One of my biggest fears of taking my first-ever cruise to nowhere was that I would actually enjoy it.
While I’ve for the longest time dismissed cruises as a poor alternative to “real” travelling, I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that cruise aficionados had long known: cruises aren’t just for retirees who had given up on adventure, harassed parents with kids, buffet addicts and die-hard gamblers.
A recent trip on the Spectrum Of The Seas confirmed my worst fears. After two nights on Royal Caribbean’s superlative-laden ship, I realised cruises to nowhere are an ideal way to break out of a two-year isolation, especially for those still worried about getting Covid-19 while on holiday.
In fact, only vaccinated people are allowed on board and everyone has to clear an antigen rapid test before sailing.
“It’s the ultimate travel bubble,” quips Royal Caribbean’s Asia-Pacific vice-president and managing director Angie Stephen over lunch.
True. You could even call it a staycation-plus, with the pluses coming from the plethora of options for dining and activities, the space to wander around and the ever-present view of the expanse of sea.
After two years of being stuck in Singapore, that alone is a far bigger deal than you might think.
Of course, it helps to hit the high seas on the three-year-old Spectrum, which officially arrived this month in Singapore, which it will make its home port.
The 350m-long ship boasts several firsts in the cruise operator’s fleet. Apart from skydiving and surfing simulators, it also offers a bungee-trampoline adventure and a Singapore Flyer-like ride in a glass capsule 100m above sea level.
Spectrum also has more suites than usual – some 140 suites clustered in a “suite club” at the bow, with exclusive lounges. Despite their price, anywhere from 1½ times that of the usual staterooms, they sell out fast, according to the company.
I get a sneak peek of the biggest suite – a two-deck, 260 sq m Ultimate Family Suite that boasts jaw-dropping features such as a mini private cinema, a large balcony with a bathtub, a massive bathroom with a spa-like shower, and a slide for kids to scoot down to the first floor.
Apart from a multi-deck main dining hall, the ship packs more than 10 restaurants, with several bars, lounges and snack stops.