A few weeks ago, my family and I went on SuperStar Gemini for a cruise to Malacca. We stayed for 2 nights on the ship and spent 1 day actually on land in Malacca.
This blogpost aims to equip would-be Star cruise travelers with knowledge enough to make the full use of their time on the ship.
Embarkation processes vary from port to port. In Singapore, we boarded from the Singapore Cruise Centre in HarbourFront Centre. Before reaching the centre, we checked in online and kept to their recommendation of one hand luggage and one suitcase per person.
Upon arrival , it is suggested that you remove any covers from your passports. As the crew will be holding on to your passport during the entire time on the ship in exchange for your access card to the rooms, it is likely that this is done so that minimal space is needed to store your passports. You will only receive your passports back at the end of the trip.
The access cards are issued to every cruise traveler and is needed for all meals. It is also required upon disembarkation and embarkation for your destination port.
Which then brings us to our next question…
What’s included on a cruise?
Quite alot actually.
Your fare covers accommodation, meals in designated outlets (these outlets will be spelt out in the agreement), some entertainment and many onboard activities. These entertainment and onboard activities will be made known to you via their onboard newsletter, Star Navigator, which you can get at their lobby.
It must be said that some of these entertainment needs to be paid for. The currency used will be in the currency of your departing port. For example if you were to depart from Singapore like we did, you will pay by Singapore Dollars. With that said, some items can be covered by credit/debit card e.g. gratuities.
There are 4 different categories of rooms – inside cabin, Oceanview cabins, balcony cabins and suites. Since we secured a pretty sweet 1-for-1 deal , my family and I took the superior Oceanview stateroom .
We found out upon boarding however that our room and our parent’s were assigned on different levels and though we were not pleased at first, later found out that theirs was in actuality an upgrade to a balcony cabin!
The main difference was that they had an extra balcony on which they could relax. There were other minor differences like they had fruits in their room while ours didn’t.
Our rooms come with power sockets with which you can use to charge your devices. A telephone is also available for you to contact other rooms or if you so desire, room service.
Food-wise would prove to be quite an interesting experience too. We could enjoy our meals at 4 different restaurants, each featuring a distinctive cuisine – Mariners Restaurant (International buffet), Bella Vista (Chinese and Western Set) , Dynasty Restaurant (Chinese buffet) and the Oceana barbecue (International buffet).
One pro-tip that my family and realised just before the trip is that dinner is provided on the night you board the ship. Since we boarded at 8pm, we didn’t have dinner until 9pm. To go around that, we had a light snack before embarkation.
Since we had read some rave reviews about the food in Bella Vista, we opted for that on the first night and it did not disappoint. Over the next few days, we would alternate between the different restaurants for variety. Even in the same restaurant dishes would rotate from day to day.
But the real question still lingers – what is there to do on board?
As it turns out, plenty! There are activities which you can do for fun and facilities you can visit and even shows.
On our deck , there were easily 5-6 pieces, each of the piece accompanied by a suggested pose at the side. Usually these would involve 3-4 people and proved to be much fun for the family to pose against!
During our time on the ship, there were magic shows, circuses and some bands that were playing. Unfortunately , we did not have a chance to watch these performances save for the live ones at the restaurants.
Apart from that, there is also a childcare centre where a staff can baby-sit for a nominal charge.
Fitness and wellness
We also visited their fitness centre and the jogging track which on the SuperStar Gemini were on different levels. While the picture shows a rather big area, the one on SuperStar Gemini was probably half the floor area or less. One thing that we were thankful for was the assistance afforded by the staff in helping us operate the machines there.
Also available there were a drink dispenser and towels for your use .
The Casino is free to visit but requires you to be a Genting rewards member to try your hand at gambling. Thankfully, membership is free and can be applied for on board. A picture is snapped and 5 minutes later you have your own freshly minted card. There is a password attached to the card and you can top-up your card with cash at the casino.
There is a strict no photography policy at the venue.
Apart from experiences onboard, you have the option of disembark at your destination as well!
SuperStar Gemini did not dock at a port at Malacca but stopped away from land. From there a smaller boat takes you about 5 mins to land. If you have a shore excursion already booked , your tour bus will be waiting for you here. If not, you’ll have to get around by foot or by taxi.
Be forewarned though, there will be other passengers looking to do a free and easy taxi tour as well.
In the end, I think our experience on SuperStar Gemini more than made up for the price paid . Most importantly, because we brought out parents along, the trip wasn’t too taxing on them due to the minimal walking and the land excursion that we booked.
If I had to change one thing, it is to attend at least one of the performances.