Airphil Express and Star Cruises invited us bloggers for a familiarization cruise tour from Singapore to Malaysia aboard the latter’s Super Star Virgo, a full service cruise ship. It was a lot different experience, another different way of traveling. And it was good. I’m no stranger to passenger ships as I used to ride one between Manila and Cebu way back when I was in college. Most of the time, ennui creeps in while just waiting for almost a day for the vessel to dock. Food is bad and items are expensive. Entertainment is nil or few and accommodation is quite cramped. That is my idea of riding ships.
But think of cruising as something out of the ordinary. It’s not just another passenger ship going to a destination. It is a full service, mall of the seas, so to speak, considering the many amenities and things to do and enjoy while taking it slow to your destination.
This was my experience and opinion after having rode one, the Super Star Virgo by Star Cruises from Singapore to Port Klang in Selangor State, Malaysia. Travel is slow, yes, but it doesn’t mean that its boring. Contrary to popular belief, cruising the seas is not only for those in their golden years.
There were several families with children in tow, teenagers and honeymooners. There were even nubile sirens, coming in full force, candidates of Ms. Resorts World Manila who sashayed at the main lobby in their swimsuits to the gawking of tourists.
There is a library for bookworms. A gym with enough machines and weights for the health conscious. A theater screening schedule, shops, bingo games, playground, lots of restaurants and cafes as well as stage entertainment every night both for general patronage and R18.
Live bands enliven the night too with music at the lounge bars either at the lobby or at the poolside for that al fresco entertainment.
Filipinos need not worry about riding the Virgo. For one, buffet food is overflowing from 6 AM to 1 AM. Several restaurants offer different cuisines like Chinese, continental, Indian (there are many China mainlanders and Indians who do the cruise).
There’s also fine dining and barbecue night at the poolside, weather permitting. Second, majority of the cruise ship’s crew are kababayans. Everywhere you turn, there’s always a Pinoy crew member. So its not difficult to go or ask around.
Sleeping is not a problem but depending on your type of accommodation and the number of persons in a cabin, some can sleep soundly while others, it can be a not so comfy night. In our case, there were four of us bloggers in the room. Two got the regular beds, one got the storable upper deck and, unfortunately for me, got the sofa bed that extends across the room. For one with a big frame, the sofa bed wasn’t too comfy for me and tend to squeek whenever I turn around.
But one good thing about cruising is that, after you’ve done the rounds, eaten your way through the restaurants and had fun at the entertainment outlets, you can just go up at the top level or outside the 7th level decks, recline at one of the lounge chairs and just see the world go by.