Thursday, 12 April 2012

Pre-Cruise & Departure Logistics - Legend of the Seas

We booked our cruise almost 3 months in advance, in December. At that time, we were told by our travel agent that Cat H (Large Ocean Stateroom at Deck 3) was fully booked. Cat G (Large Ocean Stateroom at Deck 6) was available instead at additional of about $100+ per person. This works out to be S$945 per person for a twin-sharing room. Price include taxes and gratuities. Same price for adult and child. Considering it to be a 5 nights, all-inclusive holiday (excluding shore excursions), where we get to enjoy all meals, shows and activities onboard, this sounds a pretty good deal! So, we went ahead with the cruise reservations.

What we didn't expect is, my dad checked online about a month later, Cat G was available. He wasn't too pleased as we had already paid our holidays in full. I guessed that some agents might have released their blocks back to the system. Else, there might be some cancellations due to the Costa Concordia episode, which happened in January 2012. Nevertheless, we didn't kick up a big fuss though my dad commented that he wouldn't book his holidays too advance in the future.

During the reservations, we would also made our reservations for our dinner dining options. We chose the 2nd seating for dinner (at 8.15pm) at the fine dining restaurant - Romeo & Juliet. The first or main seating at 5.45pm is just too early for us.

Upon confirmation of booking, we were issued our Guest Ticket Booklet. In the 12page booklet, details on the cruise was spelt out clearly. Our cabin number has been assigned. Before the day of departure, we have to :

1) Submit Charge Account - credit card details of all the ancillary expenses to be charge. All charges/ prices onboard are in USD.
2) Submit Emergency Contact / Pax Information
3) Print the Luggage Tag

Everything could be done electronically, via the Internet. Pre-Check-In could be done 3 days prior to the sailing date.

Day of Arrival
Come 11 Mar, we were all eagerly waiting for this day. The ship is scheduled to set sail at 5pm. On paper, we were allowed to board the ship at 2pm. However, from my dad's experience, we could board the ship as early at 11am and have lunch onboard. So, here we are, at 11am, we reach Harbourfront Cruise Terminal. In actual fact, when we board the ship around noon, there were so many passengers dining at the buffet restaurant that we couldn't get a seat indoors! We are not the only Kiasu Singaporeans who wants to avoid the crowd at the check-in counters!
Once Papa Snew dropped us off at the Harbourfront Cruise Terminal, near to the bus bay terminal, there were staff waiting to load our luggage, even before our check-in. I was impressed by the orderly manner which was arranged. The luggage would be loaded up to the truck, and directly to the ship.

Onboard the ship, the staff will sort out accordingly and send it to our cabins. I'm pretty impressed by the efficiency as we got our luggage ahead of our expected time.

The check-in counters was a breeze when we arrived. I guess we were pretty early. Instead, Star Cruises that has Star Virgo departing on that day as well, was packed with passengers checking in. There were clear signages of the check-in counters.

Upon check-in, we are issued a Sea Pass Card. The cruise ship practises a "cashless" system. All purchases - such as drinks, photos, shopping purchases, and even a limited amount per day in the Casino, will be charged to this card. This Sea Pass Card is also your stateroom key card. Practically, you just need to get around the entire ship with just this card. Nothing else.

Every Sea Pass Card would carry Name and Dinner seating arrangements.

 After our check-in, we go through customs checking, just as we are boarding the plane. See the long travellators, it's as if we are walking to the gate of our flight.

Just before the gate, the security and staff would collect our passports and only return to us when we disembark the ship. So for the shore excursions, the customs officers from the various ports would come onboard and do the necessary. Everything is taken care off. Such a hassle-free holidays await us!  

The cruise ship view from Harbourfront.

During this trip, I learnt a number of shipping terminology.

This is used to tow the cruise ship out of the port. I'm amazed at how strong the small tugboat is, compared to the size. It really pulled the cruise ship out to the deeper waters.

Life Boat
Well, I don't need to explain. We all know what went wrong in the Titanic tragedy.

Tender Boat
Also known as Tenders, tender boats not only act as lifeboats in a cruise ship. It is used to transfer passengers, and at times, suppliers to the cruise ship from the shore.

In our itinerary, the port in Nha Trang was a tender port. This means that our cruise ship would not be docking directly at the port. It was anchor in the middle of the sea, and tender boats are deployed to transfer us to the dock.

Passengers can sit on the upper deck as well. I sat on the upper deck on our return journey to the ship. The experience of having a close look at your own tenderboat docking close to the huge cruise ship is just one of those cruise moments that you would never get to experience if you never been to a cruise.

The next two pictures shows how the tenderboat is being retracted back to the cruise ship.

Guest Muster Drill (Emergency Evacuation)

Everything is conducted in an orderly manner. The assembly point is also stated at the Sea Pass Card.
Our room steward came to knock on our door 15minutes before the 4.30pm (the time of the drill) to start asking us to make our way to the assembly point. Attendance were taken. So unless you want to make yourself unaccounted for at the start of the cruise, don't be lazy and hide yourself in the room!

View from our Cruise Ship before setting sail. Super Star Virgo docking opposite to our ship.

Reflections at Keppel Bay. I have always admire the architectural design of this very unique condo.

We were all wondering what this boat is. Apparently, it is one of the most expensive yacht, in the world, belonging to a Russian billionaire. Costing $337million, this mega yacht is bomb proof.
Looking alike to a submarine, the yacht is 120m in length and has 3 pools. Oh wow! The rich has no limits. Really.

Continue On:

Staterooms Amenities

Facilities of the Ship

Food! Casual vs Fine Dining

Activities - Live Entertainment, Shows & Party!!!!

Shore Excursions - Ho Chi Minh City

Shore Excursions - Nha Trang

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