Cruising 101: A Practical Guide on Your 1st Epic Cruise with Royal Caribbean

It sure is great to know that more and more Filipinos are becoming fond of travelling. I know, I know… it’s addictive! I also got bitten by the travel bug 8 years ago, and never stopped since. There’s always this thirst for adventure … to meet new faces … try out the unfamiliar and learn something new. I love how it feels to come home feeling like a new person. One is indeed never the same whenever you expose yourself to another culture.

If you’re a travel junkie like me, I’m sure that by now, you’ve been used to flying…. booking promo fares when your favorite airlines announce a sale. We just can’t get enough of flying. But what about cruising? Yeah.. like a REAL LEGIT cruise… on a humongous ship… hopping from one country to another…. for days and days….. sounds like an adventure right?

Voyager of the Seas

Last month, I had the opportunity to join an epic Royal Caribbean 5-day cruise (Singapore – Malaysia – Thailand – Singapore) aboard Voyager of the Seas. How was it? It was so damn epic, that I actually plan to book another one for next year as a treat to myself!

Instead of writing a looooooooong dragging feature, I deleted my previous drafts and decided to make this a rather more informative one… a guide … yeah a guide would be better. Like the “travel 101” articles I used to write when I was starting out here on @WhenInManila years ago.

Ok ok, before I begin with my tips, here a bit of background about the ship, Voyager of the Seas:

Our vessel Voyager of the Seas is 157.7 feet wide, 1,020 feet long and with a speed of 22 knots. It has a crew of 1,176 (30% are Filipinos)  servicing 4,269 guests. It also has a total of 1,643 staterooms, a constellation of amenities and meticulously crafted activities to ensure maximum guest pleasure. To know more about Voyager of the Seas and the other vessels by Royal Caribbean, visit cruising.com.ph.

Allow me to begin with my list of tips….

TIP #1 Bookmark their website and regularly check  their  sale announcements

Similar with airlines, Royal Caribbean also offer regular promos where you can enjoy huge discounts. Be sure to bookmark and visit their website cruising.com.ph to catch their latest offers. They even offer all-in packages with flights and tours. Last time I checked, they were offering as much as 60% off (on the 2nd guest). So if you’re planning to go on a cruise date with your significant other, this deal is “super sulit!”

 

Tip #2 Know the MUST-PACK items for a cruise:

Bring your own toothbrush, toothpaste and water tumbler as there will be no complimentary water bottle in your room. Bring your own reusable bottle/tumbler and have it refilled whenever needed. As for clothes, bring your swimwear, comfortable casual shoes as well as formal shoes. Aside from casual attire, don’t forget to bring 1 or 2 formal attires for formal dinners as proper dress code is strictly observed.

If you’re joining the Shore Excursions when the ship docks, bring lightweight clothes, hat, shades, sunscreen lotion, comfortable footwear and ever one of those hand-held USB fans as it tends to be really hot and humid especially if you’re docking in Thailand. phew!

To view the full list on what you need to bring, visit this link http://www.royalcaribbean.com/connect/11-must-pack-items-for-a-cruise

     

Tip #3 Do not bring the following

There are certain items which are prohibited in the ship like electronic extension cords, portable water kettle and flat iron. Note that security is pretty strict (for everyone’s safety). If their security scanners detect you have any of these in your luggage, you will be asked to deposit them to be claimed on the last day when you disembark. For seamless worry-free check-in, I advise you not to bring any of these items.

Tip #4 Read and Understand your Cruise Compass daily

Every night, they will be sending you your Cruise Compass for you to know the happenings the following day. Here, you will read important reminders as well as a list of activities which you can participate in. Always, always read this, so you’d know what to do. Being in a huge ship can be overwhelming especially during the 1st few days, so it pays to be informed. Also, never hesitate to ask any of the crew.

Tip #5 Always bring your Sea Pass Card

You will be asked to deposit your passport upon check-in and will be given a Sea Pass Card during your stay. This Sea Pass Card will serve as your passport, room keycard and even your credit card for purchases during the cruise. You may link your credit card so you don’t need to physically visit the Guest Services office to settle your account at the end of the trip (saves you time). Once you get your Sea Pass Card, always carry it with you.

