Set sail to Singapore

Set sail to Singapore


After the deadly wreck of Costa Concordia in Italy, if you thought people would be afraid to head into the high seas, then you are mistaken.

Luxury : Grand Piazza inside Superstar Virgo; (top) Virgo herself. Photo by author

Interestingly, the incident has not dampened the spirits of those who enjoy taking a vacation out on a cruise. As the newly refurbished Star Cruise’s biggest cruise in Asia, ‘Superstar Virgo’, docked at the port in Singapore, ready to take on her next set of passengers to the high seas, one couldn’t ignore the jitters on what might lie ahead in the ocean. But, one look at the ship’s magnificent structure, with all its 13 decks, and you knew that it was going to be a trip to remember.

For 12 years, the ship has been entertaining its passengers and recently, it
underwent a three-week dry-dock renovation. It’s back again with a more vibrant decor and exciting short-trip packages aimed at the Indian market.

It takes one a good 10 minutes from the harbour front to the entrance of the ship, but all along the way, you are entertained by characters of the sea, willing to pose for a photograph with you, while welcoming you for the cruise.

As you enter the ship, the bold designs and structures at the lobby catch your eye. The detailing and grandeur of the main entrance extends to the other parts of the ship as well. While there are rooms with different views, ranging from a pothole window to a balcony view, there are some without any views at all. But, there is certainly nothing more enjoyable than having one’s own balcony, where one can enjoy a little part of the ocean in one’s own privacy.

The rooms, by themselves, are unlike the hotel rooms on land. These are comparatively small and compact, but have all the amenities of any hotel room. While the lower decks cannot accommodate more than four in a cabin, the higher decks limit themselves to just two per cabin. You hardly feel the movement or the vibrations of the ship. The journey is smooth and hassle-free. Very rarely does one actually feel sea-sick.

Booked for just two nights and three days on this high sea tour, the cruise may feel like a short one. But, once the ship starts sailing and hits the Strait of Malacca, time seems to come to a standstill. Superstar Virgo provides one with luxury of another kind — the luxury of choice that one is spoilt with during one’s stay on the high seas.

From fine dining at 15 different food and beverage outlets that serve up Japanese, Chinese and Indian cuisine, not to mention a highly recommended Italian restaurant, to a variety of onboard entertainment activities for children and adults, there is never a dull moment.

On the very first night, the ship welcomes its guests in its own unique way — a dance that includes the guests into its routine. Gala dinners are served and even onboard productions are performed in the two theatres. The next morning, after a lavish buffet breakfast, guests can take a walk around the ship and get familiar with the Virgo and the people who work behind it. If that doesn’t interest you, there is always the option of doing absolutely nothing but stare into the vast ocean.

Many ‘rich’ travellers head out to the casino and you rarely see them emerge from there, at least not until check-out time. Some hit the pool and jacuzzi even before the ship starts sailing. There are also those who latch onto the bar throughout their journey. That’s the beauty of the cruise — although everyone is on the same ship, each one gets to enjoy his holiday in his own personal way.

The lucky few can meet the captain at the captain’s bridge. The view from his
office is breathtaking and the equipment is impressive. He openly informs you on how the ship sails and how important it is to keep the balance intact. Singapore, he says, is best suited for cruises as the sea is rarely rough.

As he rightly said, the sea is extremely calm and you never see the big waves that you read about in books. The calmness of the water almost rubs off on you, as you stare into nothingness. The land may seem to have more adventure in store, but exploring the sea surely has its own magic.

A few moments at the dock, with the wind blowing through your hair and the sound of water splashing against the Virgo, is enough to make you forget that you are at sea. You’ll be lost in its beauty, which no amount of luxury, on or off board, can
match up to.