FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore Trip Recap

April 15, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore Trip Recap 

Travel is Very Personal! – This was our 22nd cruise and by far the longest ever! The Full Monte – Crystal’s world cruise – was 103 days and we were so-o-o glad we opted to just do half of it. For us it was too much “vanilla” (the same flavor) and we like more land touring mixed in.

  • 22 of the 46 days were spent at sea and we covered a total of 12,881 nautical miles. We turned our clocks back a total of 6 times. When we left San Francisco the temp was 56 and when we hit New Caledonia it was 86.  We crossed the equator in both directions. And amazingly, out of the 20 ports we visited, we had only been to Sydney together.

Komodo Island, Indonesia 2016 2

So how did Crystal rate?

  • Food & Beverage – consistently the best food, the best cappuccino (only at the Bali, Indonesia 2016 108Bistro with the “real espresso” machine – only problem is they don’t open until 9 am), complementary wines were fairly decent with a good selection. There were plenty of diet options with many “themed” lunches at the Lido buffet. And there was always an ample supply of jumbo shrimp, specialty cheeses, and awesome Angus burgers cooked to order.
  • Staterooms – their basic stateroom is 269 sq ft including the balcony, with only 226 sq ft of room space. Too small for us for that long! The bathroom included double sinks and a bathtub/shower. The standard straight line, no walk in closet, left much to be desired! While there were ample hangars and space for a lengthy cruise, the logistics made it impossible for two people to get dressed at the same time.
  • The Veranda – having one is great (and everyone wants one) but what’s the point when it’s hot, humid or raining. (We always book the cheapest room and are very grateful every time we get upgraded)
  • Excursions – the few we paid for were “hurry up and wait” and way over priced!
  • Entertainment – passengers rave about the variety of the shows. We went to maybe a third of them and we would rate a couple of them as excellent. But then they started getting repeated when a new segment started. That was a huge turn off for us!

37 At Sea 2016

Barista by Day, Sommelier by Night – Adrian’s wide Cheshire Cat grin greeted us almost every morning and those few times we “got” to dine in the specialty restaurant Prego at no charge. And he was totally on top of his game! We ordered the same thing every morning. To make it as efficient as possible (and so we got it quicker) we used sign language. All we had to do was walk in, make eye contact, and hold up 2 fingers. That meant we both wanted our usual. Now for refills, whoever held up 1 finger got theirs. He was the best!

32 At Sea 2016

Awesome Afzal – my favorite Bartender – despite having prematurely thinning hair, it didn’t detract from his chiseled and dashingly good Indian looks. And when the bar filled to capacity he never broke a sweat. Shake, stir, blend, and pour. All night long he plied his craft with precise execution. After 10 years of working in cruise ships bars he said, “I have seen pretty much every bizarre thing you can think of.”

  • Pretty Lucky – as we managed to avoid Cyclone Winston, which totally devastated Fiji and turned out to be the most powerful storm on record in the Southern Hemisphere. Then tsunami warnings were issued when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck in the Indian Ocean off Sumatra. Finally, as we cruised through the Straits of Malacca we found out that it’s notorious for Somali pirates and where Captain Phillips’ ship was hijacked!
82 Bali, Indonesia 2016

Getting to the Temple on Time!

FUN-travel: Disembark – 20th Port – Singapore – Day 47

April 5, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Disembark – 20th Port – Singapore – Day 47 

Saturday, March 12th

  • “Enough is enough!” – quipped the husband, as the couple with suitcases in tow, joined us in the elevator. To which I replied, “You got on in San Francisco too?” After one last hot cappuccino we were so-o-o ready to get off the ship. And apparently we weren’t the only ones who thought “half a world cruise” was about half too long! The “Full Monte” is 103 days. Can you imagine?

- singapor

  • Running the Immigration Gauntlet – A huge ship had come in and the line snaked for miles! Fortunately for us we had the Crystal Express Line so it only took us about 15 minutes. Then we grabbed a cab to our hotel on Orchard Road, dropped our bags, and had more hop on, hop off FUN in this amazing city.

- 90 Singapore 2016

  • Sizzling Singapore – Thick clouds mixed with the occasional blue skies and a brief breeze gave us a SFI (Sweat Factor Index) of 7.5.
  • Well Preserved Boat Quay – Situated on the south bank of the Singapore River this is one of the oldest and most historical areas in the city. The stately Cavenagh Bridge built in 1867 stands like a soldier welcoming visitors and the original warehouse buildings now house hip bars and restaurants.

