Take your family aboard this luxury ship for a memorable holiday.
It’s not every day that you get the chance to travel with Alex the Lion and his friends from Madagascar. But would my kids still be excited to meet them? That question hung over my head as we boarded Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas.
We were about to set sail on a three-night cruise to Penang. The 15-deck ship promised loads of activities en route, including Dreamworks Entertainment, a series of opportunities to rub shoulders with characters from hit animated movies, such as Kung Fu Panda’s Po. But like it or not, it’s the Minions who rule the cartoon world now, hence my apprehension.
My worries were unfounded. Their faces lit up when they came face-to-face with the characters at the Sail Away Party. The magic was not lost on the adults and everyone danced to the infectious theme song, I Like to Move It. Talk about lasting star power!
The next morning, we woke up early for the Dreamworks Character Breakfast, which featured a special menu and visits from the stars at our table. There’s an extra charge of US$10 (S$13) per person (from age six) for this programme, but we thought it was worth it because of the close-up photo opportunity.
In the afternoon, we also caught the energetic Dreamworks Parade – almost the entire cast from Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Shrek turned up dancing alongside stilt-walkers and other performers.
Of course, there was more to our cruise adventure than movie magic. Our tween tried out ice-skating, rock wall climbing, as well as the Adventure Ocean programmes. The latter is run by the kids’ club, which offers age-appropriate activities for those from three to 17 years old.
Meanwhile, our toddler joined the Royal Babies and Tots programme for kids below three years.
In the evenings, there were also spectacular theatre shows by international professional ice-skaters. All these, as well as dining in the main and buffet restaurants, are included in the package price.
We had signed up too late for a Balcony or Oceanview stateroom (yes, it’s that popular), and settled for a Promenade stateroom. But it was a good choice as well – our large window overlooked the bustling boulevard that’s lined with boutiques and a 24-hour cafe. We even watched some of the parties from our room and, on one occasion, saw Alex and Po dancing to the tune of the Village People’s Y.M.C.A.
In fact, when the ship arrived at Penang, the kids were reluctant to disembark.
The Mariner of the Seas will return to Singapore during the year-end school holidays. A four-night cruise to Penang and Langkawi departs on Nov 23, and prices start from $495 per person based on twin sharing. A four-night cruise to Penang leaves on Dec 17 and prices start from $678. Details are correct at press time. Visit www.royalcaribbean.com.sg or call 6305-0033.
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By Elisa Chia, Young Parents, July 2015