31 December 2010

Legend of the Seas - I Need Clones

After the previous post about the foods that are bound to kidnap all plans to diet, this entry will form the blueprint for your escape from the clutches of those seductive cuisines. So join me to find out what are the things we can do onboard Legend of the Seas. A friend claimed he never understood why people would enjoy a cruise holiday because it's boring and there's nothing to do.

I think he must be vacationing on a sampan (a row boat found in Southest Asia). Either that, or he's a boring person to begin with. How can you see vibrant colours with a pair of dark shades permanently 'protecting' your mind? Release yourself in order to have fun!

And there's no better way to taste freedom than being at the highest point of the ship. Legend of the Seas comes with an onboard rock climbing wall that takes you to the pinnacle of adventure on the high seas. I've done rock climbing at SAFRA Yishun before but climbing while sailing takes the thrill to a whole new level!

Christine and I both climbed the middle section which was the toughest part of the wall. Old guy vs young gal... who will win? Gender or age?
The difference between climbing on land and the sea is this... the view. With the Yishun wall, the scene is static when I look down or around. Onboard, I could see the ship leaving a long trail on the ocean that stretches to the horizon. With the wind blowing in my face, I felt some kind of spiritual rush.
But regretfully, I didn't spend too much time at the top to enjoy the view because the others were waiting to have their turn. Plus I was having a hangover from partying at the Viking Crown Club last night. Moreover, my arms were straining to hold my new weight caused by the buffets in the last two days.

The middle wall looked easy but it was not. I did regular rock climbing at SAFRA Yishun for a couple of months some years back but even with that background, I still found it a challenge to reach the top.
Anyone can sign up to rock climb except very young children but you have to register the day before with the administrative desk. There's no extra charge for this activity. The wall is located on Deck 9 and it's hard to miss. It has 3 parts - left being somewhat easy, middle is the hardest, and the right is the easiest to climb.

A pair of climbing shoes will be on loan and if you're icky about wearing shared shoes, you don't have to worry. The disinfect every pair on-the-spot after it's being worn and unlike those funky smelling ones at bowling alleys which also feel like stepping on mouldy cabbage, the shoes here are clean and dry. Christine even wore her thin lace socks with the shoes! Will foot fetishists please thank me for the photo below?

Climbing Tip : The correct method to rock climb is to push up with your legs and not pull with your arms.
Talking about Christine, she's one iron beauty. We were the only two in the group who conquered the middle wall. She did it first and I tried after. I was told it's a hard climb but I thought to myself, "A petite girl can do it, how hard can it be for a bigger guy?" Well, this is one instance where size doesn't matter.

Christine said I 'cheated' because I'm taller so it's easier to negotiate the wall. I beg to differ. That middle section was quite something. I fumbled a few times before I managed to get an inch off the ground and half-way up, I wanted to just give up! But I pressed on because I don't want to lose face in front of everybody. And we were being videoed. So die die must reach the top and sound the bell. The satisfaction of making it this time round was much greater.

Rock climbing is definitely a MUST-DO on Legend of the Seas. As for who is the better climber between Christine and me, well, the effortless charmer wins... and I'm referring to her, not me! LOL. I'm so shameless.

For those who don't like strenuous activities or the gym to burn off calories, here's an alternative... shopping! I shared in my preview post about the price match guarantee when you shop onboard but as we were given a tour of the shops and boutiques, I realised that the value of shopping here goes beyond the promise of a good price.

Let guys take you shopping? Why not?! Associate Hotel Director, Dean (back), and Retail Manager, Vedad (front), showed us the best buys.

Almost everything can be found on Legend of the Seas from fashion and accessories, to sundries, to branded personal care products, watches, cameras, jewellery... and there are daily spotlight bargains at the shopping foyer that will cause the wallet to haemorrhage.

My biggest excitement on the tour was seeing the precious Tanzanite for the first time. I'm heard about it and seen photos but not in real life. Why does this gem holds such fascination for me? According to what I've read, Tanzanite is one of those rare crystals that has very strong triclinic qualities, which means that the gem when viewed under different light, has a different colour.

