19 | Legit Lady.

I am seventeen!

It seems like such a huge number now after one year of telling everyone I’m sixteen. A huge thank you to all who took time to text/write on my fb wall/call to send me well-wishes.

But first, a few people I wanna thank – Wilson (for being the first), Jean (who got me our first present in our kiamsiap friendship), Weetiong (who also got me a present), Rachel (who created a mashup of 37 Westlife songs to make a message for me), Eunice (sent me a wall of words), Tina (was there through it all xoxo) and Buddy (distracted me while I was sick and made the day’s discussions fruitful).

One thing I know for sure – the best friends on this planet are mine.

Took the chance to troll everyone who supported Arsenal in today’s match. What? It’s my name. I was born with the rights to troll.

Anyhoo, my mom, Cowfu and I took to Teoheng to celebrate with 6 hours of karaoke (yeah, I’m an addict) and it was comparable to Kbox. Granted the room is more plain and I couldn’t find the shuffle button but the song selections are commendable and the sound system is good. Plus I didn’t have to worry about tripping over wires. Had good food also, because you can bring your own food in! (Y)

Went for dinner afterward. Nothing special, but it’s family that counts.

Dry heaved for a full hour after that because my stomach is a scumbag. It was extremely uncomfortable and not a welcome event on my birthday. D:

Guess the highlight of today would be that I somehow got myself wedged between two sofas during the karaoke session. Just goes to show some things just don’t change with age.. and there is no such thing as aging gracefully.

Till the next time, ciao!

18 | Royal Caribbean 2012: Legend of the Seas

As you all know, I went on a cruise recently. My family (especially my mom and I) are addicted to cruises simply because you get adventure and luxury all at one go! It’s amazing, and of all the cruises (which I shall not name), Royal Caribbean has to be the best. Boasting a highly trained (some can go from chief waiters to HOSTS) and international staff and many many amazing activities, they are truly the best of the best in terms of service, luxury, and activities! Here’s my recount of my 5D4N Spices of Southeast Asia cruise with the same ship that took me on my maiden voyage with Royal Caribbean – Legend of the Seas. Unfortunately, it is under dry dock right now, so the next time we go on, it won’t be the same, but nonetheless it will be just, or even more fantastic! 🙂

Limiting the photos here, the rest are on Facebook under Instagram photos as well as in my album!

DAY 1: Reconciliation.

On Day 1 everything moved quickly cos we were already familiar with check-in procedures and the layout of the ship, so we didn’t need extra time to go explore. My first hit was the library where I nicked a piece of the daily trivia and settled in one of the sofas to enjoy my Neil Humphreys omnibus. The sofa in the library is just so cozy and comfy – it has just the right amount of space for me to curl up. It faces the open ocean so it’s really, really pretty.

Self-decorated passport covers.. which is mine? 🙂

Thought I was a master packer cos I managed to stuff 5 days worth of clothing in here.. until Mom came, took out everything, and packed at least 1.5x the same amount.. in the same suitcase. ._.


On the way to Marina Bay Cruise Centre.

Our room. Cozy right? Except that I slept on the sofa bed.

I know the names of the entire Royal Fleet by heart! That’s how much I love Royal Caribbean.

Day 1’s daily trivia! Love doing this stuff. 

In the library, I remember this guy who looked like he was 18 year old coming into the library, browsing the shelves, sitting down on a sofa near me. Don’t ask me why this memory is so poignant. It just is. Then at dinnertime – he was my tablemate! Unfortunately we had a change of tables so I didn’t get to know him until Day 5.. and we shall elaborate on that later.

For most of Day 1, we slacked, slacked and slacked. 🙂 Also more rest for the activities of Day 3 and 4!

My diary entry for Day 1 was written in Korean and because my command of Korean is so limited, I was restricted to simple sentences and expressions. Well.. You’ll probably never hear me speaking like a 3 year-old in English, so here goes.

The end of the world! Hello 🙂 Came onto the cruise today.. and I miss all my friends already! But I’m happy on the cruise, so that’s alright. Now I know how much I hate being interrupted by people.. I really, really hate it!”

This part was written in English.

I’m starting to realize how accustomed to loneliness I am – I am perfectly OK with socializing, eating and chilling out alone.. well, there are positive sides to everything!”

