Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cruising via SuperStar Gemini: A Fulfilled Wish


At my age, it never crossed my mind that I would be embarking on a trip that was once considered as a retiree’s ultimate dream. On board a fancy cruise ship loaded with families and honeymooners, I was overjoyed as I stood facing the glass windows of my cabin, looking at passing islands as we journey along the Malacca Strait. I was on SuperStar Gemini cruise ship. I said to myself, a once far-fetched dream that was now being fulfilled as we navigate on a four-day cruise holiday.

Sunday morning, the group flew from Manila to Singapore for our cruise trip. Our good friends from Star Cruises invited me and some friends (there were fourteen of us in total) to experience one of their famous tours, the Singapore-Penang-Langkawi-Singapore four-day cruise. Everyone was excited as we were chauffeured to our home for four days, the SuperStar Gemini.

At the Singapore Cruise Centre, we were asked to check-in our luggage and wait for the embarkation time. After our quick coffee time on one of the caf├ęs along the area, we were cleared from immigration and were led towards the security check for boarding.

Access cards were given beforehand to be used as key cards to our room. That same card will also be used as charge card to transact inside the ship as cash is not accepted on any of the outlets (make sure that your card is with you at all times).

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini
The view from the Captain's Bridge
SuperStar Gemini is one of the cruise ships owned and operated by Star Cruises, the third largest cruise line in the world. The ship has 765 cabins, 11 dining options, onboard entertainment selections (gaming, karaoke, etc.), sports and fitness facilities (basketball court, two outdoor swimming pools, gym, jogging track, and spa), and other facilities (salon, duty-free shops, clinic, child care center, etc.). With so many options to do, your freedom to choose on what to do (or what not to do) solely depends on you. Our holiday started as we headed to our individual cabins, our nest for the next few days.

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini
Our gorge home for four days
Assigned on a Superior Oceanview Stateroom, I was surprised on how spacious it was given that every space in a ship counts. It has all the basic amenities of a hotel room including twin beds, flat screen TV, two wardrobe closets, vanity dresser, a seating area overlooking the sea and an en suite toilet and bath with hot and cold shower, bathroom amenities and hair dryer. My cabin was clean, comfy and surprisingly, spacious.

SuperStar Gemini Superior Oceanview Stateroom
Superior Oceanview Stateroom
SuperStar Gemini Superior Oceanview Stateroom
There's a hot & cold shower and hair dryer
SuperStar Gemini Superior Oceanview Stateroom
My room was surprisingly spacious
The glass windows provided a magnificent view of the sea and an opportunity to catch the sunrise and sunset (whichever I had for that day). The carpeted flooring plus the mustard and maroon shades from the furnishings made it homey. I rearranged the sofa and the lounge chair to face the window and got a better view as we started the voyage.

We cruised at exactly three in the afternoon and the ship's movement caused me no dizziness at all. Sea sickness can be really hard, so the reception offers medicine for such cases. 

Speaking of which, I was surprised on how diverse the crew population is. With a great majority of Filipinos (around 40%), I noticed a good mix from India, Nepal, Indonesia, Japan, China and more. It felt like home as we spoke in Filipino to some of the staff (although the multi-lingual crew are all fluent in English).

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini
SuperStar Gemini
An emergency drill was conducted after an hour or so since the commencement of the cruise. We went to our specific Muster Stations or assembly points in which we were briefed on what to expect if such emergencies may occur. The group also had a tour around SuperStar Gemini starting from the main entertainment hub, the Stardust Lounge. We checked out the top deck and were stunned by its grandness. It had a number of Jacuzzi pools, a splash pool, sunbeds, bars and so much space for strolling. It was the cruise ship I imagined, with all its grandeur and lavishness. 

I saw a number of honeymooners, families and surprisingly, groups of young travelers who were enjoying the cruise. I suppose, these are the new generation of flashpackers who wants to experience a seemingly different kind of adventure (as opposed to the notion that cruise ships are for retirees).