Not quite the fictional Heart of the Ocean in Titanic, but the rare and highly-sought Tanzanite can be found onboard. The mining of this gem can last only one generation, which means supply is limited.
In this photo, the Tanzanite set in the ring appears blue. But when I saw it at the showcase, it was actually purple in colour! This gem is derived from the mineral zoisite which ranges in colour from blue to lavender / lilac to purple.

It was first dicovered in 1967 in the hills of Tanzania, East Africa, and was initially named blue zoisite. That sounded like 'blue suicide' so its name was changed and named in honour of where it was found. Legend of the Seas is part of the Tanzanite Foundation, a non-profit organisation that safeguards the commercialisation of this gem due to its rarity.

Christine looked like she was ready to pawn her dress to shop until she saw the bargain. It took her some time to get over her incredulity then she wasted no time charging to her SeaPass Card.
Possibly the best buy onboard besides duty-free booze are these gift boxes containing watches and jewellery with accompanying male and female accessories. They look really good, of high quality and expensive but cost only US$39.99 for 2! My apologies to people who bought them as gifts and claimed them to be of higher value. I've exposed the real price here.

This T-shirt says it all about my cruise experience! There are other designs and cost 2 for US$20. Quite a good deal to remember the vacation by.
I'm not naturally inclined to shopping so I didn't buy much except an expandable sling bag for my Sea Cave Canoe Tour and two Royal-Caribbean T-shirts to commemorate my virgin trip on Legend of the Seas.

Food is not the only thing of variety onboard the ship. There're just as many facilities and activities to fill everyday. I didn't include everything into my series of posts because some of them are best experienced and not talked about (eg. learning the waltz and line dancing, partying at Viking Crown Club, sunset jogging on Deck 9, gymming with the waves, etc).

The other part of items I left out were those I wanted to do but didn't have time. Like the main title of this post suggests, I need to clone myself to do eveything! Amongst the stuff I didn't do but intended was catching a movie.

The latest Hollywood blockbusters are screened at the Anchors Aweigh Lounge and That's Entertainment Theatre according to a schedule printed on the Cruise Compass, a daily programme guide. Since I didn't get to catch the movie experience, I got the ladies to create our very own movie fun! Try identifying the shows we were trying to portray...

My leading ladies... Can you guess the TV series / movies? Hints : (Top pic) Theme song was sung by Jack Jones; (Bottom Left) Ah Jack and Ah Rose; (Bottom Right) Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore.

A missed movie can be watched on DVD or be acquired through the most widespread 'crime' of modern history - cyber priacy. What's too colourful not to be missed are the 'live' shows and musicals at That's Entertainment Theatre on Deck 4. The Welcome Show on the first night and musical performance of Absolutely Fab on the second night were a visual treat.

Broadway-style 'live' acts and musicals at That's Entertainment Theatre are not to be missed!

Cozy up to a loved one on the comfy seats or get up for some fun during the humourous and interactive show on welcome night.
To keep the element of surprise, I shan't divulge too much about the shows but they're big on entertainment value. The Welcome Show was a one-performer spectacular that would normally require the combined talents of a troupe.

Helmed by world champion juggler David DiMuzio, the segment saw him performing jaw-dropping juggling stunts and he even wrote and sang he songs on his show. Except for one song, 月亮代表我的心.

World Champion Juggler, David DiMuzio juggles many talents and helms a one-man show that is in a class of its own.
Yes, I know what you're thinking... this ang moh guy can sing in Mandarin! And he's better than many of my Chinese friends! You can hear him perform the song in his self-made video below. If you love his singing, you can visit daviddimuzio.com for more of his original compositions.

On the second night, That's Theatre presented their adaptation of familiar songs that would have you singing along in no time. What's interesting about the show was that even though the stage was pretty small, they managed to create the illusion of a changing backdrop with the creative use of lights and simple projection panels.

There're two seatings for the show so check the schedule for your preferred time. The theatre can sit 800 per show.

Make a date with That's Entertainment to be swept away by beautiful voices and world-class performances.

Absolutely Fab is not the title of their performance but a description of the good-looking cast. I think everyone would concur that Legend of the Seas has got an attractive multi-national staff team onboard.

As for kids and teens, there are dedicated playrooms onboard to distract them while you free yourself for some pampering. There's the Video Deck, Optix Teen Center and Ocean Club room for toddlers, and they're all located next to each other on Deck 10.

