Consecutive cruises circling calm seas on Spectrum off Singapore.

woodyren

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Aug 31, 2015
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After a hiatus of just over two years and the cancellation of so many plans it was time to finally dip our toes into OS travel again. This trip was unplanned until a month or two ago as we have a much longer trip land and cruise trip to the Maldives and Europe planned in August, September and October.

Covid dragged me out of semi retirement back into almost full time work since our last cruise on Voyager OTS in March 2020. We had bookings that were cancelled this year on the Royal Caribbean ship Spectrum of the Seas out of Hong Kong and Shanghai. Having sailed on Spectrum before we were disappointed but not surprised by the cancellation. Spectrum also happens to be our favorite ship.

Earlier this year Royal announced that Spectrum was relocating to Singapore sailing 3 and 4 night cruises to nowhere and was open to bookings for non Singapore residents. We made a quick decision to jump on board for 5 back to back cruises totaling 18 nights.

We also had a Luxury Escapes booking for the Naumi Hotel in Singapore. Three nights for $499 ($699 - $200 Luxury escapes vaccinated promo) that we had originally planned to use on our way to the Maldives in August.

So we booked the cruises and then I set out to rearrange some other aspects as best I could.

I really was lucky with a few of our flight options.

Firstly we had only managed SQ J saver bookings SYD-SIN & SIN-MLE on different days for our August Maldives trip hence our planned stopover in Singapore. Lo and behold when I checked while rearranging things for this trip I found J saver SYD-MLE saving us a few KF points. I managed to cancel without penalty the original bookings and rebook the new flights.

Secondly after securing J saver SIN-SYD for our trip home on May 10th for 62K KF pts a few days later the spontaneous promo showed the same seats for 44K KF pts. I took a risk and cancelled on line my original booking (as I didn't have enough points to rebook) after advice in the great Singapore Tips thread and the points were returned promptly at which time I secured the same flight for 44K.

No J reward available for SYD-SIN so to save a few $$ and with a war chest of QFF points we booked Qantas in Y for 25K QFF points. Only available flights were SYD-MEL-SIN which was fine because we finally got to use our Points Club + Qantas Club membership.
 

woodyren

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Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Posts
618
All bookings made and hotel booking transferred it was now time to fully research the Singapore and cruise line requirements for travel.

Firstly we needed a supervised RAT within 2 days of departure. Chemist Warehouse $29.99

We also needed the Singapore Trace Together App for both entry to Singapore and boarding Spectrum. We never use OS SIM cards and always rely on wifi only so this may have been problematic. A little more research showed that Trace Together needed to be downloaded in Australia (as you need a phone number for a tele PIN) and activated once you clear security in Changi. Loaded the required info the day before departure and all appeared well.

Thirdly we needed another supervised RAT at one of Royal's nominated providers on the day of the cruise. Luckily Fullerton Health in Raffles City was just around the corner from the Naumi out hotel. $15 for the test.
 

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woodyren

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Early trip to the Airport for our 7am Easter Monday SYD-MEL flight.


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Luckily despite recent crowd issues the airport and lines were uncrowded and we managed to squeeze a quick breakfast in at the Qantas Club lounge. IMG_20220418_051033.jpg IMG_20220418_051050.jpg IMG_20220418_071342.jpg
Another 4 hours in the Qantas Club Melbourne.

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Then off to Singapore in our first Y flight with a duration of longer than 5 hours in maybe 5 years. At 67 and 6ft 2in it was a little less comfortable than it used to be.
 

woodyren

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Arrived at Singapore a little tired after squeezing into my Y seat for 7ish hours. While Mrs Woodyren quickly cleared immigration I was pulled out and taken to another desk. I have no idea why and this has happened before a few times in Singapore both at Changi and at the Marina Bay cruise terminal. For some reason as well those fingerprint machines have issues with me. Whenever I ask is there a problem I have never received an answer and after 15 minutes or so of non English discussion while pointing to their computer screen between a few immigration officers I am handed back my passport and escorted through a side gate to where Mrs Woodyren awaits with no idea of where I have been.

I activate her Trace Together App no problem but when I try to activate mine it has diverted back to the "enter tele PIN" screen. Off course having no SIM it is not possible to get said PIN nor will the go back to any other screen. Having read that you need this to get entry to anything we decide to risk it and head to the hotel while figuring out a solution. Cab or hotel never asked to see our app.

While I knew the general location of the Naumi we were pleasantly surprised by it's location right next to Raffles and other much more highly priced hotels. IMG_20220419_081140.jpg

Nice comfortable boutique hotel with small but adequate rooms, nice artwork and a fantastic rooftop infinity pool. Sorry forgot to get room shots. Staff were wonderful also.

