Saturday, December 21, 2013


Today's blog entry features some highlights of the short cruise Angie and I took to Langkawi island (part of Malaysia's Kedah state) on board the Mariner of the Seas.

First of all, the ship, thankfully, did not "roll over" (that's why I'm still writing this!). It was a large ship and the entire journey was, well, smooth sailing. There were nearly 3,500 passengers onboard of which about 2,500 were Singaporeans. Since it was school holiday time, screaming kids were to be expected. There were loud parents too.

Here's a glimpse of the rather disorderly crowd at the mandatory emergency muster drill just prior to leaving port:

As can be observed, everyone was facing the wrong way! Actually, everyone was facing every which way. The directing crew had given up trying to make us all line up in rows and facing outward. I shudder to think how we could all be quickly organised in a real emergency situation. People were still sauntering to the assembly stations long after the klaxon had sounded. Time was wasted getting people to the right station even though assigned stations were clearly printed on the "sea passes" that we carry as shipboard IDs, and instructions had been made several times over the public address system.

The prolonged drill got me bored, so I took this pic of an interesting pair of feet:

Hmm, the big toe looked like (with some imagination) there were anchor motifs!...

Drill finally over, Angie and I settled down inside the topmost deck lounge to watch the sail away from the Marina Bay Cruise Centre:

On this cruise, we were upgraded to a suite. Here's an idea of how spacious it is:

Oh, that thing hanging from the ceiling? It's the creation of the stateroom attendant:

We would be seeing real monkeys (not this bath towel variety) when we took an excursion tour in Langkawi.

The ship has 14 decks. This view down the lift shaft of the central atrium gives an idea of the vertical expanse:

There was also a hanging display of World War I fighter plane models in aerial combat:

As you can see, the Red Baron in his Fokker Triplane (Snoopy's "Curse you, Red Baron!") was the winner (both British planes had one side of their tail elevator wings shot off). There were also many facilities topside, including this rock wall:

We did not get down at the first of the two ports of call, Klang, the gateway to Kuala Lumpur, since we have been there so many times. So we spent the day on board, lazing around, taking leisurely meals, and catching up on some reading.

We arrived at the second stop, Langkawi (an archipelago of about 100 islands), at sunrise:

We then went on a river cruise that took in the mangrove swamp shoreline (which was once a feature in many parts of Singapore but which can now only be found at the Sungei Buloh Nature Park), a fish breeding kelong (named "Hole in the Wall"), and a bat cave. Along the way, we spotted eagles, monkeys (Long-tailed Macaques) on the shoreline and even a crocodile and a water monitor...


That was it! The ship then set sail for Singapore at sunset with the entire next day at sea and arriving home after sunrise. It was a nice short four-day break.

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