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Old 20-08-2019, 08:37 AM   #2731
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I also went on the 9 Aug trip too. Brought my parents (69 years old) on their first holiday in a long time. They briefly went on shore at Penang at 3/4pm to buy some Penang products at the port shops, then went back on board. We were at Lido buffet when we observed the ship leaving port for a bit. At first i though the ship was re-positioning itself to head to Phuket later at night, but later heard that it was due to rain + strong winds. When the ship was leaving Penang port at 9pm, we saw from our balcony stateroom that the port crew had deployed a crane to retrieve a gangway that fell into the water hahaha.

This is my third cruise. First two times was with RCL Mariner of the Seas in 2017 and 2018 Mar-Apr period, so I was constantly comparing this cruise with RCL.

Embarkation-wise, my parents were kiasu, and we arrived at cruise centre at 11am. I started queuing for the self-check-in at 11.45 and got the cruise passes shortly after self-check-in opened at 12pm. We got Group 1, and were released to go on board i think around 1pm or earlier. We heard Group A(?) boarded first. We hand-carried our luggage and dropped it off at the cabin before going to lunch.

Room-wise, i booked a Balcony Deluxe for my parents and me. It wasnt too tight for 3 folks. I had the sofa bed and it wasnt comfortable. Overall, it was new, clean, and had some free toiletries (unlike RCL, which doesnt even give toothbrush/toothpaste, and my friend had to ask around for one).

Food-wise, GD is more suited to Chinese palate. Lido is good for meals when you know the masses are on-shore. It resembles a wet-market when everyone is on board. It was especially bad on Sat 12-1pm when everyone was trying to grab lunch before going to shore. The key benefit is that it has Western, Chinese, Indian (vegetarian) and Halal food. As someone with no dietary restrictions, you can pick from all 4 sections. I didnt see anyone taking food with their hands, so that's good. I really loved the Indian crackers (Papad) haha.

Only went Dream Dining Upper thrice and Function 8 once. Never tried Dream Dining Lower since my parents dont like Western sets. Dream Dining is about average but the food is served quite fast. The breakfast dim sum is good. My parents also loved they served decent coffee and tea (compared to the dispenser-type coffee at Lido). Also, the host will give your family one whole table, and you didnt have to share with anyone else. So a family of three will just end up taking a table meant for 5/6. My dad didnt like Function 8 coz folks will be asked to share tables when the Function 8 is full.

Never tried the other restaurants. I tried the ice-cream parlour and the sea-salt was really nice. Can look out for the happy hours for free toppings. I also won a herbal jelly thru the on-ship lucky draw (drat! didnt win the 6D5N cruise haha) that was served at the Blue Lagoon.

Entertainment-wise, I loved the Sonio show and caught it twice. The second show "Some Like it Hot" was more singing and dance, and more enjoyable if you were familiar with 60s-70s tunes. The Chinese acrobatics show at Bar 360 was also decent. [I didnt catch the Dreamgirls show - anyone knows if it was worth catching?]

I participated in the third night dream party and it was fun to just dance along for 2hrs to the mass dances and the live band + DJ. The cruise staff leading the dance were really good, as were the band that performed contemporary hits.

I tried the pool on the third day morning, and it wasnt crowded since many people were on shore at Phuket. I wanted to try the slides, but the lifeguards didnt allow googles (i had corrective ones) due to safety reasons, so i didnt try the slides. Towards the afternoon, it got more crowded. The adult pool is quite deep - 1.7m (my height!) at the shallower end and 2m at the deeper end. Not really long enough for anyone to do decent laps.

The level 15 gym is small, but doesnt get a lot of traffic. The equipment are new, and similar to what you can find at Safra gyms. I think i saw some of the Sonio performers use it on Day 3 AM, but didnt bother them.

