08 September 2007

First Time On A Cruise Ship (1)

Our forefathers probably came to Singapore from China as human cargo in the hold of a ship. You could see the pathetic condition of a cargo hold from the following video-grab of a 1984 local TV series, Wu4 Shuo3 Nan2 Yang2 (雾锁南洋):

Unlike our forefathers, my family has never taken a trip on board a ship. So for the experience, I paid $1630 for four of us to go on a cruise-to-nowhere from 10-12 Aug 2007 on board the luxurious SuperStar Virgo. At 76,800 gross tonnage and 268m length, the Virgo is the largest ship in the Star Cruises' fleet. It has 13 decks and 980 cabins which can carry 2,000 passengers. From what I was told, it takes more than 1,200 staff of a dozen nationalities to keep the ship's operations running smoothly.

We boarded the ship at 5.30 pm on 10 Aug 2007. Embarkation at the Singapore Cruise Centre at the Harbourfront was a breeze as my wife had the foresight of pre-registering a day earlier.

Our cabin number was 5520 on Deck 5.

I was sort of relieved that it was above the waterline.

It was an "oceanview stateroom with window" on the portside of the ship.

(It is obvious that both my sons are avid fans of Walt Disney cartoons.)

Being someone who is quite observant, I noticed that on the entire ship, there were no cabin numbers with a figure "4" as any of its digits.

Notice the missing cabin numbers (marked by red arrows) 5502, 5514, 5524, 5004, 5014 and 5024 in the deck plan above. Also, cabin numbers on the portside run from 5500 to 5610 (with no numbers beginning with 554) while those on the starboard side run from 5000 to 5100 (with no numbers beginning with 504). It looks like a deliberate attempt to avoid the number 4 at all costs. I can only think of superstition as the reason for such a weird numbering system. (The figure 4 when pronounced in Cantonese sounds like 死 or "die".) Yet surprisingly, there is a Deck 4 which houses the tendering area and the medical centre. Hmm... how then would you rate your chances of recovery should you ever have the misfortune of being cared for in the medical centre?

I also heard of this superstition - when you are sailing and eating a whole fish at a meal, never flip the fish over to get at the meat on the other side. Instead, always try to get to the meat from between the bones because if you flip the fish over, the ship may capsize!

(To be continued)


alex g said...

Didn't know the owners are so superstitious. I'd guess since they operate in Asia, having cabins with the number '4' could potentially make the Cantonese shunt away.

Laokokok said...

Where you got the Disney masks? I've yet to go on a cruise too?

Victor said...

Alex - Yes, I think from a business point of view, having inauspicious cabin numbers may cause potential loss of business. In fact, skipping the number 4 is so easily implementable that I wonder why they don't do the same for condominiums.

Victor said...

Laokokok - The Disney masks were from the same "shop" (i.e. Photoshop) where you bought your batman mask. If you want, I can mail them to you FOC. Just don't say that I gave them to you when Walt Disney comes after you for copyright infringement.

fr said...

ah! Cruise, very leisure...eat, laze around in the breeze and setting sun.....

is it possible that deck 4 sounds good in chinese

Lam Chun See said...

Hey can't wait to read yr part 2 to see if its worth a try for my family.

tigerfish said...

A cruise can be relaxing sometimes. Imagine, just eat and eat and eat :O

I did not notice there was no "4" in the cabins! hahah!

The fish superstition I heard before too but sometimes it's just too difficult to get the fish meat underneath leh! Flip loh! :p

Victor said...

Frannxis & Tigerfish - Yes, a cruise is very relaxing (not to mention fattening, haha). In fact, we find package tours to the usual destinations a real hassle - having to wake up early everyday, being herded like sheep, packing and unpacking, etc so we opted for a cruise this time.

Chun See - I know you hate crowds. However, the Virgo is really quite big - I think there are about 10 restaurants but only 3 of them are inclusive, meaning that the fare you paid included meals at these 3 restaurants. You really should bring your family on board. Trust me, it is quite enjoyable.

Shilpa said...

Wah lau, when I first saw that capture, I immediately thought of Wu Shuo Nan Yang, sekali it turned out to be it! :) but can't remember the title in English.. Is it "The Awakening"? Childhood memories, haha... those days it was still called SBC.. :)

Glad your cruise seemed enjoyable, but better faster tell us more about the superstitions!!

Victor said...

Shilpa - Yes, I think you are right. The English name for the TV drama series Wu Shuo Nan Yang is indeed The Awakening. And before the local TV authority was called SBC, it was called RTS (Radio Television Singapore). That was probably before your time.

etel said...

At first when i looked at the wu suo nan yang screenshot, i thought it looked like a box with maggots/worms inside. omg.

then i saw the pic with mickey mouse and donald duck. LMAO.

p.s. my internet was down for the past 3 days, hence the hiatus. :( i hate singnet. :(

Cool Insider said...

Nice one there Victor. Looks like a classic holiday post in the making.

Thanks for bringing up the story about flipping the fish over to get to the meat on the other side. Its an interesting tale which I remembered hearing about many many years/decades ago when I was a kid. I just wonder though if its more deadly to choke on a fish bone than risk capsize? ;)

evan said...

hi uncle vic, was suprised to see u linking me up again :p

wow $1630 for cruise, quite ex hor? i been on cruise twice actually, once on leo, the other on virgo. but the food was quite disappointed on the latter on. but overall quite enjoyable! i love the galaxy of stars, library & jacuzzi the most :p hope u enjoyed yrself too =) take care.

Victor said...

Etel - Saw your new blog layout and the nice photos that you've taken. Now waiting for the music to be uploaded so that I can illegally download. :P

Walter - Your Melbourne trip photos looks so much more colourful and interesting. I just love the very well-taken horse-carriage photo. Would have used it illegally too.

Evan - Your business seemed to have grown by leaps and bounds. It is certainly testament to your good baking skills.