Voyager Diary

- Marlinda Angbetic Tan (The Philippine Star) - July 1, 2012 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - I always thought I went onboard the "Voyager of the Seas" towards the mid 2000s. To my surprise, I dug up this photo when I boarded the Voyager for the first time - in 2001! I was the only media participant in that fam tour of VisMin travel agents sponsored by Northwest Airlines. We checked in at the Royal Caribbean Miami, Florida terminal for a 10-day (or was it longer?) Caribbean Cruise aboard the biggest cruise ship in the world!

Let me share the poem I wrote on that first wondrous cruise:

Windjammer is still the buffet dining area serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with mid-morning and mid-afternoon repast - to your heart's content! Hot and cold drinks (like juices and coffee/tea/milk chocolate drinks) - except for soda and wine - are free. Part of the cost of your passage ticket.

Main dining area is the two-level luxuriously grand Carmen where one is served like royalty by one's own assigned staff with a gourmet multi-course dinner that includes lobsters, scallops, Angus steaks, salmon, etc. prepared in the highest culinary standards. I enjoyed my red wine - shiraz, merlot, cabernet & pinot noir - according to my choice of the main course for the evening. Breakfast is free seating, so one may have to wait to be seated. Or one may not get a preferred seat at all and share a table with others.

This time, the nightly entertainment at the multi-level main theater La Scala has been adapted to the profile of the Asian travelers. Hence, we no longer had Eastern European jugglers, gymnasts and contortionists but equally astounding gymnasts/ballerinas and ice skaters from Mainland China. One night featured a glittering Bollywood extravaganza as we had a great number of co-passengers from India. But the main group of entertainers are still Americans in the tradition of Broadway productions.

A highlight was a concert by an internationally recognized Chinese male pianist who performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the CD accompaniment of which he used as a portion of his outstanding performance. Despite the rough seas, we sat enthralled and gave him a standing ovation.

Not a seaweed wrap treatment at the spa this time, but a haircut done by the young London-based hairstylist before I had my hour-long massage. A leisurely hour at the outdoor Jacuzzi, with my co-traveler and close friend Honey, swirled the stress away in the morning.

We skipped Penang (Malaysia) as we already visited this Malaysian island famous for its varied culinary offerings.Our shore excursions included Port Klang (Malaysia) and Phuket (Thailand) where we did some souvenir shopping and, what else? Thai foot massage! We booked our shore excursions online, so we were able to choose what tour we really wanted and we avoided the long queues onboard.

I am so glad that the Voyager is now sailing in nearby waters. I look forward to sharing the ship's various amenities and fun facilities with my family…when the little ones are not so little anymore and have hopefully developed sturdy sea legs to enjoy the trip.

BOLLYWOOD CARIBBEAN CRUISE EASTERN EUROPEAN JACUZZI LA SCALA LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA MAINLAND CHINA NORTHWEST AIRLINES PORT KLANG ROYAL CARIBBEAN MIAMI VOYAGER OF THE SEAS
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