Day 2: Relaxation

Goal – Be proactive, decisive and confident! Aja aja, fighting!

Woke up late, very late. Ended up going for a spa session with my mom. Did a facial which was amazing before going for a hair and teeth seminar and also a seminar on eye care. Love all these healthy living/beauty seminars and they’re free as well! Rested even more on the second day – we were docked at Port Klang and my dad went down and found free wi-fi. Daaaamn.

This was the day that I thought of this question all of a sudden: Is love being unable to live without the person? Or is love being unafraid as long as you are with them? Or is it facing the world with them knowing it’s you and them vs. the world? Although I’ve found the answer to this for myself, I’d still like to hear your take on this!

I was impressed to greaaat extents by the service on LOTS that night. I remember going up to Deck 9, by the poolside, and apparently there was a buffet! I promptly went crazy on food and it was so good too! 🙂 Then I began thinking about the people behind these. My thoughts: The chefs are dedicated beyond belief. To create such intricate sculptures with huge amounts of food, the chefs are all creative, skilled and talented. I feel the need to pay tribute to the people who could get a health freak like me to gorge on food for the 5 days on the cruise with no heed to my mantra of healthy eating whatsoever. Anyway, I also thought about the management. Obviously the people in charge must be doing something right because the staff are all highly self-motivated and have sky high morale. They are always cheerful, always polite, always cracking jokes. With such excellence in service, it’s hard to beat Royal Caribbean as a premier cruise company!

What’s even more impressive about the staff is that they are international. On the last day I remember hearing someone announce that the cruise crew were from more than 69 countries. With such differences in culture and practice, how does the management do it? Of course English is a common language, but cultural practices and differences will definitely cause friction during the duration of the cruise. That’s not to mention the dislikes of others’ characters, personalities, etc. The conflict management people are doing it right.

Day 3: Langkawi

Goal – Be assertive, fast and beautiful (LOL).

Docked in Langkawi early in the morning and despite sleeping at 2am I woke up very early to catch first light! It was beautiful but it’s different when you experience it rather than just look at pictures of it. Hmm. Watched Batman in the morning and I fell in love.. not with Batman, but with Catwoman. I believe it was Dark Knight Rises. I know nuts about Marvel Comics so if I got anything wrong, pardon me.

The view from my sofa bed. Pretty, isn’t it?

In Langkawi, we were led onto a tour bus and set off for the first attraction – rice planting field. Apparently Langkawi is named as such because Lang means eagle/falcon in Malay and Kawi stands for Batu Kawi or Rock in Malay. Batu Kawi is reddish brown and so Langkawi means reddish brown eagle. Or at least, that’s what I understood from the guide. I learnt lots from the tour but it’s really too much to pen, so I’ll put captions of them on my Facebook photos. 🙂

Makeshift scarecrow in the Langkawi padi field

One thing I have to say though: about kids. I understand that I belong to Singapore’s new generation of children who are stereotyped to be spoilt. But seriously, this is taking it one bit too far. Singaporean kids are headed for a huge shock if they go into their workplaces behaving as thugs would. And the parents! Please educate your kids. Whiny, insolent, lying little monsters. I only saw kids being so audacious with their parents around. When it comes to the March school camps I lead, they’re perfectly alright. So either the presence of their parents causes a change in their behaviour because they now have someone to hide behind when they do something wrong, or I become a completely different person every March. Pushing and shoving around, bullying, and then lying about it, and being totally oblivious and tramping over my foot, and then turning around and glaring at me like it’s my fault I let them step on my feet.. I have nothing to say. If this is acceptable to the parents then we are all headed for disaster.

Next we headed to the Underwater World. I am not much for greenery so I have to say this is by far the one I enjoyed the most. I actually have film footage of some of the attractions but I’ll upload them at a later date.

Pretty preening.. plamingo. I just had to alliterate this.

Using a pillow! How charming.

Rockstar Chipper.

It’s a damned WORM.. /shudders

After that, we headed back to the ship. The tour guide was telling us bits and pieces of the Legend of Mashuri which was really interesting.. but you shall have to read about it on your own 🙂

Swam after coming back from Langkawi and met a Korean kid and his father in the pool.. Was pleasantly reminded that my conversational ability in Korean was trumped by a 3 year old kid. Well done kiddo!