The video arcade was deserted during my visit because I think the kids were more attracted to the pool and water features on the sun deck.

Wanted to take more photos of the Ocean Club Ocean playroom but the female staff inside didn't allow it. I can understand that some parents don't like their child to be photographed but the room was empty.
Nothing much to share here because obviously I'm over-age but thought I'd include this part for parents to have a rough idea of what's in store for their kids. You can check the Cruise Compass for a listing of guided activities at Club Ocean.

Apart from all the fun and games, there're also lessons to be learnt onboard. On top of dancing instructions, there's the cake making demonstration, wine and martini tasting session, napkin folding workshop, seminars on health and beauty, etc. But possibly the most interesting of them all would be the Towel Folding Demonstration. During my trip, it was held on Day 4 of the 5D4N Isles of Southeast Asia cruise.

Thrill your loved ones and friends while on vacation by learning how to fold adorable towel animals such as dog, elephant, turtle, and monkey during the towel folding demonstration at the Centrum on Deck 4.
As you'd probably seen in my earlier post, you would be welcomed back into the room by a very cute towel pet each day.

Many would try to figure out how they were folded only to end in frustration so this demonstration teaches you how the towel origami is done. There are more than a dozen designs but they only showed four. In the video before, I shared the steps to make the dog, elephant and turtle because Youtube only allows a maximum of 10 minutes per video.

I still have footages of how to create the monkey so if you'd like to know, leave me a comment here. If many of you want to learn it, I'll post the video. Else, I take it that you prefer to go onboard the ship and learn it in person!

The demonstration is pretty popular so go early to reserve a place as the big towels need a big surface for folding. A big bath towel, medium face towel and small hand towel would be issued at the venue so you don't have to bring your own. Here's the video on how to make three of the towel pets.

It is 9:00 pm on 31 December 2010 as. In a short while, we'll step into the new year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you, your family and friends a very blessed 2011 filled to the brim with all things good. May it be a smooth sailing year for everybody! :)

29 December 2010

Legend of the Seas - Gourmet Pageant

When I started creating this entry about all the activities one can do onboard Legend of the Seas, I wanted to talk about the eating, sports, shopping, entertainment and partying. But when I finished compiling all the dining photos and talking points, I realised the topic on food alone could fill an encyclopedia. If I added on the other parts, this entry could cure insomnia.

Not that those experiences are not exciting, but all at one go may cause sensory indigestion. Talking about indigestion, I had my first one in years onboard the ship. A good friend of mine nicknamed me "The Vacuum Cleaner". I contest that title because no doubt I eat a lot and I usually finish up everything left on the table because I hate to waste food, but I don't eat trash.

The problem while on Legend of the Seas is that honestly, the food is pretty darn good. And it is served all day long. All you can eat. Anytime. And that's what I did. Vacuum cleaner mode on full power. You can imagine my impending peril. By the fourth day, I got indigestion. My gastric juices were all topsy-turvy and my stomach did the camel. But instead of water, it stored all the food I ate the previous day and refused to stool. I had to sayang (pat lovingly) it and say, "It's okay, I know the food is good, but don't hold on to it, let them go!"

Apparently, I was talking to a mule because I continued to feel bloated in the last two days. I couldn't eat anymore. It was a torture. There was all this great looking food lying around, spreading themselves... the hot savouries playfully veiled by sexy steam, the pastries dressed in light, fetish-inducing translucent sauces, some of the food were so fresh, they postured stark naked... seducing my mouth. Yet my appetite chose to be celibate.

I suspect it was due to my gorging on gourmet cheeses the night before. There were so many, so tasty, the amount I had might have just drained a cow dry. Moral of the story? Too much of a moo-ood thing is baa-ad. Gosh... I'm speaking like a cow and sheep. I think all that beef and lamb is still in me. "It's okay, I know the food is good, but don't hold on to it, let them go!"

Having read my ordeal, let this post be a warning. Beware of the seductive food that'll bring about a high on the taste at the three food outlets of Legend of the Seas - Windjammer Cafe, Romeo & Juliet Dining Room, and Pizza & Burger Bar. Like delicious sirens, they will lure you to become gastronomically promiscuous.

