Pike Place Market : (Possibly) Seattle’s Top Tourist Attraction!

Seattle’s Pike Place Market is the main tourist attraction in Seattle. After walking through the market, we’re not sure what’s there to introduce really. But it’s just the vibe and the feel that you’ve got to be there to enjoy the sights and smell! And because we can’t depict the sounds through mere pictures, here’s a video that show’s the bustling Pike Place Market in Seattle!

Facade of Seattle’s Pike Place Market

 Pike Place Market as seen from Roof Top Garden of Inn at the Market
Pike Place Market as seen from Roof Top Garden of Inn at the Market

Night view of Pike Place Market
Night view of Pike Place Market


Feel the vibe at Pike Place Market Seattle!

 Cute Map of Seattle City
Cute Map of Seattle City

Fresh produce at main level of Pike Place Market Seattle

Seattle’s Pike Place Market has a mission for customers to “meet the producers”. Hence, the first level are filled with shops that sells fresh produce, flowers and also the freshest catch of the day (Pike Place Fish Market) which can be delivered to any part of USA within 24 hours!

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Fresh sea food at Pike Place Fish Market – Look at the size of the lobster and salmon
(in fact , look at the size of those seafood!)

 Flowers sold at Pike Place Market
Flowers sold at Pike Place Market

 Fresh produce of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables at Pike Place Market Seattle
Fresh produce of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables at Pike Place Market Seattle

There are also shops where you can grab a bite and enjoy some local flavours. Restaurants include The Pink Door,Place Pigalle, Steelhead Diner, Matt’s in the Market, Le Pichet, Café Campagne, Marche, Maximilien and Il Bistro and if you’re here during the day, there are even more places from which to choose. Sometimes it’s fun to eat while you stroll through the Market. Locals call this “Market grazing.” You stop from place to place. You can get a piroshky, then a hom bow, then a gyro, then a crumpet….

Seattle's Bagel
Seattle Bagel Bakery

 We had the Calzone (6USD! SO EX!) with view of the ferris wheel in Seattle
We had the Calzone (6USD! SO EX!) with view of the ferris wheel in Seattle

Shops at the Lower Levels of Pike Place Market

On the lower levels (you’ll understand the concept of ‘lower levels’ once you read our post on Seattle’s Underground Tour), there are quaint little shops that sells a variety of stuff such as comics, magazines, art, music and little craft shops…

 photo 011OldSeattlePaperworkswhichhadcoversofLifemagazinetheoneinSecretLifeofWalterMitty_zps0ee12830.jpg
Old Seattle Paper Works which has covers of Life Magazine – the one in the Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Another view of shops at the lower levels of Pike Place Market
Another view of shops at the lower levels of Pike Place Market

Around Pike Place Market – The Original Starbucks Cafe aka The World’s first Starbucks Cafe

Diagonally across the road, you will be able to find the Original Starbucks Cafe which started right here in Seattle! But here’s a funny story to tell…

While we were searching for the location of the original Starbucks, we chanced upon this one…

 Starbucks adjacent to Pike Place Market
Starbucks adjacent to Pike Place Market

There were lots of people around taking photographs of it and the entrance with that signage looks as though this might be it. PLUS, we approached a couple taking photos of it whether this Starbucks is the original Starbucks.

They said “Yes!”

So with much excitement, we entered and the crowd inside confirmed for us that “This must be it! Let’s grab a coffee from the original starbucks!” And so we ordered the Pike Place Brew…

 Crowded Starbucks adjacent to Seattle's Pike Place Market
Crowded Starbucks adjacent to Seattle’s Pike Place Market

 Chalk board writings as menu
Chalk board writings as menu

 Venti Pike Place Reserve - Starbucks coffee that is only served at Pike Place Market's Starbucks
Venti Pike Place Reserve – Starbucks coffee that is only served at Pike Place Market’s Starbucks

As it turns out, THIS WAS NOT THE ORIGINAL STARBUCKS! The couple we approached were equally lost!

This, is then the original starbucks cafe that started in Seattle

Entrance of the Original Starbucks in Seattle
Entrance of the Original Starbucks in Seattle

 Inside the first starbucks coffee of seattle
Inside the first starbucks coffee of seattle

Well, the truth is, even this is not the original starbucks. The original starbucks was located at 2000 Western Avenue from 1971–1976 and was since relocated to this current location at 1912 Pike Place Market.

BUT they only started to brew coffee here. So technically, 1912 starbucks (not the year it started) is the original starbucks that brewed coffee!

Pike Place Market Seattle

Pike Place Market Seattle as seen from Inn at the Market

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We hope you’ve enjoyed our simple coverage of the things to do at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Go to the right Starbucks yah? ;)

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What’s YOU MUST DO at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf!

San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the biggest attraction in the city and in this post, we’ll show you some of things you must do when you visit Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco!

1. Seafood of course!

How can one visit Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco without having some seafood? There are many options for seafood ranging from fish to crabs, prawns to the famous clam chowders in bread bowl. This time, we visited Fisherman’s Grotto. (This is after some price comparison with Franciscan Crab Restaurant)

 Franciscan Crab Restaurant Fisherman's Wharf San FranciscoFranciscan Crab Restaurant Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco

 Fisherman's Grotto @ Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco - Where we had our lunch
Fisherman’s Grotto @ Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco – Where we had our lunch

Turns out that we made the right choice because Fisherman’s Grotto was the first restaurant to be opened by Mike Geraldi in 1948…

 History of Fisherman's Grotto Restaurant @ Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco
History of Fisherman’s Grotto Restaurant @ Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco

At San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, there are 2 things that you should have. Clam chowder and of course the famous Dungeness Crab (especially so when it’s in season). We saw this on the menu and immediately jumped on it. This course is good for 2 to share…

 Whole Dungeness Crab with Clam Chowder - Menu of Fisherman's Grotto Restaurant
Whole Dungeness Crab with Clam Chowder – Menu of Fisherman’s Grotto Restaurant

Clam Chowder in a cup with view of the wharf and boats (Fisherman's Grotto Restaurant)
Clam Chowder in a cup with view of the wharf and boats (Fisherman’s Grotto Restaurant)

 Dungeness Crab roasted in garlic and olive oil
Dungeness Crab roasted in garlic and olive oil

We were really glad that we chose to have the dungeness crab roasted in garlic (had a choice of steamed or garlic roasted). This is because, for a cheaper price, you could have the steamed version at the food stalls all along the street…

 Steamed dungeness crabs along the streets at Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco
Steamed dungeness crabs along the streets at Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco

 Clam Chowder in a sour dough bread bowl
Clam Chowder in a sour dough bread bowl

Though the above clam chowder was not bought in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf (we only managed to try it at Ivar’s in Seattle), do remember to try one along the wharf or at Boudin’s Bakery. Before coming to San Francisco, we did not know what dungeness crabs were. After tasting it, it’s probably one of the sweetest crab (though not the muscular succulent type) we’ve had. (Disclaimer : We had the crabs when it was in season – probably why it tasted especially shiok!)

2. Pier 39 Sea Lions and Views of San Francisco / Alcatraz!


Pier 39 with views of Alcatraz, Sea Lions, Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco’s Skyline

Pier 39 of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is a special place. Since the Loma Prieta earthquake in October 1989, sea lions started to arrive at Pier 39. Some thought that it was just due to the herring season and the sea lions would leave shortly after. They never left. Today, as you can hear from the loud noises in the video, they attract many visitors and it’s really quite fun to watch them bask and laze in the sun while having fun teasing and pushing each other around on the docks.

 Sea Lions of Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco
Sea Lions of Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco

From Pier 39, you can also have a good photo opportunity with Alcatraz, formerly the state penitentiary where notorious criminals were held. Golden Gate Bridge is also in sight. The other view we enjoyed was of course the city skyline of San Francisco. With its sloping geographical formations, it forms a city skyline like no other.

 View of Fisherman's Wharf with San Francisco City behind
View of Fisherman’s Wharf with San Francisco City behind

3. Boudin Bakery and Cafe

As we stayed at the San Remo Hotel, we were just a few blocks away (4 to be precise) from Fisherman’s Wharf. After dinner at Fior d’Italia (America’s Oldest Italian Restaurant), we strolled down to Fisherman’s Wharf to take in the sights at night. The area around Boudin is a great place to hang out and we were pretty much attracted by the smell of freshly baked sourdough bread that’s coming out of Boudin’s bakery!

Boudin Bakery & Cafe - Famous for its sourdough bread (since 1849)
Boudin Bakery & Cafe – Famous for its sourdough bread (since 1849)

 Where the smell of freshly baked Boudin breads come from - really smart idea!
Where the smell of freshly baked Boudin breads come from – really smart idea!

Boudin at the wharf is a really cool place to hang out, especially for tourists because you can chill at its bistro and cafe, shop around at its baker’s hall, watch Boudin’s baking process or visit the Boudin museum and bakery tour (which is totally free!)…

 Entrance to Boudin Museum at Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco
Entrance to Boudin Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco

 Journey overland during from east to west and the well-equipped miner
Journey overland during from east to west and the well-equipped miner

 Bakery tour at Boudin's - 72 hours of traditional bread baking from start to finish
Bakery tour at Boudin’s – 72 hours of traditional bread baking from start to finish

Though free, the museum tour was detailed and pretty much covered the whole history of San Francisco (not only about Boudin’s bakery). In this museum tour, we learnt a few things…

- How the journey across continental USA from east to west (due to the gold rush), claimed many lives – conservative estimates of 20,000 deaths.

- How prices soared during gold rush (and lack of food supplies) resulting in prices like $1 eggs (Which is madness considering this was the 1850s and even today, an egg costs only 20 cents!)

- How important live yeast was and during a fire that struck the bakery, the mother yeast was saved and today, we’re still enjoying the same taste from the same yeast.

- How living with the French (then) meant that you would be eating well – cause French at that time in USA were mainly bakers

- How the famous San Francisco cable cars were invented by Andrew Smith Hallidie after he witnessed a horse drawn cart loaded with passengers slipped down a hill causing so much injury to the horses that it had to be shot. On August 1, 1873, Hallidie debuted the first cable car on the steep Clay Street hill between Kearny and Leavenworth.

4. Museums at the Wharf

 National Maritime Historic Park - San Francisco
National Maritime Historic Park – San Francisco

There are many museums at the wharf which includes the National Maritime Historic Park, Maritime Museum, Hyde Street Pier and the maritime library. We especially liked some of the displays along the way which described how life was back then. Fishermen had to continue fishing in the cold and being paid in fish for their hard work…

 Paid in fish if you worked at the docks - fish are then sold or exchange for items
Paid in fish if you worked at the docks – fish are then sold or exchange for items

5. San Francisco’s famous cable cars

Nope, these are not the cables that we know that hangs over head and transports you with views of an area. Instead, these cable cars were invented by Andrew Smith Hallidie to overcome the steep slopes of San Francisco. Today, these cable cars are preserved and still ply the streets of San Francisco (Hyde Street, Mason Street, Jackson Street, Washington Street, Powell Street and California Street). Though we did not take the cable car (due to the long queue – approximately an hour), we did take some great shots there.

