Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 49-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. I’ve never been on a cruise before, so this was very exciting for me!

For my first trip with Royal Caribbean, we sailed the Malacca Strait on a 4-Night Port Klang-Phuket Cruise aboard the Voyager of the Seas. The Voyager of the Seas is one of RCI’s biggest ships and has quite the lineup of Asia Cruises for 2018 to 2019.

Here’s my first-time experience on a cruise and some tips I learned on the trip…

ARPAN AIR, INC.
International Representative – Philippines
Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Club Cruises
Telephone: +632 892 2701 to 03
Mobile: +63 955 213 3579
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Royal Caribbean Philippines
Instagram: @royalcaribbeanphilippines
Website: https://www.cruising.com.ph/

Related Post: ROYAL CARIBBEAN: 8 Awesome Experiences onboard Voyager of the Seas! @RoyalCaribbean

Day 1 – Singapore

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The Penang-Phuket Cruise sails from Singapore. Formalities and document checks are done at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre. It took us around 20 minutes to reach the port from Changi airport.

Tip #1: Make sure you have everything you need before you board. Once you board the ship, you can no longer alight – even if you still have hours left before the ship departs.

You have to surrender your passport to the receiving area. You’ll receive a Cruise ID as a temporary replacement that will serve as your passport for the next countries you visit. For some countries, RCI also requires that you have a photocopy of your passport on-hand.

Tip #2: Also save a copy of your passport on your phone.

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For our first day, we kept the activities pretty simple. Our first stop was the Bridge, where we met with the Captain to introduce ourselves and ask some questions.

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And we also had a quick overview of the ship’s controls.

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And then, we simply walked around to familiarize ourselves with the ship and made our way to dinner at Sapphire at 6 pm.

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Sapphire is the Main Dining Room, and guests are requested to dress accordingly. Nothing too formal, but just don’t look like you came straight out of bed.

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The menu at Sapphire changes daily, but here’s a general idea of what they offer.

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I recommend going with seafood and pasta dishes at Sapphire as they were always a sure winner. The steaks were a hit and miss most of the time.

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Afterwards, we headed to Studio B at Level 3 to watch an ice skating show. Photos and videos of the show are highly discouraged to keep the experience a surprise for the newcomers. We retreated to our rooms right after as we were pretty tired from the early flight.

Day 2 – Port Klang

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The next morning, we had a quick breakfast at Sapphire…

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and headed to La Scala to receive our bus number for the shore excursions.

Tip #3: Best to go early as the bus leaves as soon as all the guests arrive. Some guests are eager and even skip breakfast so you don’t wanna keep them waiting too long in the bus.

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The weather was so bad when we docked at Penang. It was raining cats and dogs, but we didn’t let that dampen our spirits. Also, the start of the excursion was quite early. The money changers at the ports were still closed.

Tip #4: It’s better to have your money changed to all the local currencies beforehand so you don’t line up at the money changers at the ports along with all the cruise-goers.

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Our first stop was the KL Tower, which gave us a 360-degree view of Kuala Lumpur.

KL Tower rises at 1,381 feet and is a telecommunications and broadcasting tower that also houses shops, restaurants, and open-air amphitheater.

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It was still raining when we reached the top, so much of our view was blocked by clouds.

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Although we were able to see a glimpse of the Petronas towers for a few seconds.

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Our next stop was the Petronas Towers, but we didn’t get a chance to go up the top floor as we only had 20 minutes to spare, and that includes buying lunch. Petronas Twin Towers is the tallest twin building in the world, standing at 1,483 feet high.

Kuala Lumpur, much like the Philippines, takes a turn for the worst traffic-wise when it rains. Which is why much of our trip had to be compressed as we had to compensate for the traffic.

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The rain stopped for a bit, so we were able to step down from the bus and take a few pictures at the Independence Square. The Independence Square is home to the Royal Selangor Club and site of the August 31, 1957 proclamation declaring Malaysia’s Independence from Britain.

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We made our way back to the port earlier than expected due to the aforementioned rush hour traffic. We managed to catch the Dreamworks Parade from our rooms as soon as we settled back in. We didn’t want to squeeze in with the kids so we just stayed in the room.

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After dinner at Sapphire, I made my way again to Studio B for a quick round at the ice skating rink. I haven’t had the chance to go ice skating in Manila for the longest time, so I was really excited to have even a small rink on the ship.

Tip #5: It gets extra cold at the rink, so bundle up and have some gloves ready for when you fall. Oh, and they have two rules: No phones, and no skating backwards.

Day 3 – Phuket

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On our third day, we took the Phuket Highlights Tour. The Phuket port isn’t built for bigger ships like the Voyager so it was tendered and we had to take a smaller boat to reach the port.

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Fortunately for us, the weather at Phuket was much better than Kuala Lumpur’s.

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Our first stop was Promthep Cape, Phuket’s southernmost hill. It gave us a good view of the sea, but there was nothing much to do here except sightseeing.

