Bangkok – The Holiday Begins (5 September 2022)

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I have no idea where we’ll be staying on this trip or what time our flight is. I used to panic and kept checking on the details to make sure we didn’t leave out anything. Maybe it’s because we haven’t traveled for two years due to the pandemic, I am kind of lost on what to expect. Thankfully, Dear took care of most of it, and I just followed along.

Got up at 5 am as our flight was at 8:20 am. Prepared and check on what to bring before we leave home. I booked a grab car and am amazed at how smooth and fast the ride was. We arrived at the airport earlier than expected. Checking in our luggage was a breeze without any delay. It’s an automated self-service kiosk now for Scoot. Or at least that’s what I know.

Once we entered the immigration checkpoint, we headed to Killiney for coffee and breakfast. It had a long queue as the other stalls around it weren’t open yet. Dear was disappointed that her eggs were cold, her kopi c kosong was lukewarm. My kopi o kosong was hot so I didn’t have any issues with my coffee.

Luggage zip that looks like darts.

Head off to our boarding gate after breakfast. Toilet break and empty our bottles before entering. We had a small piece of luggage to carry with us. As we went through the security check, they asked if we brought darts. Clueless, we opened our luggage to check what item of ours that looks like darts on their screen. After scanning our luggage again, all of us realised it was the zips on the luggage. It was a funny moment for us and the security officers. Mystery solved.

Dear’s seat on the plane got exchanged as someone was already there. He explained that his seat was taken so he took the next empty seat he saw. And since my row got another empty seat, we took it. The air stewardess knows about it so we’re all good. Got me a window seat and managed to video take-off and landing for my travel video.

Arrived in Bangkok ahead of schedule according to the pilot. The airport’s aircon was cold and we didn’t bring a jacket. So we shiver and head out to the immigration checkpoint. Went up to level 4 in search of Klook’s counter to collect our Thailand sim card and off we go! But first, brunch at the airport’s Macdonald’s.

First meal in Bangkok, Thailand

I couldn’t decide what I want and asked Dear to surprise me. And yes, my pork samurai burger was good! Dear enjoyed her truffle burger but I didn’t. Not a fan of truffles, the smell and taste are too strong for me. It’s just like how some couldn’t stand the smell and taste of durian. We had youtiao dipped in condensed milk as dessert and it was surprisingly good! Recommended if you visit the land of smiles, go try the youtiao!

Token as MRT train ticket

In Bangkok, they have MRT and BTS. It is like our MRT and LRT, same same but different. Head off to their MRT station at the airport, used their ticket machine to purchase our tickets. Apparently, the amount we put in didn’t reflect on the screen and it cheated us some money. However, the staff that helped us didn’t understand English and we couldn’t really communicate so we decided to just let it go. The journey to the hotel required us to change from MRT to BTS. It’s quite convenient in my opinion and fast. I guess taking the train is much faster in Bangkok if you want to beat the horrendous traffic, especially when we arrived in the morning where most locals are heading off to work.

Holiday Inn Bangkok

We will be staying at Holiday Inn which is right next to Chit Lom BTS station. It is also within walking distance to Big C and Central World. It’s a very good location if you want a more central area for your shopping needs. We forgot to bring our credit cards, but thankfully they allowed us to put a 1000baht deposit in cash. When we arrived, our room wasn’t ready yet and so we left our luggage with them and head out for quick shopping.

Karun tea comes in a nice paper bag

We stopped by Gaysorn Village which is just next to Holiday Inn to buy us Thai tea that my sister-in-law recommended. It’s called Karun and it’s located at level 2. You get to choose how sweet you want your tea to be. It is already pre-brewed and bottled. But the option for sweetness is, 100%, less sweet and not sweet. We bought two bottles of less sweet, a milk tea and a red tea to try.

Visited Big C and of course, it’s filled with humans! Tourists are busy buying goodies in bulk to bring home, either for their own consumption or to distribute to colleagues and friends. They do prepare masking tapes and scissors to pack in carton boxes that were provided near the cashier. We did buy a few stuff for our own consumption while we were in the country. Queues were extremely long and it does really test your patience and endurance for the legs.

The tea comes in glass bottles.

At 3 pm, we started to make our way back and check into our room. Finally, get to rest after all the traveling and walking. Drank the tea we bought from Karun and we think it was nice. Personally prefers milk tea more than red tea. Sweetness-wise is just right for their less sweet version. But if you are someone that has a sweet tooth, you can try their 100% sweetness and let us know how they taste.