 About an hours wait for the cable car (6USD one way) at the edge of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf
About an hours wait for the cable car (6USD one way) at the edge of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf

 San Francisco cable car with long queues
San Francisco cable car with long queues

Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco

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Ghirardelli Square is also one of the places where you can visit to shop and see the historic chocolate factory (Willy Wonka of San Francisco). We also continued west of Fisherman’s Wharf and eventually arrived at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy your next visit to San Francisco and let us know if we missed any experience or sights from Fisherman’s Wharf in our comments section below!

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Pizza and beers at Umbria San Francisco!

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Having watched “Friends” and remembered how much pizza and beer is part of the American culture (observe Joey in “Friends”), we approached our friendly concierge at Palace Hotel and asked where we could have some pizza and beer in a … Continue reading

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Great Eastern Restaurant Chinatown San Francisco : Even Obama visits it!

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We were introduced to Great Eastern Restaurant while we were shopping in Chinatown San Francisco. After getting our souvenirs (mostly magnets and stuff for you guys), we decided to ask the shop owner which restaurant would be a good one … Continue reading

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The steep slopes of San Francisco : A Pictorial Post

The gold rush of 1849 has brought about tremendous development in San Francisco. After the great earthquake and fire of 1906, which wiped out 3/4 of the city, San Francisco was rebuilt upon its slopes, producing a city with one of the most amazing street views! This post is a tribute to the slopes of San Francisco!

 Top of Lombard Street (Crookedest Street of San Francisco) & Leavenworth Street
Top of Lombard Street (Crookedest Street of San Francisco) & Leavenworth Street

 Bottom of Lombard Street (Crookedest Street in San Francisco) & Hyde Street
Bottom of Lombard Street (Crookedest Street in San Francisco) & Hyde Street

 Cars are advised to park perpendicular to the slope - Haight Park San Francisco
Cars are advised to park perpendicular to the slope – Haight Park San Francisco

 Castro San Francisco
Castro San Francisco

 Beautiful view of slope upwards
Beautiful view of slope upwards

 Victorian Style Houses built on slopes at Haight Ashbury
Victorian Style Houses built on slopes at Haight Ashbury

 Beautiful city skyline as a result of building on the slopes of San Francisco
Beautiful city skyline as a result of building on the slopes of San Francisco

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San Francisco Steep Slopes

San Francisco Steep Slopes

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To describe how steep the slope was, as we were driving up Divisadero Street, Kate became scared. Even I was scared. You must know that I have conquered the roller coaster rides (Battlestar Galactica Cylon vs Human) of Universal Studios and that wasn’t as scary. Imagine the same kind of steepness without the safety inbuilt in a roller coaster ride!

Now…that’s scary. It’s almost like bungy jumping without the cord! We could feel as though the bonnet was gonna “lift off”! Ascending the steep slopes of San Francisco was more like ascending to the top of a steep roller coaster ride – really slowly… Enjoy the feeling of excitement on the slopes of San Francisco!

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San Francisco’s “Crookedest Street” at Lombard Street!

Lombard street IS the “Crookedest Street” in San Francisco and many local residents are annoyed by it. Because of the name “Crookedest Street” (who wouldn’t visit?!), Lombard Street has become one of the main tourist attractions in San Francisco – with it, tonnes of tourists and locals visiting each day!

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“Crookedest Street” in San Francisco Lombard Street


How Lombard Street became the “Crookedest Street” in San Francisco

Well, Lombard Street has become the crookedest street in San Francisco simply because it has a very steep gradient. While many streets in San Francisco are steep, Lombard Street has a gradient which was deemed unsafe for traffic. To reduce the inclination of Lombard Street, a series of winding road was created so that cars could “snake” down Lombard Street without toppling over on a really steep road. Do note that Lombard Street is a one way street that starts at Leavenworth Street to the east and ends at Hyde Street to the west.

 View from the top of Lombard Street - The Crookedest Street in San Francisco
View from the top of Lombard Street – The Crookedest Street in San Francisco

As a result of this kind consideration for drivers and pedestrians, it has unknowingly created one of the most visited free attraction in San Francisco. Because of this, large numbers of visitors throng the streets of Lombard EVERY SINGLE DAY! As a result, you may see some of the residents posting things like “This is not the crookedest or steepest street in San Francisco” (they usually never state which is) in Tripadvisor or some travel forums. So the “kind consideration” has become an inconsiderate thing for the residents of Lombard Street…

 Lombard Street San Francisco's Crookedest Street
Lombard Street San Francisco’s Crookedest Street attracting tonnes of visitors daily


Other views from the Crookedest Street in San Francisco – Lombard Street

 Queues of car heading up to Lombard Street - Took us some effort to climb up the street!
Queues of car heading up to Lombard Street – Took us some effort to climb up the street!

 Coit Tower and Bay Bridge San Francisco
Coit Tower and Bay Bridge San Francisco

 Alcatraz Federal Prison seen at the top of Lombard Street - Crookedest Street in San Francisco
Alcatraz Federal Prison seen at the top of Lombard Street – Crookedest Street in San Francisco

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Crookedest Street in San Francisco Lombard Street

Crookedest Street in San Francisco Lombard Street

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Whether you’re taking shots from the top or bottom of Lombard Street, you’ll definitely find many good spots to capture this “Crookedest Street” in San Francisco! Don’t be fooled by comments that it is not because Lombard Street IS the Crookedest Street in all of San Francisco!

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Things to do and Attractions in Eureka California!

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During our drive from Vancouver Washington to San Francisco, we stopped by Eureka and this post will tell you what are some of the things to do and attractions in Eureka California! 1. Historic Buildings in Eureka California. With its … Continue reading

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Scenic Oregon Drive from Vancouver to San Francisco!

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First off, the scenic Oregon drive is not just any other coastal drive. If you are somehow on the West Coast of the USA, you have got to take this drive like the one we took from Vancouver Washington to … Continue reading

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Travel Through Time with Historic Monuments at Vancouver Washington!

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In May 1804, Captain Meriwether Lewis and his good friend Second Lieutenant William Clark started an expedition, commissioned by then President Thomas Jefferson. Today, this trail is known to us as the Lewis and Clerk expedition (not to be confused … Continue reading

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Vancouver Washington’s Natural Wonders!

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Nature is one of the biggest draws in Vancouver Washington and in this post, we’re gonna show you what an awesome travel destination, Vancouver Washington (not be confused with Vancouver Canada) is! We knew that there are many natural formations … Continue reading

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Catching Portland Winterhawks in action after Burgerville Meal!

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Catching Portland Winterhawks in action was an excellent story to tell. This is because it was the first time EVER that we watched an ice hockey match! But before we get to the match proper, we’ll talk about the meal … Continue reading

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Why You should eat at Beaches Restaurant than McMenamins in Vancouver Washington

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Beaches or McMenamins? That is the question. McMenamins Brewery Or… Beaches Restaurant and Bar Vancouver Washington? On our first night in Vancouver Washington, we originally wanted to visit McMenamins because of its brews. However, when we told by our concierge … Continue reading

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Red Lobster….FINALLY!

The last time we were in USA, we kept seeing Red Lobster’s advertisement on TV but did not get the opportunity to try it! This time…hahaha (sinister laugh for the lobsters) we finally got to savour some fresh seafood from Red Lobster!

 Facade of Red Lobster - We went to the one near Westfield Mall in Vancouver Washington
Facade of Red Lobster – We went to the one near Westfield Mall in Vancouver Washington

 Inside Red Lobster
Inside Red Lobster

Another view inside Red Lobster
Another view inside Red Lobster

What we had at Red Lobster Seafood Restaurant

For starters, we had the mussels and the salad…

 Salad from Red Lobster
Salad from Red Lobster

 photo 050whichwechosebluecheeseandrangewehadthemusselsasstartersthebreadwasREALLYSALTYmusselsokbutherenthereabitdry_zpsebc7952f.jpg
Mussels as starters

So we had the mussels with butter garlic sauce and the signature salads. While choosing the dressings for the salad, we were given a choice of about 8 dressings to choose from. In the end, Tom chose the most unhealthy ones (ranch and blue cheese) while Kate initially had the idea of just going light with vinaigrette dressing. Unhealthy Tom decides!

As for the mussels, it was baked a little too dry and we don’t think the mussels were “fresh out of the tank” fresh, though some of the mussels still tasted good. The other thing we didn’t like about this starter was that the bread was really salty! Have some drinks on hand to curb the overpowering toasted salty bread!

 Wood Grilled Lobster Shrimp and Scallop - $25.99 USD
Wood Grilled Lobster Shrimp and Scallop – $25.99 USD

As for our mains, we went for one of the signature seafood combos – the Wood Grilled Lobster Shrimp and Scallop. Recommended by our waitress, we decided on it since there was “lobster” in it. Can’t go to Red Lobster and not have lobsters right?

Turns out that the recommendation was spot on! Every single one of the seafood on this plate was fresh! The lobster and shrimp was succulent and firm, yet crunchy and bouncy on the bite. Same goes for the scallop and the taste was sweet and natural – YUM!

 Pumpkin pie in a jar
Pumpkin pie in a jar 5.49 USD

Since it was the holiday season, we went for one of the holiday treats – Pumpkin Pie in a Jar. We didn’t really enjoy this dessert simply it was too overpowering. Overpowered by the cinnamon, whipped cream and much too sweet for our liking. Didn’t really taste the pumpkin as well. Sad…

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All in all, we were happy that we finally got to eat at Red Lobster. The mains were really good but the rest of the dishes were sort of disappointing. If you ask us, we’d probably not return to Red Lobster again. But as for its neighbour – Olive Garden, we’ll definitely go try the other dishes when we return to USA.

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Art on Royal : Art Scam on Royal Caribbean Cruises?

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Art on Royal is an auction house that auctions art on the high seas aboard ships from Royal Caribbean Cruises. But is selling art and having art auctions on the high seas an elaborate scam by Art on Royal to … Continue reading

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Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas : 8D7N from Singapore to Laem Chabang (Thailand) and Phu My (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)!

Having not gone for a cruise since 2011 (3 years already!), Kate and I decided to indulge in a long cruise with Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas from Singapore to Laem Chabang (Thailand) and Phu My (Ho Chi Minh Vietnam)!

 Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Mariner of the Seas – Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Mariner of the Seas and Romero Britto's Surfer Boy (Royal Caribbean Cruise)
Mariner of the Seas and Romero Britto’s Surfer Boy (Royal Caribbean Cruise)

We chose the 8D7N cruise from Singapore to Laem Chabang, Thailand and Phu My, Vietnam mainly because it gave us an opportunity to visit Vietnam and Thailand without having to spend on airfares. Of course, we were really impressed by Royal Caribbean’s programmes, food and service the last time we sailed aboard the Legend of the Seas to Semarang, Lombok and Bali so we decided to go again with RCC to check out the Mariner of the Seas.

