When we reached the Marina Bay cruise center in Singapore, we could not really see from the confines of the posh lounge how huge and magnificent Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas was. It was only after the visa and immigration formalities were taken care of and we started walking towards our boarding gate that we caught a glimpse of the mammoth vessel. ALSO SEE Singapore travel guide: Best places to visit and best places to eat in Singapore
On clearing the security check, we entered the ship on deck 4. We were greeted with a photograph followed by which we headed to deck 11. And this is where our journey from Singapore to Thailand began.
Getting to know Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas
The first glimpse of the deep blue sea from deck 11 instantly puts you in a holiday mood. As you take a walk to the pool area and the upper deck from where you can see the horizon, you realize that you are in for a treat. As you traverse along the jogging track on the deck with the wind blowing in your hair, you see a pool bar, cool blue chairs for relaxing, and a dining area which includes two amazing restaurants – Windjammer Cafe and Giovannis. When you start exploring the other decks, you stumble upon the lively Cafe Promenade on deck 5 which is where most happening events are held, the Casino which for those who like to live ife on the edge, and the lovely Schooner bar which is ideal for some soothing jazz music during your stay onboard. Every nook and corner of Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas spells luxury. You can easily spend an entire day just exploring the ship. It sets you right in the mood for four fun-filled days of sea, wind and a whole lot of food, drink and music.
The first thing you will fall in love with aboard the Mariner of the Seas is your room. With a balcony overlooking the sea, you have an ideal spot to just relax and gaze at the horizon as the ship cruises forward. On a day when you do not feel like stepping out, you can just listen to the sound of the waves and observe the changing colors of the sky as the afternoon sun mellows down into the evening twilight and then to pitch dark nightfall.
The onboard entertainment extravaganza begins with the royal parade at Cafe Promenade on deck 5. It showcases splendid performances by some of the most exciting characters from the Dreamworks world. From Shrek and Fiona to Gloria, the hippopotamus from Madagascar breaking into happy and zestful dance numbers. The whole ambiance is so convivial that passengers of all ages and ethnicity have a blast amidst all the fun and frolic!
Over the next four days, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to onboard activities and amenities. No matter what your interests are, there is something for you to do aboard the Mariner of the Seas. A cruise compass is delivered to you every morning enlisting all the happening activities of the day ranging from pool parties to talks, live orchestra performances to movie screenings, origami sessions to fashion shows, and outdoor excursions to photo sessions.
For those who like sports and adventure, there is a basketball court, a rock-climbing wall and a mini golf course onboard too. You can spend hours sweating it out before you hit one of the bars to cool down.
In addition to these, the Mariner of the Seas also has a spa, a library, an auditorium and several other spots that host some of the most exciting activities to keep you busy and excited.
Food and Drinks
Aboard the Mariner of the Seas, you will start your day with breakfast at the Windjammer Cafe on deck 11 which has a fantastic spread comprising all kinds of cuisine from Mexican to Italian to Indian. You can choose from a wide variety of eggs and salads. From pizzas & pastas to idlis & dosas, and pork & beef to paneer and mushrooms, you can hog away to glory here like there is no tomorrow. On one of the days, you will have dinner at the palatial dining hall which transports you to a scene straight out of the movies. Another amazing restaurant named Giovannis serves some delicious wine and the meanest chicken breast.
There are some excellent bars onboard the Mariner of the Seas. The Schooner bar on deck 4 is where you will usually find members of the orchestra playing lovely jazz music that will tempt you to stay put forever. Ellingtons which is on deck 12 provides a fantastic view of the pool, the lower deck, and the surrounding sea making it ideal for drinks when you want to chill away from the rest of the crowd.
An excursion to Phuket
After a couple of days aboard the ship and some chilled out activities, you are taken on an excursion to the exotic island of Phuket in Thailand. A ferry escorts you from the ship to the Patong beach where you begin your day with a tour guide.
A bus ride takes you to the lesser-crowded Karon beach which is as spectacular as all the Thailand pictures you see on social media. The clear blue skies, turquoise waters and golden sand welcome you to this beautiful country which has captured the imagination of many a traveler. Your excursion includes a visit to the famous Chalong temple complex where you can pay your respects or walk around exploring the various statues of Buddha.
The temple tour is followed by a visit to the cashewnut factory where you can shop for a variety of cashewnut flavors including tom yum, hot and honey-chocolate. After a scrumptious meal and some shopping in the Jungceylon mall, you are taken to witness a scintillating performance by the ladyboys of the famous Simon Cabaret.
While one day may not seem to be enough to see all of Phuket, a well-planned excursion gives you a taste of the local cuisine, culture and the natural beauty of this wonderful island in Thailand which deserves a standalone vacation.
Ice Under the Big Top
Back on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, some of the best events are lined up for your last day aboard the ship. One such event which is perhaps the finest performance onboard is the ice skating show named Ice Under the Big Top. It has professionals from across the globe delivering a moving performance which swiftly switches from thrilling to emotional to hilarious. Including a stunning clown act, the show keeps you on the edge of your seat as some skilled ice skaters perform their hearts out on the ice rink.
Costing as little as $400 per person, this four-night cruise is a once in a lifetime experience and worth every penny you spend. At the end of it, you are left craving for more. Nevertheless, you take back memories of some fantastic performances, great food, heartwarming music and the pleasing sight of a vast expanse of blue.
Before I could realize, it was time to bid goodbye to the Mariner of the Seas. After getting off at the Marina Bay cruise center. we spent an afternoon walking around the astonishing streets of Singapore. Later that evening, a comfortable seat aboard the reputed Singapore Airlines embraced me as I looked back at eight rejuvenating days and the trip of a lifetime.
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