Day 4: Phuket

Goal – Be positive, confident, beautiful.

The beginning of the day was really terrible. Since we had to be ready by 6.45AM (in-sane) I woke up at five something and was completely ZONKED. In fact, I have two pages of ranting about morning people. It went something like “WHICH IDIOT SET TOURS AT FIVE A.M.” and “We just arrived in Phuket and I swear everyone is annoying the shit out of me. Meanwhile, mentally murdering the morons who planned the tour. No one should be so goddamned chirpy at twilight!! Also getting KO-ed by tall people whose elbow has got great affinity with my face is not a good wake-up call.” Cheery, I’m sure. Failed my goals first thing in the morning.

We took a tender to the shore of Phuket beach and I realized that Thais have a really charming way of saying Phuket. It sounds something like “Pfuket” and it’s so, so charming! Anyway, we headed straight for Phang Nga Bay. I have nothing to say about the scenery because, yes, I was totally KO-ed. Phang Nga Bay is quite beautiful and we took a boat to James Bond Island where they filmed “Man with the Golden Gun”. Apparently it’s quite a tourist attraction!

 

From the ship. Beautiful! 🙂

I know. We look like houseflies. It’s hereditary.

Cruising in Phang Nga Bay.

The backside of Phang Nga Bay.

After that, we went to visit the Muslim village at Phang Nga Bay. It was on water and it had everything – shops, duty free shops, food, and even a school! How cool is that?

I’m not much of a scenery person and I did get a bit lethargic with the briny breeze and sunshine but all in the all I enjoyed it.. but didn’t have a huge load of fun. Maybe I should’ve gone snorkelling at Phi Phi Island instead. Hmmmmm.

Anyway I zonked out on the bus once again and we had a short lunch, after which we went to the cashew nut factory. I was a zombie and the only thing that was interesting was the dog outside the factory.

Beautiful mongrel. 🙂

Right so all in all I was extremely tired and wasn’t alive for most of the tour. Ended up with a really sore neck but that’s all okay cos we’re on tour. If I was in Singapore I’d have been bitching like crazy about it. Aaaaaaaanyways, the time back on the ship was much more enjoyable.

It’s tough to impress me by service, and I am not a foodie, but dining here is incredibly pleasurable, because of the remarkable food and splendid service. Had a formal dinner night and enjoyed the night with my waiters and of course, the food.

Ended up camwhoring alone cos I’m an only child. Whoopie.

Not making this smaller because I can see my waiters!! Hello Joel, Adrian and Richie!! 🙂

The waiters even put up a carolling performance for us! So touched 🙂 And someone came up and.. yes, he Gangnam Style-d and the kids joined in.

We also watched a dance show where many forms of dance was showcased – salsa, ballroom dancing, waltz.. you name it, they danced it. It was smexy. I loved it. I was inspired to ballroom dance, and that’s saying a lot. I’m a klutz so that sport might kill me. Either way, it was awesome to have such shows on a ship. 🙂

After that, we went to join the Xmas disco and everybody danced on the fourth deck of the ship. Like danced. Really danced. How cool is that?! It was called 70’s Disco Inferno featuring a special performance by “The Legend Macho Men” which were all basically from the cruise director’s department. Public disco! This shall be how I make my millions. Anyway, we then had Christmas carolling. 🙂 Loved the experience cos it was my first time carolling and everyone was so jolly and merry! ’twas a wonderful Christmas eve.

Day 5: Recharge

I’m not sizing this one down. It’s a photo of me. ‘Nuff said.

Waking up to the fact that you’ll be going back to reality tomorrow is just so unbelievably depressing on the cruise man. Anyway, we had a day full of activities. We first went for Captain’s Corner where I got to ask how they recruit their crew.. apparently it’s through companies. Must find some way to get onto the ship so I can serve and learn from their amazing leadership team! I missed the Ladies Pamper Party though 😦 No free treatments. On the other hand, I had another facial done. This one took 50 minutes and was incredibly comfortable! Loved it. Loved the price less though but I guess you can’t be stingy on Christmas day. Mom & I then proceeded to learn how to fold napkins at Napkin Artistry class, conducted as part of the Explorer Academy programme. It was amazing, who knew you could fold so many designs out of the same napkin?