Speaking of the Mariner of the Seas, it is RCC’s biggest vessel yet in Southeast Asia. Previously, the Legend of the Seas (from the Vision Class of ship) was 70,000 tonnes, 264 metres long and 32 metres wide. But with the Mariner of the Seas (from the Voyager Class of ship), the specifications “increases” to 138,000 tonnes, 310 metres long and 48 metres wide, making it a larger class of ship which equates to better facilities. In the next section, we’ll show you deck by deck what is inside the Mariner of the Seas!


Deck Layout of Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

There are 15 decks onboard the Mariner of the Seas (well, 15 that are accessible to passengers) and we’ll start our coverage from deck 15! Do note that for each deck, we’ll be introducing from the aft to the forward part of the ship in the section headings in bold.

Deck 15 : Skylight Chapel

 Skylight Chapel located at the aft of deck 15 onboard Mariner of the Seas
Skylight Chapel located at the mid/aft of deck 15 onboard Mariner of the Seas

The Skylight Chapel is a venue where solemnisation of weddings can be done at deck 15 (highest deck of the ship) with a seating capacity of 40. Wonder if anyone has really done their solemnisation aboard yet?

Deck 14 : Viking Crown Lounge , Ellington’s Jazz Club, Cloud Nine, Seven Hearts, Diamond Club

 Viking Crown Lounge
Viking Crown Lounge

 Ellington's Jazz Club
Ellington’s Jazz Club

 Seven Hearts (left), Cloud Nine (right)
Seven Hearts (left), Cloud Nine (right)

As you can see from the picture, the Viking Crown Lounge offers a great view overlooking the pool deck and jogging track. Next to it is Ellington’s Jazz Club where you can chill and listen to some light soothing tunes. The Seven Hearts and Cloud Nine are essentially gaming rooms for mahjong, poker etc. Last but not least, the Diamond Club is an exclusive lounge for Crown and Anchor Society members who have attained Diamond status and above.

Deck 13 : Mini Golf, In-line Skating, Basketball Court and Rock Climbing Wall

 Overview of the Sports Deck
Overview of the Sports Deck

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Rock Climbing Wall Mariner of the Seas

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Basketball Court Mariner of the Seas

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In-line skating track Mariner of the Seas

 Mini Golf Course Mariner of the Seas
Mini Golf Course Mariner of the Seas

Technically, the Rock Climbing Wall is one deck higher than the rest of the facilities shown above. But they’re all located at the aft part of the ship, so you can easily move from the mini golf to basketball and to the rock climbing wall. At the Rock Climbing Wall, Tom managed to reach the top (Yes! Because he failed miserably during the climb aboard Legend of the Seas) by following 2 simple tips from the instructor. Firstly, think of it like climbing a ladder, most of the weight will be on the legs and not on the arms. Secondly, following the pink path – yes, it’s the easiest path! Ringing the bell at the top of the wall was indeed an awesome feeling! Kate and I also played basketball almost daily. Because we were on a “retirement cruise” (most passengers were above 50 years of age), the basketball court was almost always available. There were 3 balls (1 had more air than the other 2) left on the courts all the time and you can just enter to play. Likewise for Mini Golf, the clubs and balls were left near the start of the course so you can just pick them up and play. Table tennis was also available on the same deck (3 tables in all) with plastic bats and ping pong balls readily available beside the tables. As for the in-line skating, we did not try it this time round due to the bad sea state (surprisingly bad this time as compared to our previous cruise on the smaller Legend of the Seas) but you can just get the skates from the instructors and skate away. There’s also a golf simulator (available at a cost) on the same deck beside the mini golf. If you have tried it, tell us how much it was and whether it was any good in the comments section below.

Deck 12 : Fuel Teen Disco, Adventure Ocean, Johnny Rockets, Video Arcade, the Living Room, Nursery, Jogging Track, Vitality Spa (Ship Shape) and Fitness Centre

 Fuel Teen Disco
Fuel Teen Disco

 Adventure Ocean
Adventure Ocean

 Johnny Rockets Hamburger Restaurant Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Johnny Rockets Hamburger Restaurant Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Inside the Video Arcade of Mariner of the Seas
Inside the Video Arcade of Mariner of the Seas

 The Living Room
The Living Room

 Royal Babies and Tots
Royal Babies and Tots

Aquanauts 3 to 5
Aquanauts 3 to 5

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Ship Shape Spa

On deck 12, the aft part of the ship belongs to young cruisers from age 0 to 17. Fuel Teen Disco and the Living Room are areas where the teens can hang out (with soft drinks ONLY) and play gaming consoles. The Adventure Ocean is also a play area designed for kids from 3 to 17 to play games and have some fun activities. For the much younger cruisers, there’s the Aquanauts and Royal Babies and Tots where parents can “deposit” their kids in the good hands of the trained professionals aboard. Like what cruise director Gordon says “When kids have fun, you have fun!”. The video arcade is one of our hang out areas , mainly because of 1 game (Guitar Hero) and 1 song (Yellow , yeah, we don’t know all the other songs in that game). This time, Tom managed to complete the “hard” level! An achievement from the usual “easy” level that we’d play. In addition, we also ventured into “Deal or No Deal” which we played quite miserably with only 30 tickets won out of 2 games (a possible of 400 tickets!)

On the forward part of the ship is the Vitality Spa also known as Ship Shape Spa. Here, you’ll be able to do your usual massages, facials, wraps and even hot stones. A salon is also available to really keep you in “ship-shape”.

Johnny Rockets is an American burger joint, famous for its awesome burgers and milk shakes. We were hosted by Royal Caribbean Cruise (thanks Michelle!) for a meal here and we totally enjoyed the food there. We’ll cover what we ate in the sections to follow.

Deck 11 : Windjammer Cafe, Jade, Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table, Pool Deck, Pool Bar, Solarium, Fitness Center, Peek-A-Boo-Bridge overlook

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Entrance to Windjammer Cafe, Jade, Chops Grille and Giovanni’s Table

 Buffet Style Dining at Windjammer Cafe
Buffet Style Dining at Windjammer Cafe

 Jade - a part of complimentary dining together with Windjammer Cafe
Jade – a part of complimentary dining together with Windjammer Cafe

 Pool Deck with Romero Britto's Surfer Boy Sculpture aboard Mariner of the Seas
Pool Deck with Romero Britto’s Surfer Boy Sculpture aboard Mariner of the Seas

 Open air Solarium with whirlpools aboard Mariner of the Seas
Open air Solarium with whirlpools aboard Mariner of the Seas

 Gym at Deck 11 Fitness Centre, Mariner of the Seas
Gym at Deck 11 Fitness Centre, Mariner of the Seas

 Open area beside the gym for seminars, dance classes or aerobics
Open area beside the gym for seminars, dance classes or aerobics

 Whirlpool inside Fitness Centre (indoors), Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Whirlpool inside Fitness Centre (indoors), Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Peek-A-Boo Bridge Overlook
Peek-A-Boo Bridge Overlook

Starting from the aft, you’ll have the restaurants on deck 11. Windjammer and Jade are complimentary dining areas where buffet-styled meals are served. During the evenings, Jade serves sushi which Tom looks forward to when cravings come a knocking. Giovanni’s Table ($20 USD per person) and Chops Grille ($30 USD per person) are not complimentary and you will have to pay a small sum to enjoy the italian fare at Giovanni’s and premium steaks from Chops Grille. Again, we did not have an opportunity to try them. If you happen to have tried at these restaurants, do let us know how it was in the comments section below!

The Pool Deck is where we usually hang out on sea days. The weather would be nice (ship usually steers away from dark clouds and rainy patches) and sunny, particular suited for a nice dip in the sea-water pools. You can also grab a drink from the pool bar while relaxing at the pools. Remember to sign up with the Crown and Anchor Society! **We are not paid to do this advertisement, but it is free to join the C&A Society and even at Gold (usually after 1 cruise) you’ll get some perks. This time, because we had already attained Gold status, we were able to enjoy 1 for 1 drinks – which means you really do not need any drink packages, that is unless you’re a really “fierce” drinker.

The Solarium aboard Mariner of the Seas is slightly different from the Legend of the seas. It is outdoors. There are 2 huge whirlpools and the one of the port (left) side is usually nice and warm. The starboard (right) side one is HOT.

Moving further forward on deck 11, you’ll arrive at the Peek-A-Boo Bridge Overlook where you can see the crew of Mariner of the Seas at work at the Bridge. Out at sea, it is usually on auto-pilot so you will unlikely see someone on the helms. But there will always be a lookout and an officer of the watch always keeping vigilant watch to ensure the smooth and safe sailing of the ship.

Deck 8 : RC Online

Noticed that we skipped to Deck 8 after Deck 11. This is because there are only staterooms on deck 10 and a concierge club (available only to Grand Suite cruisers and Diamond Plus/Pinnacle members). RC online (located at Mid/Aft of the ship) is actually like a business center where you can use the internet, do some printing and get some light administrative work done. Remember not to overdo it since you’re on vacation!

 Royal Caribbean Online
Royal Caribbean Online

Deck 7 : Library

 Library aboard Mariner of the Seas
Library aboard Mariner of the Seas

There’s a really small library located on the mid/aft part of Deck 7. Not much selection to choose from but if you have brought your own, this is a nice quiet spot to do some light (emphasis on the word “light”) reading.

Deck 6 : Next Cruise

 Next Cruise : Make your next cruise booking here
Next Cruise : Make your next cruise booking here

Next Cruise is the venue where you can make bookings for your next cruise. Sometimes, depending on dates and availability, the prices may be better onboard. We did ask for a couple of prices and we realised that for departures to and from Singapore, it is usually cheaper for Singaporeans. We tried to ask for cruises from Sydney and New Zealand it was more than 250 per person per night for N staterooms (cheapest available) but for Singapore departures, it can go as low as 140 per person per night. While you’re here and if you’ve enjoyed your cruise, you may also wish to put a deposit of $150 for your next cruise which can be used for any future bookings and if you do so, you’ll receive $25 for 3-5 nights cruises, $100 for 6 to 9 nights, $150 for 10 to 14 nights and $200 for 15+ nights. DONT BE MISTAKEN that it will automatically be $200 onboard credit for your next cruise! It will be awarded according to the number of nights you book!

