Friday, February 21, 2014

we board the Love Boat

Day Two -- up early (no time zone change so YAY) and down for breakfast, last minute re-organise of bags etc, then a taxi ride to the Cruise Terminal.
Our driver did not believe in leisurely tourist drives. We rocketed through the streets and I barely had time to gasp as we whizzed past the Raffles Hotel.

Yes, THE Raffles Hotel.

I so wanted to go in for morning tea, but we didn't have time.

Even the streetlights looked exotic.

Council workers are the same all over the world, apparently.

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel. 
Three towers topped with a replica ship that is actually mostly an infinity edge pool. 
Impressive in it's ugliness.

We hit the ramp leading up into the Cruise Terminal at a rate of knots, and I thought the driver was actually going to do a James Bond type stunt straight onto the ship. But no. He screeched to a stop and practically threw us out before roaring off in a cloud of dust.

Luckily, from that point, the (friendly and efficient, though not in a screaming rush) cruise staff took over.

The process of getting your Sea Pass and booking organised is amazingly easy if you get there really, really early, and have your paperwork in order

and we were told that we could board almost right away. We had all booked suites, which gave us Priority Boarding, and that helped.

We had some photos taken in front of a picture of the ship, which it seems is something of a must. I didn't want to, the camera really hates me, but never let it be said that I don't do what I'm told! So here I am, the fattie with the two gorgeous sisters.

the one my husband took...

and the 'official' one.

We're all wearing our husbands' watches, which at this point were all in good working order.

A short walk along the walkway brought us to the floating land mass that is Mariner of the Seas.

She's big.

At this point, I was clutching my husband's hand and hopping up and down, making little EEEEE noises. It was pretty exciting. EVERYONE was so friendly and polite, welcoming us with Madams and Sirs.

But nothing could have prepared us for the Grand Promenade.

Or the Dining Rooms

How's THAT for fancy eats?? There are actually three dining rooms, and ours was the very top one.
You can nearly see our table on the very top left corner right next to the chandelier, in that rounded sticky-outy bit. We had a great view of everything.

Dig that chandelier! and the staircase! and the dancing couple!

The dining rooms have musical names (like Rhapsody in Blue, and The Sound of Music) and they have a male and female dance costume at each entrance. This is one of the gorgeous frocks.

(thanks Ker for the photo)

We could hardly wait till dinner-time!

There's a theatre on-board

as well as an ice-skating rink (which I neglected to photograph), 
a Gothic-themed nightclub

and a casino

with a trippy see-through floor.

plus a library (yes. of course I visited it) and a gym (I'm sure you're shocked to discover I didn't even go inside) and a coffee shop and a video arcade that would delight the heart of any kid.


But there were drinks to be had and bars to explore. We found some family and settled into the Windjammer,  where Jimmy got his own seat and clearly had a few ales judging by the leery grin on his face.

The view was a bit of alright....

as was the view from the ladies loo (yes, the loos were behind doors!)

We moved out into the main pool area 

so Jimmy could get a tan

(Yes, that is me, after a few mojitos)
(thanks Ker for THAT photo too!)

There was no shortage of places to sit with a drink or a book or group of friends. My favourite was Ellingtons, right up the top of the ship, with 180 degree views and no kids....

and mojitos

and double Scotches

resulting in some pretty relaxed passengers.

Hilariously, our waiter was KETUT. He told us that he was pretty confused at all the Australians who greeted him like a long-lost brother, until he heard about the ad. 

He was (IS) a gorgeous young man, with a crazy giggle and a really sweet personality. His future at home was not filled with the prospect of riches; this was his first contract on a ship, and we all wish him the very best. (Ketut, by the way, means 4th son.)

(thanks, Sissy, for the photo)

At this point, we STILL hadn't seen our rooms. The luggage is all collected for you, and delivered, so you can't access your room till whatever-time-they-say -- which is a bargain considering you don't have to drag suitcases all over the place.
So we went to take a look at where we'd be sleeping for the next 5 nights.

Bit nice?

This was a Grand Suite, so a bit larger than many other rooms.
The bed was SUPER comfy, in fact the whole room was comfy with plenty of cupboard space. For some reason, one of our wardrobes had about a dozen life-jackets stacked in it, so the family decided that if we started to sink, everyone was coming to our room.

We had a nice balcony, with a lounger and two chairs

The balcony was pretty well protected from the wind, though we really didn't have any to speak of.
And we didn't get a lot of cigarette smoke drifting over from other cabins, which I had heard we might.


Then it was time to get back to the real business of the day -- relaxing and waiting for Sail Away.

You can see the water is disturbed, as the ship swings away from the dock. But we had to WATCH to make sure it was happening, because you couldn't feel it! Talk about a smooth operation.

There was only ONE Titanic moment, and it was a good one!

The ship got more and more magical as the lights came on

and we got more and more 'relaxed'.

Time to dress and dine! the food was amazing. Each day, a menu was left in our room so we could spend the whole day thinking about what we might order, and almost every time, there was a battle of choices.
I did notice there were a lot of seafood and mushroom dishes, neither of which I like, but there was always a choice that included neither.
The portions were generous, but not huge, and the bread rolls were plentiful and far too yummy. And there was REAL butter, no margarine.
Our serving and bar staff at table were all delightful people, always ready with a joke and nothing was too much trouble for them.
And no dishes afterward!! talk about the perfect meal(s).

We had thought we would do a show after dinner, but we enjoyed the meal so much we sat till late, and our KL shore excursion required us to be up and breakfasting early, so we toddled off to bed and had a very solid night's sleep.

Tomorrow -- the Big Trip into KL!


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