- 73 Singapore 2016

FUN-find – Wine Connection – and just steps from our hotel! With a retail wine bar, you pick what you want, and take it to your table. An extensive menu with decent pricing made this a favorite.

  • Clean, Green, and Pristine – Modern skyscrapers tower over the occasional Colonial buildings in this compact city with artistic sculptures dotting the city.

- 71 Singapore 2016

FUN-fact – Singapore is the world’s only island city-state. How can an area of only 247 square miles with a population of 5.5 million people not have traffic jams? Cars cost a bazillion dollars!

- 77 Singapore 2016

FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 20th Port – Singapore – Day 46

April 5, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 20th Port – Singapore – Day 46 

Friday, March 11th- 5 Singapore 2016

  • The Singapore Cruise Terminal was like an airport with 2 floors of stores selling everything you can imagine. We found the Duck & Hippo counter (their version of the Hop on, Hop off bus) only to discover that the lone attendant was out to lunch for ONE hour. Fortunately the lady at the next counter told us we could take the subway 2 stops and hop on in China Town.
  • With map in hand we headed to the subway. After attempting to use the self-service kiosk to buy tickets we discovered we needed smaller bills. We were thrilled to find an actual person in a ticket booth to sell us a ticket. But no, that would have much too easy! He gave us change and sent us back to the kiosk.
  • China Town was bustling on a Saturday afternoon. After twenty minutes of map and street sign reading we managed to figure out where the bus would pick us up.

1st and only stop today – Wanna guess what we did? What all tourists do…go to the world famous Raffles Hotel. This colonial-style luxury hotel was opened in 1887 and was named after British statesman Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore. The hotel’s Long Bar is where the Singapore Sling was invented and just celebrated its 100th birthday.

- 43 Singapore 2016

The Most Expensive Beer on Earth!

  • With palm shaped fans swaying overhead, peanut shells littering the floor, and speakeasy music softly playing in the background, we kicked back and sipped a pint. YIKES! The bill came to $51.00 ($38 US) clearly making it the most expensive beer ever!- 10 Singapore 2016
  • Magnificent “Marina Bay Sands” is a 2,561-room hotel complex that contains a mall, museum, two large theatres, seven “celebrity chef” restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, a skating rink, and the world’s largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines. It’s topped by a 1,120 foot long SkyPark that can accommodate 3,900 people and a 490 foot infinity swimming pool. All this set on top of the world’s largest public cantilevered platform, which overhangs the north tower by 220 feet.

FUN-fact – Wanna know why Singapore doesn’t have a baseball team? …

They’d all be caned to death for spitting!

FUN-video: Slow Boat to Singapore – Movie Trailer

March 31, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-video: Slow Boat to Singapore – Movie Trailer 

  • Our big fat “half-a-world-cruise” adventure covered a total of 46 days and 12,881 nautical miles. We crossed the International Date Line and lost an entire day! The day after Friday was Sunday. Feb 6 just disappeared. But we got it back when we flew home arriving just about the time we left. And we crossed the Equator twice  (both directions).
  • We spent two days in Singapore after our cruise and took a motor coach for an overnight stay in Melaka, Malaysia. Dubbed  “The Historic State” this sweet city was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008.

Here’s a little snippet of the trip. Enjoy!

  • Scroll down to see the pictures. They are in ascending order so the last segment is first.

FUN-photos: 2016 Crystal Cruise – Bali to Singapore

March 31, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Slow Boat to Singapore – Indonesia & Malaysia

  • The last segment took us from Bali to Singapore with another 6 ports of call and 4 days at sea.

IMG_0002

  • And we had a lot of firsts on this one!
  • Borobudur – the single largest Buddhist structure anywhere on earth. Lovingly restored after 14 painstaking years is one of the world’s truly great ancient monuments.
  • Kuala Lumpur – Petronas Towers (and KL’s claim to fame) are the “Big Boys” and the official titleholder of the World’s Tallest Twin Towers.
  • Penang –  a temple here, a temple there, a temple everywhere! And the only Burmese Buddhist temple outside Myanmar.
  • Langkawi – Bikinis and Burkas dotted the Beaches.
  • Singapore – The Most Expensive Beer on Earth! In the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel and where the Singapore Sling was invented and just celebrated its 100th birthday.

Next Page »