I also went on the bridge tour ($30) and galley tour ($25) on Day 4. The bridge tour was quite cool and you get to speak with the staff on duty and take photos. The galley was quite noisy, but the exec sous chef doing the tour did his best at showing the kitchen, prep areas and freezers. We also had a brief look at the ship's "I-95" (termed as the route running the length of the ship where crew can get one end to another at Deck 4) and also saw the crew going into the crew mess.

The only bad point was that the bridge tour started at 1015 and the galley tour at 1100. When i booked it, the reception staff said i should have enough time for the bridge tour. However, the bridge component ended at 1050, and there was also a inclusive tour of the helipad too. So i had to drop that component to make it in time for the galley tour.

[Spa] I booked on the second day for three treatments (50% off, total damage of $153 (18% included) for 180mins. Quite worth it. I did 60mins reflexology and 60mins body massage on Day 2, and another 60mins body on Day 3. My first masseuse Bella was quite good - can ask for her.

App and Payment - the app was quite useful for booking the Sonio and Some Like it Hot shows, and for viewing the Dream Daily if you dont have the daily newsletter with you. You can also view your bill and do quick payments for your expenses via the app. Quite convenient compared to RCL, which forces you to link a credit card to your room card.

I didnt try purchasing the onboard wifi, since i wanted to do a detox. Since i was always connected to the onboard wifi to view the app easily, i think some data does get thru, and my phone will get some notifications.

Ship-wise, I think the lay-out was quite well-designed. There werent any spots that made you do detours (whereas RCL Mariner had a few weird floors that forces you to take some stairs when trying to walk from one end to another. RCL Mariner was also packed at the indoor plaza areas.) With 3400 pax, there was surprisingly a few areas that werent crowded, like the L15 gym and crystal life cafe; L17 sun deck aft and zouk area; L19 forward Palm Court (may be occasionally closed for private functions) and Terrace. When i was chased out of Palm Court once as they needed it for a private function, i found a nice little corner at L5 forward where there were some seats near the meeting room area. [Did anyone try camping at L15 crystal cafe? Will they ask you to order food/drinks to continue staying there?].

Service-wise, I think RCL staff are more friendly and will smile more. For GD, a few standouts are my room steward, some of the DD-upper waitresses, and the cruise entertainment staff leading the exercises/games/dream night.

Ship-stability wise, i felt GD was a bit rocky. You can certainly feel the rocking at the forward and aft sections, including my cabin (L10 forward), and DD-upper, and Lido. Compared to RCL Mariner, i only felt vibrations when the ship enters/leaves port, and never on the high seas. Perhaps it was the seasonal weather (it rained 3 times, but not heavily) and we did experience strong winds at certain times.

Overall, I was quite satisfied with the trip. My parents really enjoyed it, and they want to do a longer cruise next year.
Hi, i have an upcoming 2N trip to Malacca in Sep. Sadly, the cruise has changed to call at PD instead of the original malacca port. Its departure will be at 2100.
Can know if it is possible to board the cruise early for lunch?
Able to bring own packet food onboard? RC does allow it except for baby milk and medication.
Anyone has recommended places or food for PD? Apart from Ostrich farm, curry bun, dirty mee, Regina mall (?), etc.
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Old 20-08-2019, 09:10 AM   #2732
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Hi, i have an upcoming 2N trip to Malacca in Sep. Sadly, the cruise has changed to call at PD instead of the original malacca port. Its departure will be at 2100.
Can know if it is possible to board the cruise early for lunch?
Able to bring own packet food onboard? RC does allow it except for baby milk and medication.
Anyone has recommended places or food for PD? Apart from Ostrich farm, curry bun, dirty mee, Regina mall (?), etc.
The cruise check-in should starts from 4pm and boarding about 4.30pm. Will be too late for lunch but you should be able to go for early dinner from about 5pm when those inclusive Restaurants open. Or you can go to Blue Lagoon to pay for your meal.

There is a canteen near the boarding kiosks at MBCC if you plan to go early to have lunch.