Deck 5 : The Sound of Music Dining Room, Guests Services, Shore Excursions, Royal Promenade, Cafe Promenade, Connoisseur Club, Lotus Lounge

 The Sound of Music Main Dining Room
The Sound of Music Main Dining Room

 Guests Services and Shore Excursions
Guests Services and Shore Excursions

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Royal Promenade Mariner of the Seas

 Cafe Promenade Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Cafe Promenade Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 The Connoisseur Club
The Connoisseur Club

 Lotus Lounge Mariner of the Seas
Lotus Lounge Mariner of the Seas

Deck 5 is most probably the “most happening” deck. This is because starting from the aft, you have the Sound of Music which is your complimentary main dining area for lunch and dinners. Guest Services and Shore Excursions are also usually crowded, especially just before calling at a port. You can arrange to get your passports, do some currency exchange or even get sea sick pills at Guest Services. At Shore Excursions, you can make bookings for trips when you call at the next port. We recommend to make the bookings online so that you can avoid all the hassle of queuing up. Sometimes, the queues may be quite long especially when you first embark and when you’re close to the next port of call.

The Royal Promenade is where all the shops are at. You’ll see shops selling sunglasses, watches, jewelry and even a Coach store. Bazaars will usually take place during sea days with discounts right in the middle of the promenade. Walking past the promenade, you’ll arrive at Cafe Promenade where there’s complimentary snacks around the clock such as pastries, pizza, coffee and water. Next to it there’s a cafe where you’ll have to pay for gourmet coffee and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

There’s a Connoisseur Club before you arrive at the Lotus Lounge. Frankly speaking, eventhough we walked inside, we still do not know who and what it is for (anyone knows?). We just saw that there were cigars and hard liquors scattered inside but no one else was inside when we entered.

The Lotus Lounge is where events are held. Bingo and our favourite – Champagne Art Auction are held at this venue. We’ll talk a little more about the Champagne Art Auction by Art on Royal later in this post.

Deck 4 : Top Hat and Tails Dining Room, Boleros Lounge, Casino Royale, Schooner Bar, Savoy Theatre

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Top Hat and Tails Maining Dining Area

 Retail (Starboard Side)
Retail (Starboard Side)

 Boleros Lounge (Port Side)
Boleros Lounge (Port Side)

 Casino Royale Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Casino Royale Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Schooner Bar
Schooner Bar

 The Savoy Theatre
The Savoy Theatre

Tip : If you have not already noticed by now, all the food places such as Windjammer and complimentary main dining areas are at the aft of the ship. The main dining areas of the Sound of Music (deck 5), Top Hat and Tails (deck 4) and Rhapsody in Blue (deck 3) are actually all part of a HUGE dining area at the aft of the ship. The other tip to orientate yourself is that the Theatre / Screens are at the forward part of the ship and the “space ship” (aka Viking Crown Lounge at Deck 14) also faces the forward part of the ship.

Deck 4 is where Casino Royale is located, right smack in the middle of the deck. Forward and Aft of the casino are bars and lounges where music and trivias are played at Boleros and Schooner respectively. There’s also a retail outlet where you can buy memorabilia from Royal Caribbean. Alternatively, you can, like us, buy “Cocktails of the Day” and receive the glass for free ;)

At the forward part of the deck is the Savoy Theatre. This is where all the nightly shows takes place. Also, one of the more interesting aspect of the Savoy Theatre is that it can screen 3D movies with Dolby surround sounds as well! We caught part of “Turbo” here and thoroughly enjoyed the 3D experience!

Deck 3 : Rhapsody in Blue, RCTV, Art Gallery, Photo Gallery, Studio B, Dragon’s Lair, Main Entrance of Savoy Theatre

 Rhapsody in Blue Main Dining Area Mariner of the Seas
Rhapsody in Blue Main Dining Area Mariner of the Seas

 RCTV Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
RCTV Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Art and Photo Gallery
Art and Photo Gallery

 Portraits & Group Photos taken at Photo Gallery
Portraits & Group Photos taken at Photo Gallery

Studio B - Ice Skating Rink
Studio B – Ice Skating Rink

Rhapsody in Blue is the lowest level of the 3 tier main dining room of the Mariner of the Seas. At the Art and Photo Gallery, you can purchase photos and pictures taken by the professional photographers throughout the cruise. Do note that prices are usually cheaper at the start of the cruise. So decide early if you want to be featured in the “cruise in review” DVD and buy early to get a better price. As for the Art Gallery, we bought a piece of art called “Lovely”, a really cute dog, done by Romero Britto – the same dude who did colourful artworks in Sentosa.

Studio B is another venue for shows. The welcome back party (for second time and above cruisers) as well as the ice show “Ice Under the Big Top” were shown at Studio B. At deck 3, is the lower level or the main entrance to the Savoy Theatre.

Deck 2 : Conference Center, Screening Room

 Conference Center Mariner of the Seas
Conference Center Mariner of the Seas

 Screening Room Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
Screening Room Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas

At deck 2, there’s only a conference room where you can hold seminars or meetings. We also collected our passports at the conference room when they missed out our request for passport collection at Guest Services (for our overnight stay at Pattaya). Screening Room is the alternative movie screening venue onboard the Mariner of the Seas.


Cruise Compass (aka Programme Sheet) for 7 days aboard Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

In this section, we’ll show the 7 days of programme from the Cruise Compass and we’ll also highlight some of the more interesting things to do for each day…

 Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 1
Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 1

On the first day, all guests had to be aboard by 4pm. The usual practice is to conduct the assembly drill at 4:30pm just before set off at 5pm. The assembly drill is required by international laws (especially after the Costa incident) for you to be familiar with where to go to during an emergency. In addition, the staff will also show you how to don a life jacket during the assembly drill.

At 5:30pm, the Dream Works characters had the “Move it move it” parade where Shrek, Po, Gloria, Alex the Lion and King Julien danced at the Royal Promenade to welcome you onto the Royal Caribbean Cruise.

We watched the Welcome Aboard Showtime for all guests at 7:15. This is usually when the cruise director will tell you how many guests and from which nationality they came from. For this cruise, we had well over 3000 guests (in addition to the 1200 crew), of which 1200 came from Singapore! Yay! Our first show was by Tamara Guo (of Chinese descent but now lives in Sydney). She was able to sing hits from Teresa Teng and even Whitney Houston (I will always love you) with such power and precision! Perfect start to an awesome cruise!

After dinner at the Sound of Music (1st seating at 5:45, 2nd seating at 8:15 – ours was 2nd seating), we headed to Studio B to try ice skating onboard a ship! How cool is that! We even wanted to go earlier because we heard from our friends that it would be crowded and you had to get a queue number for the slots you wanted to skate at. However, when we reached there, there wasn’t anyone. In fact, the instructors told us that there was only 3 people who skated in the last 2 hours! Perks of joining a cruise with a different demographic :)

 Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 2
Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 2

On sea days, Kate and I would usually jog about 10 rounds on the deck (approximately 3km) and play a little bit of basketball before heading to windjammer for breakfast. Interesting events (well, for us) on day 2 included the Morning Dancercise, Formal Hair demonstration, Champagne Art Auction, photo taking with Dream Works Characters (using your own camera) and of course the nightly event – “Gallery of Dreams” by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers.

As mentioned earlier, during sea days, we’d attend the Champagne Art Auction from 2 to 3pm. This is because

1. There’s free champagne! As Tom the Art Director would say, “Tastes fine when its chilled”
2. Art Appreciation. You’ll be able to learn some terms about fine art such as “editions”, “strike the plate” and also “embellish”.
3. Freebies. You’ll be given some raffle tickets to participate in a draw to stand a chance to win champagnes (which we won), posters (which we won also) and dinners at Johnny Rockets (sometimes milkshakes are even thrown in!) and Giovanni’s!

**Tip: But the key here is that you just sit in for the above. Try not to bid for anything, not even the cheap ones that the ship wants to clear. And the best way to do this? Keep your bidding card! Well, this is just our advice, if you really find something you like, by all means. BUT, there’s always a “BUT” isnt it? From the other forums we’ve read, they will always tell you how reputable they are and how good they are with their 30 day money back guarantee. But the truth is, since the auctions are done “on the high seas”, they are technically not under any state laws. So unless you are rich or want to be like one aunty we saw, bid $2750USD for a piece of art, keep your bidding cards and you’ll enjoy the champagne, learn some stuff and perhaps walk away with some freebies!

 Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 3
Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 3

On day 3, we arrived at the port of Laem Chabang at noon and we had to option over staying overnight. So the ship stayed in Laem Chabang Thailand from 12pm on day 3 to 8:30pm on day 4. This was when we took the opportunity to stay at the Royal Cliff Hotels and was hosted to a stay at the Mini Suite Plus of the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel. On the night of day 3, we were also informed by the cruise director that traditional Thai dancers came aboard for a performance.

In the sections to follow, we’ll tell you more about the ports of Laem Chabang and Phu My so that you can get a head start in planning for your excursions at these ports!

 Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 4
Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 4

Did not really do much aboard on Day 4 except dinner. Also, we were pretty glad that we came aboard for dinner as well, this was the first time we met Mr Ng, a semi-retiree. Our table is actually a 6 seater, which means that 3 couples would be seated together. On the first night, there was a couple from Austria. However, they were quite private people (Emerald members of more than 55 points) and when we arrived for dinner, we could sense that there was an air of awkwardness between them and the waiter. For the 2nd time we were there (4th night), we were told that no one else came, so it’ll be likely that we would be having the table to ourselves!

Random thought : On a side note, 55 points meant that you’d either stayed 55 nights with Royal Caribbean or have accumulated double points if you stayed in suites (i.e. 2 points for each night of stay in suites, 1 point for each night of stay in balcony staterooms and below). This would also mean that IF you happen to stay at the cheapest rates of about 100USD a night, you would have to pay 5500USD to reach 55 points (minimally!). Yeah, this meant that the Austrian couple is rich.

Well, back to Mr Ng. He is a very humorous man with vast experience to share. When he laughed, he sounded ALOT like Eric Tsang (曾志偉) and we really enjoyed his company. There was one important thing that he shared with us about gambling. He asked, “Do you know of anyone who gambles for a living?” which is quite true. You’ll have friends who are teachers, saleman, businesses etc. But you really do not have friends who gambles for a living right? So…the lesson here is DON’T GAMBLE! OR just treat it as a form of entertainment. From Mr Ng’s wife, she heard from some of the aunties who played that they lost thousands of dollars and there was one in particular who had to sell her HDB flat to repay the ship! :o

**So Tip: DON’T GAMBLE on cruise ships!

RCC is so gonna ^$$#@ us for recommending not to gamble and buy art… :p But truth be told to our loyal readers of 2bearbear.com right? :)

 Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 5
Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 5

On day 5, which is yet another sea day, we took many photos with Dream Works Characters, shopped around for sunglasses at the bazaar of the Royal Promenade and sat in for a trivia, where we learnt that you’d be fined for flushing the toilet after 10pm in Switzerland. Of course, we sat in for the free champagnes at the Champagne Art Auction. Today, we chilled by the pool and utilised our Gold status of 1 for 1 beers. At night, as part of the crown and anchor society member, we were invited back for a welcome back party as well. Again, we had more booze (champagnes, whites, reds and cocktails) and enjoyed music by the Dynamic Duo. We’ll highlight some interesting facts of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Welcome Back Party below…

Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 6
Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 6

On Day 6, we arrived in the port of Phu My in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. We took the shore excursion bus arranged by the ship and the “all aboard” time was 7:30pm at night. Again, we returned for dinner and caught up with Mr Ng again.

 Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 7
Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Cruise Compass Day 7

On the last day at sea, Tom did some rock climbing and finally managed to conquer the rock climbing wall of Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas! Yeah, he failed to do it when we sailed aboard the Legend of the Seas so he was ecstatic when he finally rang the bell at the top! We then proceeded to the Arcade to play Guitar Hero to finish up the money left in our cards. This time Kate played “medium” while Tom played “hard” levels and we managed to complete the song Yellow! Yay!

For lunch, we went to the Rhapsody in Blue and had a table set for 2! It was really nice because the setting of the main dining area was grand and we got to sit in a private corner by ourselves, attended by 2 waiters! :o Food was good and we especially enjoyed the rum cake with coffee ice cream and the laksa. *slurp slurp*

Random thought : The other thing about sailing so many days is that you really start to miss Singapore food! When we were disembarking the ship, we overheard an aunty saying that she’ll go for fishball noodles the first thing she gets home!

As usual, we attended the Champagne Art Auction and this time, there were many art pieces that were auctioned at cheaper prices. The gallery wanted to clear some pieces to make room for other art pieces. Again, remember to heed our advice above! We then headed for our ice show “Ice Under the Big Top” at 4:30 which was quite spectacular. Though there were some slips, I would say that the skating skills of the performers were indeed quite good. At 7:30, we headed for the “Farewell Spectacular Showtime” featuring the Ballet on Shoulders and also Gordon, our cruise director who sang a couple of songs! He was actually quite good! This made us wonder if he started out as a Royal Caribbean Singer as well…hm…

To end off the evening, we soaked in the tub and watched the ending of Burlesque under the stars. Shiok!

In the next section, we’ll be showing some of the highlights of cruising with Royal Caribbean Cruise!


Highlights aboard Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise!


Dream Works Welcome Aboard “Move It Move It” Parade

 Royal Caribbean Dream Works Parade - Fairy God Mother
Fairy God Mother

 Royal Caribbean Dream Works Parade - Puss in Boots
Puss in Boots

 Royal Caribbean Dream Works Parade - the Penguins
High Five with the Penguins – who actually high fived back!

 Royal Caribbean Dream Works Parade - The Penguins Madagascar
Another shot of the penguins

 Royal Caribbean Dream Works Parade - Alex the Lion
Alex the Lion

Royal Caribbean Dream Works Parade - Shrek and Fiona
Shrek and Fiona

 Royal Caribbean Dream Works Parade - Po Kungfu Panda
Po – our favourite character during the parade!

 Royal Caribbean Dream Works Parade - Gloria Madagascar
Gloria from Madagascar

 Royal Caribbean Dream Works Parade - King Julien Madagascar
King Julien

To let our readers have a feel of how the party was like. Here’s a video of Po and the Penguins up close!

Headliner Show – Tamara Guo

 Poster ad for Tamara Guo's performance
Poster ad for Tamara Guo’s performance

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Tamara Guo in person during performance

Tamara is a very humorous individual and she sings as well as she entertains! Be sure to catch her performance when you sail with Royal Caribbean!

Johnny Rockets lunch aboard Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

Thanks to Michelle, we were hosted to a meal at Johnny Rockets (milkshakes included!). Johnny Rockets is a American burger joint that is famous for its milkshakes and hamburgers. It is also one of the venues onboard where you’ll just pay a small sum for a great meal. At $4.95 per person, you’ll be able to order ANYTHING on the menu (drinks excluded) and milkshakes cost about $5USD each.

 Menu of Johnny Rockets Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
Menu of Johnny Rockets Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas

 Jukebox on tables (not working though) at Johnny Rockets
Jukebox on tables (not working though) at Johnny Rockets

 Deco inside Johnny Rockets Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Deco inside Johnny Rockets Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Fries with Chili & Cheese, Fries with Cheese & Bacon, Onion Rings and Fries with Tartar sauce
Fries with Chili & Cheese, Fries with Cheese & Bacon, Onion Rings and Fries with Tartar sauce

 Strawberry Milkshake of Johnny Rockets
Strawberry Milkshake of Johnny Rockets

 Smoke House Burger Johnny Rockets Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Smoke House Burger Johnny Rockets Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Route 66 Burger Johnny Rockets Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Route 66 Burger Johnny Rockets Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

If there’s one burger you’ve got to have at Johnny Rockets, it’s got to be Smoke House Burger! It was juicy and tender, double patty with crispy onion rings on top! I really wanted to go for seconds because the quality of the burger is SOOO different from the ones at Windjammer! For burgers at this quality, you’d typically pay 20sgd and upwards. Onion rings were also great with the tartar sauce. Go light on the fries. We thought that all the combinations for fries above was quite normal, nothing particular good to shout about.

As for the milkshake, it lived up to its reputation. There’s only 1 word to describe it. SHIOK! Got to order yourself one! In addition to the great food, the Johnny Rocket servers even does a dance, observe how good the server closest to the camera dances!


Johnny Rockets Dance Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

Photo Opportunities with Dream Work Characters

 Royal Caribbean Cruise Dream Works Characters Photo Taking - Po
Photos with Po

 Royal Caribbean Cruise Dream Works Characters Photo Taking - Puss in Boots
Puss in Boots

 Royal Caribbean Cruise Dream Works Characters Photo Taking - King Julien
King Julien and more!

In-Room Breakfast

 Breakfast delivered to your stateroom!
Breakfast delivered to your stateroom!

Every morning, you can have the option of have breakfast delivered to your room. All you have to do is fill up the breakfast menu (usually right behind your door) and hang it outside your door by 3am each day. If there are things that you see at the breakfast (breakfasts pretty much the same everyday) but is not on the menu, you can actually try to write something there and see if the service crew brings it. We wrote down chocolate milk and were served eventhough it was not on the menu! Talk about good service!

Crown and Anchor Society’s Welcome Back Party

It’s pretty simple to join Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor Society. By sailing 3 nights, you’d be given Gold status for your next cruise, along with the perks and even be invited to the Welcome Back Party!

 Gold level perks Royal Caribbean Cruise Crown and Anchor Society
Gold level perks Royal Caribbean Cruise Crown and Anchor Society

There’s really nothing fancy about the Gold level perks for the Crown and Anchor Society. But we particularly liked the 1 for 1 beers/wines/sodas and milkshakes at Johnny Rockets. This effectively means at 50% savings. Not bad eh?

 Welcome Back Party Crown and Anchor Society Royal Caribbean Cruise - Entrance at Studio B
Welcome Back Party Crown and Anchor Society Royal Caribbean Cruise – Entrance at Studio B

 Welcome Back Party Crown and Anchor Society Royal Caribbean Cruise - Hotel Director, Cruise Director and Captain Greeting you at the Entrance
Welcome Back Party Crown and Anchor Society Royal Caribbean Cruise – Hotel Director, Cruise Director and Captain Greeting you at the Entrance

Welcome Back Party Crown and Anchor Society Royal Caribbean Cruise - Free flow of wines, champagne and cocktails
Welcome Back Party Crown and Anchor Society Royal Caribbean Cruise – Free flow of wines, champagne and cocktails

 Royal Caribbean Cruise Crown and Anchor Society - Pinnacle Club
Royal Caribbean Cruise Crown and Anchor Society – Pinnacle Club

At the bottom left of this picture, you’d see a well-dressed man in bow tie. Together with his wife, they’re Pinnacle Club members. Which means, they have already accumulated 750 points and above! According to the Captain, not all cruises have Pinnacle Club members cruising and we were very fortunate to have witnessed that these members do exist! As mentioned above, if they had gone for the cheapest rates (which we doubt), they would have at least spent 75,000 per person to reach the Pinnacle status or $150,000USD for the both of them to be Pinnacle Club members! :o

At the Welcome Back Party, the Captain formally welcomed the members back onboard and talked about the number of members onboard the cruise this time round. About a third were returning cruisers for this particular cruise. Over 800 Gold members and only 2 Pinnacle Club members. The C&A manager then proceeded to talk about the perks of being in C&A and of course advertising about the onboard credit if you made an open booking (for future cruises) onboard the ship – which we did!

Dinner at Main Dining Room – The Sound of Music / Top Hat and Tails / Rhapsody in Blue

Dinner aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise has always been something that we look forward to. Not only is the food excellent (well, most of the time), service is personalised and ambience is just so classy…

 3 levels of Main Dining Area at the Aft of the Ship Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
3 levels of Main Dining Area at the Aft of the Ship Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas

 Dinner Menu Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Dinner Menu Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Dessert Menu Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Dessert Menu Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Dinner Starters Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Starters of Crab Cakes, Escargot (always a favourite), Prawn cocktail and fresh warm bread

Dinner Starters Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Antipasti

Dinner Main Course Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Lamb Shank

 Dinner Main Course Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Lagsane

 Dinner Main Course Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Chicken and fried rice

 Dinner Main Course Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Garlic Tiger Shrimp

 Main Dining Desserts Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream

Main Dining Desserts Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Mousse Cake

 Main Dining Desserts Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Tiramisu

 Main Dining Desserts Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Bread Pudding with Ice Cream

 Main Dining Desserts Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Dessert Selection

Most of the food were delicious but we were quite surprised that the Garlic Tiger Shrimp was not fresh during our last dinner meal. In fact it was smashy and soft. So we requested for the lamb instead. According to our waiter, the shrimps came all the way from US, which explains why it was terrible. We were actually looking forward to it because we were recommended to have more of the Tiger shrimps during dinner. Nonetheless, all other food, especially the desserts (chocolate cake and tiramisu!) tasted great and had excellent presentations – that of a fine dining experience :)

Champagne Art Auction

 Champagne Art Auction Art on Royal Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Champagne Art Auction Art on Royal Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

This is typically how the Art Auction onboard Royal Caribbean Cruise looks like. Do attend the sessions and if you follow our rules (of enjoying the champagne, learning about art and faithfully placing in your raffle tickets) above, you’ll definitely have a good time at the auction.

Ice Show – “Ice Under the Big Top”

 Ice Show Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
Before the start of the show

  Ice Show Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
Entry of the ice skaters

  Ice Show Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
Ice skating mixed with dance movements

  Ice Show Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
Circus on ice

  Ice Show Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
Kids can even go for a ride on the ice (see the choo choo train in the middle!)