We decided to head towards Central World for dinner. It is within walking distance from Holiday Inn! The best way to get across without crossing their road is to head up to the BTS station and use their overhead bridge/walkway. It will take you directly to Central World. Crossing their road with heavy traffic requires courage. It can get scary!

Dinner at Somtamnua

Dear decided to have dinner at Somtamnua, located at Central World level 3. Ordered a few dishes that were highly recommended online after reading the reviews. I think the food is good but a bit on the high side for Thai food as it’s located in a mall. The staff doesn’t know English, so communication can be difficult for us.

While walking around Central World after dinner, we came across Uniqlo and decided to enter and have a look at their jackets. We didn’t bring our jackets as we planned to get ourselves new ones. I let Dear choose as I know I can only shop in the kids’ section. Somehow, the adult jackets were a little too big for Dear and we both ended up getting our jackets in the kids’ section instead. After trying out the different colours available, we both decided to get the same coloured jackets. Finally a better fitting jackets for us.

I’ve been having craving for mango sticky rice and Dear decided to bring me to another place for dessert. Mr. Mango Tango is located about 900m away from Central World. Although it’s a 900m walk, we were tired from all the walking. The path wasn’t even which makes walking a little tiring. We’re spoilt by the nice pathway that Singapore has. Thankful for what our government did to make life easier for us.

The dessert was amazingly delicious. We ordered a plate to share which consist of fresh mango, sticky rice, mango pudding, and mango ice cream. Basically, everything mango. It was good! The ambiance of the store makes it enjoyable to have our dessert. Craving is definitely satisfied. Mango sticky rice has always been my favourite Thai dessert and a must-have when we’re in Thailand.

After dessert, we head back to our hotel and called it a day. Although it was tiring from all the traveling since our flight, it was an enjoyable first day of the holiday since the pandemic. A long waited holiday that we both definitely needed to get recharged physically and mentally.

More blog entries about our trip will be coming soon. Still new to journaling down our travels and hopefully I’m doing good so far.

Cruise Tips & Personal Opinions

After I uploaded my short videos about our cruise adventures on our Tiktok account and Youtube channel, we got some questions from possible future cruise adventurers and I’ve decided to list them down on a whole new blog entry because I realized I didn’t jot it down on the previous entries. Oops~

As this is my first cruise and wasn’t sure of what to bring or do, we did consult Dear’s sister who gave us some nice useful tips. So it’s my turn to share as well after my experience.

What to bring:

  • Passport – Very important because you’re heading out of the Singapore water territory. Some doesn’t know you need a passport when going on a cruise.
  • Bedroom slipper – The cruise doesn’t provide any. It’s good walking around the stateroom in it, especially when your stateroom have a balcony.
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste – Not provided, so bring yours for the trip.
  • Shampoo & body soap – They do provide, but it depends on individual. We prefer the ones we use at home, so we’re always bringing ours instead of using the ones provided.
  • Towels – This is also optional. But we do bring ours cos Dear have sensitive skin and can’t use the ones they provide.
  • Wet wipes – To wipe down the seats and table at the balcony before use.
  • Lanyard with card holder- To put your stateroom’s key card. You need to use it often if making purchases onboard the ship or when you’re debarking the ship to explore the port of calls. Easy access to the card is good and a lanyard comes in handy.
  • Travel adapters
  • Sports wear and shoes – For sports activities
  • Swimsuits – For water activities

But of course things to bring is up to individuals. So bring what you need, but there are things they prohibit onboard. Such as extensions and mini cooking pots. Was told these will be confiscated during boarding and you can get it back before you debark the ship.

We didn’t purchase the WIFI plan onboard the ship because we think we didn’t need it. Besides, we bought the Malaysia SIM card to be used when we arrive in Malaysia’s port of call. But you can purchase their WIFI plan if you need to be connected to the world. Here’s a heads up, connection is really poor even with our Malaysia SIM card when we arrived at our port of calls. For better connection, sit at your balcony or head up to the outdoor areas. Sometimes its good to just relax on a vacation and be disconnected away from the world.

Room upgrade!

We have a few netizens asking us how to get the room upgrade. Well, you need to bid for it on their website, under the RoyalUp. After you’re done with the bidding, the rest is just wait and may you be the lucky one.

