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December 22, 2015

Travel Post: Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas

And so, we've cruised on Royal Caribbean International (RCI) for the first time!

We thought it'd be good to provide some tips for people in Singapore (or anywhere else) since Mariner of the Seas is going to be in Singapore for a while. I've kept some spoilers on another page so that you can still have a dream vacation without too many expectations! :)

Prior to sailing, we did some research such as, "Tips for Royal Caribbean cruises" etc, and this page is pretty useful:

So, during the cruise, we realized some of them were true, but some not so, perhaps only for Mariner of the Seas. Do correct us, if we're wrong in any way! :)

Lisabeme2: Book onboard for the NextCruise booking bonus.
In Singapore: So true! Go check out the perks for booking on NextCruise, by the mid of your trip. Don't wait until the last minute. There will be a line of people queuing up for the only 2 desks, and you'll be wasting time queuing.

The prices are reportedly better than those offered in Singapore road shows. Anyway, if you do cancel the booking, there's no penalty. You only lose the onboard credit for the next cruise.

AVFD102: Get to the port early and use a porter.
In Singapore: Even if you reach late, the porters will still drag your luggage up.

RKSister: Don't over pack.  Wear clothing more than once, such as pants or shorts.
In Singapore: If you're staying in Interior staterooms, yes. Do pack lesser. There isn't much space in the cabin for an open suitcase.

Bill1125: Book a suite to get Concierge access because, at disembarkation, you get to use secret elevators and encounter no lines leaving the ship.
In Singapore: We asked RCI office in Singapore but they denied any 'secret elevators'. Perhaps you gotta have a suite before they'd divulge the secret. Anyway, junior suites do not have such perks. The perks you get for booking a junior suite that's different from a stateroom with a balcony is a bathtub, (slightly) larger room space and 24 hours room service (which isn't of much use considering that Cafe Promenade opens 24 hours).

Jamesw32: Don't wait to go home to give feedback.  Get any concerns resolved on board.
In Singapore: True that. They'd be more than happy to solve any issues you might have.

Daboyz1223: Wear a swimsuit onto the ship in embarkation day because your luggage may not get to your stateroom for a while.
In Singapore: Hmm, unless you embark really early like 11.30am, else the pool was pretty empty even when we boarded it at 2.30pm. Guess everyone was stuffing themselves at the buffet lunch area, the Windjammers.

Lisabeme2: Do the VIP All Access Tour at least once.
In Singapore: We were initially excited about it and were worried that there wouldn't be enough space if we did not book early. The VIP All Access Tour costs USD 150, which is really hefty. We decided to forgo it, as we decided it'd be more worth it for the bigger classes, e.g. Freedom Class (2nd largest class), Oasis Class (Largest class).

Plus, don't go booking for the trip beforehand, unlike comments you might have read online.
There was a promotion on the 2nd and 3rd day of my cruise, where it's a 1-for-1. Yes. USD 150 for 2 pax. The tour takes place on the cruising day, at 9.30am.

CraigOchs: Pack a highlighter to use for the Cruise Compass.
In Singapore: Yes! Please do, it makes organising your day's event so much easier to spot.

Kevinkline5: Walk as part of the "Walk for Wishes" charity event onboard.
In Singapore: It wasn't part of the Cruise Compass (Day's Itinerary), and we did not inquire about it.

Bill1125: Bring ice cream to the pool bar and amazing drinks can happen.
In Singapore: We kept wanting to, but didn't have a chance! Please try and let me know if it's really true!

RKSister: Book My Time Dining a few days in advance before your cruise.
In Singapore: The travel agent will have asked you during the signing of the contract.


First day discount on Specialty Restaurants? Yes, but... (Giovanni's Table, Chops Grille)
Yes, on the first day, it was in the Cruise Compass there was a 20% off. We went for it. But, on the 3rd & 4th days, there was a 25% discount plus a glass of champagne! Anyway, every morning there'd be someone walking around asking a passerby if they'd like to make reservations. And if you ask politely if they could give you a 20% discount, they'll be more than happy to oblige.

