Our summer vacation was off to a good start when we decided to try something new. Part of my sister’s birthday celebration is usually a trip to somewhere. Last year, it was an all-girls’ stay at HK Disneyland. This year we were considering Japan. But when we heard that Superstar Virgo, Star Cruises’ flagship ship will be docking in Manila, we knew this is what we’re going to do.
It was a first for all of us to go on a cruise. My only association to what I should expect was “Love Boat”, a US TV series in the 80’s which my sisters were fond of watching…so that’s not much. The cruise will run for 6D/5N with voyages during the night so you get a whole day to experience the city/ port.
We left Manila at 6PM (Day 1) at Pier 15. Entrance of which is near the Anda Circle. Check-in opens 4 hours and closes 1 hour before departure. When we got to the port at about 230PM, there was already a long line. Cruise check-in is no different from airline check-in – baggage is tagged so they can deliver them to your rooms, you are given access cards (which you shouldn’t lose as this serves as your ID/ entry/ credit card rolled into 1 during the trip) which is like your boarding pass, then you head to Immigration which is similar to the ones at the airport except they provided chairs while you wait for your turn. After checking and stamping of passport, you’re free to board and that’s where you get to use your access card first.
Once onboard, you can choose what you like to do first – check your cabin, eat, stay on the deck etc. In our case, since we’re so famished, we headed directly to one of their restaurants – Blue Lagoon, for early dinner. The resto we chose wasn’t included in their inclusive restaurants so we had to pay and swipe our access card. Their fried chicken’s soooo good! As in my kids loved it and my aunt, and my sisters too.
While still on dock, everyone’s required to participate in the safety drill. Since we were eating, we weren’t able to join so we got a note the following day that it’s mandatory so we had a one-on-one with their safety officer 🙂
Then we’re off!
The place is huge! They have a pool, jacuzzis, basketball court and even a jogging path. They have also duty free, casino, shops and bars at the upper levels.
They also have a lot of activities and shows. My kids attended a balloon sculpture class and a pajama party, complete with animal costumes! We also watched a magic show in their huge theater. I missed a couple of shows since we decided to just stay on the deck after dinner.
The next day, we docked in Ilocos Norte. We had to leave the ship and ride boats to get to the pier. We were welcomed by a group of dancers which set the tropic mode. We didn’t join the tour anymore but instead went on our own which I will share with you in a separate post. Actually, will do separate posts per city so I won’t bore you with a long post 🙂 We left Ilocos at 7PM and sailed to Kaohsiung that night.
Day 3 was spent in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. We availed of the cruise tour as we didn’t know anyone from the city. Some braved their way and took taxis to bring them around. Again, we left the port at 7PM and sailed to Hong Kong. The waters a bit rough that night as there were rains so I slept off the tides and woke up later than my usual the following day.
Day 4’s the best for me as I was in my favorite Asian city! We were able to disembark around 2PM and we had until 1130PM to explore the city. But we headed back earlier than call time as we’re already starving and craving for their fried chicken. Good thing I ate a lot that night since the following day was the worst!
Day 5 was a voyage day as we journey across open waters from Hong Kong to Manila. It was really torture and I would say more than half of the passengers were seasick. The whole day I was lying on the bed, not eating anything because of fear I will just throw them all out. My kids were troopers in a way because they were dizzy, threw up and felt sick but when the waters normalized around dinner time, it was as if nothing happened and they were again back on their feet. As for me, I still felt woozy and had to turn in early.
We arrived back in Manila morning of Day 6. Surprisingly, all traces of the previous day were gone. It felt like a new day and it felt good to be on dry land again. It took a while before we disembarked as i guess the checked-in bags were taken out ahead. We got home mid-day and I decided to stay at home the rest of the day as it felt like I was still riding the waves.
In all, the cruise was a fantastic experience. Definitely a check off my bucket list. But if you’ll ask me if I’ll do it again – probably not in the near future. The memory of my seasickness still lingers and I don’t think I’d be able to step foot on a ship or stare long at the sea. Don’t get me wrong though because I feel that Superstar Virgo is a wonderful vessel and the experience is something I’d definitely treasure. It’s really just that last bit which I don’t like and would not want to experience again.
P.S. We have friends who took the cruise as well and they said that they didn’t experience any seasickness. They all had wonderful days during the sail. Waaah…it’s just us apparently – the first 3 voyages. Oh well.
Filed under: Lifestyle