Do note that once you got the upgrade, you can reject it but there won’t be any refund. So I would suggest to just go with the upgrade and enjoy your voyage with Royal Caribbean. But after our stay at the Junior Suite, we realized that we’re happy enough with our initial stateroom with balcony though it’s good to experience a room upgrade too. I mean, there’s no harm moving to a bigger room.

Activities wise, there’s no longer much covid restrictions, so go ahead and have fun! But of course, the swimming pool area can be crowded as families with kids are usually there for some water fun activities. We enjoyed the cruise experience more than we though we would, and we hope you will too.

Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas – Day 4 & 5 (10 & 11 July 2022)

Egg Benedict

Woke up, looked out of the balcony and we’re sailing on the vast sea heading back to Singapore. Breakfast at Main Dining Room where I ordered their plain pancake while Dear had the egg benedict. And yes, the egg yolk does ooze out. I’m not a very breakfast person, usually I skipped it unless I’m really hungry. I didn’t finish my pancake although it’s just two slices.

It’s back to stateroom for a rest because very tired and have no energy for anything. We wanted to join some onboard activities, but sleep monster says no. So it’s practically a eat and sleep day onboard the ship. Ever since we recovered from Covid in February, we became easily tired and it’s like our stamina dropped.

Passport Collection

After our rest, it’s lunch at Silver Dining then it’s back to our room for a rest again. Before which, we went to join the queue to collect our passports back from the Royal Caribbean. We didn’t like how the lady in front of us treated the staff. Like us, she had her stateroom changed. She got agitated when the staff was trying to find hers and her friend’s passport after she’s given him their stateroom’s number. I mean there’s a lot of passports and of course it will take some time for him to find the right one. I guess maybe the lady didn’t work in the service line before and doesn’t know how to treat service line workers with some respect.

Went for Harry Potter Trivia. Was a little late, but we managed to find us a seat. Had to get a piece of answer sheet and a pencil from the stage to jot down my answers. It was fun and surprised to see quite a few young Potterheads being as excited as I was. There were a few questions that stumped me but after the session, I’m glad that I got majority of the answers right. Maybe I should read the books again as an adult, probably I’ve a whole different perspective of the series. (Might make a slide video of the Harry Potter Trivia for those who are interested.)

Farewell at Main Dining Room

We sort of idle away our day on the cruise. It’s like we’ve already maxed out our energy the past few days exploring the ship and Penang that we’ve no interest in other activities available for the day. Dinner at Main Dining Room after a rest as Dear wanted to try their aged beef. A wrong move for us as we both ordered the same and didn’t really enjoy it. It’s not as wow as we thought and the portion was rather huge for me. What I enjoyed most during the dinner was their mini farewell “concert”.

We did went for two shows that night. The Silk Road and Show Girls, no videography or photography is allowed. It’s free seating so go early if you want the best seats. We had restricted view when we went for The Silk Road, but we had the a better view when we went for Show Girls. If you were to ask me which shows are worth going, I would say Show Girls. Apparently the Show Girls that we went were their debut night for the performers. Lucky us! It’s fantastic and they’ve put up quite a show!

Baby Shark~

Waited for 10:30 pm before we head over for the Virtual Fireworks Party! It’s like a child friendly clubbing experience for us. It’s fun for all ages though Dear didn’t enjoy it when the Baby Shark songs was played. Wait for the virtual fireworks to “boom” before we called it a night.

Sunrise view from our stateroom’s balcony

Set the alarm clock to get up early because we’re still confused about the timing to disembark the ship. Got welcome back with a beautiful sunrise at Marina Bay Cruise Centre which wraps up our nice voyage with Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas. After we’re done washing up, we packed our stuff and head out to join the other adventurers to alight from the ship. Holiday is over but we went back with a nice memorable experience.

Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas – Day 3 (9 July 2022)

Video from our Youtube Channel

Day 3 of our voyage and we’ve arrived at Port Pinang. Can’t remember what time I got up and the first thing I did was head out to the balcony for some fresh air.

Penang

I immediately regretted my decision. It was a hazy morning in Penang and I went back to our room right after taking a picture. The reason I took a picture was to inform my closest aunt that I’d arrived at the next port of call safely.

Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas

After our breakfast at WindJammer, we debark the ship and head off to explore Penang. But first, like many adventurers, we decided to take pictures of the humongous ship with its awesome name! Very tourist behaviour but I don’t care.