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woodyren

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Aug 31, 2015
Posts
618
First night in Singapore we were quite tired after waking at 4am for our flights from Sydney. We had eaten breakfast in Sydney Qantas Club, more on the SYD-MEL flight, lunch in Melbourne Qantas Club and again some less than memorable food on the MEL-SIN flight. The package we booked came with complimentary mini bar so snacks and drinks from there more than sufficed for our first night.

A set breakfast was also part of the hotel deal. Basic but adequate consisting of juice, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese, cold meats, sausage plus coffee. Sorry again no photos to show.

First day in Singapore was spent looking around the local area. First we walked to Raffles City to locate the testing facility for our cruise day RAT and to find a 7 Eleven to purchase a sim card so I could activate my Trace Together app.

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SIM inserted and Trace Together now working we headed further towards the city centre and then looped around past the war memorial and back to the hotel. Diverted by Mrs Woodyren into a few shopping malls on the way. Probably walked 3-4 klms in total.



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woodyren

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The last two evenings at the hotel were spent in the rooftop infinity pool. We had a botte of wine and a few mini bar beers with the package so they were consumed of an evening relaxing and swimming.

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There was only ever at most 4 others upstairs at the pool when we were there and often we were the only people. There was also a bar with a basic selection of drinks but there were never and staff there. Curiously I had a post on Facebook from a friend saying how they enjoyed the happy hour at the pool so possibly we were at the wrong time.

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woodyren

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Last day before the cruise we walked to Kampong Glam and the area around the Sultan Mosque.

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We had plans for a middle eastern lunch but on arrival realised it was Ramadan. In hindsight we should have visited of an evening as I imagine it would be very vibrant with lost of food options after dark. There were a lot of pop up eateries awaiting sundown.

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Luckily we were both in the walking mood despite the heat and humidity so we headed off in toward the city centre in search of another Hawker Centre.
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La Pau Sat Hawker Centre.

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Sadly my main reason for visiting, the Oyster Omelette place, was closed.

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A rainy walk back to the Hotel via the Merlion and a swim in the pool followed by another few glasses of wine. We racked up well over 20,000 steps that day.

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woodyren

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Cruise day. Excited to get back aboard after two years. Boarding time was 2pm so we requested and were given a 1pm checkout at the Naumi.

Firstly a 10am appointment at Fullerton Health for our supervised RAT.

Waited for around an hour for the negative result to be emailed and left the hotel around 12.30pm. A quick cab ride to Marina Bay cruise terminal. Arrived early but were allowed to board and after a relatively quick and easy check in and we were onboard by just after 1pm. IMG_20220421_140637.jpg
The ship was RCCL Spectrum of the Seas. We have previously cruised on Spectrum from Barcelona to Shanghai and she was built specifically for the China market. For obvious reasons Spectrum has been sitting idle for much of the last two years. At the very start of the pandemic Royal sailed the ship from her homeport at the time Shanghai to Sydney and did two short cruises which were free to emergency service workers and their families.

Once on board we headed up to the Silver Lounge for a snack. Spectrum is unique to the Royal fleet insomuch that it has a Silver and Gold enclave that is exclusive to those who book higher category cabins. Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor loyalty program has access to lounges on all their ships but because there are no Diamond or Concierge lounges on Spectrum Diamond level C&A members gain access to the Silver lounge. Diamond plus get access to the lounge and dining room and Pinnacle get access to the Gold area. The food and service are far superior in the Silver area on Spectrum to that in the C&A lounges on the rest of the fleet.

Silver lounge area.

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Silver dining.

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The Silver lounge and dining area is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast and lunch are buffet and dinner is buffet plus a static menu of around six different entrees, mains and deserts. The buffet varies and we only ate 4 or 5 times outside the Silver during our 18 nights on board. Food photos to follow later.
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I only had a quick snack as on boarding day my favorite ship activity is available without hour long lines. Off the the flowrider.

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On previous cruises in Asia the numbers of those waiting in line for their turn were comparatively low compared to cruises in Australia or the USA for example. Even though Spectrum was only sailing at around 50% capacity there was a much larger proportion of younger (not children but 25-35 year olds) than I have ever seen on a ship. Lines by day 2 were well over an hour wait in the hot sun.
 

drron

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30,148
First photo in post 7 the building in the centre to the right. Our room is 4 floors down and second window around the corner with 5 more windows to the edge. It was a tropical storm tonight so couldn't make out your pool.
I was just looking at the photos in your thread trying to work out exactly where you are staying.
 

woodyren

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Aug 31, 2015
Posts
618
For many people mass market cruises aren't their thing. We also originally thought we would feel the same. For whatever reason we found from our very first cruise in 2013 that we really enjoyed the experience. There are enough options for us to either mix with the crowds or find places to quietly relax or escape depending on our mood. Sure I would absolutely enjoy the finer things in life on a 5* ship but it's always a balance between wishes and the available travel war chest. Discovering FF points accumulation thanks to this forum in 2015 has opened up premium flights for us which in itself is something I wouldn't have predicted.


