Disembarkation Day – Singapore

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Disembarkation from ships generally follows the same pattern. Suitcases must be packed and placed outside the cabin before midnight the evening before, from where they will be whisked away ready to be unloaded in port. Cabins usually have to be vacated by 8 or 9am on the morning of disembarkation, leaving passengers to find whatever space to sit down and relax, while waiting for the call to leave the ship.

Today, things were different. Because the Voyager is going straight into dry-dock, and a new batch of passengers won’t be joining the ship for another 4 weeks, we had the luxury of having access to our cabin until 5pm, and the deadline for placing luggage outside the cabin was 2pm. Our appointed call to leave the ship was listed as 6:20; our BA flight home, 23:15.

This meant that we had a few hours to go ashore again, which we decided to do before lunch as it would, hopefully, be a little cooler (which it wasn’t).

We walked into the cruise terminal and headed for the boardwalk that leads to the resort island of Sentosa. What surprised us when we got to the boardwalk was that for most of the way, it had one of those moving walkways (I think they call them ‘walkalators’ in airports), which was not only quite fun, but it cut our crossing time down by a considerable amount.

Sentosa is a resort island, which means that it is, essentially, one large playground and theme park. Universal Studios has a large portion of it (which, as far as I could see just meant lots of theme park rides and mock-up ‘cities’), and the rest consists of hotel complexes, aquariums, 3-D museums, shops, cafes, ornate waterfalls and a multi-coloured monorail. The island can also be reached by the cable car we saw yesterday.

At that time in the morning, the place was mercifully quiet, except for a few excitable groups of selfie-stick wielders. We followed a ‘Walking Trail’, which led us across the centre of the resort to the beach on the other side (mental note for if we ever come here again…). Here, we found a huge statue of the Merlion – Half Mermaid, half lion – the symbol of Singapore, and a small cafe where we could buy a drink and a few odds and ends in the gift shop before heading back towards the ship.

After lunch, we packed up the rest of our stuff, placed our luggage in the corridor and went to chill out in the Lookout Lounge. At 4pm, we headed for the restaurant for ‘Afternoon Tea’, where sandwiches and cakes were being served, believing that this would be the last opportunity to consume free food for quite a while.

At something past 6, we left the ship and boarded the coach that was to take us to the airport.

Checking-in was relatively slick, and the couple of hours that we had to wait passed mercifully quickly. We were on board the plane by 11pm, ready to take off at 11:15…

…except we didn’t…

The captain announced that they’d encountered a technical hitch, they were working on it, and would keep us posted on its progress. Thirty minutes later, he came on again to tell us that neither of the plane’s two GPS units were working, and that engineers had boarded to try and fix them.

Two hours later, we finally started to move, the captain thanked us for our patience and told us that the GPSes had miraculously started working again….

14 hours later, we landed at Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5, and faced a further 5 hours drive home…

Our adventure was over.

But it won’t be for long…. in January, we will be joining the Marco Polo on its way towards Brazil and the Amazon…

Watch this space….

Peter Woolley

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