Welcome to Penang

Felt very welcome upon arrival with the locals singing and greeting tourists that arrive at the port. Entering Penang was a very different experience for us and we felt like mountain tortoises. There was no immigration check when we arrived and just like that, our exploration started.

Once out of the immigration checkpoint building, a group of private or taxi drivers started asking if you need a ride and offering their services. As we walked past the eager to get your attention drivers, we overheard one offering a 3hours ride around Penang for RM$50.

Entrance & Exit of Norm

Address: 13, Gat Lebuh Gereja, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Sun-Thur: 8am-6pm
Fri-Sat: 8am-10pm
Note: here’s the address of the one we went to because I realised there are 2 Norm cafes. They’re sister cafes, so they’re related hence the same cafe name.

First stop, Norm. A nice little cafe is hidden in a corner with no signage at all. At first, we thought we were at the wrong location but Google Map (the only GPS we relied on that day) said we’d arrived. Then we overheard the locals whose friend was lost too, said where the entrance was. Like what we always do, follow the humans and enter the cafe.

Limited seatings and it was packed full of humans. Staff immediately came to greet us and asked us to wait while they clear a table (diners just left) for us. They handed us a set of menus to look through while waiting. One menu was drink and dessert, while the other was for the mains.

Here’s what we ordered:

  • Cortado (similar to picolo latte)
  • Aussie Latte (cold latte with a scoop of vanilla ice cream)
  • Chocolate Macadamia Fudge (dessert)
Norm

I like my Cortado coffee and Dear enjoyed hers, especially the ice cream that comes with it. She was shocked by the quality of the ice cream and very impressed that they didn’t use lower-end ice cream to go with the coffee. I tried a little of it, and I would say it’s quite a rich creamy vanilla ice cream. The chocolate macadamia fudge was good too. Very chocolatey, not too dry. A nice dessert to go with our coffee.

After our morning coffee break, we head off in search of Tambun Biscuit. It’s Penang’s speciality and one of my favourite snacks. Although I said if we couldn’t find any, it’s OK. But Dear insist we find it because I want.

Famous wall painting

We walked around George Town and Dear showed me the Instagram-worthy wall art which is quite popular. And yes, I did take a picture with it because there wasn’t any crowd when we arrived. We head off to the next popular wall art, but it was crowded with tourists waiting for their turn to take pictures with it. I didn’t want to wait and join the crowd, so we head off to explore Penang.

Entered a shop where I bought myself the popular Octopus that can change from a frown to a happy face. We also bought Dear’s sister a gift since we’re there and found something she might like. Dear prefers to buy gifts that are useful and that the receiver will definitely like. She’s a good gift gifter, unlike me who just buys anything cute even if it’s useless.

The Tambun Biscuits I bought.

Went shopping for Tambun Biscuit and I bought more than I could finish. Here’s a list of where and what I bought from the shop:

Ming Xiang Tai
They have a few outlets and I couldn’t find the address of the one we went to. This was recommended to us by the shop’s staff where we were gift shopping at. She said it’s one of Penang’s popular Tambun Biscuits. Did a quick google search and I found out it’s called Cantonese pastry on their website. We bought salted egg pastry and pandan salted egg pastry. In our opinion, we both prefer the pandan salted egg pastry as it’s more flavourful and fragrant.

Ban Heng
They have a few outlets as well. This was Google’s recommendation with positive reviews. After trying their sample, the taste brought back childhood memories and I bought a box of pandan-flavoured tambun biscuits. After trying all the ones I bought, this wasn’t as wow as I remembered.

Tean Ean
We booked a Grab to head back to the port and the driver asked why were we at Ban Heng. After knowing we were here to get some tambun biscuits, he said the locals don’t buy Ban Heng! *shocked*
He introduced us to Tean Ean and drove us there. He said this is where the local Penang mostly buy their tambun biscuits and it’s mostly freshly baked. Bought a small box of original after trying it and I would say it’s definitely better than Ban Heng. The crust of it already won! It’s softer, crispier and not as dry as Ben Heng’s. (Personal opinion. Don’t bash me for this) It’s worth the detour to purchase a box of delicious tambun biscuits.