Should I go for the Specialty Restaurants (Giovanni's Table, Chops Grille)?
We didn't manage to try Giovanni's Table, but they're worth a try! Chops Grille is fantastic if you're a steak lover. And as steak fanatics, when we mean fantastic, it is!

Pre-booking... is not needed.
We checked out the Cruise Planner prior our trip and realized there was nothing much to book for. Except for shore excursions (which were really expensive...)

Should I book Shore Excursions?
If you're travelling with a family, it'd be a good idea to go for an Excursion unless you've done thorough research on how you're going to navigate the destinations. Else you're gonna waste time walking around with a large group and accomplishing nothing much. If you're travelling as a couple or a small group, it's okay to go free & easy.

Bring your toiletries. A hairdryer is provided!
Only bar soaps and one all-in-one shampoo & body foam is provided for the bath. Bring your own toiletries, even your own toothpaste & toothbrush. The only mama shop at Port Klang is a rip-off. Bath and face towels are provided and regularly changed (3 times in a day!). A hairdryer is provided (yay!)

What else must I bring?
Long pants and long socks! For ice-skating and in-line skating. Though both skating rinks are very small.


We're gonna update this page when we can, with pics. Meanwhile, hope these tips help! Feel free to comment below if you've any queries!


Update (21 April 2019) - We're going for our next RCI cruise on Voyager of the Seas on 3 May 2019!

Packing List for a Royal Caribbean Cruise Trip >>

September 22, 2015

Lime Restaurant @Park Royal at Pickering

We had full of hopes for this beautiful place after visiting it during a wedding fair. And after, you know, the Hit man: Agent 47 movie, as one of the scenes was shot in their beautiful Presidential Suite.

The place!

There were hits and misses.

Of course, the lovely decoration and ambiance is a definite 10/10 hit. It's one of the classiest hotel around. We love the restrooms especially. All the wood, shouting eco-friendliness. There weren't much people around on a Sunday, but the wait staff were quite attentive.

There was a special Peranakan feature in the buffet line, which is partly why we were there, for our Peranakan mother's birthday. Sadly, only the Durian desert made the mark, but the rest were pretty average.

The Peranakan spread...

No fancy Alaskan King Crab legs, but there were ample freshly shucked oysters. Tuna sashimi was not fantastic, tasting kind of rubbery, but the Salmon did its job alright.

The Western section is good, with live carving station of pork belly, which surprisingly, wasn't tough at all. There is a live cooking station of pasta, where they even serve Squid Ink pasta. You get to have as much cheese as you like. Oomph!

There's the usual Chinese, Indian section as well. Desserts is good, especially their Chocolate cake. They have their full and small cakes on display just beside their buffet section. A pretty smart idea, I thought, as guests would probably be tempted to purchase the beautifully decorated cake, and quite affordable (think of full-sized birthday cakes at only $45 for delicious chocolate or tiramisu!), while walking to get their food.

Whole Cakes at only $45!

As a friend was celebrating her birthday, I told the hotel about it, and the wait staff was especially thoughtful. She only waited for the birthday to leave the table and asked me questions like, when should the surprise cake be served etc. I was initially worried she'd ask me in front of the birthday girl and it wouldn't be a surprise anymore!

And... Yes, they did it! They brought the cake in from her back and she looked truly delighted at the singing staff and beautiful cake with a lit-up candle. The trio of staff and us sang her a birthday song happily, and of course, we are all happy customers.

There were quite a few customers celebrating their birthday as well, as they did the same for all. It was really sweet.

I wouldn't go back again for the food, unless they had a one-for-one promo, but the ambiance and interior of the restaurant and the service of the wait staff is certainly one-of-a-kind.


