At check-in, each passenger was issued with a personal access card. It was used as a "passport", room key and credit card, all rolled into one.
Our room was on the port (left) side. The carpet and doors in the long corridor leading to our room were red.
In contrast, the carpet and doors in the corridor on the starboard side were blue. Hence you were unlikely to make a wrong turn even when your were returning to your room drunk like a sailor.
Our room was not very spacious. Yet there were 4 single beds in it - 2 were along the walls opposite each other, 1 was mounted on the wall (can be folded against the wall), another was a sofa bed. I slept on the sofa bed which was not very comfortable. Had we taken a room with balcony, it would have been much more luxurious. However, there was no such option for us.
The toilet-cum-bathroom was only slightly bigger than those you see in an aircraft.
In fact, the feeling on board was quite like flying on an aircraft. Why, they even had a route map on one of the TV channels!
And just like on an aircraft, safety procedure was demonstrated separately by pretty crew members in different parts of the ships.
Dinner was served not long after boarding. We had a choice of 3 "inclusive" (meaning we didn't have to pay anything extra) restaurants - Pavilion Room (Chinese), Mediterranean Buffet (International) and Bella Vista (Chinese/Western). We had our first dinner at Bella Vista. It was a sumptuous 6-course meal - braised sea cucumber, steamed prawns, half-a-fish, kai lan
vegetable, roasted pork with jellyfish and soup. (Since it was not a whole fish, we flipped it over and indeed the ship didn't capsize.)
The restaurants had very good ambience. You could get a seat by the window from where you could get a good view of the sea.
And if that is not romantic enough for you and you don't mind paying a little extra, you can even have serenading musicians to set the dining mood just right.
The ship set sail at about 9 pm. We were having supper at the Mediterranean Buffet on Deck 12 when we felt some tremor-like vibrations when the ship started sailing. We could see ripples in our glasses of water. However, we couldn't hear any engine noise. Other than the slight vibrations, the ship was very steady - we didn't feel any rolling of the ship in the waves at all. Even the vibrations went away after a while. We knew we were in the good hands of the captain and his crew.
A few hours after sailing, our handphones were no longer connected to our usual service providers. Sometimes, we were connected to Indonesian service providers while at other times, we got connected to Malaysian service providers.
At one point, we even thought that we had reached Great Britain!
Most of the time, we were connected to Navitas 1
network. (Navitas is a subsidiary brand of UK's Jersey Telecom Group Limited. That probably explains the "Welcome to G Britain" sms. Read this document
about the installation of Navitas GSM-based services on board the SuperStar Virgo.) However, communication on the Navitas 1 network was not cheap. I made a 1-minute call to Singapore and was charged $2.39 while each outgoing SMS cost me $0.96.
We saw some celebrities on board the ship. Moses Lim was probably on board to review some of the restaurants' food.You Ya (尤雅)
, the Taiwanese songstress who was as famous as the late Teresa Teng (邓丽君 or Deng Li Jun
) in the late 70s and the 80s, performed two 45-minute concerts in the Lido auditorium. My wife and I watched the show. At $40 per head for the cheapest seats, the tickets were quite reasonably priced. Anyway,
I saved us some money by not watching the topless show which was priced at $20-$25 per ticket. Hmm... it's good that You Ya's
concert was still worth more than the topless show. And she didn't have to show anything more than her voice which was still as good as ever.
The facilities on board the SuperStar Virgo were indeed very comprehensive. If the ship was a star in the Asian movie industry instead of the Asian cruise business, it would definitely have won multiple Golden Horse awards.
My third and final entry on the cruise will cover the facilities on board the ship.
(To be continued.)