Roses! Wish I’d gotten the red napkin, it would’ve been so preedy.

ELF BOOTS. What trumps this, you tell me?!

Skipped the “World’s Sexist Man” Competition finals showing at the Centrum cos I wasn’t sure it was gonna be that sexy after all. Had a great rest and then went for the facial I talked about earlier. Went back to the room, showered and got ready for dinner.

After a fantastic dinner and more carolling, we attended this Farewell Showtime and it was mindblowing. We had the pleasure of watching this incredibly talented juggler/singer/joker called David Dimuzio.

This is the song he serenaded a girl with. Damn I knew I should’ve gotten a front row seat. Other than that, he pranked a Chinese man by getting on a unicycle and asking the Chinese man to pass him his knives. Other than the fact that there was an obvious language barrier and they would have to settle for sign language, nothing gets funnier than watching him cycling away from an uncle with four knives in his hand trying to offer him one.

After a thoroughly entertaining show, we headed to the Anchors Aweigh Lounge where we watched Battle of the Sexes game show. It included someone dry humping a balloon. It was hilarious, ’nuff said. Then we headed to the Centrum to watch the Karaoke Superstar Finals. I was actually looking for food but ran down when I heard this awesome voice singing a Chinese song that sounded familiar. I literally ran down 6 flights of stairs. Yep.

That’s where I first got to know the name of the man I’ve been running into for the past few days countless times – Jody. Alright, that’s his nickname, but still. 🙂 I ran into him SO many times! Corridors, mealtimes, events. He turned out to be a really considerate friend 🙂 After that we settled for a music session and guess what? Two couples hanging around at the bar decided to ballroom dance! In public! They obviously didn’t care about the people around and as for me, I was treated to a free show. Fantastic! 🙂

CHECKOUT!

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Now that I’ve concluded the rough outline of my time on the ship (I sure hope I didn’t miss anything out), I’m sure you’ll notice that I’ve left out three things which, if you’ve been reading my twitter, I kept talking about. Food, movies and service.

As for food, I think it was marvellous. Imagine steak. Desserts such as creme brulee. Salmon steaks! Sherbet ice creams. If you are a foodie, this cruise is paradise. No more lacklustre food or unappealing dishes. This is the best of the best. Excellence in cuisine is one of the main points of my trips on Royal Caribbean, but what trumps all isn’t anything except.. sour dough bread. I don’t have pictures of this because it was vacuumed off my plate before anyone could try to photograph it, but suffice to say it is heavenly. I had 2 pieces every dinnertime and couldn’t get enough. Anyway, here’s picture of my foooood. GLORIOUS FOOD!

ALL ABOUT FOOD:

 

This Bailey’s Creme Brulee is exceptional. It’s something else entirely.

LOG CAKE. My Christmas indulgence came looking so pretty that I couldn’t bear to eat it 😦

SUPPER. You tell me. Fat or not? During the cruise, I sure didn’t give any damns. Too busy eating.

Best butter on the face of this Earth. Wicked with sour dough!

I remember being very full when this was served but I still cleaned it off my plate.

Dark chocolate cake with cherry sauce. DIABETES!!! I gave no shits.

Teatime. Doesn’t look very appealing but it’s all good.

Haven’t sung enough praises of the food, haven’t done the chefs justice.. but talking about all this goodness at this unearthly hour is making me crave for cruise food. WHICH I WILL NOT GET NOW. /sigh

ALL ABOUT MOVIES:

I am not an avid movie watcher. In fact before the cruise, I had enough fingers to account for the total sum of all the movies I’d watched in my life. Well, my life was revolutionized because I apparently managed to watch about the same about in 5 days.

List of movies I watched:

  1. The Odd Life of Timothy Green
  2. The Dark Knight Rises
  3. Snow White and the Huntsmen
  4. Hunger Games (IN KOREAN!!)
  5. Mirror Mirror
  6. Bourne Legacy
  7. Dark Shadows (This was good)
  8. Arthur Christmas (Very good cartoon! Captured the essence of Christmas perfectly)
  9. Avengers
  10. Total Recall (Loved this)

There were more, but I can’t seem to recall the titles. So they are not enough to make it onto this list of Christmas movies!! Haha.

