7th day at sea: First sunset at sea [YQrtw Day 18 Apr 25]

Sunset at sea

Location: Legend of the Sea [Day 7]

The past 4 days, the decks were closed at 6pm because we were in pirate area. The captain didn’t want to risk pirates seeing us so they keep the outer decks closed until 6am.

So it wasn’t until today, the 7th day at sea, that I managed to catch my first sunset.

Sunset at sea

Sunset at sea

I also caught churning waves too. I love how the sea foams when the ship ploughs through it.

The waves reminded me very much of Japanese Ukiyoe paintings.

Waves at sea

6th day at sea: Not winning Bingo [YQrtw Day 17 Apr 24]

Bingo

Location: Legend of the Sea [Day 6]

Watched Apollo 13 in the morning.

I spent US$21 on Bingo cards and “tikam”.

I’ve never played “real” Bingo before. The type of Bingo I play in primary school was hand drawn Bingo in which you win if you have a row of 5 number.

Bingo
Bingo

That was why I didn’t really know how to play real Bingo. The announcer said something like “O 70. O 70.” I didn’t know I can look directly under row O for that number.

4th day at sea: Rock climbing [YQrtw Day 15 Apr 22]

YQ climbs a rock climbing wall

Location: Legend of the Sea [Day 4]

In the morning, jewellery making class. The retiree in me loves these sort of DIY workshop. We were given a jewellery-making kit I made a necklace which matched my glasses. :D

Jewellery making on Legend of the Seas
Jewellery making on Legend of the Seas

After the calming necklace-making class, I decided that I need more excitement so I changed and headed to the rock climbing area.

I’ve never climbed rocks before. I imagined it was like climbing ladders–one foot up, one foot up. Tom Cruise made it seem easy in Mission Impossible movies.

Legend of the Seas rock climbing wall
Legend of the Seas rock climbing wall

Of course, it turned out to be tough. The first few meter was OK since it was just stepping on the crevices and pulling myself up.

After that, the toe-holders became tinier. My arms froze and my foot refused to go up. I screamed to be let down.

[I later found out that I was given the Expert wall instead of the Beginner. Drats.]

Riding a motorcycle on the rock climbing wall
Riding a motorcycle on the rock climbing wall

After a strenuous afternoon, it was scrapbooking time! I made my first scrapbook project with the other ladies.

Then, I decided to slack and took another nap.

I tried out the swimming pool after dinner. Not many people were around since the sun had set. In the outdoor jacuzzi, I found out that when you push water out of the pool, it will fly back and hit you in the face like a force field. That was really fun.

I soaked a bit but was asked to leave since they needed to do some maintenance work. Then I discovered that the indoor swimming pool is much more fun since it wasn’t as cold.

The water in the pool was salty, surprisingly. I don’t know if they’ve pumped in seawater or if they salted the water like it was a pot of soup.

Later in the evening, I watched some TV. Instead of watching Lincoln, I watched the last Twilight movie because I want to know how bad it is.

It wasn’t too bad but the ending was crappy. Plus, the part about Jacob falling in love with Bella’s kid is so creepily pedo.

3rd day at sea: Pirate drill [YQrtw Day 14 Apr 21]

Scrapbooking

[Apr 30: I’m uploading this post on the tour group bus to Cairo.]

Location: Legend of the Sea [Day 3]

My cruise ship will pass through the Gulf of Aiden from April 21 to 24. On the second day of the cruise, everyone received a letter from the captain, telling us that “pirate activity has occurred in the Gulf of Aden during the past few years”.

Other cruisers told me (or the rest of the table at lunch) that they’ve never received such a letter before and they found it amusing. I find it rather amusing too, although probably not so much when the pirates do come on board.

Letter about pirates from Legend of the Seas captain

To prepare for pirate attack, we had a drill at 10:30am.

The drill is a lot less exciting than you think but it was better than the muster drill on Day 1. Since I had an inner stateroom, I just hid in my room. The others who have balconies were required to gather at a common location.

Solo Travelers Lunch

If you’re worried about being lonely travelling alone on a cruise, you don’t need to. The staff set up a Solo Travelers Lunch for people to meet other solo traveller (although quite a few of those who joined the lunch were travelling with a friend).

I’m mostly awkward when around strangers so I mostly smiled and ate at the event. I did meet a lot of interesting people but, in the end, I prefer reading my book to soclalizing. (Antisocial alert!!)

Later in the afternoon, there was scrapbooking class and I managed to do the “scarp” part of a a scrapbook.

Scrapbook Kit from Royal Caribbean

At night, the ship had a performance called “Absolutely Fab”. It was a fun show full of songs. The cruise has live shows every night so your schedule will never be empty.

Second day at sea: ‘You can’t go to Egypt.[YQrtw Day 13 Apr 20]

Legend of the Seas

Location: Legend of the Sea [Day 2]

On the second day of cruising, an officer from the ship called my room as I was preparing to go to the sauna. She told me that I do not have an Egyptian visa which means I cannot go to Egypt.

Here is the entry I wrote after I heard the news:

I just signed a letter of wavier, saying that I will not go on shore Egypt because I do not have a visa for the country.

I tried to brush it off, saying to myself: “I didn’t really want to go anyway.” Then I sat down on my tiny couch and tears came out of my eyes. I think I really do want to go to Egypt.

