taste of Old School KL
- Royal Caribbean Cruise: Day 2.3 - Snacking at the Solarium
- Royal Caribbean Cruise: Day 2.4 - Formal Night
- Royal Caribbean Cruise: Day 3 - Phuket Excursion
- Royal Caribbean Cruise: The Dilemma (or 60 Things to do on Board!)
- Royal Caribbean Cruise: Thanks for the tasty memories
- Royal Caribbean Cruise: 10 Amazing Things
See OMY's coverage and my fellow cruisemates' posts as well. Calvin is very detailed. Cherie has a sweet fictional narrative going. Christine has some steamy stuff! Darren's posts are witty and visually arresting. Estelle has photos and videos galore. Eunice's got the stylish travel-style posts. Keropokman has come up with many creative angles. Mui Yee's managed to capture lavish shots with just a Lumix! Yee Leong's insightful posts are graced by superb shots!
Meanwhile you can vote once daily until 18 Jan in the reader contest. If any of you win the orange set of luggage, swap with me, OK? Haha, I just love the colour! I have a navy coloured set (psst, it won't show dirt as easily).