Saturday, December 3, 2016

Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas, S'pore - Phuket, 31 Oct to 4 Nov 2016

MS Mariner of the Seas is one of five Voyager-class cruise ships from Royal Caribbean International.
Mariner of the Seas is in the second generation of Voyager-class vessels. It has a capacity for 4,252 passengers. The Mariner differs from similar vessels in that the rear buffet (Windjammer) extends farther aft, and also includes "Jade", an Asian fusion buffet. She has glass balconies which her first generation sisters lacked. 
She was built in Finland and completed in October 2003 and has 15 decks,  10 pools/whirlpools and 17 bar/lounges, length 1,020 ft, maximum beam 157 ft,  draft 29 ft,  cruising speed 22 knots
Although the ship is equipped with anchors, because of the azipods, bow thrusters and GPS navigation the Mariner in good weather is capable of maintaining station without anchoring. 
That's the ship we board at Singapore Marina Bay Cruise Terminal for a 4 nights/5 days cruise to Phuket and back stopping at Port Klang. There were 8 of us and we were fortunate to have our boardwalk view staterooms upgraded to deluxe oceanview staterooms. Our room was 7660.
Our journey started at 12 midnight from Taiping by chartered van to Berjaya Times Square,  KL. From there at 6.30 am we boarded a Hwajing bus that took us directly to Marina Bay Cruise Terminal. For us Malaysians,  we have to go thru Msian Immigration then Singapore Immigration at Johore Causeway then Singapore Immigration once again to board the ship. Not exactly convenient.
Ship ready for embarkation 

Our upgraded stateroom

The Promenade 

We had perfect weather the entire cruise and calm seas not that it matter for such a huge ship. For meals we have the Windjammer Cafe, the main dining area that spreads three e decks.  Promenade Cafe and Boardwalk Dog House.  All meals are buffett style whereas for fine dining,  simply order as many as you fancy. One thing for sure,  you never go hungry on a cruise. However, apart from some ala carte dishes and desserts,  overall we both agree the food is for most often than not only average.
Breakfast counter

A selection of desserts



Fine dining
The two waitresses who attended to our table

For action and adventure,  there is rock climbing, ice skating rink, basketball court, mini golf course,  jogging course and obligatory gym. For entertainment,  there is broadway shows at the main theatre, ice skating show at Studio B,  a movie theatre with 3D movies and a casino for those who feel lucky. The last night culminate with a 70s disco dance at the promenade.

In action rock climbing

The men

The ladies

View of the main activity deck

Casino croupier 

The bartender 

Wide selection of desserts 

It's open 24hrs. There's coffee  and tea, sandwiches, cakes, pizzas and desserts just in case you're still hungry! 

Studio B

The gym offers a wide array of exercise machines

The ferries to take the ship passengers to shore at Phuket

Leo and Kate ala Titanic

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Phuket, Kalima Resort & Spa, 10 to 14 September 2016

We booked on AirAsia Go a 4 nights 5 days package with daily buffet breakfast at the 4 star Kalima Resort & Spa. It had been one year since our last visit to Phuket where we stayed at the Pullman resort.

The flight took an hour from KLIA2 while the taxi ride from the airport to Kalima cost 800 baht.

Check-in was promptly taken care of by the front desk staff while we were served with lemongrass scented cold towels and refreshing welcome drinks. Our deluxe room no 5304 was good, with a side view of the Andaman sea, short walking distance to the infinity pool, gym and Malika Terrace where buffet breakfast and dinner is served. The restaurant located at 6th floor has great views of the Andaman sea and Patong town.


3.75 stars

There are private pool villas and also honeymoon suites higher up the hill though the distance to the restaurant is further. No complains about the room and amenities.

The infinity swimming pool

The gym is small but adequate. The hotel has a 9-hole miniature golf course. Ahem..I made par 2 for most of the holes! Lol.

Buffet breakfast is decent with the usual spread. The ambience is great though, airy and windy at times with great views of the coast. What a great way to start the day.
The view from Malika Terrace

The dining area.

Automatic pancake maker. Press a button and voila..a warm freshly pancake is produced!

Although the hotel is about 4 kms from Patong town, a regular shuttle service to and from Jungceylon mall is provided for hotel guests foc.

One of the more popular restaurants for Thai food is No.6 restaurant on main street. Due to its popularity, they have a second outlet upvon a hill overlooking Patong town. Since the outlet in town is small with limited dining space, they offer free rides in their pickup to their branch at the top of a hill. If you have the time, the one at the top of the hill is recommended. Breezy up there with nice views of the town. Food quality, serving portions and price is the same as the outlet in town.
Long queues are not uncommon. The alternative is their other outlet up on a hill.
The outlet up on a hill

Delicious thai food..obligatory tom yam, prawn fritters and egg omelette

Apart from indulging in Thai food, we did the usual tourist thing of shopping, massages, Bangla street, etc.
The famous Bangla Street. Night clubs, go go dancers, bars, souvenir shops, pharmacies, food stalls.

Night market. Your stomach will be full before you reach the end of the street.

Yikes! Crickets and larvae worms. I think I will pass.

All in all, it was a fun and relaxing 4 nights holiday in Phuket.