Food: 1/5
Service: 3/5
Ambiance: 2/5
Total Score: 1/5
[1- Never visit again, 2-Won't visit unless there's no other option, 3-Perhaps, 4 & 5- Yes!]

Good for? Couples, Groups, Family


About it:
Lime Restaurant
Address: PARKROYAL on Pickering, a PARKROYAL Collection hotel, 3 Upper Pickering Street, Singapore 058289
(Six to 12 years old)
Mondays to Fridays
Mondays to Thursdays
Fridays to Sundays
138 (inclusive of Champagne and house wines)

September 20, 2015

Wedding: Venue- S.E.A Aquarium, Resorts World Sentosa

S.E.A Aquarium, Resorts World Sentosa Wedding Show 2015

Walking in at night...
As the S.E.A Aquarium closes at 7pm daily, they can only start to set the dining area up after the last visitor has left. Hence, dinner here starts pretty late- 8+pm. Don't worry, your guests will probably spend much of their time taking photos along the way. 

The Ballroom
Centre floral pieces for VIP tables only.

How your cake tier will look like... Yes, the stage is small.

Normal floral center pieces for regular tables

The Menu
As we were having plated dishes, the service is understandably slower than communal dishes. The servers were really professional though, imagine having to balance so much plates on a large serving tray and climbing up and down the staircases. Even the runway models had trouble with the stairs during the fashion show!

The food tasted average on the whole. The wok-fried Kurobuta Pork was the highlight. It was tender and nicely marinated. The final dish, the dessert, was quite unique, and refreshing!


On the whole...
For only $1,888++, with minimum 15 tables, this is a very unique banquet venue if you have slightly more to spend as it'll add up to $2,000 after taxes. The Ocean Suite is part of the package too!

Solemnization can be held at the Ocean Dome, which is quite a pretty area.

Do note that fairy lights are at the bridal couple's extra cost. The lights are pretty dim, which makes photo-taking a bit difficult. 

September 18, 2015

Arbite @Serangoon Gardens

We visited this place on a weekday, having seen a few of this outlets around. They're more like a cafe, which we are kind of apprehensive about the food. Nonetheless, we decided to give it a go. On a row of shop houses in Serangoon Gardens, right beside Chomp Chomp, this cafe is located on the second floor, with a staircase and a quirky walls leading to it. The menu looked pretty interesting with lots of mod-sin dishes.

Virgin Classic Mojito

Soup of the Day- Cauliflower Soup

Salmon Risotto ($24)

Braised Pork Ragout Pappadrella ($18)
Handmade pappardelle, pork collar, carrots, dried chinese mushrooms & tomatoes

We were first served our Soup of the Day, which was Cauliflower Soup. A generous, big bowl, enough to warm up two hungry tummies. The Virgin Classic Mojito is a fail-proof with the distinctive mint leaves. This set (drink and soup of the day) costs $6 to top-up, if you order a main course.

The Braised Pork Ragout Pappadrella ($18) had heat gushing out  when we lifted pasta, which seems to remind me of my microwaved dinner... The pork was braised evenly, but the taste seemed monotonous after awhile, especially since as the Pappadrella didn't stand out either.

The Salmon Risotto ($24) is pretty interesting as it seemed like more like a wet porridge dish. We're not sure if it was what the chef wanted it to be, something like the Chinese's Mui Fan (soupy rice). I thought it seemed like a dish I'd love to eat during cold, or ill days, as it was especially tummy-warming and easy to gulp.

We saw quite a few people coming in to order their all-day breakfast items as well, but I doubt we'd return. There're many other good places with similar concepts to try out in the vicinity.


Food: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Ambiance: 3/5
Total Score: 2/5
[1- Never visit again, 2-Won't visit unless there's no other option, 3-Perhaps, 4 & 5- Yes!]

Good for? Couples, Groups, Family


About it:
Address: 66A Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555962
Prices: $16-$22 onwards (Mains)

September 9, 2015

The Black Swan @Raffles, Cecil Street

Situated at a busy junction, you may or may not have noticed this restaurant whenever you drive through this road. It has a very classy name (that we can't help thinking of the movie and Natalie Portman...) and shopfront, we finally struck it off our to-go places list.