Windjammer Cafe - All Day Long Buffet

Located on Deck 9, Windjammer Cafe is open from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm daily. There's no dresscode and you can stroll in for a meal anytime. I have a theory why this restaurant is called Windjammer. You'll be eating so much, get heavy and the wind can no longer sway you with its force. You jam the wind. Go in as kite, come out as windjammer.

Initially, I thought ship food would be like airline food... defrosted, pre-heated, wrapped in aluminim foil and taste like doing housework with your tongue. But far from it. The food is prepared fresh onboard and the most amazing thing is that the spread changes 4 times a day, everyday!

It's a different set of food for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner; you can sample the world all in one place... Italian, American, Mediteranean, Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese... they are bound to turn your belly into a globe.

My favourite at Windjammer Cafe is this Vietnamese Pork dish. The unexpectedly juicy and tender meat was drizzled with a brown sauce that has an aromatic smoked garlic flavour. Yumz!

Dessert lovers are headed for a sugar rush here. I don't have a sweet tooth but even I relented to these irresistible temptations.

Food blogger Catherine told me the black stuff on the sandwiches are poppy seeds, but the sandwich chef claimed they are mustard seeds. But whichever plant the seeds belong to, this sandwich sure blooms in the mouth.

The best thing to do at Windjammer Cafe is to grab a seat by the window and enjoy your meal while looking out into the horizon. I could never seem to get a window seat but that could be because I'm there during the peak dining period. All the food is included in the fare except for wines and beers. A 250ml bottle of white or red costs US$5.00.

Romeo & Juliet Dining Room - Fine Wine & Dine

Located on Deck 4 and 5, this lavishly decorated restaurant is open daily according to a schedule. Refer to the daily Cruise Compass publication for the meals that R&J would be serving. But dinner is always served here and there're two seating times - 5:45 pm and 8:00 pm. The seating time is printed on the SeaPass Card along with the assigned table number.

R&J favours the smart-casual dresscode and on the night of the Captain's Welcome Ball, formal wear is required. While packing for this trip, all of us were unsure how formal we need to get. The advice was gowns for ladies and suits or tuxedos for men. Aiyoh, very mah fun (troublesome) leh, still must pack suit.

Here's an example of what we and some of the guests wore to give you an idea on what to bring for formal attire.
But the experience was worth it. We all felt so glamed up sipping champagne (in my case, gulping down the bubbly wine) under the the twinkle of chandeliers. Our Captain's Welcome Ball happened on the second night at Anchors Aweigh Lounge and dinner was served at R&J thereafter.

Oh, one pointer though... there's no iron onboard so press your gowns and suits before boarding. Or hang them in the bathroom the moment you get on. When you take a hot shower, the steam and moisture will work to soften the creases.

Again, the 3-course menu changes every night the wow-factor here is that if you don't like what you ordered, you can order another. Regardless of whether it is the appetisers, main courses or desserts, you can keep ordering till you get bored of hearing your own voice. There are two words to describe a dining philosophy like this... SATISFACTION GUARANTEED!

However, there's more to R&J than the satisfaction of taste. Eating here goes beyond fine wine and dine. It is the pleasure of being cradled by the nape of pampering. The serivce is just so... so... please accept my inability to describe it be the best compliment to its excellence.

Each table has one or two dedicated waiters depending on group size. We're at Table 47 served by Dong Biao and Antonio who didn't just serve us dinner, but humour and a level of attention most personal. While Antonio joked with us and posed for a photo with Catherine holding the table vase, Cherie was surprised beyond words by Dong Biao who brought her a cup of honey water because she told him that she was having a sore throat during dinner the night before.

I should've told Dong Biao I'm broke. I wonder if he'll serve me a plate of cash... LOL.

The added fun of having a sit-down dinner at R&J was of course the company of my newfound friends. It's funny how I've never met all of them (except for Catherine who I met during our Singapore Blog Awards Hong Kong trip), but we didn't feel like strangers. I guess blogging broke down our barriers.

Then again, blogging has developed a nasty habit in us. The thing about having a meal with bloggers is that we taste the food with our cameras first. We must appear so comical to Antonio and Dong Biao. Each time they put a plate on the table, we zoom onto it like piranhas with cameras and we won't eat until everybody has taken a good shot. Then again, you can't blame us, the food on Legend of the Seas are all supermodels in the culinary world.