Unless you have special diet otherwise the Restaurants onboard including the now available 24hrs Snack Corner outside Lido should have more than enough foods for you to try. However those hot foods with strong smells like Char Kuay Teow or Durian are ban to bring onboard.
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Old 20-08-2019, 04:04 PM   #2733
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The cruise check-in should starts from 4pm and boarding about 4.30pm. Will be too late for lunch but you should be able to go for early dinner from about 5pm when those inclusive Restaurants open. Or you can go to Blue Lagoon to pay for your meal.

There is a canteen near the boarding kiosks at MBCC if you plan to go early to have lunch.

Unless you have special diet otherwise the Restaurants onboard including the now available 24hrs Snack Corner outside Lido should have more than enough foods for you to try. However those hot foods with strong smells like Char Kuay Teow or Durian are ban to bring onboard.
Correction. You can do the early check in as early as 4pm but the boarding time for PD trips are strictly starting at 5.30pm instead. You check in at 4pm you get to board around 5.30 to 6pm. if you check in after 5pm. You can expect to squeeze and wait with the ahnehs until 6.30 to 7pm to board. Not advisable if you are bringjng young kids should just check in early and wait. You can taobao simple rice to eat inside the terminal while waiting. The 4.30pm boarding time only applies to weekend trip to Bintan. Hope this info can help you for your September trip.

Last edited by Ahboy44; 20-08-2019 at 04:16 PM..
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Old 20-08-2019, 04:09 PM   #2734
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The cruise check-in should starts from 4pm and boarding about 4.30pm. Will be too late for lunch but you should be able to go for early dinner from about 5pm when those inclusive Restaurants open. Or you can go to Blue Lagoon to pay for your meal.

There is a canteen near the boarding kiosks at MBCC if you plan to go early to have lunch.

Unless you have special diet otherwise the Restaurants onboard including the now available 24hrs Snack Corner outside Lido should have more than enough foods for you to try. However those hot foods with strong smells like Char Kuay Teow or Durian are ban to bring onboard.
I bought char kway teow a few times before too but was never checked or stopped too.
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Old 20-08-2019, 04:27 PM   #2735
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I bought char kway teow a few times before too but was never checked or stopped too.
I remember once joined a shore excursion, someone bought char kway teow up to coach on way back to ship. The whole coach can smell and the tour guide immediately ask them to finish up to avoid being checked or stopped by the security.

Guess as long as you are able to cover up the smell should be possible to bring up or security may close one eye unlike Durian, Mangoteens etc.
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Old 20-08-2019, 04:31 PM   #2736
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I remember once joined a shore excursion, someone bought char kway teow up to coach on way back to ship. The whole coach can smell and the tour guide immediately ask them to finish up to avoid being checked or stopped by the security.

Guess as long as you are able to cover up the smell should be possible to bring up or security may close one eye unlike Durian, Mangoteens etc.
Good idea. Next time try to bring durian or mangosteen up. It's different. I go free and easy so no one complain if I bring cooked food up.
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Old 20-08-2019, 04:37 PM   #2737
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Correction. You can do the early check in as early as 4pm but the boarding time for PD trips are strictly starting at 5.30pm instead. You check in at 4pm you get to board around 5.30 to 6pm. if you check in after 5pm. You can expect to squeeze and wait with the ahnehs until 6.30 to 7pm to board. Not advisable if you are bringjng young kids should just check in early and wait. You can taobao simple rice to eat inside the terminal while waiting. The 4.30pm boarding time only applies to weekend trip to Bintan. Hope this info can help you for your September trip.
I remembered once I arrived about 3.50pm and saw group 1 already commenced boarding inside. It really depends on the readiness of the immigration, ship etc and may change as they wish.
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Old 20-08-2019, 04:40 PM   #2738
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Talking

Good idea. Next time try to bring durian or mangosteen up. It's different. I go free and easy so no one complain if I bring cooked food up.
Ask for vacuum pack but make sure remove the shell else x-ray scan can see the durian thorns.
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Old 20-08-2019, 05:20 PM   #2739
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Hi, i have an upcoming 2N trip to Malacca in Sep. Sadly, the cruise has changed to call at PD instead of the original malacca port. Its departure will be at 2100.
Can know if it is possible to board the cruise early for lunch?
Able to bring own packet food onboard? RC does allow it except for baby milk and medication.
Anyone has recommended places or food for PD? Apart from Ostrich farm, curry bun, dirty mee, Regina mall (?), etc.
Confirm no lunch.. They will serve early dinner at 5pm.

