The next stop for our cruise was the port of Langkawi in Malaysia. Only a smidge north of our previous port of Penang, there was a noticeable reduction in haze present here upon waking up. Unlike Penang, you aren’t in the middle of the action when you disembark. Instead, the port of Langkawi is a few minutes from the center of town at a pier set up over by the Resorts World Langkawi Hotel. Given that most of the tour options from Langkawi were based more around ecotourism, that was the direction we chose to take. Continue reading
Day Three of the cruise was upon us, and with it, the freedom to do basically whatever the hell we wanted. We were docked in Penang, a Malaysian island known for food and beaches. Unlike the other Malay ports we had, this one plunked us square in the middle of the action. That was sweet. I put together a very rough itinerary – find a vegetarian restaurant that looked appealing, walk around, catch the Hop On Hop Off Bus, and do our thing seeing the sights. Not too tough to accomplish, right? Penang’s main town is Georgetown (a UNESCO Heritage Site!), and the pier lets you out right by the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower. Continue reading
The boarding process went smoothly, and our bags arrived separately but efficiently enough for us to have everything stored away by the time we had to leave for our muster drill. Disembarking Singapore, we drove ourselves out into the haze and through hundreds of idle boats. Sailing out of Singapore is really quite the experience. As we did on our Navigator of the Seas cruise, we planned out an excellent attack. First, dinner was procured at Johnny Rockets. Burgers and fries sounded great. As is often the case, it was nowhere near full, and customers who came in were miffed (as they always seem to be) at the paying extra for a meal here. But compared to fighting our way through the main dining room or buffet on the first night, this is so much more relaxing. We got in some mini golf and pool time too while skipping the first night’s show in the theater. I doubt I missed anything. Continue reading
When I do trip reports of cruises, the ship itself is what I start with. It is where most of the action on a cruise takes place, whether sleeping, eating, or some combination where I snore with a sandwich in my mouth. I kid, I kid. It also simplifies things later rather than pour through and write out the same opinion over and over.
I actually reviewed this in Part 6 of my trip report, and rather than rehash it again, let’s just admit that this was neither Singapore nor Royal Caribbean’s finest moment. I didn’t spend a lot of time on this in the prior portion of trip report, but I’d suggest that at the time of entry into Singapore that you note the number of days you’ll be there up until the cruise and then note the day the cruise leaves as the date that you leave Singapore. This isn’t like Europe where they seem to have almost no interest whatsoever in your transit dates. You’ll receive a new entry card in your passport the day you pick them up. Oh, and you pick them up because you hand them over. This was the same procedure as we saw on our Mediterranean cruise in 2013.
Our flight arrived into Changi International Airport right around on time at 9PM. Our terminal at Singapore, Terminal 1, is the crappy one, and in spite of this, it is clearly well ahead of most of the west’s best airports. Immigration in Singapore is a breeze – short wait at the counter, basically rubber stamped, luggage coming out efficiently. I had some trepidation about this given Singapore’s notorious policies for importation of items as seemingly benign as chewing gum, but it wasn’t anything to concern myself over. The people to be concerned are those who look at the “DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER SINGAPORE LAW” note on the entry card and realize they’ve made a horrible mistake. Continue reading
During our taxi ride out of Yas Island and back to Dubai, the driver was a bit more talkative. He would give us occasional commentary about things along the way, which was quite interesting. Two things he pointed out that really stuck with me though: the changes when you cross from one Emirate to another. When driving along the freeway in Abu Dhabi, there are trees a short distance from the road and a fence pretty much the whole way separating city from the road area. It isn’t even a cheap fence of chain link, but rather a big green painted steel fence, much more custom looking. When you get to the border, the fence turns to our right, back into the Emirate. The road surface gets darker, and the desert is left open instead. You’ve entered Dubai. Continue reading
In a busy trip like this one, you still need to try to find some time to relax. Sometimes that means you stress in advance about scheduling in the luxury of nothingness. Near to the hotel on Yas Island was our other main target for being in Abu Dhabi – Yas Waterworld. Meredith and I once more boarded the complementary Yas Island transportation after some room service and headed over to Yas Waterworld for opening. Tickets aren’t cheap – $62 a head – but you get a solid amount for your money in terms of slides, lazy rivers, and so on. Again, we used a coupon from the Entertainer Book to get buy-one-get-one entrance here. Huge savings once more. Continue reading