These posts are also part of a competition I am entering. If you think I deserve to win the the Grand Prize which is a cruise 7D5N Western Mediterranean Fly-Cruise onboard Liberty of the Seas, please visit http://contest.omy.sg/royal-caribbean/ and vote for me! You stand to win prizes too!
While everyone met up at the Singapore Cruise Centre at 10.00 AM on the 6th of December, I went to work extra early that morning because I was still rushing to deliver a new software upgrade for a program. I had to deploy it to the production servers as well. It was a mad rush. I only picked up calls from certain users based on the caller ID on the Cisco IPPhone. When everything was finally done, it was 12:30 PM.
Thought it was a rush, I do not need to worry because I had already checked in online at least 3 days before the cruise! I know it will be a smooth check-in later. But I still have to rush home to grab by luggage and start my last minute packing! One thing about taking a cruise is that there is no weight limit! Do you know you can bring in as much things as you want on a cruise? That made last minute packing easy! Grab and dump and go!
Of all the bloggers, I would probably be the geekiest or nerdiest. I grabbed my MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone, Canon DSLR and my stash of 8GB SD Cards I have at home and chuck them all into the luggage.
Yes, I have A LOT of SD cards at home. The geekiness shows eh? Why two brands? Redundancy!
7 cards because 7 is the perfect number.
I use a new card all the time. I will keep the SD Card and copy the contents of the SD Card to a hard disk drive. That's how I do my backup. To many non techies, backup is a hard concept to grasp.
Many people will copy the content of the memory cards to 1 harddisk and then reuse that memory card ya? Do you realise that is not call backing up? You need to have 2 copies of something if you are doing a backup. If you just copy it to your harddisk, and your harddisk crashes, where is your backup copy? You memory card already has no data because it is now used for a new set of photos. If you find my way expensive, copy your data into two harddisk. ;-)
Next I grab my toiletries bag and all of the above goes in. No, I am not sponsored by those brands above. I left the eye cream, toner of the same brand at home. Nerds and geeks read a lot and they know about cleanliness. LOL
If you think I bring too much things for a guy, my roommate Darren Ng brings more things! Oh that guy really takes care of his skin! I should have taken a photo of his stuff in our bathroom!
This geek uses a Philips electric shaver and a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush too. Geeks don't use manual shavers and toothbrushes! Debatable.
By the way, on board the ship, they provide soap in the showers. Just remember to bring your toothbrush! One of the 10 bloggers forgot his/her toothbrush and did not brush his/her teeth. Shh.... But you can get toothbrushes at the 'multi purpose shop' on the ship.
Being a geek, I like buying stuff like this. I have been using GoToob for my last two trips. They are perfect containers I have found! You know the usual plastic travel bottle sometimes leaks when you check them into the plane? These don't! (or have not) They are made of silicone so it's easy to squeeze whatever you have inside. There is also a no drip valve, you should try it and know how well it works! What I also like is the suction pad on behind it too! For some trips, you might not be staying in nice hotels or the design of hotel bathrooms are pathetic! The suction allows you to stick them to the wall instead of putting your bottles on the floor. yikes!
Sorry, I got carried away. I bought them from Robinsons because it has the 5% off card members. Planet Traveller and other travel shops have them too, but you pay a higher price.
I am not sure about you, but part of my luggage is usually a big bag of wires! If you are like me wondering what kind of sockets do they use on the ship, they provide two different sockets! I was panicking you know when I was packing, what if I can charge all my stuff!! So I brought different kinds of my own travel adapters, just in case!
Thanks to Royal Caribbean, being a special guest, I got the above travel adapters as souvenirs.
The stateroom provides a European Continental socket. If you are a techie, it's the Schuko plug (or CEE 7 /4 or Type F), the ones with two round pins of 4.8 mm diameter (19 mm long, centers 19 mm apart) for the live and neutral contacts.
They also have the Type A / NEMA 1-15, North American socket. I shall spare you the other details, there's always wikipedia if you are interested!
During the briefing by Omy and Royal Caribbean, we were told to check in our luggage. Since we are going on a cruise, go in style! Check in and stroll leisurely into the ship.
When you see people who drag their luggage into the ship themselves, the crew says that a high percentage, these people are Singapore residents! They are behaving as if they are taking a budget airline! "Please hor.. Don't behave like that!" we were told. So I checked in everything! (Next time you are near the Cruise Centre, observe!) By the way, your luggage will arrive in front of your statesroom or suite.
After checking in your luggage, you walk a few steps from the right side of the photo above and you can see the Departure Hall. Since I had checked in online, I only needed to present the checked in verification print out and my passport. I got my "SeaPass" card, that's all your need for the rest of your cruise. It's like the NRIC cum credit card on board the cruise!
I got into the cruise ship rather quickly. In less than an hour, I was all done and wondering inside the ship. I was wondering where everyone was so I texted fellow bloggers I know and the they said it's free and easy time. Do whatever you want, if you have not had lunch, go grab lunch!
On my way to my stateroom, I saw this on one of the doors. Someone's celebrating their anniversary on board! How nice of Royal Caribbean to stick something on the door!
I found my room on Deck 6. My roommate was Darren Ng. I knocked the door, no one answered and I went into the room! No one seems to be inside when I got in, but after a while, I heard the sound of someone showering coming from the bathroom. Oh, Darren's in.
But wait, I saw a problem in front of me! There was this huge bed in the room. It's only 1 Bed! Oh no! Am I to sleep with another guy? Since I was busy working just before the trip, I did not google my roommate details! In the worse case scenario that we have to share a bed, who is he? Alamak!
