When this cruise was launched in November, I SWORE we wouldn’t do it. Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas and Genting’s Dream cruise are currently the only active cruises in the world. After all the cruise horror shows of last spring, who in their right mind would do this, I thought… And sure enough, in December, one of the cruises has to turn around (if you Google the cruise, this is basically all that will come up) as they had a suspected covid case. But what the news didn’t report was the case was a false alarm and Royal Caribbean boldly sent out the very next cruise, confident their safeguards had worked. Since then roughly 82,000 people have safely cruised. We now know many people who have gone, some multiple times. The resounding response was, in covid times, not being able to leave Singapore, this cruise is the best thing we have. So we “panic bought” ourselves a cruise 2 weeks ago, and on the 25th of March, away we went for our own 4 night cruise.
What’s the Nutmeggers review? We all agreed, this was a great covid vacation. Better for us as a family than a “staycation”. We enjoyed being away from Singapore, all the entertainment and the food. That being said, we are not cruisers. Ryan and I had previously been on one other cruise (celebrity cruise in Alaska). I think we both still feel the same. It’s a fun vacation, but not an all the time option for us. We don’t need or even really like being “entertained” all the time. Now in our 40’s, I think we can see the value in a cruise as a multigenerational vacation. As parents mobility declines and grandkids get older and more independent, a cruise would be an excellent way to get everyone together with the least resistance. It is also a good way to see remote areas (like Alaska). There is also the uncomfortable issue of cruises environmental impact. Being on this moving city (quantum if the seas is the 15th largest cruise ship in the world) really strikes home how catastrophic these beasts are for the environment. As the kids climbed on the rock wall and were blasted by smoke exhaust, it was hard not to consider this. So while I never say never to anything, I think if we did cruise again, it would be on something smaller.
A small review on the particulars of the cruise in case anyone in Singapore is reading this. For our family, have 2 connecting balcony rooms was perfect. The rooms and the balcony’s connected. With the connecting balcony’s, if your rooms don’t actually connect, that would be ok too. For our kids, eating in the main dining room was perfect and we didn’t feel we really needed any food “upgrades”. If we had eaten in a specialty restaurant, I would have probably picked Chops, the steakhouse. But our kids are still so inconsistent with their eating, that it probably would have been a waste. Here’s my quick review on the drinks package (we only bought the soda for Ryan and the kids and a coffee card for me). Ryan and I ended up saving $13 USD overall on drinks (and some friends bought us a drink one night). So if I could go back, I would have bought the two of us the package when we booked the cruise (it was significantly cheaper then). I would not buy the kids the soda package again as we lost money on that for sure. There are plenty of other drinks (juice, etc) and it’s so hot that they mostly drank water. I would pay out of pocket for those. 4 night vs 3 night? The timing of the 4 night was better for Ryan with work (he only had to take 1 day off). Our family would have been happy with the 3 night. We had seen and done everything in the 2 full days. It was nice to rest on the 3rd day, but not necessary.
Onto the pictures! I’ll try to review each aspect of the trip with the pictures. Enjoy the beautiful blue of the South China Sea!
That’s it! It’s fun to write a blog, a travel blog as I intended this to be. Hopefully a sign of things to come…💕
In Singapore, the staycation has been thoroughly embraced. It’s seen as your “economic duty” if you can afford it. While Ryan and I took a staycation 6 weeks ago to the Capella, the kids had yet to go anywhere. For them, the holy grail of hotels in Singapore is Marina Bay Sands and the infinity pool on the 57th floor. Since we moved here last January, Avery’s been asking to go. It doesn’t help that we stare at MBS out our condo windows.
This week was October break for our school, so it looked like a great time to go. For us with a “large” family, MBS gives us the best bang for our buck. So off we went on the 2 mile journey to MBS for our 2 night family staycation!
So what is Marina Bay Sands? It’s a hotel, casino and LUXURY Mall. The house of Sands always wins at MBS. MBS is the largest hotel in Singapore. it cost an estimated S$8billion ($5.5B USD) to build (including the land reclamation). It was built in conjunction with a larger plan to protect Singapore from flooding and to add additional reservoir capacity to the growing city. The project was started 20 years ago. MBS opened 10 years ago. There’s a ton of additional land that’s yet to be developed. I can’t wait to see what Singapore’s skyline looks like in 10-20 years.
