By Thúy Hằng
On my first visit to the City of Light, I bought a ticket to attend a show by the famous Parisian cabaret Moulin Rouge. Like many other tourists, I was impressed by the high energy of the show and the high-leg-kicking dances.
Recently, I had a chance to enjoy this amazing performance again, not in the Moulin Rouge in Paris, but on the Spectrum of the Seas – a 16-deck international cruise ship the size of a vast building.
|The Spectrum of the Seas looks like a 'mobile building on the sea'. Royal Caribbean International operates the 16-deck and 347-metre-long cruise. — Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International
The impressive performance was part of a live show staged by hundreds of cruise dancers. During my four-night trip with Asia's largest and newest ship, every night, together with hundreds of other passengers, I enjoyed different interesting shows, from Broadway-style productions to magical acts.
The shows with enchanting songs, graceful dances, and a spectrum of colours are great enjoyment and reminded me of the musical The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, that I enjoyed in the summer of 2018.
|Dancers stage a show on Spectrum of the Seas. — VNS Photo Thúy Hằng
Alongside two main venues for entertainment, the Royal Theatre and the Music Hall, I was impressed by the Two70 venue. The spacious space presents an expansive ocean view through its floor-to-ceiling wall of windows. This place can also transform into seamless video projection whenever a show occurs.
I remember the highly enthusiastic ambience of the last night on the cruise when hundreds of people gathered to party. Who wouldn't be excited and dance to the music while the floor-to-ceiling background screen presents a stunning firework performance?
|FlowRider mimics both surfing and boogie boarding, and passengers can ride it as often as they want for free. — VNS Photo Thúy Hằng
The Two70 is not the only place on this huge cruise using cutting-edge technology to amaze passengers. Another highlight is the Bionic Bar, where a robot bartender serves cocktails engineered to perfection.
The menu at Bionic Bar features both classics and signature drinks, but passengers can also design their own cocktail or mocktail and have one of the robotic mixologists whip it up in no time.
However, I didn't have a chance to try any drink made by these robot bartenders, as whenever I passed by the bar, there was always a group of curious people taking photos or waiting for their drink.
|Young passengers try the onboard rock climbing walls. — VNS Photo Thúy Hằng
It's hard for anyone to feel bored when they are aboard this mobile building on the sea. It offers passengers all kinds of activities to fill their days, from sports through to entertainment and leisure. The activities are so abundant that I couldn't try them all. Each day and night brings something new to do, see and explore.
Waves don't just surround the Spectrum of the Seas; the vessel lets the waves come on deck, too. Its self-contained FlowRider mimics both surfing and boogie boarding, and passengers can ride as often as they want for free. For me, it was a fun experience, despite my continual failing to keep on top of my boogie board.
There are so many things that I've never tried in life until I went on this cruise. FlowRider isn't the only simulation I enjoyed on the Spectrum. The ship also hosts RipCord by iFLY, a skydiving simulation.
I donned a flight suit and hopped into a tube-like wind tunnel, letting me float in the air for minutes. As with the FlowRider, it's not easy to keep your body's balance without an instructor's help.
|Children and adult passengers soak in the water in swimming pools onboard. — VNS Photo Thúy Hằng
I didn't dare try the Sky Pad – a bungee trampoline experience that adds virtual reality to the mix. Guests' adrenaline levels are sent sky high when they strap in and don a headset to transport themselves to another time and planet, a must for any thrill-seeker.
For the passengers who are sporty, the ship even offers a rock climbing wall to practise their skills.
When onboard, you will never be hungry as the vessel has several restaurants to treat your taste buds. Alongside the casual Windjammer Marketplace and main dining rooms, guests can enjoy the fine-dining experience at other restaurants, such as Jamie's Italian, Teppanyaki, Izumi Sushi, and Chops Grille, to name a few.
A Japanese colleague and I had a memorable experience when we had dinner at Wonderland – a restaurant inspired by Alice in Wonderland, from the interior décor to its imaginative menu.
Our dreamlike experience began as we were requested to brush the menu to find the elements – Sun, Ice, Fire, Earth, Sea, and Dreams – each showcases a selection of small or shareable fantasy-like dishes.
We enjoyed the food for the taste, decoration and the wonderful experience, from using "magical water" to unveil the menu to breaking a big chocolate egg open for our dessert.
The Spectrum knows how to enhance the passenger experience through their day excursions to Kuala Lumpur and Penang – two ship destinations in Malaysia. On the second day of the voyage, we got off the ship when it docked Port Klang to visit the Batu Caves in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Selangor, which is well-known for its 272 colourful steps leading to Hindu shrines located high up in the middle of a mountain.
The tour also took us to see Petronas Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world, and the iconic Jamek Mosque in downtown KL.
|Tourists see Batu Caves in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Selangor, which is well-known for its 272 colourful steps leading to Hindu shrines high up in the middle of a mountain. — VNS Photo Thúy Hằng
On the third day, the cruise took us to explore Penang – an island state just off the coast of northwest Malaysia. It is rich in diverse cultural influences thanks to its history as a trading centre between India, China, Britain and the Middle East. We headed to historic George Town, the island's capital city, where bicycles and trishaws dart along narrow streets lined with mural-adorned buildings and varied architecture.
Although there are still so many great things on this cruise trip to write about, I will let you discover them yourself. The Spectrum of the Seas offers several destinations for your choice in Malaysia, Thailand, Việt Nam, and Japan. —VNS