Those who longed for a vacation during the peak of COVID-19 wouldn’t be stranger to the concept of “cruise to nowhere”. After all, if we can’t fly or even drive to neighbouring countries, the next best option is going out to sea. So successful was this concept that it reinvigorated a newfound enthusiasm for cruising in Singapore, which is why the Royal Caribbean Spectrum of the Seas cruise ship couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
The vessel, Asia’s largest and most innovative ship, made its first dock here recently to prepare for its one-year stint in Singapore starting 11 April 2022, and if our sneak peek was anything to go by, it’s going to be a busy 365 days for all 1,500 crew members on board.
Read on for our full review of Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas cruise in Singapore
The cruise ship
In today’s competitive cruise industry, Royal Caribbean International knew it had a lot to do to stand out from its competitors, namely Genting’s Dream Cruises. Thankfully, it had plenty of space to play around with; the hulking vessel is Asia’s biggest and most expensive cruise ship at the moment, and spans an impressive length of about 347m.
In fact, there are so many things to see and do, that the three- and four-night Ocean Getaways will probably not be enough for you to tick off your checklist. Because the ship is relatively new (it last did its rounds in Hong Kong before restrictions tightened further), expect everything to be clean and in top shape.
Where do we even begin? Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas is chockfull of activities and facilities that will keep anyone completely occupied, whether you’re 10 years old or 100.
You’ll get access to signature experiences such as Ripcord by iFly, a gravity-defying simulator that lets you float weightlessly as you attempt skydiving manoeuvres — if you dare. An instructor is on hand to guide you through, and because it’s on one of the ship’s highest points, you’ll get a killer view to boot too.
For an even better view, book a session on the North Star, an all-glass observation capsule that’ll take you 300 feet above sea level for panoramic sights of the sea and beyond. We were told that a pod of dolphins were spotted near the vessel just a couple of days ago, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled whilst up there.
Other big highlights include the FlowRider surf simulator that’ll get your adrenaline pumping, as well as the SeaPlex, the largest indoor activity complex at sea. The latter is a transformable space that can not only host basketball and futsal matches, but also bumper car battles come sundown. Around the space are table tennis tables, foosball tables, and an archery area, which guests can use at any point in time.
Those keen on getting some sun during this trip won’t be disappointed; a decent-sized pool sits at the heart of the Spectrum of the Sea’s top deck with plenty of sunbeds around, but if that gets too crowded for you, there’s another one in the air-conditioned Solarium and a jacuzzi in an adults-only section just further back for you to soak in. Bars are dotted everywhere so you won’t have to walk far for a piña colada — just sayin’.
If you prefer to soak in the atmosphere of the ship, Spectrum of the Seas keeps you entertained with plenty of live performance options. The Two70 is an open area “living room” by day that offers panoramic views of the waters and neighbouring islands, but come sundown, the space transforms with the help of intelligent robotic lighting, state-of-the art projectors, and very enthusiastic performers. Expect lots of dancing, live singing, and even contortionists to keep you entertained. Other venues on the cruise ship also offer live bands and pianists. If you want to channel your inner God of Gambling, the casino, of course, awaits.
Because Royal Caribbean International designed this ship for the Asian market, expect Asian cuisine to be a big theme around there. Highlights include restaurants such as Sichuan Red, Hot Pot, and Teppanyaki, the latter of which is the most entertaining option of them all. Here, the passionate chefs cook up a storm on the hot plate whilst singing and teasing guests, so bookmark this restaurant if you want a meal to remember.
For your caffeine fix, head to the contemporary Leaf & Bean, where you’ll find everything from original Chinese teas to classic coffee creations, then head to the Bionic Bar to watch robots shake up a cocktail for you. There’s a Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver if you’re craving pasta, but head to Wonderland if you’re feeling adventurous. The multi-sensory experience here is bolstered by a whimsical setting, visually-enticing dishes, and ‘magical’ cocktails to make for a highly entertaining and Instagrammable meal.
Otherwise, there are also free dining options everywhere. The Windjammer offers a massive buffet spread three times a day, while the Dog House and Sorrento’s Pizza let’s you binge on hot dogs and pizzas to your heart’s content. The Main Dining Room is a smart-casual affair, and serves up decadent dishes like Moroccan-spiced ahi tuna and fluffy Grand Marnier soufflés.
For the best experience, we recommend booking the Silver Junior Suite and up. The suite life onboard Spectrum of the Seas not only means a bigger room, but also generous balcony space (with sunbeds!), and access to exclusive dining lounges and facilities throughout the ship.
Here, the rooms are contemporary and impeccably clean, with a plush king-sized bed that will tempt you to hit the snooze button time and again. The room opens up to the balcony via floor-to-ceiling sliding doors so you can let the fresh sea breeze in. You’ll also enjoy creature comforts like L’Occitane toiletries, a bathtub, a Lavazza coffee machine.
If you’re travelling with a big family and demanding kids, the Ultimate Family Suite is a two-storey option that boasts an in-suite slide, a flights of piano stairs, your very own cinema, an air hockey table, and table tennis on your balcony. A Royal Genie will be your personal butler for the trip, and you can count on him to give you exclusive access to the best that Royal Caribbean has to offer on your Spectrum of the Seas cruise.
With air travel opening up rapidly, the biggest question that remains now is whether a cruise to nowhere from Singapore is still the best option around. While we’re all for exploring new destinations, Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas was a surprisingly delightful distraction from the rest of the world for a few days.
Like a little city on the seas, the smooth-sailing cruise left us with no time to be bored (or hungry). Service is outstanding here, and you won’t find a crew member without a smile. Walk past any of them and you’ll get a greeting, and if you have a request, they’ll go out of their way to help you — something you don’t always experience on land (or even in the skies).
Royal Caribbean International’s new ship might still be cruising with no ports of call for now, but the Singapore Tourism Board has stated that it was working with potential destinations to make this happen by year end. And while that would be one extra thing to look forward to, you’ll be having so much fun that you might not even want to leave.