When the world is going mad, what do you do? Head to Legoland!
Our original plan for this weekend was to go to Bangkok. About a week ago things started looking less stable. Since we hadn’t bought our flights yet. We decided a big city wasn’t the right move right now. Then early in the week, Thailand imposed a 14 day quarantine on an expanded list of countries, including Singapore. No point traveling to sit in the hotel room. A few days later, they partially walked it back and said if you were a tourist you didn’t need to quarantine, but that was pretty confusing to us. We also began to worry Singapore might expand their quarantine list. Too many unknowns for us. As we were all pretty bummed about not going. After a few brainstorms, we decided to head just over the bridge to Malaysia and Legoland.
We finished off the day with a little more car building (they really loved it). Bought some “prizes” in the store. Again, exchange rate in our favor. 3 LEGO sets, 3 mini figures and a bonus set abs mini figure. $128 US. Nice. Finished up with lunch at a KFC 🤢in the mall. Good news is it was only 46 ringitt. $11 us for a family of 5… again, I love Malaysia.
We’re home now after a quick ride across the border. Hopefully we don’t start a new Covid cluster here caught at Legoland Malaysia… All travel is so up in the air right now. We haven’t booked anything yet for spring break. Now that the virus is spreading worldwide it’s hard to know what next week will look like, let alone a month from now! It’s funny how things have changed. We now are worried for our family and friends in the US. It doesn’t seem possible for containment to work there the same way it does here. It’s interesting, some things in our life here are restricted because of the virus, but for the most part, daily life continues. Ryan goes to work and and kids to school. We get our temperature taken and wash our hands a million times per day. I hope the US can get it figured out too so that our family and friends can feel as we do. Concerned but still living our life. Things might change here too. We had an uptick in cases over the weekend. A new cluster developed and it looks to be a big one. The government is cautioning we should plan for a second wave. In the meantime, we’ll all just keep washing our hands…
Full disclosure, I think this was the favorite thing we did in Langkawi. When I was looking for activities, I knew we wanted to do something on a boat, seeing the other islands. I happened upon Captain Eva’s website via another blog. What luck!
First off, it was a little challenge to get to this excursion. Many of the tours provide transportation, but this one did not. Our hotel concierge was concerned about “traffic” in the main city of Kuah and advised us to leave early. Apparently there was a cycling tour on the island. We got a taxi and away we went to the other side of the island. Langkawi is a little bit of a sailing paradise. It’s windy, but protected. There are 2 yacht clubs on the island. We were to meet our boat at the Royal Langkawi Yacht club, where our captain had her own pool bar!
We met with Captain Eva and got ready for our cruise. Avery took a quick swim in the pool. We come to find out, we’re the only ones on the cruise that night. Yay for us! Captain Eva is fascinating. She’s German and left Germany at the age of 38 to sail around the world. She came to Langkawi for 2 weeks and has been here ever since. She’s actually trying to sell her business if anyone’s interested…
We came back to the pool bar where Captain Eva was “attending to her business”. She invited us to stay for a drink (which would have been amazing and fun) but we had tired little monkeys and a 45 minute grab ride. Sadly we headed back to the hotel.
Sometimes you do things you know you will remember always. For me, this was one of those things.
Researching our trip, this was the #1 must do in Langkawi. the sky cab claims to be the longest free span mono cable car 🚡 in the world. Not exactly sure what that means, but I do know it was very long and very steep. The cable car takes you up to the tallest peak in the Machinchang geo park (second tallest in langkawi) at 700 meters. The rock formations on langkawi are approximately 550 million years old and this was one of the first parts of Asia to emerge in from the ocean. At the top is a curved suspension bridge with a killer view!
Once we went down, we went to check out the 3-D art museum which was included in our ticket. The kids and Ryan loved this place more than I should admit… since I was the chief carrier of all the things, no pics of me… there are so many pics to share, I’ll just add my favorites.
There are literally hundreds….. apparently these places are common in Asia and all very similar so hopefully we can avoid in the future. But it was fun… after this we had lunch, checked out some souvenirs and headed back to the hotel for a quick change before our afternoon Adventure. The verdict on the sky cab and sky bridge was, we loved it!