Tip #6: Don’t forget your sunblock. There was barely any shade at Promthep Cape.

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Up next was the Seashell Museum. The Seashell Museum features over 2,000 species and you best believe that my Science-loving self enjoyed the museum immensely.

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The Nautilus was one of the key images in my college thesis (An Exploration of Math in Art), so seeing one up close got me all excited. I didn’t buy any souvenirs though as we already have a lot of shell souvenirs in the Philippines, and they’re also rather fragile. We spent almost an hour here, which I think is a bit much given that it’s a small museum.

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Next on our list was Wat Chalong. Wat Chalong is the biggest and most revered Buddhist temple in all of Phuket. The temple complex has been there since 1837.

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There were a multitude of temples in the area, and it was impossible to enter each and every single one of them. The one I explored was three floors high, and was full of Golden Buddhas.

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Of course I couldn’t leave without tasting authentic Pad Thai and Thai Tea.

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Just when we thought we got the bit of good weather, it rained on our way back.

Tip #7: Always bring an umbrella. It’s the tropics, after all. Weather can get unpredictable.

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We went souvenir shopping at the port and I picked up the tastiest mango and sticky rice I’ve ever had.

Tip #8: Don’t be afraid to haggle. Prices are reasonable at the port, but you can still haggle for a lower price especially if you’re buying in bulk.

Day 4 – Cruising

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We had one full day to explore the boat as we cruised back from Phuket to Singapore.

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We scheduled our galley tour right after breakfast, which took us behind the scenes of the ship’s kitchen. Personally, this was a treat for me as my sister works in the kitchen of another RCI ship and it was nice to see how things operate in her workplace.

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Our tour operator was Sir Rene, a Sous Chef and fellow Filipino.

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We found out that most of the Filipino kitchen crew were assigned to the bread station.

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We also got a glimpse of the dessert preparations for lunch service.

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All meals aboard the ship are already accounted for in the cruise fee, unless you request for room service, or eat in the speciality restaurants like Giovanni’s and Johnny Rockets. We had lunch at Giovanni’s Table which offers a prix fixe set meal at $30.

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The steaks at Giovanni’s are better than those served at Sapphire.

Related Post: CHOPS GRILLE vs GIOVANNI’S TABLE: Specialty Dining onboard Voyager of the Seas! @RoyalCaribbean

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After the hearty lunch that set me into a food coma, I retreated to my room and accidentally overslept.

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I woke up and found my companions on the Flowboard area. It was too late when I arrived so I wasn’t able to sign up and try it out for myself.

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I did enjoy watching them try to keep their composure though.

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For our last dinner, we were badly missing Filipino food so we requested for adobo partnered with copious amounts of rice.

Tip #9: You can request for food that’s not on the menu, but they can only fulfill the request if the whole table agrees with it.

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And as a sort of farewell for a wonderful trip, we got to watch the most beautiful sunset aboard the ship.


SOME LAST TIPS

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If you’re hungry in between meals, head to Café Promenade which offers meals 24 hours. I got some soup and a slice of pizza one time after midnight.

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There’s a track on the uppermost floor which is great if you like to run in the morning.

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It gives an unbeatable view of the sunrise too.

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The gym is also fully equipped with high-end equipment so you don’t have to worry about missing out on your workouts while you’re on board.

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If you want a heavy breakfast, you can order multiple items on the breakfast menu. I liked their French Toast and the Salmon and Bagel Set.

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The shops go on their biggest sale on the last day, so watch out for their promotions. I was able to score a watch that I gifted.

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Lastly, the ship offers so many activities (even a mini golf course) but don’t beat yourself up if you’re not able to try all of it. There’s always a next time.

Here is a rough breakdown of what you might spend on the cruise:

Price per Head

4-Night Port Klang and Phuket Cruise US$‎ 648.00+
All Access Tour (Bridge and Galley) US$‎ 59.00
The Asian Melting Pot Tour (KL) US$‎ 59.00
Phuket Highlights Tour US$‎ 39.00
Giovanni’s Table US$‎ 30.00
Wi-Fi (per day) US$‎ 15.00

 

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Thank you to Royal Caribbean Philippines for the great time! I come from a family of seafarers so a large part of this trip felt very personal to me. This first trip won me over and I’m definitely booking another one for next year.

 

ARPAN AIR, INC.
International Representative – Philippines
Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Club Cruises
Telephone: +632 892 2701 to 03
Mobile: +63 955 213 3579
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Royal Caribbean Philippines
Instagram: @royalcaribbeanphilippines
Website: https://www.cruising.com.ph/

 

Live an Awesome Life,

Monique of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Our cruise experience was courtesy of Royal Caribbean Philippines as part of their press junket. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

P.S. Check out their website and Facebook page from time to time as they usually offer discounts. Take advantage of their Buy One, Get 50% off for the 2nd person promos when you catch it!