Pizza & Burger Bar - Quick Snack On-the-Go

Located on Deck 9 within the Solarium, the Pizza & Burger Bar is open till 2:00 am and serves hotdog as well (I think frankfurter is better description because these things are quite huge). I didn't try the food here so I have no comments. Besides, I'm already constantly stuffed at Windjammer Cafe and Romeo & Juliet Dining Room.

Midnight hungry go where? Just drop by the Pizza and Burger Bar on Deck 9 anytime for a quick snack till 2 am or order 24-hour room service.

After the gastronomic ride across all three main food joints, let's dive underbelly to where it all happens. The 10 of us went on a Kitchen Tour on the fourth day and although it was complimentary for us, guests can take the visit too by purchasing the Savor cookbook (US$26.90) which has a collection of onboard recipes. Our tour was hosted by the Executive Chef, Suresh Balal. I overheard someone commenting that the master chef is quite a dish himself.

During the tour, we got an inside look at the huge kitchen which spans two floors and divided into various sections such as hot foods, cold dishes, bakery and desserts. There are a total of 120 kitchen staff onboard to prepare a mind-boggling 12,000 meals every day! Woah! Guess I'm not the only one who's overeating.

If only the camera can 'eat' the scene and recharge its battery. I ate soooo much onboard, I got indigestion on the last day. The ship is to blame for serving LOTS of sumptuous food so it is not my fault that I overate.
My favourite part of the tour was the area where all the day's menu is lined up for tasting by the chefs. If a dish passes the taste test, it becomes a standard to be served. If not, adjustments are made at this stage before being subjected to taste test again.

Presentation is also a big deal and the display dishes serve as examples for replicable quality. Like beauty queens on a pedestal, the food of Legend of the Seas has to go through a gruelling process to ensure high standards in both aesthetics and substance. No wonder my mouth and stomach were so seduced!

Beautiful, grogeous meals. It's a pageantry of food onboard the Legend of the Seas where beauty and quality take centrestage.

25 December 2010

Legend of the Seas - All About the Ship

6 Dec 2010 (Monday)- Time to raise the sails of adventure! Our cruise was set to depart Singapore at 5pm but most of us checked-in at 10.30am. As the cruise was fully booked, we want to avoid the long queue closer to departure time. If you don't check-in earlier, you'll have to be there at least 1.5 hours before the scheduled departure.

The cruise can take slightly over 2,000 passengers so you can imagine the hold up if everybody boarded at the same time. If you're booked on the Legend of the Seas Isles of Southeast Asia cruise, my advice is to check-in early. You get a headstart onboard and begin your vacation before everyone else!

Use the Online Check-in function at Royal Caribbean's website before your trip to quicken the registration process on departure day itself. But you have to check-in online at least 3 days before your cruise. I tried to check in 2 days before the departure and "the computer says... No." (If you've watched the Little Britain series, you'll get the drift about this catchphrase from one of its characters, Carol Beer. She's the epitome of bad service! Google her.)

Boarding is at the Singapore Cruise Center (SCC) at Harbourfront. After you've checked in, you'll be issued with a SeaPass Card. It is the all-access card that opens your room door, pays for expenses onboard, and allows you to get on and off the ship for land tours so you don't have to bring your passport along. Your photo is taken the first instance you board the ship and stored in the card for security and identification.

The warmth of the Royal Caribbean's check-in counter staff would make you feel like your mood has taken a refreshing vacation already, but I can't say the same for the SCC staff coordinators at the immigration clearance. Whenever I hear people complain that Singaporeans are rude and give bad service, I would don my boxing gloves to spar with my encounters of excellent services.

But with the SCC, I had to take my gloves off, and eat them. I almost wanted to call the Singapore Department of Natural History... because I thought the ill-mannered buffoon was an extinct species. I didn't know they were employed by the SCC to terrorise tourists. Thankfully the smiles of Royal Caribbean staff made me a new pair of mittens and heat up the euphoria of a holiday again. I can spar once more. This time with a stronger punch!