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini

It was around seven in the evening when the sun started to bid its farewell and the sky showed off a majestic display of colors. At the same time, buffet dinners were started to be served at four different restaurants in the ship. As with the food, we got to have different dining options, as was included on the cruise package. Each guest can actually enjoy six different meals on any of the restaurants per day.

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini

Mariners Restaurant is the place where you can enjoy a combination of Asian and Western cuisines. What I love most about this restaurant is that there’s a wide variety of choices including hash browns, roti, and freshly-made yogurts for breakfast. I also like Oceana Barbecue with its al fresco dining. Located at the top deck, the outdoor feel of this restaurant made it a go-to place for those who are craving for barbecue and grilled fares, especially during dinnertime. Bella Vista, on the other hand, is more of a Western restaurant with its international buffet spread which includes your good old bacons and other dishes. Dynasty Restaurant features a great selection of Chinese dishes on their spread; expect to load up on fried dumplings and more.

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Restaurant
Mariners Restaurant
Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Restaurant
My lunch plate at Dynasty Restaurant
Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Restaurant
My breakie plate at Mariners Rdestaurant
Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Restaurant
My dinner plate at Oceana Barbecue
Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Restaurant
Wasabi Prawn Mayonnaise - my favorite during the Gala dinner at Bella Vista
There were other dining options at the SuperStar Gemini which are not included on the package.  You may want to have an a la carte dish aside from the food choices at the buffet restaurants at moderate prices. My super favorite restaurant on the ship was, not surprisingly, on a pay restaurant.

Located at the top deck, Blue Lagoon has a diner feel and a great view of the sea. Asian and Western dishes are highlighted and they have huge servings. I particularly enjoyed their Crispy Chicken in Garlic Teriyaki (SGD8) which was overly delicious that it didn't even make it to my photo gallery (yeah, I missed taking snaps of it). It was so good that the moment we were told our last meal on the ship would be at Blue Lagoon, I knew exactly what I was gonna order again (and falied again in taking a decent photo of the glorious dish).

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Restaurant
Blue Lagoon
SuperStar Gemini Singapore Laksa
Singapore Curry Laksa (SGD13)
I was once told that cruise life can be a bore. But with the great entertainment offerings of SuperStar Gemini by Star Cruises, there was never a lull time.

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini
Stardust Lounge
We’ve seen a magic and acrobat show, the crew’s show featuring some talented staff, an outstanding performance from Kyla (Asia’s R&B Princess from the Philippines) and more. Everything was free of charge! The shows that weren’t free were the neon party (SGD15) and the Marionettes show (adult show at SGD110 for premium seats).

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Entertainment
Kyla gave an outstanding performance during our first night
Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Entertainment

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Entertainment
Queen of Hearts show
Connecting to the outside world (read:Instagram posting) was never a problem as we availed of a 3-day voucher for SGD50. The connection was not outstanding, given that we were on high seas most of the time, but it was comparable to the internet connection I have in the Philippines. Haha.

A photo posted by blissfulguro (@blissfulguro) on

At high seas, me and my buddies were always on the lookout for something new to do. There was this one time when we went to the topsiders pool and had a fun time swimming into a wavy pool (blame it on the moving ship). At around eleven, we were surprised that a pool party was about to happen and all of the drinks at the bar are on promo. We chugged cans and cans of Tiger Beer (two beers at SGD9) and partied as the DJ rocked the house, oh I mean the boat. We were sprinkled with water and it was really fun as we danced along with the gang and some of the guests at high noon. We also had a nice time watching the sunset at the outdoor swimming pool and at one of the Jacuzzi pools on the top deck the next day.