Head back to the ship for lunch after our shopping spree. Lunch at WindJammer, as usual I had the Chinese food cos I saw they had bee hoon and I just have to try it. Dear went for the Indian food cos she saw new dishes too. Then it was back to our stateroom to rest and idle our time away. Had tea and coffee at our balcony as we watch the ship sailing away from Penang at around 6 pm. The staff at the port shouted goodbye and I happily waved back without thinking if they could actually see us from where they were. Besides, probably there’s other adventurers doing the same too.

Dinner at Main Dining Hall

Dinner at Main Dining Room. Dear ordered risotto which she didn’t really enjoy and she ordered herself a steak (the one that I was having) because she said it’s nice when I gave her a piece to try. Weirdly, I enjoyed the vegetable that comes with the steak but we weren’t sure what vegetable it was. The staff said it’s bok choy, but it doesn’t look like the usual bok choy we saw at the supermarket. After a awesome mains, I had dessert! The apple pie (can’t remember the exact name) is really good! Try it when you’re at Main Dining Room. One of the must try dessert!

Dinner at WindJammer

Then it’s round two dinner at WindJammer. Although I’m already full but Dear wants another round of dinner, and so we went. It’s Chinese and Indian food again. Saw the same vegetable that I had at Main Dining Room, I decided to get more. The fry noodle wasn’t good but the fried rice is. Saw that they have siew mai, and so I took some as well. Dear enjoyed her Indian food which I have no idea what she took. And yes, we called it a day after our dinner at WindJammer. And she’s already planned where to have breakfast for the next day! 0.0

Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas – Day 2 (8 July 2022)

We got woken up to room service giving us a “morning call”. We ordered room service’s breakfast the night before by placing our orders on the form given in the room which we were supposed to hang outside on our door before 3 am. Didn’t expect it would be a knock right after the call which totally caught me off guard. I got up with my messy bed hair and went to open the door while still dazed.

Once we received breakfast, we hurried to get ourselves washed up and have breakfast by our room’s balcony. We arrived at Port Klang which is in Kuala Lumpur. Before our trip, I asked my Malaysian friend who resides in KL and asked what’s nice to explore around Port Klang.

Her reply was:

It’s a port. Nothing to see. hahaha

Ashley
Port Klang

And so we didn’t explore around Port Klang, because firstly, it really is a port for ships to dock at. If you would want to explore, either you book a grab and head out or book an excursion with Royal Caribbean. We do have activities that we would like to join which was part of the reason why we decided not to debark.

Stretch before Morning Dance Exercise

Went for the morning dance exercise after breakfast. We arrived a little late but were thankful the actual dance exercise has yet to begin. The instructor was guiding us to do some stretches first. Dear accompanied me before she left me alone and head off for her Sudoku challenge.

Morning Dance Exercise

I enjoyed the dance exercise, it felt like Zumba but not exactly like one. It’s a great way to start my day and gave me that moment of feeling healthy before we start our makan session onboard the ship. It’s literally an eating session almost all the time.

Dear solving the Sudoku challenge

After my morning dance exercise, I head off to find Dear. Almost followed the route to debark the ship, but thankful that the staff gave me the direction towards where the Sudoku challenge was at. Managed to find my way and it was a very quiet serious setting when I arrived at the Sudoku challenge venue. As I took the seat next to Dear, I saw some gave up finishing the challenge and they just left. Dear persevered through and finished both Sudoku puzzles. So proud of her.

Outdoor deck

It was slightly early for our lunch reservation at the Teppanyaki, so we decided to head up to Deck 14 to walk around the outdoor running track and explore. And also to find out where the flow rider was because Dear really wanted to try. There are actually people using the running track for their jogging. The swimming pools are quite packed with families with young children. Which kind of deters us from trying out to go for a swim although we could go to the Solarium which is only for adults.

Teppanyaki Menu

Head off towards Teppanyaki, which is located next to WindJammer. Got our seats, and read through the menu that was handed to us. We get to choose one dish from complimentary, dessert and mains.

Here’s what I chose:

  • Miso Soup
  • Izumi – sea scallops and lobster
  • Mochi ice cream – green tea and strawberry

Here’s what Dear chose:

  • Green mix with ginger dressing
  • Samurai – Beef tenderloin and tiger shrimp
  • Crispy sesame balls

The Teppanyaki onboard the ship is entertaining and interactive which made dining a whole different experience. Or rather for me as it’s my first. Basically, I had many first experiences onboard Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas. (More about it later or in another blog entry.)

