Packed with a wide range of activities, entertainment and dining options, a cruise on the Spectrum of the Seas by Royal Caribbean is a surprisingly fun way to travel – even if it is to nowhere.
Cruises never appealed to me because I always assumed they were boring. After all, what can one actually do on board a ship? Eat, sleep, repeat? I can do that at home, thank you very much. “You could watch a show or go to the casino,” suggested a well-travelled friend. Sure, but it doesn’t sound exciting enough. I’m also prone to motion sickness – let’s just say my previous experiences on ferries and yachts were stomach-churning.
A recent trip on the Spectrum Of The Seas proved otherwise. Touted as “Asia’s largest and most technologically advanced cruise ship”, the three-yearold Spectrum is a sight to behold. It is 350-metres long with 16 decks and 2,137 staterooms that can house more than 4,200 passengers. But it is the ship’s action-packed features, exclusive amenities and specialty restaurants that make it an exciting holiday for all on board.
During the two-night “Shakedown Cruise” hosted by Royal Caribbean, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I was having even though the cruise was going nowhere. Plus, I had a newfound appreciation for the term “smooth sailing” because of how stable the ship was. No stomachchurning moments for me, and that’s already a win.
As a foodie, I kicked off my cruise adventure by checking out the restaurants, lounges and bars. The range is impressive. While there are the typical eat-till-you-drop buffets and quick bites that cater to most passengers, there are also specialty restaurants that offer a more premium dining experience.
Among them is Wonderland, an Alice In Wonderland-themed restaurant where I became curiouser and curiouser with playful dishes like the smoky Bird’s Nest, Liquid Lobster, and Mad Hatter’s Purple Potted Shrimp. The verdict? It was more style over substance, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
Asian-inspired dining can be found at the newly introduced Teppanyaki, Sichuan Red and Hot Pot. Teppanyaki was a riot, thanks to the chef who animatedly cut, chopped and sautéed our orders. Sichuan Red and Hot Pot will please most holidaymakers’ cravings for Chinese dishes, mala and more. Drinks can be enjoyed at the seven bars and lounges, including custom juices crafted by robot bartenders at the Bionic Bar.
PLAYGROUND FOR ALL
The ship boasts “new ways to play at sea”, a claim that it lives up to. Signature experiences include RipCord by iFly (a skydiving simulator), North Star (all-glass observation capsule that takes guests 300 feet above sea level), and FlowRider (a surf simulator). The young and youngat- heart will have fun at SeaPlex, the largest indoor active space at sea. Think of it as a giant arcade complete with bumper cars and game machines.
I signed up for the RipCord by iFly which made me nervous as I stood before the seven-metre tall glass flight chamber. Then I glanced at my fellow pint-sized “skydiver” beside me – he looked about 10 years old – and put my fear aside. The one-minute experience was, quite literally, a blast and got me thinking about doing an actual skydive one day.
Particularly memorable was the new Sky Pad, a virtual reality (VR) bungee trampoline. It was exhilarating even though the VR goggles, which are supposed to transport you to another world, were not in operation. Screaming like an overgrown kid, I was able to jump up to two storeys high, thanks to the attached bungee cords. Don’t let it fool you though, it was a workout that left me breathless at the end of the session.
DAY-TO-NIGHT INDOOR FUN
As for the shows, they were colourful entertaining spectacles. One of them was The Silk Road performed at Two70°, a multi-level room with 270-degree panoramic sea views through vast, floorto- ceiling glass walls spanning almost three decks. Live entertainment can also be enjoyed at the various lounges and bars, including the Music Hall where you can sip cocktails while listening to popular rock tunes.
After a busy day, retire to your wellappointed stateroom. If you choose any of the Royal Suite Class Star, Sky and Sea accommodations, you get access to exclusive amenities such as private restaurants and dedicated lounges. The Solarium is a much appreciated area of this “Suite Enclave”, with lovely views, jacuzzis and sunbeds sans hyperactive kids. A perfect to chill and wind down, especially during sunset.
If you do have hyperactive kids (and plenty of dollars), consider the Ultimate Family Suite. This is a two-deck-high, expansive multi-room retreat complete with its own in-suite slide, cinema and even an air hockey table. There is also a stylish separate master suite with a luxurious spa-like bathroom where parents can retreat to.
THINGS TO NOTE
- Only vaccinated people are allowed on board. Every passenger will have to undergo an antigen rapid test (at own cost) before sailing.
- Download the Royal Caribbean app. Not only will you find important information and updates about your trip, you can easily book your activities through it.
- Prices are in U.S. dollars, so take note of currency conversion rates.
- Bring along a power plug adapter to accommodate your electronic devices.
At the end of the trip, I decided that cruises were not boring. Well, not on Spectrum anyway. I actually found myself thinking about going back to try out the rest of the activities, although I will wait for cruise sailings with port calls (this is expected to resume by the third quarter of this year). With pandemic fears still lingering, a cruise to nowhere is a convenient option for those who still want a holiday and enjoy new experiences.
Singapore will be the home port of the Spectrum of the Seas till April 2023. For cruise dates and bookings, visit www.royalcaribbean.com.