Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Water, Water And Water, Everywhere!


I am so happy to know that many people liked my earlier post about our Cruise Ship trip  and are planning to go by one in the future! Thank you!

I never thought that I would be fascinated so much by the water/sea until this trip! When you stand on the deck and watch, it was just water and water, on all sides! But it was so beautiful!

My son says that the foam like waves formed in the sea is called 'wake'! I took this picture from the rear of the ship!
As I told you in my earlier post, we stayed in the ship for 3 days.  We reached the ship at around 12.30 pm.on a Sunday.  We packed 2 medium sized suitcases, with clothes for 3 days and took them along with us.  Otherwise we have to 'check in' our big suitcases! On the way into the ship, girls and boys (girls with heavy make-up) waited, when we crossed them, they just pulled us and made us (one by one...husband just pushed them aside and walked!) to stand in between the girls and the boys took photographs! It was weird for us! This happened in 3 places on the ship's platform! Then they gave a slip saying that we can collect our pictures with 5% discount (we had experience at Jurong Park in Singapore, how they compelled us to take pictures holding birds and charged 35 dollars per picture - 50 dollars for 2 pictures...I bought one set for the sake of my grand niece...a tooo expensive memorabilia!).  They don't give us time to understand what they were doing!  The next step was, the Cruise staff took our passport and gave us a cabin key (card) to each of us.  That worked as a key plus ID card for us in the ship.   They charge everything to the card (swipe!) when we buy things and we have to pay the money and get back our passport when we come out of the ship! But we didn't have much problem with this method though! They do it in all the cruise ships, it seems!

The ship started exactly at 2 pm, as per plan.  We had tea and snacks at 4 pm.  Roamed around the ship! It was clean and beautiful everywhere.  Since the ship was quite long and with 12 stories, they had 4 sets of lifts (4 each) in 4 areas, from the front to the rear end of the ship! We got used to them (which one to use!) after sometime! Our cabins were on the 5th floor, one for us and one for my sis in law's family.  The beds were very comfortable and had a nice sleep.  Woke up the next morning and again started watching water from our cabin first, from very early in the morning and went up to the deck to watch the sunrise later! Many people were there with cameras before us! Some were walking around in the deck and some jogging too! The atmosphere was serene! Since the ship was moving, we noticed that the sun rose late and the sunset was at around 7 - 7.15 pm! Singapore time is 2 1/2 hours ahead of our time!

Sunrise on the Indian Ocean/Andaman sea
The captain introduced himself and told us about the crew via public system on the first day evening. He also said that we were to be ready to go to Penang island the next afternoon at about 11 am.  We should not bring back any fruit or eatables from the shore! Everyday prog. was given as a newspaper the previous evening, explaining about what was happening in the ship, the next day and where they were taking us.  4 trip options were given to 4 different places in the island.  We can chose one of them.  Some stayed back! The only draw back we noticed was though the bus trip was comfortable (they provided an escort who explained about the places) the places were not very attractive.  Local malls with international goodies and a couple of eateries were shown.  The eateries were full of local food.  No veg. food.  We just had some biscuits and snacks and tea from a Tamil vendor on the roadside. This vendor was from Tanjavoor (Tanjore).  He was there for more than 5 years.  He was earning well, saved money and went home once in 2 years, it seems!

I was very happy to notice sparrows in many places in Malaysia, Singapore, Penang and Langkavi! No crows except some, in Penang and Malaysia!

The bus trip to Penang was nice.  The way was very very scenic.  This place is famous for its loooong, 24 Km bridge from Old Penang to New Penang across the sea. Read more about it here. Have a look at the picture I took from our bus.

Penang bridge.  Looks beautiful!
International marathon competition takes place on this bridge every year, the escort said.
Chocolate museum at Penang
Then the bus took us to this chocolate museum.  They had many varieties of chocolates in various flavours...coconut, durian fruit (this fruit is famous here and has got strong fragrance/odour....click on the name to know more), coffee, strawberry etc.  They gave small pieces of nearly all flavours.  Chocolate images of dragon and other dolls were displayed there inside a huge glass case.  No photographs pl., they said! Otherwise it was just a shop.  Bought some chocolates!  And then they took us to a local mall!  Boring! Came back in the evening. Watched the activities on the deck.  Late night Bollywood music also was there which was for just adults! After dinner, we watched a magic show, which I had mentioned in the first part and went to sleep. Next day, we had our trip to Langkavi from 3 pm.

