By Matt Liew
*If you missed out on Day 1, read it here!
Exhausted from the previous day’s activities, I woke up too late to have regular breakfast at the dining hall or the Windjammer Cafe, so I ended up eating brunch at Café Promenade.
On the way back to my room after brunch, I watched one of Dreamworks’ famous green ogres get swarmed by a horde of excited children – Princess Fiona. A quick check of my Cruise Compass back in my room after the event revealed that Princess Fiona’s appearance was one of many appearances by famous Dreamworks characters throughout the cruise – which I made mental note of to avoid, being the child-averse mid-20s male that I am.
My Cruise Compass also indicated that there was an art auction happening in another part of Mariner, so I headed over there to check it out. To my pleasant surprise, they were handing out free champagne to at the auction – so I gladly helped myself to a few glasses. #daydrinking
After seeing some pieces of art that I actually enjoyed and receiving some painful reminders that I’m not rich (the art was going at rather exorbitant prices), I headed up to the pools on Deck 11 to soak in some sun before the day’s workshops began. I finally managed to get the froyo that I wanted the day before, as there was no queue this time around. There’s something special about having a refreshing froyo cone under the sun whilst sailing across the ocean in what’s pretty much a floating city.
I once again opted for the peace and quiet of the Solarium pools, but noticed some family-oriented activities like line dancing and water balloon games happening at the main pools during my frequent trips back to the poolside bars to get more drinks. #daydrinking
I also witnessed something that…disturbed me to the very core:
Who the fuck sunbathes in a hoodie, seriously?
— Matt Liew, KW (@MattLiewARC) December 18, 2016
Evidently, I was quite dismayed by the incident.
After expressing my dismay on social media, I headed downstairs for the day’s DWF Workshops. Today, DWF had organized six workshops in two different venues: four in the conference rooms like the day before, and two in the Dragon Lair.
Mouaze, Tarek & Debbe, and Arnold & Wandaisha returned to conduct workshops different from the previous day, while Juan Ruiz (Australia), Talal (Belgium), and Sensual Bachata masters Korke & Judith (Spain) joined the lineup of instructors conducting workshops.
The styles of latin dance being taught at the workshops were mostly Salsa and Bachata, and I noticed that I was more adept at learning Bachata than Salsa – the movements in Bachata just felt more natural to me.
Interestingly enough, we discovered that one of the performers onboard, Tamara Guo, had decided to join some of the workshops! The dancers from Hong Kong were quite excited to meet her and took some photos with her, though I will – shamefully – admit that I had no idea who she was when I first met her.
After the workshops ended, we had lots of spare time to ourselves. While most of the other dancers went to swim or sunbathe, while I spontaneously attempted to execute an idea that came to mind.
A part of me had decided that filming my own version of The Lonely Island’s “I’m on a Boat” on Snapchat was a brilliant idea…so I that’s exactly what I tried to do. The final product didn’t turn out as good as I hoped and it would’ve been much easier if I had a travel partner – or partners – so it shall never see the light of day. Something worth trying to recreate when I actually have a squad with me #squadgoals.
The Lonely Island’s “I’m on a Boat”, featuring T-Pain
After my failed attempt at shooting a music video, I headed down to watch the Farewell Production, featuring Tamara Guo. Royal Caribbean’s staff had initially advised me to arrive early to get a good seat, but I was a little distracted by my music video filming attempts that I arrived just as the show was about to start. I still managed to get a decent seat, however, and enjoyed the production as a whole, while Tamara delivered a spectacular performance.
After the Farewell Production I grabbed a quick dinner at the Windjammer Café before heading back to my room to freshen up and get ready for the night’s performances and social dance organized by DWF. I stepped into Studio B on Deck 3, and was amazed by what I saw. What was originally an ice skating rink meant for performances and also open to guests during the day had been transformed into a spacious wooden dance floor.
Due to the lighting, I was unable to capture any videos of the performances, but thankfully DWF had hired a professional photographer to capture the night’s performances. We were treated to solo performances by Mouaze Konate and Kate Virshki, and capped off the night’s performances with a mind-blowing routine by DWF regulars Tarek & Debbe of African Jet.
Similar to the previous night, all official activities ended at around 1-2am, but not everyone was ready to call it a night. One of the dancers successfully managed to convince Mariner’s crew to allow us to use the Dragon’s Lair for an unofficial afterparty, and those of us not ready to call it a night kept dancing for a few more hours.
The only video I have of our unofficial afterparty, taken from my Snapchat. Sorry for the vertical
Sometime around 5am, we split into two groups: one group was heading off to sleep, while the other group – which I was a part of – was determined to catch the sunrise. I passed by Mariner’s onboard casino, Casino Royale, on the way to my room to change into swimwear. It was a bustling, lively place as guests took their chances against the house, and I was quite surprised to see the staff offering to teach guests how to play games they were unfamiliar with.
Reuniting with my newfound friends on Deck 11 after a quick change of clothes, we relaxed in the jacuzzis and swapped stories while waiting for the sunrise. The sunrise soon revealed Singapore skyline, signaling that our cruise was about to come to an end.
With our mission to catch the sunrise accomplished, I quickly headed back to my room to shower and change into a fresh set of clothes in order to catch a quick breakfast. I got myself a nice breakfast of sausage, eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Walking back to my table with my breakfast haul, my nose picked up a familiar scent. “No, it can’t be”, I thought to myself. I turned to my right, and saw one of my favorite meals from the time I lived in the US – biscuits & gravy.
I retired to my room after breakfast to rest for a little while I waited for my turn disembark; Royal Caribbean had arranged for guests to disembark in groups, and mine was one of the last to disembark. When it came to my turn to disembark, the whole process was seamless. I cleared immigration and was back on Singaporean soil in less than 15 minutes, and shortly afterward was headed to the airport to catch my flight back to Malaysia.
All in all, it was a truly memorable experience, and definitely one I will remember for quite awhile. Whether a cruise is a viable alternative to the typical mid-20s Malaysian holiday to another Southeast Asian country, that’s honestly for you to decide.
All I know is I’m already planning my next cruise, and this time, I’m bringing friends.
To plan your cruise with Royal Caribbean, visit https://www.royalcaribbean.com
Alternatively, get in touch with Royal Caribbean’s Malaysian representative:
Gem Travel & Tours Sdn. Bhd.
37B, Second Floor,
Jalan Wan Kadir 2,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-7727 4835