I can only blame myself. My first research showed that I need a visa but another Google search brought me to the Consulate of the Arab Republic of Egypt in the UK website which said:

Malaysian nationals
Malaysian nationals can stay in Egypt for up to two weeks without a visa. If their stay exceeds two weeks, the usual requirements apply.

Then a document from a Malaysian website said the same that Malaysians do not need a visa and can visit for only 2 weeks.

I really want to go to Egypt. sob.

[A few days later, I was glad to find out that I was right and was able to visit Egypt.]

I put the Egypt visa issue at the back of my head later in the day. I decided that if I cannot go to Egypt, I might as well enjoy myself fully on the ship.

Before the Egypt incident, I had breakfast at the restaurant and met a nice elder couple who I will into multiple times and even share a private tour group later in the future.

There was Italian class on board as well along with print out notes. Do you think greetings alone is enough for me to glide through Italy?

I took a nap and found out later that there were dolphins which followed the ship for a while. I missed watching dolphins!! What a tragedy.

At night, the ship had some “aerial performance” and meet-the-captain session.

Legend of the Seas
Legend of the Seas

Reading in Dubai, first night at sea [YQrtw Day 12 Apr 19]

Legend of the Seas facilities

[Note from Apr 29: Now that I finally have internet connection, I will be uploading the backlog blog posts.]

Location: Dubai, UAE [Day 3]
Location: Legend of the Seas [Day 1]

I woke up early that morning to pack my bag. I didn’t want to head out into the heat for food so I hibernated in the room.

Packing my bag was much easier than it was before I went on the trip. This is partly contributed by the carry on bag that I could distribute my things in.

Around 12 noon, the speakers from the mosque carried the Friday prayers and the very passionate speech made by the Imam.

Although I told my AirBnB host that I would leave at 12 noon, he wasn’t there. I had to send him a text but he recommended staying later for the prayer crowd to disperse.

So I did. This gave me a chance to plough through book 2 of Song of Ice and Fire, aka Game of Thrones series. But at 1:30pm, I was restless and hungry. If I went on the cruise now, there would be unlimited food waiting for me.

I finally checked out and got a cab to Port Rashid.

When I saw the ship, my heart swelled. It was lovely from afar: a white giant with blue lace trimming. It was just so gorgeous, and I would be staying in there for 15 nights! Imagine that.

Checking in wasn’t smooth sailing. I didn’t print out my SeaSail Pass so I had to fill out some forms.

The employees also told me that I cannot head to Egypt because of visa. I showed them the print out from the embassy, saying that Malaysians do not need a visa. I was allowed in but trouble will follow me.

When I got onboard. I was in awe of everything. The ship was HUGE! I was gawking at everything like the country bumpkin I am. I feasted on the lunch buffet at Windjammer Cafe after I put my things in my room.

I joined a tour of the ship by one of the Cruise Director Staff (meaning entertainment stuff) and got a feel of what the cruise liner has (almost EVERYTHING).

Legend of the Seas facilities
Legend of the Seas facilities

Before we set sail, there was a muster drill where everyone gathered at a location as a drill for safety evacuation. It was the most boring thing on this cruise as everyone stood there doing nothing.

The ship didn’t leave the port until well past 7pm. By that time, I’ve missed my time slot for the proper restaurant so I had dinner in the Windjammer Cafe.

That was Night 1 on the cruise which I will call home for the next 15 days.

YQrtw: Why a repositioning cruise

Old timey cruise

We’re sort of back on schedule with my daily round-the-world (RTW) posts.

Today, we are talking about my 15-night repositioning cruise from Dubai to Europe.

Old timey cruise
Old timey cruise

Image credit: Australian National Maritime Museum

The cruise was the first booking I made for my RTW. After paying the deposit, I felt that the RTW was going to come true. It also helped with choosing travelling dates for the rest of my trip.

I planned to cross either the Atlantic or Pacific ocean on a cargo ship but the price wasn’t cheap enough.

In the end, I found out about repositioning cruises which are ships that travel during off-peak season back to popular starting points.

Pros and cons of a repositioning cruise

Pros

  • Cheaper per night than the usual cruise
  • Long sailing period (so much water! and sunsets on the ocean)
  • One-way (so I do not need to backtrack)
  • Full of retirees (so I don’t have to see party animals)
  • Unlimited food (vs cargos with three meals)
  • Stops at a few important locations (one-day excursion!)

Cons

  • Large one-time payment
  • Long sailing period (with few stops at shores)
  • Full of retirees (who have the time to travel on a long stretch of time)
  • Expensive (not the usual price of a budget flight and not recommended if you are on a round-trip journey)
  • High single surcharge (vs budget flights)
  • Short stays at shore

Cost of repositioning cruise

When I made the booking for the cruise from Dubai to Italy, my booking charge was around S$2,000. I felt it was a reasonable price since it included transportation and lodging.

I paid the final fees in early February. However, I was shocked when I did a search and found out that the type of room I booked for was going at an even cheaper rate.

My friend advised me to call up the cruise company and tell them that I am upset about the price difference. I did make and call and was surprised when the operator told me they would refund the difference.

The refund turned out to be S$599.75 which is a really hefty sum and could help me with many nights in a cheap location.

I still need to pay about S$200 of tips for the whole trip but I haven’t made the payment yet.

While I’m very excited about the cruise, two of my friends who have been on cruises told me that it is actually really really boring. Gulp! I guess I’ll have to find out myself.

Have you been on a cruise? How was the experience? Will I be bored out of my mind?