Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chinatown Walking Trail 2015

ABBEY: We joined the Chinatown Walk Tour before the Lunar New Year festival. While waiting for other group members, Peter, our guide, approached us and gave us tips on how to roam around Singapore and which places to visit.

A two-hour trip complete with explanation of history will give you a good grasp on how rich the culture is. We passed by temples like Buddha Tooth Relic, Sri Mariamman, and Masjid Jamae Chulia.

There are regulations in going inside the temples, so be aware of those before heading your way.
A former opium den which was now a shop house can be seen in Pagoda Street while death houses were in Sago Lane during earlier years.

Peter told us that there are two methods for maintaining the historical buildings in Singapore; conservation and preservation. Conservation is maintaining the outside appearance of the structure but can redesign the interior while the latter is that no changes can be done either outside or inside.

We also saw the restaurants which serve sumptuous food. Be aware where your group is going to as you might be enticed of the smell and get lost.

A long queue caught our attention as people lined up for bakwa (cured pork meat). Another must have for the festive season.

It was a fun and learning experience. We would like to commend Peter for his warm accomodation. If you'll be in his group and needs to go, just approach him and he'll let you go as he's responsible for the group.

We wrapped up the tour on the wish tree near Chinatown MRT and put our well wishes for the coming Chinese New Year.

WILL: The best way to join in celebrating the Lunar New Year is to go to Chinatown. The epicentre of all the happenings and events for the festivity of CNY. Before the holiday, we hit the one of the busiest place in Singapore every Sunday, the Chinatown. We were lucky to reserve a slot for tour of the said district.

We discovered the rich history behind the walls of the past. We saw the iconic temples like Buddha Tooth Relic, Sri Mariamman Temple and the Masjid Jama’e Mosque. We learned the hardships of the first Chinese settlers here in Singapore. We saw the former street that offers opium and other vices.

The sweat is all worth it. We must uncover the past to learn to nurture the good traits and learn from their mistakes.

We commend Mr. Peter, our tour guide. He is such a charm, the tour is never boring with him

You can send email to chinatownfestivalsg@gmail.com for more information.

Kreta Ayer Community Club
FREE Chinatown Walking Trail 
Send email to: chinatownfestivalsg@gmail.com

Use the email following format:
Hi Chinatown Festival Team,

Good day!

We would like to reserve for Chinatown Walking Trail: 



Have a great weekend ahead.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Royal Caribbean Singapore - Mariner of the Seas (February 2 - 6, 2015) Singapore - Port Klang - Langkawi

ABBEY: We've tried having vacation here, in foreign land, in the Philippines. Why not try the seas? Yes, a cruise vacation. I remember When the cruise ships docked in Harbourfront bay and daydreamed on being there. We have no idea which shipping line we'll go so we checked Royal Caribbean as advised by our housemate.

The budget that we set for the tour will only get us to ordinary room. Good thing that we saw their roadshow at Vivo City. For little over than 1500 SGD, you can stay for 5 days and 4 nights at a Deluxe OceanView Stateroom with balcony. Beside Singapore port, the cruise will also visit Port Klang and Langkawi in Malaysia. We got a room on deck 7.  This is an advantage for us as we can go down to Deck 5 (where the activity and party happens) or in Deck 11 for the buffet restaurants if the lifts were fully loaded.

Thanks to the crew who made this journey happier and more enjoyable.

Our Captain
Cruise Director
Rebecca - who became our tour guide on our first day
Linda - for organizing the entertainments for the entire sailing.
Mahrus and Angbao - who always delight our appetites during dinner and keep the water flowing to wash down the food.

Rooms for improvement?
1. Please have the flag of your crew's nationality be the background of their name plates. It would be easier which part of the world they represent. We got a hard time reading their nationality and have to look awkward whenever they see us checking their name plates.
2. Can the hotdogs also be a part of the room service menu?
3. Please announce or include in the cruise compass when the barbecue party will happen. We missed this. :)

Tips that I can part based on my experience.

1. Before entering the ship, you will be given a card which you can use in all the transactions in the ship. Be it going to your room or purchasing souvenir items. So do not lose this card.
2. You will be given two timings of choice to have a 3-course dinner and once you give your preferred time make sure that you'll not be late. Late comers will not be welcomed as the doors on the hall will be closed.
3. If you plan not to have short excursions upon arriving on the ports, then please plan your day on the ship. They have dance lessons (cha-cha), inline skating, mini golf, ice skating, wall climbing, bingo and casino.
4. Every evening, a presentation will be witnessed on the theatre like magic and variety shows. Who knows you can be a guest participant on one of them.
5. Street disco party and live band will be seen in the Promenade at Deck 5.
6. For chilling out with munchies, you can go to Cafe Promenade or the buffet restaurants.
7. There are also specialty restaurants but it is on top of the payment for your cruise fare. This also the same with wine or beers.
8. Lazy to come to the restaurant? Then have room service. They will always say that it will be delivered 30-45 minutes after your call but they will be knocking at your door after 10 minutes. :)
9. Ice cream, hotdogs, burgers, bread, pastries, fruits, and other food are overflowing. Make sure to have a taste on them but in moderation.
10. Appreciate the staff and commend them for their hard work. You can give them more gratuities aside from the one you already paid.