Our Ocean View Stateroom aboard Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Ocean View Stateroom Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
Large Bed inside Ocean View Stateroom

 Ocean View Stateroom Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
Toilet

 Ocean View Stateroom Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
Shower facilities, towels and complimentary shower gel

View of Sunrise as we arrived at the port of Phu My in Vietnam
View of Sunrise as we arrived at the port of Phu My in Vietnam

 Ocean View Stateroom Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas
Towel Art

We particularly enjoyed our stay in our ocean view stateroom aboard Mariner of the Seas. The room was spacious and the window view was good enough for us to peer out for ocean views and even the sunrise as seen above. Room service was also great. It always amazes us to see how our room “transforms” after we come back from the day’s programme. Sometimes, towel art such as the monkey above is arranged specially by our stateroom attendant just before our return!

Taking the Bubble Lifts inside Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

Just for fun, we’ve also taken a couple of videos from inside the bubble lifts of the Mariner of the Seas. Enjoy!


Royal Caribbean Cruise to Laem Chabang Thailand and Phu My Vietnam

In this section, we’ll talk about some of the essential information that you’ll need when visiting the ports of Laem Chabang (Thailand) and Phu My (Vietnam) via the Royal Caribbean Cruise

Laem Chabang – Gateway to Bangkok and Pattaya Thailand

 Port of Laem Chabang (C0) where Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas Berthed
Port of Laem Chabang (C0) where Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas Berthed

This excellent shot taken by Kate shows the port of Laem Chabang as we entered C0 (thats Charlie Zero) at the terminal. As you can see, the excursion buses are already waiting to take the guests out and there are also private transportation ready to take you out as well. Small tents with stalls are also setup to sell souvenirs to you upon arrival. Now to the most important part – the transportation.

**Note : We headed to Pattaya because of the unrests in Bangkok during our cruise with Royal Caribbean

During our overnight stay at Laem Chabang, we stayed a night at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya. If you go through the hotel to make transport arrangement, it costs about 2000 baht (80sgd) for one way (WHAAAAAT?!). If you go through the internet, there are one way transportation from Laem Chabang port to Pattaya for 1000 baht (smaller WHAAAT?!). But if you go for the private transportation at the wharf, it costs only 600 one-way and 1200 for return. We took the complimentary transport arranged by Royal Cliff Hotels (thanks Maria!) and returned via taxi for 700 baht. Transport time takes between 30 to 45 minutes depending on traffic conditions.

So what’s there to do at Pattaya?

Things to do in Pattaya

 Infini Pool (aka Infinity Pool) at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya
Infini Pool (aka Infinity Pool) at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya

 Beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Thailand
Beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Thailand

 Walking Street Pattaya
Walking Street Pattaya

 Walking Street Pattaya Pubs, Restaurants, Massage parlours
Walking Street Pattaya Pubs, Restaurants, Massage parlours

Beach Activities - Island Hopping at Pattaya
Beach Activities – Island Hopping at Pattaya

 Soaking up the sun in Pattaya
Soaking up the sun in Pattaya

 Royal Garden Plaza Pattaya
Shopping at Royal Garden Plaza Pattaya – Right in Front of the Beach!

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Enjoying a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato at the top of Royal Garden Plaza

 Central Festival right next to Hilton Pattaya
Central Festival right next to Hilton Pattaya

 Best mango sticky rice at only 80 baht!
Best mango sticky rice at only 80 baht! Look inside the supermarket of Central Festival downstairs

In addition, we also did a massage for a mere price of 200 baht (8SGD) for 1 hour! Although it was cheap, the skill of the masseuse was pretty good and we thoroughly enjoyed the massage. The other thing you ought to try are the Thai food. We tried the fried rice and coconut chicken Tom Yum soup at the hotel while we had beef noodles and fried shrimp flat noodles at the food court of Central Festival. Not to be missed is the mango sticky rice! Best we’ve ever had! The mango was sweet and juicy while the sticky rice was firm, chewy and fragrant. Yum!

Phu My – Gateway to Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

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Port of Phu My where Royal Caribbean Cruise Mariner of the Seas Berthed

Another excellent shot taken by Kate at the port of Phu My when we arrived in Vietnam. When we tried to google to find out whether we could catch private rides out of Phu My to Ho Chi Minh City, we could not really find much information, except that the port was out of bounds to private taxis. Hence, we decided to go for the Ho Chi Minh City On Your Own – essentially a bus transportation arranged by Royal Caribbean Cruise. The ride was 40USD per person for two ways and the ride takes 1.5 hours. Originally, the ride takes 2.5 hours but because there’s a new expressway that just opened in February 2014 from Long Thanh to HCMC, the ride is faster. According to Mr Ng, he says the rides could be as fast as 45 minutes if the drivers were willing to push a little.

As for taxi rides from the port, if you notice the building at the top right hand corner of the picture, you would have to walk out of the port for transportation to Ho Chi Minh City from Phu My port. We asked around and the starting price is about 50USD one way per car. We think that you can bargain a little further. This option is suitable for parties of 4. Great for those who have also made friends onboard and are willing to travel together. Otherwise, the bus arranged by Royal Caribbean from Phu My to Ho Chi Minh is a good option in Vietnam.

 royal caribbean cruise phu my
Our transport tickets at Phu My in our stateroom when we entered on the first day

When we reached Ho Chi Minh City, it was about 9:30am and we had to be back at the drop off point (Rex Hotel) by 4:20pm. It was sufficient time for us but if you’re travelling on your own, don’t forget to check the “All aboard” timing. This time it was 7:30pm. We arrived back at the ship at 6pm sharp.

So what’s there to do in Ho Chi Minh City?

Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

To thoroughly enjoy Ho Chi Minh City, just follow this small little map that we used. Attractions are circled and they are all within walking distance although taxi in Ho Chi Minh is quite cheap. Remember to use metered taxis of Vinasun or Mai Linh while travelling in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.

 Ho Chi Minh City Attractions and Things to do Map
Ho Chi Minh City Attractions and Things to do Map

 Rex Hotel Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Rex Hotel – Drop off point of transport by Royal Caribbean Cruise

 City Hall Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
City Hall Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

 Opera House Ho Chi Minh City
Opera House Ho Chi Minh City

 Saigon Square Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon Square Ho Chi Minh City

 Inside Saigon Square Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Inside Saigon Square Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

 Ben Thanh Market Ho Chi Minh City
Ben Thanh Market Ho Chi Minh City

 Inside Ben Thanh Market Vietnam
Inside Ben Thanh Market Vietnam

 Lunch at this stall inside Ben Thanh Market Ho Chi Minh City
Lunch at this stall inside Ben Thanh Market Ho Chi Minh City

 Vietnam Coffee and Grilled Pork / Spring Roll Vermicelli for a total of 100,000 dong about 5USD
Vietnam Coffee and Grilled Pork / Spring Roll Vermicelli for a total of 100,000 dong about 5USD

 Notre Dame Ho Chi Minh City
Notre Dame Ho Chi Minh City

 The Post Office Ho Chi Minh City
The Post Office Ho Chi Minh City

 Reunification Palace also known as Independence Palace Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Reunification Palace also known as Independence Palace Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

 Prawn and chicken spring roll Saigon Centre Cafe Terrace
Prawn and chicken spring roll Saigon Centre Cafe Terrace

 Pork Vermicelli Saigon Centre Cafe Terrace
Pork Vermicelli Saigon Centre Cafe Terrace

In Ho Chi Minh, we recommend shopping at the Saigon Square. Here you can get good quality bags and jackets at a fraction of the prices back home. But do remember to bargain. If you’re unsure of the prices, you can check out the items at a few other stalls before deciding. This is because, we have ever encountered one of the stalls quoting double the prices of other stalls and if you buy from a stall like this without bargaining or checking, you’ll be buying at a much higher price.


Getting to and fro Marina Bay Cruise Centre to board Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas

Embarking the Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Marina Bay Cruise Centre Visitor Centre
Marina Bay Cruise Centre Visitor Centre

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Bag drop off at the entrance of Marina Bay Cruise Centre

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Queue to clear immigration inside Marina Bay Cruise Centre

 Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
First look at the Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise – HUGE!

Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise
Crossing the gangway to enter into the ship

We took a cab and if you’re coming from AYE (West) via MCE, take exit 2 at Central Boulevard. If you’re coming from ECP (East) via MCE, take exit 3 at Marina Coastal Drive. Do note that you are going to the Marina Bay Cruise Centre. As it was our first time there, we almost alighted at the ferry terminal instead. Look out for the HUGE Mariner of the Seas, you wont miss it!

As we were Crown and Anchor members, we skipped some of the queue and got our sea pass card rather quickly. The entire immigration took about 30 minutes.

Random thought : The Sea Pass Card is the most important card you’ll need on the cruise. It pays for everything onboard and is also your form of identification to disembark and embark the ship.

Disembarking the Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

 Taxi stand upon disembarking from Royal Caribbean Cruise
Taxi stand upon disembarking from Royal Caribbean Cruise

Disembarking took a rather long time. We took approximately 1.5 hours in total to leave the ship, clear customs and get to our taxi. One tip would be to leave slightly later (10am would be perfect) and once everyone clears from the ship, you’ll be able to clear customs and get your cab rather quickly as well ;)

Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

Mariner of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise

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Phew…we actually took more than 10 hours to complete this post! (see how much we love you all? ;) ) We hope that you have enjoyed reading this post as much as we have writing it and hopefully, it will be the comprehensive guide to your next Royal Caribbean Cruise aboard the Mariner of the Seas!

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Royal Cliff Hotel Pattaya : Tiered Vacations “Under-One-Roof”!

Royal Cliff Hotel in Pattaya Thailand was our choice of stay during our stopover at Laemchabang while cruising with Mariner of the Seas (Royal Caribbean Cruise). Thanks to Maria and the Royal Cliff Group, we were invited to a stay at the newly refurbished Mini Suite Plus of the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel!

 Mini Suite Plus Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya
Mini Suite Plus Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya


About Royal Cliff Hotels Group

The Royal Cliff Hotels Group is actually made up of 4 hotels, namely, Royal Cliff Beach Hotel (Casual Luxury), Royal Cliff Beach Terrace (Exotic Luxury), Royal Cliff Grand Hotel (Formal Luxury) and Royal Wing Suites and Spa (Ultimate Luxury).

 Map of Royal Cliff Hotels Group Pattaya
Map of Royal Cliff Hotels Group Pattaya

 Legend to the above map of Royal Cliff Hotel Pattaya
Legend to the above map of Royal Cliff Hotel Pattaya

As you can already guess from the names of the hotels, Royal Cliff caters to mainly 4 different groups of clientele…

Royal Cliff Beach Hotel – Suitable for beach goers (like ourselves) who wants to just relax and enjoy the panoramic sea views and stunning sunsets from Royal Cliff Hotel. Closest access to the new addition – the Infini Pool (aka infinity pool)

Royal Cliff Beach Terrace - For honeymooners who wants some exclusivity and romantic setting, the Royal Cliff Beach Terrace offers couples a relaxed atmosphere PLUS the closest access to 1 of 2 private beaches of the Royal Cliff Hotels.