The food at Teppanyaki was a little too salty for me. But overall, I enjoyed my lunch. I had a second helping of the fried rice. I love fried rice, but the best-fried rice I ever had was in Thailand, Kanchanaburi.

Adult colour
Left: mine
Right: Dear’s

Went for a more relaxing activity, adult colouring. There was two design for us to choose from and we had to share a table with other adventurers due to the limited quantity of colour pencils. The venue was at a bar where the lighting was poor. It didn’t help much when the colour pencils were metallic versions. Had a hard time differentiating certain colours that looked similar under the orangey dim lights.

We thought it would be a relaxing event till the staff announced that we had to end the session at 2:30 pm to make way for the next onboard activity. By then I was almost finishing with my seahorse design while Dear was struggling to finish hers. It was fun on my end to see her trying to finish her intricate piece of art.

Archery

Went to queue for archery next. It was a long queue as there were many kids queuing before us. Each person gets four arrows to aim and shoot, once we shoot those 4, it’s another player’s turn. Love how the tip of the arrows was airsoft, and very kids friendly. No need to worry that someone might get hurt if a kid suddenly rushes out of nowhere when you release the arrow.

Surprised to see there are targets for us to aim at. Those were floating balls! Both of us didn’t manage to shoot down any targets, but it’s OK. One of our to-do lists for the day checked! Off to the next one, tea break at Dog House!

At Dog House, you get to choose the type of bun, sausages, toppings and sauces. A little disappointing to be honest. The bun was too hard and dry, difficult to swallow for me. The sausage and sauces were alright. You can order it without the bun, but at least try with the bun once. Everyone has a personal preference, maybe what isn’t nice to me might be nice to you.

Ice cream cone

Saw a lady walking past us savouring her ice cream on a cone, and I just had to have one even when I’m full. So off we went to search for the ice cream kiosk located around the pool area. It comes in vanilla, chocolate or mixed flavours. We had one of each of our favourite flavours. Yums~ It’s very good during warm weather especially when you’re exploring the running track area. It helps to cool you down.

Sunset Dance Exercise

With all the eating almost the entire day, it’s time to shake off those fats even if it’s just a little. For this sunset dance exercise session, Dear accompanied me throughout. It’s YMCA-ing all the way and we had a nice short exercise. Feels good to feel healthy even for a bit after all the procrastination we had before this trip.

Head back to our room, and changed our attire because Dear wants to try flow rider. It was one of the must-do activities when you’re on a cruise. Got our flow rider wristband at the counter, queued up and waited for our turn. Dear’s mission for the day was to be able to kneel while riding the waves. My mission of the day, get this over and done with.

Flow rider was fun till I got motion sickness while riding the man-made waves. I kid you not, I literally felt giddy and decided to end my session early before I can even attempt to kneel. Dear managed to kneel on the board and ride the waves before she got thrown off after she was unable to keep her balance.

It only occur to us that we’d forgotten to pack towels before our flow rider activity. With the nice sea breeze blowing, we hurried off shivering a little. Towels provided by Royal Caribbean were a little far from the flow rider, so we decided to brave the cold while soaking wet and hurried back to our stateroom which was only 2 decks below. No, we didn’t wet the indoor area because thanks to our Birkenstock slippers, the design of it collected water instead. We were amused and thankful by it that we didn’t leave a trail of water to where we were going. Lesson learnt, always remember to pack the towels before any water activities.

Dinner at Main Dining Room before we head up to Silver Dining for a second round to try the prawns that I wanted the previous day. OK, I can’t remember the exact name of it and I no longer can access the menu on their Royal Caribbean app. But the prawn at Silver Dining was salty, even Dear agreed to it.

To end our day, we head off to the spa and health area to purchase Good Feet arch support. After research and contemplating, Dear decided to purchase two pairs of arch support. It can be worn on slippers and shoes. Dear said we have to use it after purchasing. Although it can be tedious to change from slippers to shoes and back, we must make the money worth it. And also, it will help us in our back and legs especially when we stand or walk a lot. This will definitely come in handy during travel.

It felt weird at first with the arch support in our Birkenstock. But we were told we’ll get used to it after frequent use. Let’s hope so.

Royal Caribbean, Spectrum of the Seas – Day 1 (7 July 2022)

Our Youtube travelogue

Finally, the long-awaited holiday is here!
The night before, we decided to switch our luggage from a smaller to a bigger one. Realized that we have quite a few things to bring and the smaller luggage can’t seem to fit all.