Tip #6 Join as many activities possible

#1 Rule while on a cruise or in any trip:  Bawal ang KJ. Be open in joining activities which you haven’t tried before. This is your chance!! You deserve it! Have lots of fun and indulge onto all the fun activities they have prepared for you. Even if you don’t join the Shore Excursions, you will never run out of things to do while on board. I was truly impressed with how they were able to orchestrate everyhing all at the same time flawlessly. They sure made it look so easy.

Never leave the ship without visiting/trying out these highlights

Ship Highlights:

Try in-door surfing with the Flowrider

Rock climbing wall

Sports Court

Miniature Golf Course

Ice skating rink and Ice Skating Shows

Theatrical musical performances at the La Scala Theatre

DreamWorks Parade Experience for the young and the young at heart

  1. they also have a gaming Arcade

Tip #7 Join their Shore Excursions too

Yeah, staying in the ship is already super fun, but I also recommend to go out and explore whenever the ship docks. One of the coolest things about joining cruises is that you also get to hop from one country to another in just a week. During my trip, I was able to visit Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Do not miss the opportunity to visit and tour another country even just for a day. Oh, and bring extra shopping money too =)

the  itinerary during our Phuket day tour

Tip #8 Try out all their Dining outlets

Put your diet plans on hold if you plan to join this cruise because you can eat at not just 1, but 3 dining outlets for FREE. For elegant plated meals complete with that “Titanic” feel, dine at the Sapphire Room. If you prefer dining buffet style, satisfy your every craving at the Wind Jammer. And for midnight sweet cravings, the Cafe Promenade at level 5 offers a variety of sandwiches, pizza, pastries plus coffee and tea all for FREE! And yes, you can even take them in your room.

eat all you can  at Wind Jammer

my plate during my 1st meal at Wind Jammer

Sapphire Room Formal Dining

savor elegantly plated dishes

My favourite breakfast at the Sapphire

Aside from their complimentary food outlets, Voyager of the Seas also features speciality dining venues for guests who want more privacy or prefer a particular type of cuisine. During our trip, we got the chance to have lunch at their Italian restaurant called Giovanni’s Table.

anti-pasti

Cafe Promenade

all-day eat-all-you-can sandwiches and pastries

their pizzas aren’t bad too

Try these!

Aside from Gionvanni’s, there’s also  Chop’s Grille, Izumi Japanese Grill and Johnny Rockets to satisfy one’s burger cravings.

Tip #9 Attend dance parties and Karaoke events

Aside from the nightly show performances, I urge you unleash all suppressed emotions in their Kamikaze Karaoke events – it’s an open mic karaoke event, totally open for everyone with absolutely no judgements! hahaha No seriously, this is super fun!

Kamikaze Karaoke

Another memorable event for me was their 70’s Disco Inferno party. It was wicked sick! Loved every minute of it. Personally, I felt I needed it. I badly needed that chance to dance and just be myself and enjoy. A great stress reliever indeed!

Tip #10 Bring extra cash for duty-free shopping on-board.

Last but not the least, I highly recommend you check-out the nightly shopping promos at the Promenade.

I must admit, if there’s one thing I  enjoyed the most during this trip, I believe it would be the shopping experience. At first, I wasn’t really expecting there would be such nightly promos and sales. The deals were so irresistible, so I ended up splurging a bit with a couple of designer items and even jewellery. I’m genuinely happy with my purchases. If you’re joining a Royal Caribbean cruise, be sure to bring extra for duty-free shopping.

 

the sapphire necklace I’m now wearing daily

Before I end this article, of course, I won’t leave you hanging =) I know you’re eager to know how much this cruise will cost you.

So yeah,  the big question is –  HOW MUCH IS IT?

An honest estimate would be around 30k-50k per head. I know it may sound expensive a 1st, but come to think of it, if you sum up all the things you’ll get to experience, you’ll realize it’s not that costly at all. Imagine spending 30k-50k for visiting 3 countries, with accommodations, inclusive of full board meals plus activities and world-class entertainment – not bad right? Also, if you avail of their website promos, you’ll surely get even more savings! Inquire right away to book your next big adventure with Royal Caribbean!

ARPAN AIR, INC.
International Representative – Philippines
Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Club Cruises
Contact: (632) 8922701 to 03
Mobile: (0998) 983 7453‬
Email: rylcaribbean@­arpanair.com.ph
Facebook: Royal Caribbean Philippines
Website: cruising.com.ph






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