He came out of the shower wrapped in a towel. Hi stranger. I have never seen him, and obviously he has not seen me for I never posted any photos of myself online. He looked like a nice guy. Yes, he looked pretty 'nice or fit' too. In fact, if you ladies (or maybe men too) want to know how he looks without his top, he had barred it all online! He's the winner of the omy Urban Homme challenge! Take a peek at his photos here!
Darren was too busy to go for the pre-departure briefing so we exchanged formalities for the first time in the room. It was already almost 3 pm and I was hungry, really hungry. He said himself he is a self confessed 'yao kui' (i.e. glutton, like me!). He had tried everything from the buffet line and told me what to eat and what I should not miss.
Guys are practical right? Just in case I did not read it, Darren said the Evian and can drinks are the things chargeable in the room, everything else was free!
When I met with the other 8 bloggers later, they also said they had only 1 bed. All we need to do is call House Keeping and they will come and split the bed! This was how the stateroom looked after the split.
Since I know no one on board except Catherine of Camemberu , I texted her. I told her I am going to have lunch at "The Windjammers". She said she and her roommate Eunice of Travel Blog Singapore will come join me for another round of lunch! Oh yey! Company!
I went to 'gasak' (wipe out) whatever I could see from the buffet line. I usually have lunch at 11.30am, but it's almost 3 pm! I was famished! I saw this piece of juicy fried chicken and I grabbed it! Juicy was the correct word to use! I think I went back for a second piece later!
I had some fish, and some stir fried beef too. Since I was dying of hunger from the whole morning of mad rush, the food was especially tasty! I think I gobbled everything down so fast. Hey hey, slow down! It's suppose to be a relaxing cruise!
After that first plate, it was nibbling with Catherine and Eunice. Eat slowly and enjoy every mouth of food! These ladies can really eat! It's either their 2nd or 3rd lunch for the day! It was nice to catch up with Catherine and got to know Eunice.
The Thai style prawn salad was nice. Tangy tasting and it is juicy and bouncy.
I saw the cold meats and cheese and decided to try it too!
What's your way of eating this? This was my way. Stacking it all up, and put everything into my mouth!
There were many Indian chefs and staff on board and that was probably why their Nasi Beriyani was good. I liked the rice, but the style of the meat is a bit dry for my liking. I noticed Eunice and Catherine were snacking on Papadums non stop!
I saw some cookies and could not resist! So many kinds of cookies! Do you know they are all freshly baked on board? We found that out when we went for the kitchen tour. Freshly baked. Yum!
It was amazing we could sit and eat for around 2 hours! We were 'chased' out of the restaurant at around 5 PM. It was time for the mandatory Muster Drill! Everyone depending on what number was printed on your Seapass card, was to go to their respective Muster Station.
I was allocated Station 14 and there's where I met Darren again!
The staff giving us instruction on how to use the life vest in case of emergency.
They were very serious about the whole drill. We were chided for not paying attention. We were too busy taking photos. The drill was over in a while and I went back to the room.
What does a geek do on a cruise? Go gets back to the room, open his MacBook Pro. He then tethers his mobile wireless connection through his iPhone. He then performs a SSH Tunneling back to his office network and when he gets connected to the network, he feels good! He checks his work email, his personal email, his blog email and he feels even better. He was so pleased with himself that the system that gone live works! There was no hiccups, which means no need to worry and can safety stay unconnected for the next few days!
He then updates his Facebook status, and starts tweets! At the same time, on his iPad, he makes sure he harvest his plants on "We Rule" and "We Farm". Not forgetting Smurfs too! Just in case there is no more internet connection, do not plant anything!
More technical details if you are interested:
- there's internet access on board the Legend of the Seas at the 'internet cafe area' on the ship.
- charges are USD28 for 60 minutes.
- there's also wifi, you just need to register an account tag to your Seapass card. Wifi is available at the 'internet cafe area', not in the rooms.
- the computers on board are archaic IBMs, so accessing the internet is frustrating.
- using the wifi on your own notebooks gives you better speed.
Since we are to blog, Royal Caribbean has credited an hour's worth of internet access into our Seapass card. Internet is charged by the minute as you can see above.
- when the ship starts sail, you will be roaming non stop.
When you leave Singapore waters, you will start receiving messages from various Indonesian telcos. Singapore telco will send you 1 message.
When you head up the Straits of Malacca, you will soon be roaming with Digi, Maxis and Celcom. Singapore telco will send you one text message again.
When the ship goes too far from the shores of Malaysia, you suddenly roam to USA!
I thought I was dreaming when I got the above message! It was then I realise there was a base station on the ship!
You want to know whom the roam partner is? The telco bill says I am roaming with Bermuda Maritime. If your eyes are sharp, you will see this is for incoming SMS! Yes, you are charged when you receive SMS on board.
Turn off your phones! If you receive server notifications from your servers at work, disable them! Your colleagues will take care of it, just remember to buy them food when you are back.
If you are a techie, this is a friendly reminder, there are A LOT of other things to do on this luxury cruise. Stay away from your gadgets. Eat, socialize, swim, go rock climbing, have your teeth whiten, go for a massage, go for a slimming session, learn how to waltz, you will enjoy it better.
Am I being too technical for this post?
This post is dedicated to all techies out there!
This post is cross-posted at http://blog.omy.sg/royal-caribbean/2010/12/28/adventure-on-the-legend-of-the-seas-a-royal-caribbean-cruise-part-ii/ too!