WILL: Eat..Sleep...Eat...Sleep!!! Who cares? We are in vacation. :) 

We dreamed, we planned and we achieved. A dream to reality. For only $1,538 (gratuities included) we got to stay at one of the finest cruising line known in the world. Thanks to Hazel of Chan Brothers who assisted us without fail in this booking. 

Here are some of the things that really caught my attention. 

We stayed at 7290 - Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Balcony. The closet size is just fine, bed is so fluffy and clean, the tv is good to go and the bathroom is so cute. 

As usual they will provide you towels of three different sizes. You need a new one? Just leave the towel on the floor as they will replace it for you. Shampoo, bathroom tissues and facial tissues are readily available. Hairdryer is at the vanity table waiting to be switched on. 

What are the things you need to bring? Shampoo if you are weary to try other brands, toothbrush, toothpaste, slippers for inside the room. 

Everything inside the fridge if consumed will be charge to your room. So better call the room service for a hot water or cold drink.  

Next time we jump in to a cruise again. Abbey and will make a weigh-in. For a 5-day stay I know and I feel that I gained weight. I think their primary mission is to fattened up all of their guests. Haha! 

Windjammer is the restaurant at Deck 11. I ate here thrice for lunch. This is buffet, so eat-all-you-can..all-you-want. Haha! I love their pasta, white and red sauce is delightfully good. No seat reservation so be early for you to get a good view of the ocean. It is open for lunch from 11:45-3:00pm, 7:00-10:30am for breakfast and 6:30-9:00pm for dinner. 

Rhapsody in Blue Dining Room. Please check your cruise compass if they are serving breakfast or lunch for that day. But the dinner was always held here. Unlike the Windjammer, Rhapsody have a dress code even you are going there for breakfast. So please do not roll your eyes when you were not allowed to go inside because of what you wear.

You will surely love the ala-Titanic scene when you set your foot here in this part of the ship. 

This restaurant is fine dining. So expect a waiter and his helper to get your order. Bread and butter will be served to you before your three-course meal. Oh if one main course is not enough for you, you can get another plate of your choice without extra charge. 

Please take note that wines, sodas, beer and freshly-made juices are available with extra cost. 

Room Service
Get a nice breakfast in bed or midnight snack serve by room service. It is available for 24hours but US$3.95 will be billed for delivery from 12am-5:00am. My favorite in here is the gyoza and cheese pizza. 

Cafe Promenade
Of course located at Promenade. Open for 24 hours and ready to serve all the guests with light snacks. Breads, cake, pizza slices, non-stop flow of tea and brewed coffees are in here. 

Arctic Zone
Is it too hot at the pool deck of the ship? Why not take a few steps to get your vanilla or chocolate flavored ice cream. 11:30am-6:30pm open. So take a queue and taste the lovely ice cream of the Royal Caribbean. 

Dog House
Unlimited hotdog on stick or in bun? Get a chair and munch the hotdog of your choice in front of the big screen in the deck 11 pool area. 11:30-6:30pm is the availability of this hotdog haven. 

Specialty Dining is available like Johnny Rockets, Chops Grille and Giovanni's table for additional costs.  

This is the reason why we never get out of the ship (except for sleeping all day haha). You can schedule a full pack day of activity inside this cruise ship. 

We hit their gym to sweat up some of the food we intake. We used their jacuzzi and awed by their clean and spacious sauna and steam bath. I love their wall climbing. I want to have a second round but I need to cover almost all activities of the ship so we move on at the basketball court. Golf, wind is against me and I just realised how Tiger Woods is really good in this sports. Hands-down to him. 

They have a board game/mahjong area. The ice in the ice skating rink is not fine as the others I got skate with. No wonder some of their performers in here have some failed landing. 

They have chacha lessons, handkerchief-folding sessions, bingo and casino. 3D movie is available in afternoons and 2D movies starts as early as 11am at screening room at deck 2. Karaoke is at Dragons Lair. 

Kindly check the opening of ice skates to guest at Studio B. Please be in pants ok? Or else you will blew away your chance to be on ice. 

Music performances are non-stop so check your cruise compass for the band or performers schedule. 

The Savoy Theatre caters concerts, magicians and buskers for you to get entertained. And before you kiss the night away, get merry at the parade, 70's party and pool deck party (which was canceled because of the rain). 

Are we going back for a cruise? Yes! Yes! Yes! We have a pleasant stay. A total relaxation and a good bonding time with my husband. 

We are officially one of the Royals of the World. See you again. Hopefully at the Oasis of the Sea.