Issue of March 4, 2018
Mt. Province

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Land, sea, and air 2

Cruising at sea is a totally different experience. It gives you the experience of endless horizons. Viewing far with endless skies and within, in a world contained by never ending discoveries, adventures and entertainment.

At sea or on land, a cruise ship princess provides a Princess Patter Guide. It’s a daily guide of activities of what to do in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Most of the main activities are done in the central lobby of the ship called the Piazza. The guide itinerary starts from 8 a.m. to about 11:30 p.m. So you can schedule your activities, whether its dancing, eating, shopping, casino, the library, spa, zumba exercises, movies, sports, swimming, arts and crafts, beautification regimens, band shows, music, bingo, portraits, raffle, or just plain relaxing or sleeping at the deck. My favorite pastime! There are several bars and restaurants and dining facilities. Most have unlimited dining and snacks, but in some cafes or dining facilities you have to pay.

The Sapphire Princess can accommodate a maximum of 3,100 passengers with a maximum crew of 1,060. Its gross registered tonnage is 115,875 tons, with its overall length of 288.33 meters – 946 feet and breadth of 37.meters – 123 feet. It is operated by Princess Cruises with Captain Heikki Laakkomen of Finland in command.

The 10 days Malaysian Peninsula and Indonesia cruise included docking and anchoring at Port Benoa (Indonesia), Port Kelang (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Port Penang (Malaysia), and Phuket (Thailand) with two days stay in Singapore, which affords you to visit the famous country of the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (often referred to as LKY). Here, you can experience the hop on-hop off buses, Sentosa, the cable cars, Universal Studios, the S.E.A. Aquarium. Home to more than 100,000 marine animals of over 1,000 species, Merlion Park, Chinatown and the National Orchid Park

In the land visits and tours to the destinations you can enjoy several tour itineraries depending on your choice: to have a private tour or get Princess Tour programs. In Bali, Indonesia you can enjoy tours to heritage sites, silver shops, temples, Tohpati batik village, elephant safari, visit to rice terraces Uluwatu Cliff and south coast, the Bali highlands which includes a visit to the 34 acre sanctuary of the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud inhabited by about 410 Balinese long-tailed macaques or monkeys, and shopping. You are told not to step on the monkeys, or to look at them eye to eye, otherwise experience being saddled by the monkey. There are bananas for sale to feed them. No, we did not get to see the exotic beaches of Bali. That means another visit.

One very important thing to remember is the safety in the tenders (transfer boats). It may sound simple, but safety in transferring from the big cruise ship to the little boats may cause serious injury as what we observed and experienced. A passenger’s shoe was caught in between the tender and the ship and a member of the crew tried to retrieve it. Unfortunately, his own shoe was caught in between. His scream was excruciating. It was good he was wearing steel toe shoes, which protected his foot.

Another thing to consider is to always carry your cruise card. It’s your passport within the ship and in transferring to ports and coming back. Also needed is a copy of your passport. Passports are surrendered to the crew in embarkation. You need your card to open the doors of your cabin and to charge expenses. Ports of countries require you to pass thru immigration disembarking and embarking. When you do your shopping, please take note of the strict requirements of bringing fruits on board.

The second port was in Kelang in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Here, you get to visit the famous Petronas Twin Towers – the world’s tallest twin towers. It has a sky bridge 557 feet above sea level and is connected at 41st and 42nd towers, the Merdeka (Independence Square). The temperature in both countries is hot, about 86 degrees Fahrenheit in daytime. Shopping is best at the central market for cheap buys. There were many Filipinos on deck, both as crew and passengers. In Malaysia lansones and mangosteen were abundant, except their lansones looked a little different but were sweet. (To be continued)

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