I guess GD will dock at 2pm. If you reach early aim for queue group 1 which will board 1st. If you very free you can reach at 2pm or even earlier and aim for the counter/self check in kiosk to open.

As long no heavy smell and you manage to pass the immigration security check you can bring it up. Cos no more check after that. But 1 thing confirm is if you have bottles or cans they sure ask you open to check after the x-ray.

Last edited by Winterdews; 20-08-2019 at 05:44 PM..
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Old 20-08-2019, 09:27 PM   #2740
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I usually go on such trips but never once boarding starts before 4pm. Even when staying under suites is also start boarding at 5.30pm. sometimes they do events on the ship for corporate. The guests will board the ship at around lunch time for a few hours. I went for 7 trips already still the same timing for check in.
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Old 20-08-2019, 09:29 PM   #2741
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Confirm no lunch.. They will serve early dinner at 5pm.

I guess GD will dock at 2pm. If you reach early aim for queue group 1 which will board 1st. If you very free you can reach at 2pm or even earlier and aim for the counter/self check in kiosk to open.

As long no heavy smell and you manage to pass the immigration security check you can bring it up. Cos no more check after that. But 1 thing confirm is if you have bottles or cans they sure ask you open to check after the x-ray.
Even for weekend cruise they reach Singapore around 10am on Sunday morning but the check in for Sunday cruise starts at 12 or 1pm onwards too.
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Old 20-08-2019, 09:32 PM   #2742
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Ask for vacuum pack but make sure remove the shell else x-ray scan can see the durian thorns.
I am joking too. Bringing durian up is too crazy. Even during their VIP durian session few months back. I think they use crane to bring the durians to the top deck too.
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Old 20-08-2019, 09:36 PM   #2743
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Correction. You can do the early check in as early as 4pm but the boarding time for PD trips are strictly starting at 5.30pm instead. You check in at 4pm you get to board around 5.30 to 6pm. if you check in after 5pm. You can expect to squeeze and wait with the ahnehs until 6.30 to 7pm to board. Not advisable if you are bringjng young kids should just check in early and wait. You can taobao simple rice to eat inside the terminal while waiting. The 4.30pm boarding time only applies to weekend trip to Bintan. Hope this info can help you for your September trip.
Such late boarding time. It is supposed to be 2N malacca trip. Jus that it got changed to call at PD. So for 2N malacca trip is also strictly boarding from 530pm?
Is there 24H cafe w free food like RC promenade?
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Old 20-08-2019, 09:42 PM   #2744
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Such late boarding time. It is supposed to be 2N malacca trip. Jus that it got changed to call at PD. So for 2N malacca trip is also strictly boarding from 530pm?
Is there 24H cafe w free food like RC promenade?
They can change the destination anytime they want or like without any compensation or refund. Previously I think there was bombing at Surabaya they change it to Jakarta instead and there are massive traffic jams for passengers who went down.
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Old 20-08-2019, 09:45 PM   #2745
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Such late boarding time. It is supposed to be 2N malacca trip. Jus that it got changed to call at PD. So for 2N malacca trip is also strictly boarding from 530pm?
Is there 24H cafe w free food like RC promenade?
They have the 24 hour snack corner on level 16 outside the lido but be warned that there are lots of Indians dating there especially at night during supper time and they have no manners too. If you have young kids try to avoid. Alternatively you can go to blue lagoon from 11pm to 1am. They have one dollar deal that includes a noodle soup. A fried rice. Chicken wings and some snacks. It's quite worth it.

Last edited by Ahboy44; 20-08-2019 at 09:47 PM..
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