There are lots of “obstacles” to go through before boarding the ship. Upon arrival, we head over to join the queue to check in our luggage. All you need to do is provide your stateroom number and you’re good to go.

What to get ready for “obstacle” checkpoints:

  • Stateroom number
  • ART test results – you can use the tracetogether app or simply show them the SMS notification from MOH.
  • MySejehtera app (they need to check on the traveller’s blue card & vaccination status)
  • Passport – for immigration
  • Royal Caribbean app (they want to check on your check-in details)
Traveller’s Card “Ticket”

After showing our MySejehtera app with our Blue Traveller’s card page and vaccination status, we received this physical “ticket” which we need to show together with our stateroom keycard before we disembark onto Malaysia’s soil.

Before embarking on the ship, we had to hand over our passports to the staff for safekeeping. We didn’t know and were a little shocked. Thankfully we didn’t panic but we got the gist of it since everyone was doing it. So a heads up, they’re helping you to safe-keep your passport. DO NOT PANIC!

Once we board the ship, our cruise adventure officially begins! As many know by now, the ship is Spectrum of the Seas. Asia’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s fifth-largest among their fleet of ships.

We planned to head over to flow rider before the crowds comes in, as that was the tip I could remember very clearly given to us by Dear’s sister. But sadly, we realised we were wearing shoes and our slippers weren’t with us. We checked it in with the luggage when we arrived at Marina Bay Cruise Centre. Big mistake! Don’t be like us if you want to head over for water activities first.

Since we can’t head over to our room because the stateroom areas will only be opened at 1:30 pm, we decided to head over to WindJammer for lunch. It’s crowded since it’s the same for everyone and it’s the only place where fellow explorers can gather to fill up the tumtum. WindJammer is buffet-style dining with lots of options to satisfy your taste buds. The menu changes daily, which is good considering we’ll be on board for a 5 days 4 nights adventure.

Lunch at WindJammer

As covid restrictions are eased and relaxed, the self-serve buffet is back! And so I queued for Chinese food because I’m hungry and it’s the shortest queue. I’m amazed that their fried rice was delicious, but a little disappointed in their fried maggie noodles. The stir fry vegetable and chicken tasted well too, nothing to complain about. Dear had the Indian food because reviews online said it’s good. She always does her research on where and what to eat, while I’m the one that just wants to eat whatever I feel like it. Then probably complain after if the food weren’t to my expectation. Dessert was acceptable except for the mini cupcake and brownie. It’s too dry and hard for my liking. The blueberry mousse was good! The rest was just acceptable. Too full to try more, but it’s OK since we’ll be around for a few more days.

Staff will be walking around serving you drinks as well as taking reservations for other dining options if you would like to spend some money onboard the ship. Restaurants aren’t complimentary, you can get the information on their app. You get to see the menu as well as the pricing. All your purchases will be tagged to your key card, and at the end of your cruise adventure, you will be charged through the credit card you register on the app when you do online check-in. The price is stated in USD, so do check on the currency exchange if you’re not familiar with it.

As we have cruise credit on our account, Dear decided to make a reservation for Teppanyaki when the staff came over to ask. Since we’re on a holiday, I thought Dear just want to splurge on Japanese cuisine that we both like. And I thought it was a normal teppanyaki experience. (More of it in the next blog post.) Reservation was set for day 2’s lunch and I was already looking forward to it.

Ripping off the envelope for our room’s key card

Went back to check on our stateroom. Your key card to access your room will be placed outside the room’s door in a sealed envelope. We booked for a room with a balcony which many told us to do so, just in case we got stuck up there due to a COVID positive adventurer on board the ship. If you do remember the incident last year for Dream Cruise’s cruise to nowhere adventure. Having a balcony helps in so many ways which we realized. Connection outdoor or on the balcony is so much better than when you’re in the room or in the ship exploring. A balcony is a great place for fresh air too if you would like to avoid crowded places on the ship. It’s your personal mini outdoor area where you can relax and drink a cup of tea.

Wiped down everything including the toilet and balcony with the alcohol wipes that Dear’s mother gave us. Because COVID is still around and Dear have sensitive skin. So wipe away the germs and hope for the best. The room was much more spacious than I thought because I was told that some rooms on the cruise can be small and cramped.

