On board – Star Cruise

This is an experience I cannot forget in my life time. Its special for many reasons- being our first trip after marriage, my first trip outside India and the biggest reason being – FIRST TRIP ON A CRUISE.

I was attracted by the idea of taking a cruise when my travel agent proposed it.In spite of many unwarranted advises about getting sea-sick, we decided to go for it. Thus the cruise became a part of our trip to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. After experiencing the beauty of Singapore for a couple of days, we boarded the Star Cruise Virgo. It was like a dream.. like a 7 star hotel floating on the sea. What grandeur and what magnificence !! Star cruise has so many on-board activities and amazing food. Half of the services and programs are free. We have been on other cruises, but this has been the best till now.

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Booking and tour options

Bookings can be made on their website. It is not necessary to make a round trip. It is possible to board or get off the cruise in any of its stops. There are many plans but no much difference in the ships. We visited Langkawi and Phuket and headed back to Singapore.

It is good to book in advance and in off-season, when there are no school holidays. When we spoke to a co-passenger, we heard that during peak season the lines for the buffet are very long and the whole ship gets extremely crowded. I am sure you will like a relaxed situation with more room in the pools and common areas. The rates too are cheaper in off-season.

Rooms

There are many types of rooms – inner deck, ones with ocean view through the window and ones with a balcony facing the sea. A room has 2 beds and 2 bunkers. I had a doubt if we have to share the room with strangers since the ticket only mentions the number of people. But we were given a separate room. Its like a hotel booking.

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Food

There are certain restaurants that are covered in your ticket and unlimited free food can be enjoyed here. The number of visits are unlimited and they have a wide variety. We had a yummy time trying a variety of cuisines. It is very important to keep a copy or a picture of the ship itinerary always. There are special events which one might miss. We had special programs from Thailand including an amazing dance show and umbrella painting event. Both were fabulous. There are also some paid restaurants – celebrity chefs come here and it is possible to request them to make or teach specialty dishes. The winner of Master Chef – Philippines was on board and he made a special nutty cheese pasta for me. Yummy 🙂

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The best thing is that one restaurant opened out to the top floor terrace. Hot food, the sound of the sea nearby and moonlight.. Amazing venue for a candle light dinner.

There is also a very inviting swimming pool surrounded by hot water tubs on the top floor of the ship. This is closed for swimming at night, but they place tables all around the pool for candle light dinners.

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Looking around

The cruise docks at the port for a specified duration to look around the place. The ship offers many group tours. We didn’t want to stick to the group all the time and we hired a taxi to move around. It is necessary to bargain well with the taxi drivers for a good round trip. They generally quote a high price initially.

Our first destination was Phuket, extremely touristy. We headed to the main street – full of party, pubs and celebration. People go mad literally!! Its more of adult fun. It is important to party hard as well as stay safe. Its a night city and the night life is one of its kind, considered as one of the best in the world.

After Phuket, our ship took us to Langkawi. A very quiet and beautiful city. What mesmerises me still, is the fact that the tradition of the east-Asian countries and India is soooooo similar. After a day at Langkawi, we were back on board and set sail to Singapore. Check out more about these cities in my blog.

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Two beautiful cities – completely contrasting each other – one a night life city, another a calm and beautiful city – the outstanding ship travel and mesmerizing activities on board- a complete experience on the whole 🙂

General Tips

Don’t let someone scare you about sea sickness. The ship has 7 floors for workers and the guest lobby starts from the 8th floor(generally). You are much above the sea level to feel the impact of water. Never let this deter you from taking the cruise. This is the view of the central lobby inside the ship.

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If you are with kids, going to the beach is an option in Thailand if you think it is not wise to expose them to the night life. There are also many on-board activities, even when the ship docks at the port. Here is the kids water games are in the 6th floor of the ship.

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Beware of restaurant timings inside the cruise. You tend to get so engrossed in entertainment that you miss the count of time. Restaurant providing the type of food you like might close down. They generally match with the show timings but its better to have a note.

Here is the gaming area..

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There is a Captain’s cocktail party where the captain introduces his crew to you. Carry a set of formal party wear. We didn’t check any of this and ended up standing in the lobby wearing shots 😛 highly embarrassing.. and funny 🙂

Carry some warm clothing and a pull over. The sea gets really cold at night and there is chill breeze. We went in April and it was a bit cold at night. It is advisable to book your trip with a good carrier. My friends were on a cruise to Andaman and it was surely not this great. They said the were sea sick and ship was not neatly maintained.

Bottom line

Cruising is an amazing experience. Best way to move around countries without carrying bags, packing, unpacking etc.. I simply love it. The only thing is, you cant spend more time in a particular place. The experience comes as a package of beauty, fun, partying, great food, exotic places and a wonderful cruising journey. It is convenient for travelling with elders and kids too.

Its an experience of a life time. Don’t ever miss it 🙂 You will cherish it forever.

 

 

 

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