The famous Brown Eagle statue at Langkavi, meaning, Brown Eagle!
Buses were arranged by the Cruise people to reach Penang and then Langkavi. The escort to Penang was good and explained a lot of things about the place, esp. chocolates (Black chocolates are good for health, good for diabetics also!).  But the escort to Langkavi was just giving minimum details of the place and his English also sounded like Malay! The Chinese add 'haan haan' in between words, it seems.  He was doing it.  He was a lawyer by profession, though!

To Langkavi...The famous Eagle statue is situated at the tip of the Langkavi island.  The statue is quite huge! Click on the picture to have a better view please. Boating was there in the water.  Again, saw many mynas and sparrows too!  Noticed some crabs, huge ones, in the water, near the rocks! Nandita, my grand niece, was excited to watch them! The rest rooms in all the places were quite clean, which is a good thing, in trips!

Then the bus took us to one local medicine shop (like our ayurveda medicine).  Many people bought oil for arthritis etc. Otherwise nothing special was there.  We went back to the ship by night and had dinner, watched some music and dancing by people and slept. We can have supper too at 11 pm, if we are awake and HUNGRY! God, I have put on weight even without having supper!

The main thing to be noted was, we had to pay 10 Singapore dollars for 12 hours of Wi Fi connection (1 Sing dollar was equivalent to Rs.18!).  They were giving a paper with user ID and pass word.  It might work or not, according to the availability of signals.  I used to get mails suddenly and replied to a couple of them.  Twitter also worked sometimes.  I spent 26 dollars for wi fi! Though we had Singapore sim card, we were not able to use mobiles.  Got signal only a couple of times! It said 'calls are barred' sometimes! Got two calls from our relative, which was sort of a miracle! But this was expected since we were in a ship!

The next day was the last day.  We had to leave the ship by 6.30-7 pm.  We got back our passports in the evening.  Bought some artificial jewellery from the gift shop (expensive!) just for memories! Had dinner also (!) at 5.30 pm and waited for our last stage in the ship! Staff were standing and bid good bye with a cheerful face! Very polite and friendly staff, they had. I noticed another thing...very rarely people smoked on the deck which was a surprise since most people, even women, smoked a lot in Malaysia and Singapore and other places we visited from the ship!

I loved the sunset scene more than the sunrise from the deck of the ship.  You can see why!

We were nearing the Singapore port and saw this beautiful ship!
We reached the port by 7 pm.  Went to the Trip adviser's office to collect our bigger suitcases which we had left with them before leaving for the Cruise trip.  Had dinner and roamed the street ... (Mustafa mall was visited for the last time...it is like our Saravana Stores in Chennai...we get anything and everything there).  Reached the Singapore airport and waited for our flight to Chennai!

The airport is very clean.  Many small shops were selling gift articles and dresses...all were run by Muslim women with head scarves! They were quite young! At 9 pm all of them pulled down the shutters...no man helped them to do that...they were thin sheet, weightless shutters.  Locked and left for home...all were happily giggling and chatting all the time! I was happy to watch them!

I think I will write about Malaysia and Singapore later! Since this was the best part in our trip, priority was given to the Cruise trip!

People, try and enjoy the Cruise trip sometime...just forget all the daily tensions and enjoy...no phone, no serious TV watching...just relax...swim if you like, dance if you like, play basket ball...so many entertainments are available here! Just EAT and ENJOY! Put on weight, come back and start the workouts!



Shail Mohan said...

Quite enjoyed reading this. Now I want to go for a cruise! Lovely pictures, especially the sunset ones. Really awesome! :)

Sandhya said...

SHAIL MOHAN: Did you really read this 'ramayana' post? You have got patience. I don't know to edit properly! Like to mention everything, post all the pictures huh...

Thank you!

Destination Infinity said...

I think the cruise experience is unnecessarily expensive. I would prefer some eco-tourism initiatives that support the local people/culture. Responsible tourism. These are becoming more popular nowadays.

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

DESTINATION INFINITY: This is becoming popular now...one more relative has gone there now!

Hmmm...this is totally a new experience, D.I. I just wanted the cruise people to take us to unique local products shops where we can buy local products instead of international branded things. I hate malls. Bought some trays with Chinese paintings and a couple of chains for children which are 'different' for the girls! Some local toy images for the showcase. Nothing else was there which was unique to the place. I wrote in their book to take people to local artisans' shop.

I would love to go on an 'eco-tour' if there is any. Love to go to forests...it is in the agenda! I don't like to watch animals in the zoo.

Rama Ananth said...