Feet Analysis – our foot print

Went for our first activity, complimentary feet analysis. Learnt quite a lot about how important our feet are and that the way we walk affects our overall health and spine. We were introduced to Good Feet arch support, which Dear have been considering about it. She decided to research more on it once we have a stable connection upon arrival in Malaysia.

Got tired and headed back for an afternoon nap. Woke up and realised we got charged USD214 on our account. Off we went to customer service to check on it and realised we got a room upgrade. Dear did bid for a room upgrade before our trip and we didn’t expect that we could be the lucky one. It’s non-refundable and so we head back to gather our belongings for the shift. Our new room was a junior suite. Much bigger with a separate toilet and shower area with a bathtub!

With the upgrade, we get to dine at Silver Dining which is only offered to silver-tiered guests. They have a fixed menu option and a buffet area where the food changes daily. It is a good place away from the crowd if you don’t want to squeeze at places like WindJammer. A nice perk for adventurers who wished to have a nice quiet dinner.

Peach Shortcake

Previously we’ve booked a reservation at Main Dining, but we’ve already eaten. We went ahead and appeared at Main Dining for desserts! A little bit disappointed with my peach shortcake. Was expecting something like the strawberry shortcake that we could buy from Four Leaves bakery, but it came in a cup like a mousse dessert. The size of the sponge cake came in a relatively small portion. It’s about the size of a teaspoon while the entire dessert was mousse/cream with bits of peach bits.

It was a nice first day on board the ship and it felt like we did a lot of stuff. Quite accomplished. A nice way to end the day.

Things to Do Before Cruise Trip

We’ve rescheduled our cruise trip to July. Was supposed to embark on a cruise to nowhere in February, but we were down with covid. Royal Caribbean was nice to allow us to reschedule and refund our trip in cruise credit. But of course, we had to top up the difference when we rebook our trip. Sadly, it cost more now compared to when we booked it in August last year.

In early June, Royal Caribean sent us an email updating our cruise itinerary. Instead of cruising to nowhere, we’re having a cruise to Malaysia. We’ll be stopping at Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur) and Penang. And we’ve got a list of what we should do before embarking on this new adventure.

MySejahtera App

MySejahtera App on Play Store

Download the MySejahtera app on Google’s Play Store or Apple Store on your phone. You need this app when travelling to Malaysia. It’s like our Tracetogether for contact tracing purposes and to check your vaccination status.

MySejahtera App

After you’ve set up an account in the app, look for “Traveller”.

Traveller’s Page

You need to fill up your travelling information and vaccination details. It takes about 7 days for your application to be approved. You’ll receive a Blue Traveler’s Card on the app which you need to show during boarding day in order to debark in Malaysia.

Found this website on how to complete the digital traveller’s form on the app. It’s helpful and glad that I found it. Was clueless on how to fill up, especially when I have to key in a Malaysia address and contact information.

Note: it’s quite frustrating to fill in travelling information in order to get the blue traveller’s card before the trip. Not only do you have to wait for the date to reflect on the app, but you also have to wait for the time too for both departure and arrival. Just my thoughts when using the app.

Royal Caribbean International App

Royal Caribbean

Download the Royal Caribbean International app from Google Play Store or Apple Store. You need to check-in through the app and update your vaccination records.

Royal Carribean Check-in on app

The day before boarding, you need to fill up the health and safety questions to complete your in-app check-in.

Activities on Spectrum of the Sea

Before sailing day, we get to scroll through the app to see what activities that’s available when we’re cruising with Royal Caribbean. You can book tours to attend after you debark to enter Malaysia.

Singapore-approved Supervised Rapid Antigen Test

All guests, regardless of age, must schedule a Singapore-approved supervised rapid antigen test. It is not included in our cruise package, so we’ve to pay for this out of our own pocket.

Check your email as they’ve all the information given with the options on where to book for the rapid antigen test.

We booked an appointment with a MOH-approved supervised rapid agent test clinic near home. You’ll receive an SMS from MOH after your appointment is booked. You will also receive a reminder a day before your test.

The supervised rapid antigen test was much faster than I expected. Maybe because the one we went to is a test centre and not an actual clinic. Lesser human traffic helps speed up the process. It cost us $30 for two pax and we received an SMS notification of our results within 15 minutes. Heard that the telemed is more costly, but you’re paying for the convenience if you do not want to travel to a clinic or a test centre.

Once done with the above things to do, it’s time to head off for your cruising adventure!