Ship Facts : Maiden voyage - 16 May 1995, Cruising speed - 24 knots, 11 passenger decks and elevators, 2,076 total guests, 726 international crew, 2 bow thrusters, 2 stabilisers.

The title of this chapter is called "Flesh of the Titan" because Legend of the Seas is the biggest ship I've ever seen and been on. Moreover, the following segments will attempt to flesh out the environment and physical details of the cruiseliner and give a closer look compared to my earlier preview tour. It is all about the physical aspects of Legends of the Seas such as the onboard look-and-feel, Ocean View Stateroom review, and the possibility of getting seasick.

Plus I'm not very imaginative and ripped off my chapter's title from the movie, Clash of the Titans. The show features quite a lot of sea, has massivebiggiganticnormoushuge experiences, and numerous adventurous quests. That pretty much draws a parallel and sums up my Legend of the Seas adventure. Except that this is not make-believe.

One of the most magical view is to watch the stern and open deck light up against a backdrop of magnificent dusk blue hues.
When I told my friends I'm going on a cruise holiday with Royal Caibbean, I got two kinds of reactions - those who have been and still raving about the experience, and those who have not been and remain skeptical that being stuck on a ship can be fun. Before this cruise, I belonged to the latter. After this trip, well, the amount I'm blogging about the experience speaks for itself!

Beautiful day and night, I pretty much ran amok shooting the great looking interior and seascape on the open decks.
Here's a listing of all the ship's facilities so you know what to expect and prepare for them. In upcoming chapters, I'll talk more about the activities I managed to cover in these places.

Dining : Romeo and Juliet Dining Room, Windjammer Cafe, Pizza and Burger Bar

Chill Out : That's Entertainment Theater Lounge, Anchors Aweigh Lounge, Viking Crown Lounge/Nightclub, Schooner Bar, Champagne Terrace, Champagne Bar

Adults : Casino Royale, Card Room, Conference Room

Kids and Youths : Adventure Ocean Youth Area, Optix Teen Center, Video Arcade

Fitness : Day Spa and Fitness Center (gym), Solarium, Jogging Track, 2 Pools, 4 Whirlpools, Rock-climbing Wall, 9-hole Miniature Golf

Others : Library, Beauty Salon, Boutique Shops, Art and Photo Gallery, Medical Center

Attendance for the muster session is COMPULSORY. The number for the muster station is printed on the SeaPass Card. My station was 14. In Cantonese it sounds like 'sup say', which means 'surely die'. *CHOI!*
Before the ship leaves the port, all passengers MUST attend the muster session, which is a safety drill to know what to do in case of emergency. Just like the pre-flight safety demonstration onboard the planes. The muster time is 5.30pm and there are annoucements and staff to guide guests to their respective stations. Attendance is recorded so there's no skipping it. After the short session, it's anchors aweigh!

One of the first things that struck me about Legend of the Seas is the abundance of art onboard. The interior of the ship is one huge canvas where oil paintings, installation art, sculptures of various materials (metal, glass, resin, porcelain, etc) and ship furnishings gather to take guests to a different world.

The rich, mahogany-wooded and mostly neoclassical European decor accentuated with gold fixtures and trimmings made me feel as if I'm living in some tastefully opulent château. What an instant status upgrade! So glam and atas (high-society)!

Paintings, sculptures, installations and figurines both realistic and abstract decorate the whole of Legends of the Seas. Walking from deck to deck is like visiting an art gallery or museum.
The taste in decor reflected the heritage of the ship's birthplace - St. Nazaire, France. With Paris being regarded as one of the top art capitals in the world, it's no wonder there's LOTS of hull culture.

I thought one interesting thing parents could do with kids is to have an art hunt challenge onboard. Set a time and each go around the ship to identify the names of paintings or sculptures and make a list. Most of the pieces come with a title and name of artist. The family member with the longest list wins and it could be an interesting way to get kids interested in arts and culture.

The art of Knowledge... This theatrical pair of jesters welcome passengers to the library but are themselves a focal point for closer study. But don't take the fools lightly for they have played pivotal roles in literature and history. I identify with them. I'm a modern clown.

