Strong comeback for cruises

4,700 passengers from 47 countries – those were the numbers I was given of the 5-night Royal Caribbean cruise I took from Singapore to Phuket, stopping enroute at Port Klang and Penang. That shows how much the cruise market has rebounded during post-pandemic times. This cruise was special however; it was the first time Royal Caribbean was sailing to Phuket since the pandemic restrictions in Thailand ended.

Most passengers comprise families, couples or groups of friends seeking to experience a holiday on the sea together. There was palpable excitement in the air at the time of boarding with everyone expecting to have a good time.

And good times we did have indeed. Despite the big crowd, it was an orderly boarding experience. Once onboard, it was easy enough to plan your activities through the Royal app. The app allows you to select your boarding time, as well as viewing the full spectrum of activities happening onboard and shore excursions.

Tips: It is advisable to book in advance a Wi-Fi package, unlimited drinks package and at least three specialty dining. This way, you get to maximise your enjoyment of the trip. Also, try to board at the earliest time so you can have time to explore the ship and some of the activities before it sails. You can start exploring (and eating) at all the complimentary dining venues which are included in your cruise price.

Once onboard, you get a Seapass which also doubles up as your room key and drinks pass. It’s a good idea to start reserving your tables at the specialty restaurants (if you have bought them) and the paid shows. This will ensure you get the best seats in the house though It’s great for those with Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) complex.

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