It was very nice reading about all that you did during your cruise. The pictures are beautiful. Yes the Malls there are nothing great, and the food too is awful in these malls. Only way to fill ourselves up is to find some pizza joint and hope they would have some vegetarian choice.
But you had good food in the ship and that is what matters. As for the weight I have also noticed that whenever we go out of our home, we tend to put on weight without any reason, and then shedding them off is a big problem, I am still struggling with it.

Usha basker said...

Very nice reading ur cruise experience. Nice photographs of sunrise and sunset. Nice description of everything. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed reading ur blog with morning coffee.

Shail Mohan said...

Sandhya, I read every word! :) It is interesting.

Jeevan said...

Interesting account on the experience on cruise... it sounds offensive, where people are forced for photos. I liked this method of using card for purchasing inside and paying it while at leave.

Beautiful photos! Liked the series of pictures at last... yes; everyone needs some time for enjoyment leaving back whatever troubles. Life shouldn't be always serious and we need to refresh once in awhile to sustain active.

Sandhya said...

RAMA ANANTH: The only worry for us was veg. food. We took some podi and chutneys with us to have with plain rice. Nothing was used! We enjoyed the food in the cruise.

We enjoyed a lot and always will remember this trip.

USHA BASKER: Thank you, Usha! Plan to go on this trip sometime, you will enjoy!

SHAIL: Thank you, Shail!

JEEVAN: Staying inside a ship for 3 days...never expected it to be so enjoyable. It was good we went out to the land for a few hours on 2 days. Many people stayed back, watched movies, stayed in the pool for hours etc. We enjoyed the short outings.

This is a good break. Thank you, Jeevan.

B said...

wow. . those are beutiful pics.. and the sunset .. oh my god moment ..

I so want to do it myself.. but I find them so expensive, but will start saving and take one for sure ..

your notes have made me decide that for sure


BK Chowla, said...

It's so exciting,so adventurous.
We had taken a star cruise to Lakshadweep,Goa from Mumbai.
Four days of fun.

Sandhya said...

ZEPHYR has left a new comment on your post "The Best Part In Our Recent Tour...3 Days/Nights, ...":

I have always wanted to go on a ship. I think I will too, because your enthusiastic recapture of the trip is so enticing :) Great to see you have such a wonderful time.

Sandhya said...

BIKRAM: You will definitely enjoy this trip, I am sure!

BK CHOWLA: Lakshadweep and Goa? Both places are exotic! Now, I know how you would have enjoyed, Chowlaji! Once in a lifetime experience!

ZEPHYR: Your comment was not getting published, so I 'copy pasted' it.

Please try to experience this cruise trip. You need not even get down from the ship to see Penang or Langkavi. Just stay in the ship and enjoy!

Chowlaji says it is there from Mumbai also...try that!

Onkar said...

Nice account of the trip and fantastic pictures

Rachna said...

Sandhya, I have never been on a cruise before and you are tempting me. Your pics are gorgeous. I loved the water pics and those of the sunset. Just wow!

Sandhya said...

ONKAR: Thank you, Onkar!

RACHNA: Thank you, Rachna! The trip was very nice. We, as a family, come closer with each other without the outside disturbance of TV, Mobile, internet etc. I know you will like it!

SG said...

Thanks for the nice narration and beautiful photos. The ship people took away your passport? That is very surprising. We have gone on cruise both in USA and Europe. They (the ship) never took our passport.

Sandhya said...

SG: We never expected them to take our passports from us! My husband started arguing but then my brother in law said that we are coming via a trip adviser who is a family friend, so it might not be odd or dangerous. But we didn't like it. I thought it was the norm in all cruises! Thank you..now, I must enquire, though we didn't have any problem because of this.

Avada Kedavra said...

Sunset pics are so beautiful. Your trip sounds really fun. I definitely want to go on a cruise sometime. Did you not get sea sick? Did any one get sea sick? That is the only concern I have about going on a cruise for many days.

Sandhya said...

AVADA KADAVRA: No, no one got the sick feeling at anytime. We had taken some tablets with us to be prepared. Some bags too were kept ready in our hand bags! But nothing. We enjoyed thoroughly! You will love it, AK!

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Khushboo Patwa said...

Hey , excellent post. we are planning our cruise tip for jan 2017 but were confused with which cruise to go? we wanted little details about the prices of the cruise and the vegetarian food. It would be great if you could help us with it.

Sandhya said...

KHUSHBOO PATWA: Welcome to my space, Khushboo! It is two years since we went by this cruise. Lot of things might have changed. We loved the vegetarian food during our trip. Please check online to know about the present rates.

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