Royal Cliff Beach Terrace Pattaya
Royal Cliff Beach Terrace Pattaya

Royal Cliff Grand Hotel – The choice for businessmen at Royal Cliff, the Grand Hotel offers several dining venues (perfect for closing those deals) and is the only other hotel (besides Royal Wing Suites and Spa) that has the Cliff Spa located within the premise of the hotel – a perfect place to unwind after a day of conferences and meetings. You can also take one of the shuttle buses from the hotel lobby to reach PEACH (Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall) within minutes.

 Royal Cliff Grand Hotel Pattaya
Royal Cliff Grand Hotel Pattaya

 Lobby of Royal Cliff Grand Hotel Pattaya
Lobby of Royal Cliff Grand Hotel Pattaya

Royal Wing Suites and Spa – The ultimate in luxury and exclusivity, the Royal Wing Suites and Spa is the only hotel with its own private beach, which the other 3 hotels CANNOT access (yup, that’s how private and classy the hotel is). In addition, it also has its own Cliff Spa within the hotel premise. If you want luxury and exclusivity all in one venue, the Royal Wing Suites and Spa offers the perfect getaway. To give an idea of how extravagant guests here are, an Indian wedding was held here during our stay and the couple spent $500,000USD for the 7 day event, complete with fireworks and rotating cube banners! Suites start at $3000USD a night during promotion periods.


Exclusive Tour of the Facilities Amenities and Suites of Royal Cliff Hotel

Reception area of Royal Cliff Beach Hotel
Reception area of Royal Cliff Beach Hotel

 Another view of the reception area of Royal Cliff Beach Hotel
Another view of the reception area of Royal Cliff Beach Hotel

Thanks to Maria and Nooch, we were given a tour of the hotel’s premise with exclusive insights to the much-sought after suites of the hotel! We met at the reception area of the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel and started our tour at Breezeo (Be Yourself Dining) where you can actually concoct cocktails of your own. IF guests like it, you will be able to enter the “Wall of Fame” of Breezeo!

 Casual dining at Breezeo, overlooking Ko Khrok Island
Casual dining at Breezeo, overlooking Ko Khrok Island

 Royal Cliff's Private Beach next to Royal Cliff Beach Terrace
Royal Cliff’s Private Beach next to Royal Cliff Beach Terrace

Walking past the Royal Cliff’s private beach next to the Beach Terrace, we arrived at the Sunset Terrace Lobby and Bar.

 Sunset Terrace Lobby and Bar Royal Cliff Hotel
Sunset Terrace Lobby and Bar Royal Cliff Hotel

As the name suggests, Sunset Terrace Lobby and Bar offers spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Thailand and you can choose from its range of cocktails, sipping and enjoying the company of friends as the sun sets over Ko Khrok Island. The cocktails were amazing and the sunset seen here was simply spectacular! The only gripe we had was that the bar does not serve finger food and the only available option was complimentary nuts. Bar snacks such as chicken wings, onion rings or cheese fries would have be a great complement to the drinks and stunning views…

 Sunset Terrace Lobby and Bar at sunset
Sunset Terrace Lobby and Bar at sunset

 Cocktails at the Sunset Terrace Lobby and Bar
Cocktails at the Sunset Terrace Lobby and Bar

 Us chilling while enjoying the marvelous sunset
Us chilling while enjoying the marvelous sunset

Tours of the suites then started at Royal Cliff Grand Hotel, starting with the Regency Suites…

Regency Suites at Royal Cliff Grand Hotel

 Entrance to Regency Suite Royal Cliff Grand Hotel
Entrance to Regency Suite Royal Cliff Grand Hotel

Inside Royal Cliff Grand Hotel's Regency Suite
Inside Royal Cliff Grand Hotel’s Regency Suite

What we really loved about the suite is its frontage. There are 5 balconies in this room that have sea views! Can you believe that?! Depending on whether you choose the 1BR or 2BR Regency Suite, the size of the suites ranges from 100 to 130 sqm!

 Balcony overlooking the private beach of Royal Cliff Hotels
Balcony overlooking the private beach of Royal Cliff Hotels

 Master Bedroom with huge attached bathroom & bathtub
Master Bedroom with huge attached bathroom & bathtub

We then took a quick stopover at the Sea View Plus Suite of the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel

Grand Sea View Plus Suite at Royal Cliff Grand Hotel

 Sea View Plus Suite Royal Cliff Beach Hotel
Sea View Plus Suite Royal Cliff Beach Hotel

At Royal Cliff Beach Hotel, any suite with a “Plus” means that it has been newly renovated. The Sea View Plus in particular has a bathtub with glass panels which allows you to soak in the waters while taking in the sea views.

Next, we moved on to the highlights of our tour – the Presidential Suites

Presidential Suites at Royal Wing Suites and Spa

We have visited the Presidential Suite (Raffles Suite) of the Raffles Hotel when we were invited to a staycation, so a visit to the Presidential Suite of a hotel is nothing new. Nonetheless, what the Royal Wing Suites lacks in tradition, it certainly more than makes up for it with style…

Presidential Platinum Suite

 Entrance to the Presidential Platinum Suite at Royal Wing Suites and Spa Pattaya
Entrance to the Presidential Platinum Suite at Royal Wing Suites and Spa Pattaya

There are 2 themes for the Presidential Suites at Royal Wing and they are the Presidential Platinum and the Presidential Heritage Suites. The Presidential Platinum is the modern take (and more expensive one) on how a Presidential Suite ought to be. For us, the jacuzzi overlooking the sea definitely trumps many other Presidential Suites out there…

 Jacuzzi inside the Presidential Platinum Suite of Royal Wing Suites and Spa
Jacuzzi inside the Presidential Platinum Suite of Royal Wing Suites and Spa

During promotions, prices of the Presidential Platinum Suite starts at $3000USD. With 220sqm of space, you’ll be spoilt for choice in which part of the suite you’d want to be in!

 Master Bedroom with Sea View
Master Bedroom with Sea View

 Guest room of the Presidential Platinum Suite
Guest room of the Presidential Platinum Suite

 Living area with fridge and bar counter
Living area with fridge and bar counter

 HUGE semi-circular sofa with sea views as centre piece of the Platinum Presidential Suite
HUGE semi-circular sofa with sea views as centre piece of the Platinum Presidential Suite

Presidential Heritage Suite

On the other hand, we were told that the Presidential Heritage Suite, because of its tradition design and feel are usually used to house Heads of States from various countries. At $2000USD a night and a total area of 220sqm, the Presidential Heritage Suite certainly offers businessmen a huge space to entertain, think (study room) and also host private meetings in. The traditional colours also gives a warm feel to the suite.

Entrance to Presidential Heritage Suite Royal Wing Suites and Spa (Royal Cliff Hotels)
Entrance to Presidential Heritage Suite Royal Wing Suites and Spa (Royal Cliff Hotels)

 Living area Presidential Heritage Suite Royal Wing Suites and Spa
Living area Presidential Heritage Suite Royal Wing Suites and Spa

 Bar Counter of the Suite
Bar Counter of the Suite

 Master Bedroom Presidential Heritage Suite Royal Cliff Hotels
Master Bedroom Presidential Heritage Suite Royal Cliff Hotels

Returning to the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel, we visited the Theme Suites of Sukothai and Ayutthaya

Theme Suites at Royal Cliff Beach Hotel

 Entrance to Theme Suites of the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel
Entrance to Theme Suites of the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel

The Theme Suites at Royal Cliff Beach Hotel offers a traditional Thai-designed suite with fantastic sea views and sunsets overlooking Ko Khrok Island. The woody design and intricate carvings on the walls of the room instantly transports you to a warm and inviting traditional Thai/Oriental atmosphere.

Master Bedroom of the Theme Suite at Royal Cliff Beach Hotel
Master Bedroom of the Theme Suite at Royal Cliff Beach Hotel

 HUGE living area of the Theme Suite at Roal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya
HUGE living area of the Theme Suite at Roal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya

FITZ Club

FITZ Club is the in-house fitness centre of the Royal Cliff Hotels. In fact, it is more like a club and even has members that visit the club for its gym, tennis and other recreational facilities…

Swimming pool at FITZ Club
Swimming pool at FITZ Club – Don’t forget that there are 6 pools, 6 POOLS in the entire premise of the Royal Cliff Hotel!

 Tennis Courts at FITZ Club Royal Cliff Hotels
Tennis Courts at FITZ Club Royal Cliff Hotels

 Squash Courts - Where the hotel will be hosting its first ever Squash Tournament
Squash Courts – Where the hotel will be hosting its first ever Squash Tournament

 Gym at the Royal Cliff Hotels
Gym at the Royal Cliff Hotels

 Putting Greens at FITZ Club
Putting Greens at FITZ Club

 Play area for kids - which has been sort of superseded with the opening of Funtasy
Play area for kids – which has been sort of superseded with the opening of Funtasy

Royal Grill Room and Wine Cellar

 Entrance to the Royal Grill Room and Wine Cellar
Entrance to the Royal Grill Room and Wine Cellar

Inside the Royal Grill Room and Wine Cellar
Inside the Royal Grill Room and Wine Cellar

For some top grade steaks and excellent selection of wines, the Royal Grill Room and Wine Cellar offers just that with a touch of heritage. In addition, you may also wish to know that the restaurant has won accolades for being one of the best restaurants in Pattaya!


Royal Cliff Beach Hotel’s Mini Suite Plus

Back to our stay at the Mini Suite Plus of the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel, we want to especially thank Maria for this room because of its fantastic combination of sea views and pool view!

 Pool and Sea view of the Mini Plus Suite at Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya
Balcony with Pool and Sea view in the Mini Plus Suite of Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Pattaya

 The King Sized Bed
The King Sized Bed

 Small living area beside the balcony
Small living area beside the balcony

Cable TV and kettle facilities
Cable TV and kettle facilities

 Well-stocked toiletries & cute bunny towels!
Well-stocked toiletries & cute bunny towels!

 Bathroom and Bath Tub
Bathroom and Bath Tub


Video Tour of the Mini Suite Plus of Royal Cliff Beach Hotel

We also tried the room service menu of Thai-Styled Fried Rice and Coconut Tom Yum Chicken Soup which was both yummy and had authentic Thai flavours (watch out for the spiciness of the soup!). If you’re staying here, be sure to try it as well!

Breakfast at Panorama of the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel

As for breakfast, if you’re staying at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel, then breakfast would be served at the Panorama. According to Maria, the restaurant is so named because of its panoramic views overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Indeed the views were great and many guests “vie” to be seated at the window seats (inside) or the terrace (outside).