ALL ABOUT SERVICE:

I think it’s just amazing, the kind of excellence in service they offer. Chefs have their hands full with cooking for us. I thought so. Until creations like this came out.

Mind you, the above impressive designs were only for one of the supper spreads, not even for main meals or meals at the fancy Romeo and Juliet restaurant!! Amazing or what?!

So I surmise that the chefs must be so skilled that they don’t have to spend much time on cooking and can do all these so efficently!

THAT’S NOT ALL.

There’s still room service.

I was in Stateroom 7584 (in case I forget again) and my stateroom attendant was Robbie, and he was amazing. Let’s see, I found this in my room on 23 Dec.

It had scrap paper eyes!! :‘)

On 24 Dec, a fresh surprise.

YA IT WAS WEARING MY SUNNIES/GLASSES!!!

And then again on 25 Dec,

THIS LITTLE CHIMP HANGING!!! 

I was so amazed! The kind of skill it takes to fold these.. Goodness.

And perhaps the most impressive of all..

A real ICE snowman!

If you can see, there are numerous napkins at the bottom to soak water from the melting snowman. At first Mom & I were like “Haiya fake one..” AND THEN THE HAT STARTED DROOPING. We were dumbstruck. This just accompanied the supper spread and I was like.. such effort for supper.. not everyone on the cruise was at the supper.. only a few. 😥 yet the chefs are so dedicated and so excellent in what they do!

This kind of thing should not be possible..

Joel, my waiter, kept me amazed for a full 10 minutes with this. Goodness. Physics students who know the principles behind it, shut up. I want to live amazed.

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Here’s extra tips for those who’re planning to go on Royal Caribbean cruises!

How to make the best of your cruise:

1.Take part in the free cruise activities.

Don’t be worried about feeling out of place or losing face, this isn’t Singapore. Just go ahead and join ’em! Learn something new – Napkin Artistry, Ballroom Dancing. Send your kids for the young ‘uns activities. Have a family game challenge – there’s table tennis and a myriad of other games. It’s worth it. Don’t miss the production showtimes and turn up for all kinds of activities including ones that you might not be interested in – mass activities such as discos are usually the most fun. It might be a little reserved with the Asian crowd at first but just go ahead and do your thang. If you’re in the American cruises, ALL THE MORE, GO FOR IT! They will hype you up and make your night. Go ahead, it’s all right to get a lil’ jazzy! 🙂

2. Bring sports shoes/swimwear.

Whether sports is your kinda thing or not, nothing beats walking on Deck 10 against the breeze. Don’t wear anything that will reveal more than modest when strong winds coming because I fell flat due to the strong wind once. Also, running on Deck 10 in the morning is a challenge because the track is open air! Try rock climbing on the 200m high wall.. you’re on the sea rock climbing. It’s a once in a lifetime kinda thing. Consistently work out the food your waiters keep feeding you at the gym. Swim in the open or indoor pool. It’s salt water, you’ll feel like you’re in the sea. It works.

3. Bring formal dress.

Although with the more relaxed Singaporean crowd it was kind of a downer on dress up day, the Caucasians on the cruise really went all out and dressed in semi-formal! So feel free to go a little crazy. After all, no one knows you. Be as crazy as you want with your attire. It’s going to be an awesome experience and a good photo opportunity!

4. Talk to your waiters and stateroom attendants.

These people are really, really nice. They come from all over the world so a cultural exchange might be in order and you get to learn a lot from them. As people who travel around the world with people of different heritages, they know a lot. So take advantage of them and talk to them! Besides, they’re extremely friendly 🙂

5. Don’t scrimp on the USD 150 and go for the ship tour!!

This is one of the things I regretted most. Scrimping and missing out on the ship tour. They’ll bring you behind the scenes to see what the captain does, the navigations, the engine rooms, the kitchens, etc. If you don’t sign up for this on the first day, on the last few days the curiousity and regret of not knowing what goes on is going to kill you. Seriously, save on the facials if you’re not up for splurging, but don’t scrimp on this.

That concludes my Royal Caribbean tour on the beloved Legend of the Sea, which is probably being destroyed as I type now 😦 Doesn’t matter, Mom has already invited me for next year’s Christmas trip, and I’ll definitely be going.

BRING ME SOMEWHERE NEW! 🙂