We were invited to an event which took place at the Powder Room. It is a very cosy, darkly-lit place intended more for drinks session because of the bar. We can easily envision a small party held here. The canapes are actually pretty delicious. Among all, the Foie Gras Parfait & Duck Rillette Platter and the desserts were really full of flavor.

Delicious canapes for an evening event is never a good idea, and we decided to head down to the main dining area after the event ended, after all, since we are here and feeling a tad peckish.

The dining area has also the same ambiance, and is also decorated in class. The servers are also very attentive and friendly.

Papardrelle Au Canard ($32)
Shredded duck leg, shimeji, jus gras

Black Swan Burger ($32) 
Seasoned chuck, mature cheddar, sunny side up egg, streaky bacon, fries

Black Swan Burger ($32)
Egg and bacon!

We ordered the Papardrelle Au Canard ($32), consisting of tender shredded duck leg, juicy shimeji and jus gras. The texture of the pasta was done just nice, and to our surprise, the portion was actually quite generous. It was a tasty dish.

We've also long heard of the Black Swan Burger ($32), and finally, we did get to try it. It has been a long time since we had a decent beef burger, after all those specialty burger stores popping up and a beef burger was never quite as simple... With an extremely well-seasoned chuck, the melted mature cheddar lifted the taste of the chuck to another level. The sunny side up egg seems a bit off, but serves to fill up your tummy. Not to mention the streaky bacon on the side, which was double the oomph factor. We honestly didn't expect such a big slice of bacon to go with this dish. Also, the server was very nice to have upgraded our normal fries to truffle fries for free. The fries were nicely done too. Enamored by the truffle smell and the smell of the well-toasted bun, we gobbled this dish down quickly. It's well-worth the price!

Overall, the portions are generous, dishes tasty, and well-executed. There was also a pretty interesting dessert that our neighbor ordered, which they actually serve it by your table. We'd be back to try out!


Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Ambiance: 4/5
Total Score: 4/5
[1- Never visit again, 2-Won't visit unless there's no other option, 3-Perhaps, 4 & 5- Yes!]

Good for? Couples, Groups, Family


About it:
The Black Swan
Address: 19 Cecil St, Singapore 049704
Prices: $30++ onwards (Mains)

September 1, 2015

Triple Three @Mandarin Orchard Hotel

When our friends eagerly asked us the next day after we tried the dinner buffet at Triple Three, Mandarin Orchard Hotel, we shook our heads sadly.

The place!

Perhaps our expectations were initially too high- after all we heard many good reviews about the place. Also, the restaurant was always fully booked during its one-for-one promotion, especially on weekends. Maybe the spread during weekends were better than the Monday we ate on. Luckily we didn't pay the full price, because if I did, I would be twice as sad.

Imagine the long queues forming in this small space...

The Carving station

There were too much waiting involved.
For example, there is a live carving station which had 3 meats but one staff carving. Everybody waits. The worst would be the live shucking Oysters section. The two poor chefs' hands seemed to be trembling from all the shucking for like, 20 oysters per person? And the stares of the hungry people waiting in line on them.

We had to wait for the Japanese Sashimi too, and they only gave a few small pieces per person. You had to wait for the naans or prata at the Indian station.
Forget about taking it for the whole table, then settling down to eat. Everybody has to queue. Everybody at the table is wondering where did one of us go to, and yes, they were queueing.

The next thing that put us off is the spread. The spread, was little, for say, Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, which was at a lower price. There were only three food lines, another desserts and cheese line. Local food, seafood, Japanese sashimi, Indian food.

The food was not that tasty...
There was a theme for everyday, and Monday was about crabs. But the only crab I could see was the Alaskan King Crab... legs and bodies. The legs were so salty, we wondered how long they've been submerged in salted water. After one or two legs, we gave up. They weren't sweet at all.