The Legend of the Seas offers many different room types to cater to different budgets and group size. We were hosted in the twin-sharing Ocean View Stateroom. I found out from other passengers staying in the same room type that if we were to pay for it, it would cost S$700+ per person. The fare includes 4 nights' room stay, all meals, onboard entertainment and usage of facilities.

This is my roommate, Philip Lim. He is the biggest enigma in Singapore's blogosphere who's been posting under the pseudonym 'Keropokman' for years but few knew what he looks like. Until now. His rationale is that keropok (crackers) when exposed will lose it's crispiness and become soft. Guess I just turned him really Limp with this exposé then.
Previously, I thought cabin rooms on cruises are no bigger than a swallow's nest and since I experienced claustrophobia before, I was both delighted and apprehensive about being one of the selected bloggers to experience Legend of the Seas. So you can imagine my relieve when I found the room to be spacious and comfortable. In fact, the moment I came aboard, I had clean forgotten about my unfounded fear of tight spaces.

I share Christine's concern of claustrophobia before coming onboard because I used to suffer from it. I even turned back a fully boarded Cathay Pacific flight while it was taxiing 7 years ago because I had a panic attack. No idea why I developed it but I saw a shrink for a year. Now I'm fine but the idea of enclosed spaces still irks me at times.
The best thing about a cruise is that your room is always near. You can pop in anytime to enjoy some personal respite or get out of sweaty gym garb, refresh, and be ready for a formal dinner all within minutes.

I love the convenience although I'm hardly in the room much because there's always something to do and see onboard. Except for the second last day when I was mostly room-ridden due to an upset tummy. More on the cause of my stomach woes later.

However, there's one thing that took some getting used to in the room. Bottled water is not complimentary like land hotels and is chargeable. It costs US$4.55 for a 1 litre bottle of Evian drinking water! But there is a travel kettle in the room and water points can be found at the dining areas and sun deck of the ship (Deck 9).

We are surrounded by water everywhere yet it is the most prized commodity. It is a good idea to bring bottled water onboard although I didn't do that. And not once did I go thirsty. Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion are also not provided so remember to bring your own. If you forgot your toiletries, no worries, you can always purchase them from the gift shop onboard.

This is Lulus, my room's housekeeper. He does more than just make up the room but he makes up my day with an ever cheery smile and warm greeting every time I see him.
What I love most about the room is my cabin steward, Lulus. You've seen the wreck Philip and I leave our room in and each time we come back, everything is back in order with a towel pet waiting on each of our bed.

What's impressive is that I think the rooms on Legend of the Seas get made up several times a day. It seems like each time we got out and came back in, the room is in order. And to top it off, Lulus is one of the warmest staff I've came across in my many years of travels. The other crew onboard are friendly too but there's something different about Lulus. There's a certain sparkle in his voice when he greets or talks to you. A fire that can only be fuelled by sincerity.

Another main concern that either makes or breaks a cruise holiday is the propensity to turn green and throw up overboard. I don't have motion sickness and I'm not keen to develop seasickness from this trip. If you're wondering just how stable is Legend of the Seas, watch the video at the end of this post. I've devised an experiment to pitch the ship's balance against mine... when I'm sober!

Inside Legend of the Seas' nerve center during the Bridge Tour. I am Captain Poserwannabe. Dare to take my ride?
To help us understand the ship better, the 10 of us were given a Bridge Tour where we got to visit the ship's control room and meet Captain Sverre Ryan and Fei Liu. I was surprised at the stark contrast in appearance of the navigation centre to the rest of the ship. Here, it's the case of the Monday blues everyday!

But I guess you don't need an elaborate interior when nature provides all the decorations through the picture windows. Too bad the day of our visit was overcast. I can foresee how beautiful a sunrise or sunset in the horizon must look with such an unobstructed panoramic view.

During the tour, we saw the monitoring system that keeps the ship in balance by storing and releasing water in response to changing weight distribution. We also asked the captain if he's ever sailed into a terrible storm or has Legend of the Seas met with any emergencies before. His answer is a series of firm and sure "No"s. Well, that's good enough for me to know we're in safe hands. But I'm not too sure if the ship is safe from me... heh heh heh...

There's no quack about the serious equipments and navigation technology here. Looks like Donald is shocked that I'm in control. I wonder what will happen if I turn the steer... hmm.

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