Looking back at the list of holidays we have taken with the kids, it suddenly dawned onto me that as first time parents with Jah, we were really quite afraid of travelling overseas. I say that with such disbelief because we love travelling!!! (ok the holidaying part because Joel will tell you that he hates flying!)
With Jah, we had only been on 1 overseas trip (Phuket) by the time the boy turned 1. Bella on the flip side, has been on 4 overseas trip (Penang, Bali, Perth and Hong Kong) and she is 15 months now.
I think we were so fearful of how Jah would be on the plane (he cried like a maniac on his flights to and from Phuket) that we just convinced ourselves to take the path of least resistance. So while we were really craving for time away from home, we decided to try another mode of transportation, a cruise liner!
Over the years I had repeatedly tried to convince Joel to take a cruise but he always had an excuse. “I might feel seasick”, “I will feel claustrophobic”, “it’ll be boring” or “the food is going to be horrible”. Let’s just say none of the above happened.
We headed for Joel and Jah’s first cruise trip on 26 Dec 2012. It was a 4D3N cruise which would take us to Penang and Malacca. The ship (Legends of the Sea) departed from the then newly built Marina Bay Cruise Centre (MBCC). It was a huge, comfortable space as compared to where I used to depart from, for previous cruises. We decided to drive and park at the MBCC for the duration of the 4 day cruise as this would ensure that we didn’t have to queue and wait for a taxi upon our return. We purchased a DriveCruise package from the cruise centre for S$48 for the 4 days. The pass can be purchased and collected at the information counter and there are no quotas as long as you manage to secure a lot at the parking lot, the pass is available to you. Our check-in bags were tagged and collected at the entrance to the MBCC and we proceeded to clear security and wait at the ‘boarding area’ with our carry on bags. I would advise everyone to pack a set of clothes to perhaps last you till the evening as it may take awhile for the porters to deliver all check-in bags to your room. However if you do not have many bags, it might make more sense for you to bring it up yourself.
We got ourselves a Balcony Class room because a) I love the sea and what would a cruise be, without the seaview from your room and 2) to hush Joel about being claustrophobic. We had also pre-requested for a crib in the cabin for Jah however we were later informed that they only carried Port-a-Cots onboard. Jah managed to sleep in one but patting him to sleep was quite chore. Nevertheless, it was also useful to ‘contain’ the child when we didn’t want him running about in the cabin.
Our time spent onboard the cruise was pretty scheduled. Evenings were spent having an early dinner at the main dining room where the staff were super kind and attentive to us and Jah. There was a very nice kids menu which made me wish that Jah was little older so that he could enjoy more of it. After dinner, we would take a nice breezy walk on the deck before retiring for the night. Parents who have more independent kids can consider dropping their kids off at the kids club so that they can enjoy some of the night activities/ shows. However we were perfectly happy to wind down for the night, order room service (cookies and hot chocolate) and relax in our balcony while Jah was sleeping soundly in the room. (All-day room service was available at no additional charge before a certain time -10pm/11pm??)
Sadly, we were unable to enjoy the swimming pool onboard with Jah as they only allowed potty-trained kids in them. Yes, they are not allowed in even if your kid is in swim diapers. We were glad Jah was not old enough to know what he was missing out on or we would have had a crying fest. We tried to fill Jah’s time with activities at their Kids Club but even that was limited especially for the younger age group so we had to make do with renting their Fisher Price toys. If anything, at least this worked for us. We were allowed to rent a bag of random Fisher Price toys which the child could enjoy in his own cabin and you can return/ exchange it for a different bag the next day.
The cruise we were on had two stopovers (Penang and Malacca) and we chose to only stop at Penang. Mainly because I was craving for Penang Hawker food and also because the disembarkation at Malacca required a tender boat (a smaller boat to ferry you alittle further out from sea to the dock) Being about 4 months pregnant then, plus having a little 1 year old boy in tow, it just didn’t feel very smart to try and attempt that. The stopover at Penang was just sufficient was us to grab a cab to Gurney Drive, shop around for about 1 hour at the mall, wait for Gurney Drive Hawker Centre to open (approx 6pm), wolf down some Char Kway Teow, Rojak and the works before heading back to our ship that was departing at 8pm.
While I would say we were probably not the perfect target market given that Jah was pretty young (needed multiple naps, not independent, couldn’t stay out late and couldn’t eat a lot of the yummy food offered). We still thoroughly enjoyed our 4D3N break which was slow paced and relaxing and I could enjoy the wonderful sea breeze every night from my own room!!!The beauty of a cruise holiday is that there is truly something for everyone and someone else on the same cruise as me might have had a totally different experience. We also recognized that Legends of the Sea was also one of their older products and therefore I am excited to say that we were now counting down to our next cruise holiday on the newer Mariner of the Sea!!!
This will be another Boxing Day trip (because Joel just loves the festive mood during that period). It will also be Bella’s first cruise trip, Jah’s first chance to try their pool facilities and best of all, we are all definitely looking forward to the Dreamworks Experience!!!
We will be sure to blog about our next cruise experience so stay tune and Happy Cruising!