The vegetables came out under cooked and tasted raw because the chefs had to cook quickly to cater to the long queues.

The rest of the food were quite so-so. The beef from carving station was too tough and veiny. The only decent beef was the Teppanyaki, but again, you had to wait as it runs out quite quickly.

Liu sha bao is good, phew.

All in all, don't bother going if you're going to pay for the full price. If there's are one-for-one promotion, you might want to let me know if the weekends spread was better. Else, there're many other options around.


Food: 1/5
Service: 3/5
Ambiance: 2/5
Total Score: 1/5
[1- Never visit again, 2-Won't visit unless there's no other option, 3-Perhaps, 4 & 5- Yes!]

Good for? Couples, Groups, Family


About it:
Triple Three
Address: Level 5, Mandarin Orchard Singapore, 333 Orchard Road, 238867
Sunday to Wednesday: $88++ (Adult), $33++ (Child 6 to 12yrs)
Thu/Fri/Sat & Eve of Public Holiday and Public Holiday: $98++ (Adult); $33++ (Child 6 to 12yrs)
Sunday Lunch: $118++ (Adult), $42++ (Child 6 to 12yrs)
Top up for free flow of Chandon Brut sparkling wine at $30++ for 2 hours

August 31, 2015

Wedding: Venue- PARKROYAL on Pickering Hotel

PARKROYAL on Pickering Hotel Wedding Show 2015

Solemnization beside the pool...

Candy Bar at additional $888++ 

William & Pickering Ballroom (Combined)
The divider will be removed for bigger weddings

The smaller ballroom... 

Bridal Suite

The Poolside! 

Hotel room used in the Hollywood movie, Hitman: Agent 47's- the Presidential Suite

August 23, 2015

Caprilicious at Capri by Frasers @Changi

Sunday dinner buffet at Caprilicious at Capri by Frasers was a random decision. Hunger pangs at 4+pm, we decided to wait to fill our empty tummies with the delicious... lobsters!

The place!

We booked via Eatigo- my recent go-to app for meal ideas, as there is a 50% off for reservations made at 6pm for Caprilicious! Hoo-ray! Originally at $50, after discount, it's only $25++/pax!

What's more, this price's for a Boston Lobster buffet.

Sashimi from the buffet line

More from the buffet line...

When we reached there, we were told it's a semi-buffet, but trust me, if everyone orders 2 lobsters to share, that's actually quite a lot. Plus, the little buffet is good as well. Though basic, nothing fancy, they have the decent Chinese cuisine, Japanese tuna and salmon sashimi, no crabs, but they do have prawns. They have a pre-sliced beef station with brown sauce and potato wedges, and a bread station. The desserts located at the entrance is quite good too! A whole line by itself! That's pretty much.

We liked their Rock Lobster Bisque! A tad salty, but hey, it's really rich, and we're pretty much convinced it's made of the real stuff, after all, the remnants of so much lobster has to go somewhere right?

Here comes the lobster meal!

There're appetizers, mains (Western & Asian) and desserts to choose from, but we chose all from the first two. Desserts seem kinda not-worth-the-price.

Desserts line (aka the entrance)

Desserts (from the buffet line)!


I guess the pictures speak for themselves! 


Food: 1/5
Service: 3/5
Ambiance: 2/5
Total Score: 1/5
[1- Never visit again, 2-Won't visit unless there's no other option, 3-Perhaps, 4 & 5- Yes!]

Good for? Couples, Groups, Family


About it:
Address: 3 Changi Business Park Central 1, Singapore 486037
S$50++ per adult
S$27++ per child (Children age between 5-12 years old)

Buffet theme ongoing in this post: Caprilicious Boston Lobster Dinner Adventure
- Every Sat and Sun evenings from 6pm to 10pm
- Choose 2 lobster dishes from delectable selections each time you visit