I tried to make this trip as budget as possible. We booked Ocean View cabins as there was quite a difference in price to a balcony and Junior Suites and up were not great value. We took a calculated risk that we could use the Royal Up offers to upgrade to a balcony. It was a well calculated risk as I had been following cabin availability and there were LOTS of balconies still available. We bid the minimum to upgrade and were upgraded for the minimum on each of our 5 cruises.

Balcony cabin photos.

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Some of the accumulated loyalty offerings.

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Seeing as this is a FF forum and many enjoy or are interested in loyalty perks I will give an example of what we receive. There are many levels but it is at the Diamond level that the decent ones kick in. Above that are Diamond Plus which we are and then Pinnacle which we are likely to be by years end.

For D+ we receive.

Discount on balcony and above staterooms.

2 days each of free internet

Welcome bottle of wine

Access to Diamond lounge and Concierge lounge for all day coffee, basic breakfast and nightly happy hour of 3 & 1/2 hours. Happy hour used to include unlimited drinks off a basic menu (beer, wine, spirits, soft drink etc). This has now changed due to covid distancing requirements to 5 drinks in any bar up to $13 in value. Covers almost everything and is much more suitable for us particularly Mrs Woodyren who does not drink much alcohol.

A few bottles of water, San Pellegrino, beers (there are other options but this is our regular choice)

Priority seating in the theatre.

$6 each for the slots. (We won around $100 with one of our freebees)

Lunch with an officer (discontinued at present due to covid protocols)

A free photo each.

As a first time user of the 5 free drinks I found it more than sufficient. Took a liking to Emperor Gold Margaritas, Mojitos with a splash of Cranberry and the occasional Bloody Mary if a little early in the day.

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The barman in the Schooner Bar, Harvey from the Philippines, remembered us form our last (covid contacting) cruise on Voyager of the Seas in March 2020. Bars were quiet so we had a few lengthy and interesting chats about what the crew had to endure once the ships were banished from Australian waters. In general I got the feeling that they thought the company had looked after their welfare quite well. Also of interest was the difficulty facing the many Chinese staff on board, some of whom have been trying for quite a while to return home but are extending their contracts with Royal's assistance due to onerous entry and quarantine rules.
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woodyren

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Aug 31, 2015
Posts
618
So you may ask (or not but I am telling you anyway). What do we do all day for 18 days circling somewhere off South East Malaysia. Pretty much exactly what we planned to do. Very little.

We ate breakfast regularly in the Silver Dining room. Fantastic service and a decent buffet spread of Western and Asian style breakfast items. Supplemented with requests such as Omelettes or Eggs Benedict made to order.

After breakfast Mrs Woodyren would relax and read or wander off to for a Tea at the Leaf and Bean tea house on board. They have a selection of flavoured teas and decent coffee. She and the lady who worked there became very friendly. IMG_20220423_103012.jpg

I would head off to 9.45 trivia and then up to the flowrider most days. Not nearly as many trivia buffs and not like the blood sport like competive nature on some cruises I have been on. Activities staff were mostly from China and pronunciation was a little difficult at time. Everyone was patient and we had lots of fun.

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By that time lunch had rolled around almost so we would struggle up to the lounge normally or the Windjammer buffet on occasion. Relaxing on our balcony or in the Solarium with a good book or taking part in a range of activities between lunch and dinner.

Some photos of the Silver lounge lunch or dinner buffet items that changed daily.

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woodyren

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Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Posts
618
We ate from time to time in the Windjammer buffet. Mainly because Spectrum having been designed for the Asian market has a cook your selection noodle section not found on any other Royal ships. The selection of food in the buffet on Asian sailings is also much more diverse than sailings in other locations.

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On the first cruise the buffet was all served to you by staff. They then relaxed a little but had the area roped off and required hand sanitiser each time you entered the food areas. By the last cruise it was back to the pre covid set up of a staff member ensuring you washed you hands on entry.
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It's also worth popping in just too check if they have anything special. One night we found these in the fruit area as well as Jackfruit. We only snared the last few remaining of each.

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