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Swimming Pool
Pool party at noon!
Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Jacuzzi Pool
Jacuzzi time
They say that the excursions are the most sought after part of the tour as you get to explore the places during shore visits. Pre-arranged shore excursions can be booked at SuperStar Gemini itself or if you’re a frequent traveler and know your way to the featured destinations then you can go on your own for a free and easy trip (just keep in mind that they have a strict call time so you have to be back at the ship on the given time). We had a nice time around Penang and Langkawi, albeit on a short stay, it was a nice way to get a feel of a place so that you’d know whether it can be a future trip destination or not (I will dedicate a separate post on our shore excursions). I’ve been to Penang and Langkawi during our Beach Hop Asia 2016 summer backpacking trip and going back to familiar spots and experiencing new adventures with a new set of friends made it more delightful.

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini
And we are so ready for the shore excursion!
The Gala Night was also something I enjoyed. It started with the Captain’s Cocktail Party, then was followed by the Gala Dinner, the Gala Show, and the Grand Farewell Party to cap our last night off. I would like to commend the wonderful staff from the entertainment department for a job well done in producing great shows for the guests.

Pinoy Travel Bloggers
All dressed up for the Gala dinner with renowned travel blogger in the Philippines.
I felt so honored to be on the cruise with them.
Waking up on our last day was the hardest. After four days of cruise life, which I must say can be habit-forming, we’re finally down to our last full day at the ship. I hugged my warm duvet tighter as I stared at the glass windows thinking about nothing at all. Mornings are the perfect time to contemplate but at that moment, I was just relishing the serenity of watching the vastness of the calm sea. No deep thoughts or anything, just pure silence and bliss.

It was the last show of the trip, standing in the middle of the stage, I was blinded by the spotlight that was aimed at me. I was deafened by the tremendous uproar from unknown faces which boosted my performance. I was Beyonce, in spirit and character on a lip sync battle featuring six out of a thousand guests. I was singing in front of a big audience on board a cruise ship, it was a dream come true, both the trip and the singing part.

Lip Sync Battle Superstar Gemini
And they made me perform on a stage in front of an audience, wish fulfilled :)
I didn’t win, sadly. But the mere fact that I stood there, belting out the song with all my heart, when I was supposed to just lip sync it, was the perfect icing on the cake. It was fun, experiencing the cruise life for the first time, especially with a crazy bunch of people who made each moment more authentic.

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini
Why should you wait for retirement to do the things that you dream of? :)
The crew bid their last farewell as we disembarked SuperStar Gemini. The sent us off with songs and dance as we walked out of the ship. It felt like I was leaving my hometown. Hugs and cheers were given, which made it even harder to leave. I snapped a last photo of the SuperStar Gemini as the sun dipped lower on the horizon. I still couldn’t believe that I just had a cruise. And yes baby, dreams really do come true!


SuperStar Gemini - Star Cruises
5/F Star Cruises Centre, 100 Andrews Avenue, Pasay City,
Metro Manila, Philippines
Contact Number: Philippines - (+63) 836.6830 to 32
Email Address: salesmanila@starcruises.com
Website: http://www.starcruises.com/en/home.aspx
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10 comments:

  1. Inggit ako sa cruise trip pero mas lalo akong na-jelly dun sa lipsync for your life experience! Sana ako din makaperform ng ganyan hihi :D Hope someone sa trip was able to record everyone's performance.

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    Replies
    1. Di ba?! Ang saya maging Beyonce sa cruise ship? Hihi. They gave us DVD copies of the performances. Haha.

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  2. I love it, how does one qualify for a free trip. Im also a blogger, small time and loves to travel esp if free, hihihi ty

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  3. I am a cruiser and let me tell you. Gone are the days when cruising is for retirees. I started cruising in 2006 and my first cruise turned out to be booze cruise - coz it coincided with spring break and the ship is full of college kids having fun. So that's how I know cruising. I never got to experience the retiree cruising that everyone says it is. I just got back from a Caribbean cruise and it looks like that the under 50 population is more represented.

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    Replies
    1. Wow! I wanna do some cruisin' on the Caribbean and your booze cruise! :)

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