There was also a huge variety of choice available ranging from chinese to indian and the continental breakfasts…check out the breakfast spread at Royal Cliff Beach Hotel…

Breakfast setting at Panorama with sea views
Breakfast setting at Panorama with sea views

 Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama
Selection of bread and pastries

 Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama
Egg and omelette station

 Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama
Another egg preparation station

 Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama
Healthy selection of cereals, oats, yogurts and pancake/waffles

 Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama
Hot foods including noodles, rice, congee

 Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama
Small selection of vegetarian Indian dishes

 Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama
Continental breakfast of cheese, hams, fruits and cold dishes

 Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama
Various juices and milk available

 Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama-Kanom Krok Station - Traditional waffle like dish
Kanom Krok Station – Traditional waffle like dish

What we ate at Panorama Royal Cliff Beach Hotel

Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama
Fried noodles, rice, pasta salad, egg, fish and chicken

 Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama
Pancake and crepes – remember to add maple syrup! Kate did not see it though it was just beside the waffle station!

Royal Cliff Beach Hotel Breakfast Panorama
Healthy fruits to round up the meal

During breakfast, we also noticed that there were many Russian tourists here. Perhaps the hotel has some collaboration with Russian tour groups. In fact, we also noticed many Russian and Eastern Europe tourists while walking along the streets of Pattaya. Might be useful to pick up some simple Russian such as “spatz see bah” (thank you) and “natz dro via” (cheers)!

Last Words

Yes, we have saved the best for last…

 Infini Pool (aka Infinity Pool) of Royal Cliff Hotels
Infini Pool (aka Infinity Pool) of Royal Cliff Hotels

 Sunset by the Infinity Pool of the Royal Cliff Hotels
Sunset by the Infinity Pool of the Royal Cliff Hotels

We have travelled the world over and been to many a hotel swimming pool. But the infinity pool at the Royal Cliff Hotel is unlike any other we’ve ever been to. There are 3 “spa” areas in the pool that gives you the option of lying down or sitting down and various orientations as well (pick the one with sunset view!). We also went to the pool again at night and this time because of its various mild illuminating colours inside the pool, it transforms the feel of the pool altogether! Because of these reasons and the views you see above, we definitely rank the infinity pool at Royal Cliff Hotels in the top 3 of our list!

You’ll also be delighted to know that you can actually walk to the Pattaya Walking Street from the hotel! We took a shuttle to the entrance of the hotel and turned left along the road. You will then come to a path like this…

 Path that leads to walking street in Pattaya
Path that leads to walking street in Pattaya

Along the way, we met 2 old gentlemen and they told us that if we took the cobbled stairs (extreme right of the picture), we would save approximately 5 to 10 minutes. All in all, we took about 25 minutes to get from the hotel to the walking street.

There’s also the option of taking the bus for a fee of 100 baht that takes you to the city centre. But the catch is that it only starts operating at 12pm , once every 2 hours. Walking gives you some flexibility. ;)

Royal Cliff Hotels Pattaya

Royal Cliff Hotels Pattaya

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For your convenience, we have arranged for the best hotel deals at Royal Cliff Hotels Pattaya right here!

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel. No matter what your preference is (be it business, honeymooners, beach bums or exclusive luxury), Royal Cliff Hotels will definitely be able to meet your preferences and more! We’ve enjoyed our stay in Pattaya and we hope that you will as well!

** Special thanks to Maria, Nooch and the Royal Cliff Hotels for hosting us for this stay at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel!

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Inn at the Market Seattle : All about Location Location Location!

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Inn at the Market Seattle was our last hotel during our US West Coast trip and when we chose Inn at the Market, it’s all about location, location, location! Check out this video taken from Pike Place Market… Inn at … Continue reading

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San Remo San Francisco : Hotel with a PRIME location!

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The San Remo was the 2nd hotel we stayed in during our recent visit to San Francisco. We were invited by the tourism board of San Francisco to 2 hotels – Palace Hotel as well as the San Remo hotel. … Continue reading

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Palace Hotel San Francisco : A great mix of History, Class and Luxury!

Palace Hotel San Francisco together with San Francisco Tourism Board (SanFrancisco.travel) invited us for a stay at this gorgeous hotel while we were travelling in the West Coast of USA (yes, it was the Golden Gate Bridge that brought us back to USA).

 Entrance of Palace Hotel San Francisco
Entrance of Palace Hotel San Francisco

We have to be honest here. Our first impression of Palace Hotel was that it could be just a normal hotel with the usual gym and swimming pool facilities. Little did we know that we were actually invited to a grand old dame of San Francisco!

 Night view of Palace Hotel San Francisco
Night view of Palace Hotel San Francisco

Established in 1875, Palace Hotel has undergone several restorations especially after the great earthquake of San Francisco in 1909 (although only 9% of the hotel was damaged) and after the 1989 earthquake of a 7 scale earthquake. When Palace Hotel reopened in 1991, its 1909 glory was restored at a cost of more than $150 million!

The cool thing about luxury hotels with a history is that

1. They are usually in the city centre. This is because cities build outwards from its centre and as it grows, the older buildings which are originally close to the city centre would then become prime locations! For Palace Hotel, it just a stone’s throw away from Union Square and the world famed, San Francisco Chinatown

2. Many famous people stayed here before. Famous personalities who stayed here before included Mark Twain, Thomas Edison (would you believe it?!), Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill (seriously?!), Presidents of USA (including Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and more recently actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg.

We also realised that these are in STRIKING RESEMBLANCE to Singapore’s very own Grand Old Dame – The Raffles Hotel!


At the Lobby of Palace Hotel San Francisco

Due to the festive period, the lobby of the hotel was brightened up with some decorations of its own…

 Christmas Decorations in the lobby of Palace Hotel
Christmas Decorations in the lobby of Palace Hotel

 Huge Christmas Tree in the Garden Court of Palace Hotel San Francisco
Huge Christmas Tree in the Garden Court of Palace Hotel San Francisco

 Entrance to the Garden Court with 2 Nutcrackers Displays
Entrance to the Garden Court with 2 Nutcrackers Displays

 Reception area of Palace Hotel San Francisco - Morey on the left who assisted us during checking in
Reception area of Palace Hotel San Francisco – Morey on the left who assisted us during check in

As with our stay at Hilton Vancouver Washington, we were actually anticipating a package from San Francisco travel. Although it was not there upon our arrival, our receptionist Morey, helped us by checking through the records again (twice) and going back to the storeroom (twice) just to confirm that our package was indeed late. In addition, he also gave us advice to get the package tracking number (if available) and to contact SF travel again. All this while, maintaining his professional attitude and service. With such great attitude and service, it is no wonder that Palace Hotel ranks highly in their reviews as well.

Before long, Morey passed us the room keys saying

“There you are. Enjoy your stay at the Deluxe King Suite!”

So we wondered to ourselves, a suite? Perhaps, we just heard wrong. Better not put our hopes too high just to let them fall smack down right? So we got our stuff and headed to our room, walking past this BEAUTIFUL hallway…

 Beautiful Hallway of Palace Hotel San Francisco
Beautiful Hallway of Palace Hotel San Francisco

 Staircase of Palace Hotel San Francisco
You can also have the options of stairs if you like


Deluxe King Suite Palace Hotel San Francisco

As we entered into our room, we were pleasantly surprised by the sheer size. The room had an entrance area, living area, study area, bedroom, couch in the bedroom as well as a bathroom complete with bathtub. In one word – HUGE!

Here’s a video tour of the Deluxe King Suite at Palace Hotel San Francisco…

And so, our ears were not wrong when we heard Morey tell us about the Deluxe King Suite. A pleasant surprise for us indeed!

 Study area in Deluxe Suite Palace Hotel
Study area in Deluxe Suite Palace Hotel

 Living area Palace Hotel San Francisco
Living area Palace Hotel San Francisco

 Keurig Coffee Machine - Though coffee is available in the lobby in the mornings
Keurig Coffee Machine – Though coffee is available in the lobby in the mornings

 Huge King Size Bed in Suite of Palace Hotel
Huge King Size Bed in Suite of Palace Hotel

 Comfy Couch in the Bedroom
Comfy Couch in the Bedroom

 Bathroom of Deluxe King Suite
Bathroom of Deluxe King Suite

 Bathtub in the Deluxe Suite Palace Hotel
Bathtub in the Deluxe Suite Palace Hotel

 Shower gel and Bath Salts
Shower Gel and Bath Salts

What we love about the room is its privacy. Because of its entrance (small little area where you leave your shoes), you have a distance away from the other rooms, giving you tranquility in your room. The other thing we love about the room is of course its size. We had ample space on the desk for our nightly summary, snack and watch some TV in the living room and lie down on our bed, again with the TV on! Yeah, sometimes we wonder if we’re travelling or just going to US to watch TV :p


Facilities at Palace Hotel San Francisco

Gym and swimming pools are a common fare at classy hotels such as the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. But the cool thing about the fitness centre at Palace Hotel is its sunroof…

 Gym overlooking swimming at Palace Hotel
Gym overlooking swimming at Palace Hotel

Swimming pool on 4th floor of Palace Hotel
Swimming pool on 4th floor of Palace Hotel

 Another view of the swimming pool with gym in the background
Another view of the swimming pool with gym in the background

The cool thing about the sunroof is of course its view during the day and here it is…

 Palace Hotel San Francisco Swimming Pool Daytime
Palace Hotel San Francisco Swimming Pool Daytime

In addition to the facilities, Palace Hotel has 2 other cool hang out places at the ground floor of its premise. Known as the Pied Piper Bar & Grill, it is named among the 7 finest bars IN THE WORLD! This is along the ranks of Ritz in London, the 21 Club in New York and the La Floridita in Havana. In that respect, the Pied Piper Bar sets the standard in opulence and elegance, definitely a place you want to check out when you’re in San Francisco.

Of course, the other venue is the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company right round the corner of the building. We had the Sea Cliff “Treasure” Sundae (with cookie at the bottom) and it was definitely one of the best sundaes we’ve had. With the rich chocolate from Ghirardelli, it totally puts a different spin to the common term “Chocolate Sundae”.

 Sea Cliff Sundae with warm ghirardelli cookie at the bottom of the sundae
Sea Cliff Sundae with warm Ghirardelli cookie at the bottom of the sundae

Created in 1852, Ghirardelli is today a familiar name for gourmet chocolate in San Francisco. Here’s a quick snapshot of the history of Ghirardelli…

 History of Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
History of Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

Conclusion

After staying at the Palace Hotel San Francisco, you’ll realise that there’s really few places that can compare with this hotel that mixes history, class and luxury all in one. What’s more, the location of the hotel is simply unbeatable – walking distance to Union Square, Chinatown and along the Market Street where the historic F-line plies.

A hotel recommended for all visitors to San Francisco!

Palace Hotel San Francisco

Palace Hotel San Francisco

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* Special thanks to San Francisco Travel and Palace Hotel for hosting us to an amazing stay here and making our US trip possible!

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Heathman Lodge Vancouver Washington : One of our best hotel stays EVER!

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Ok, straight up. Heathman Lodge Vancouver Washington has got to be one of our best hotel stays EVER!! We were invited by Visitvancouverusa.com and Heathman Lodge for a stay at their premise. Before our stay, we did a check online … Continue reading

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