Day 41, Grand Asia 2018
Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, Singapore:
Another port, another food adventure. This is the beauty of having visited many of these places before. I’m free from the obligation to take the “Best of” tour. Instead, I am looking for experiences. They seem to revolve around food.
Today’s food adventure was from atop the Marina Bay Sands – the sweeping three-tower resort with a boat-like Sky Park. Our lunch was at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in the center of the Sky Park.
Earlier on the cruise, someone had suggested that instead of paying $23 SGD (about $17 US) to visit the Observation Deck on the 57th floor, we spend $45 SGC ($32) for the prix fixe lunch at Spago on the same floor.
What a great idea! It was easy to reserve on my Open Table app, so Joyce and Rosemary joined me for another great food experience. And what a view – the restaurant looks out over the infinity pool and skyscrapers on one side and the Gardens by the Bay and ship-filled sea on the other.
The prix fixe menu had plenty of options for the three-course meal.
I started with the Big Eye Tuna Tartare Cones, which was the highlight as far as I was concerned. I followed that with the Steamed Red Snapper and the Pistachio Panna Cotta for dessert. Service was outstanding, as well.
Of course, the two Bait and Switch gin cocktails I had cost more than the meal. But they were yummy, too.
Christmas season has arrived at the Marina Bay Sands, so we took photos of the giant tree and other decorations in the lobby while listening to carols.
The Amsterdam docked at HarbourFront this year – a bit further from the center of town than last year’s dockage at the Marina Bay Terminal. HarbourFront’s advantage is it is connected to two giant malls. Singapore’s MRT subway system has a stop right under the mall. It’s an easy system to use, with signage in English.
I started the day taking the train with Rosemary to Chinatown. We window shopped, just purchasing some cute shopping bags for friends and family. Temperatures were near 90 and humidity higher, so we were glad to sit for a few minutes while I sketched.
We passed by the Sri Mariamman Temple, but decided not to go in, as we would have to leave our shoes out front, walk in barefooted and pay a charge to take photographs. From there it was an easy MRT ride to the Marina Bay Sands.
When we returned in late afternoon to the VivoCity mall by the cruise pier, I saw some nail salons, so I returned there in the evening for a mani-pedi, much less expensive than in the salon on the ship.
Meanwhile, the ship’s crew was loading more food throughout the day. We caught them loading the ice cream. It’s no surprise that there is always a line for ice cream at the Lido buffet.
One disadvantage of booking just a couple of months before the cruise was that I missed having a private dinner at the Singapore Zoo, hosted by my travel agency and Holland America. It was a “thank-you” for those who booked early. They reported having a wonderful time, despite the light rain that came. The zoo tram was covered, so they got their nocturnal visit.
Last year I don’t think any fellow passengers followed my blog in real time, probably because the ship charged for Internet by the minute. This year I learned that a number of them do follow it. The morning after I posted my last entry, Day 38, that reported I was coming down with a cold, several friends on board stopped to ask me how I was feeling.
The cold isn’t bad, mainly irritating, but I opted to skip my transfer into Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and stay on board for a second day. The plan was to explore with a friend on our own, and she canceled. I didn’t really want to spend the day alone, and since I spent a day touring in Saigon last year, I didn’t mind not going. Fortunately for me there was a waiting list of passengers who wanted to take the transfer (almost two hours each way), so I got a refund.
I’m sorry I missed Vietnam. Last year I left thinking it was a country I would like to visit for longer. I’ll just have to add a land trip there to my bucket list. Meanwhile, I caught up on some sketches and watercolors, during my extra days on board. That and Mucinex is doing the trick.