And the Oscar for Best Moment of this Past Year goes to… sliding the door open to this view:
While PJ was asleep, I quietly opened the sliding door and stepped onto the balcony of our stateroom. The morning sun was right there. What even is that? Morning sun? I’m not a morning person. Whatever it was, it was glorious. It was glorious enough to inspire me to
start writing a book. Or to finish reading a book that’s taking me months to read. A view of an open ocean is like the cure to our generation’s Zoom fatigue.
If you missed the first part of my Quantum of the Seas series, you can start here.
Think about it. The entire year, most of us are glued to our Microsoft Outlook at home. We even eat most of our meals at home. Entertainment? It’s streamed on our laptops, devices, and television screens at home. The view outside my apartment in Pasir Ris is the adjacent condo. Of neighbours’ clothes drying under Singapore’s equatorial sun. That’s not even a view. That’s like a Black Mirror episode.
I’m lucky I got to finish reading at least two chapters of Atomic Habits before breakfast.
Our first breakfast was at Windjammer, which is a buffet-style meal area that is included for guests. You also have an option to do a proper sit down restaurant with a 3 or 4-course menu… but I thought buffets would be better for breakfast.
After breakfast, due to prevailing restrictions at the time (October 2020), I could only meet up with my friend Naomi at the Solarium. PJ and I parted ways so he can enjoy the swimming pool area.
Let’s face it, Naomi and I both brought books to read in the comfort of an air-conditioned Solarium. But we were also enjoying a conversation and sipping on our drinks – being occasionally reminded by staff to put our mask back on after taking sips. It was that strict!
After lunch at Windjammer and resting in the cabin, it was already late afternoon and I wanted to squeeze in a jog on the top deck. I noticed that the ship was “heading back” to Singapore. If you looked out to sea, you can see the Singapore skyline in the distance. Plus, loads of tankers and cargo ships.
I managed to squeeze in two loops. It was also my mistake to use Strava to track my run on the deck. The ship was moving… duh. I rushed back to the room to shower and change into comfortable clothes. Our next activity was the NorthStar Capsule.
NorthStar experience booked at 5:30pm
We booked the NorthStar Capsule the night before. You need to spend an additional $20 each to access the 8-minute ride. I thought this was a must-do onboard the ship.
Tip! Book the NightStar ride at sunset for optimal views. I think it’s also worth getting this while the ship is still docked in Singapore on the first night.
I understood that we were supposed to be on the capsule at the same time with another group. But the other duo had arrived late. PJ and I luckily had the capsule to ourselves + the crew member assigned.
The view was perfect! We got the sunset. We got an exclusive capsule. We got the view as the ship was making a U-turn so you can see the ship’s wake in the water. Definitely worth the extra $20!
Back downstairs we enjoyed a round of drinks at the accompanying NorthStar bar where we met a Filipino crew mate. He was super friendly (as are all the crew members we encountered on Quantum of the Seas).
PJ and I took a tour of some other areas inside the ship. This included the main street on deck 4 as well as spotting the robotic arms at the Bionic bar on deck 5.
Soon enough it was already dinner time. For dinner on our first full day, we headed to the sit-down “MyDining” on deck 4. Again, Filipino staff members would actually serve you an extra plate.
We didn’t make any pre-bookings for entertainment that night. Instead we wanted to rest in our stateroom. I watched Black Panther which I had downloaded onto my device through the Disney+ app.
Also, our two other companions made a new friend.
The state rooms have assigned crew staff who look after your stay there. You can give additional gratuity to them towards the end of the trip.
My favourite thing about this day was waking up to that view of the open ocean. I think that’s the “money shot” or the “this is what I paid for” moment. It wasn’t about the numerous amenities and food on the ship. It was the feeling of escape. The pandemic has confined many of us to our homes and local communities. There is a big world out there that we’re unable to enjoy in the way that we did before the pandemic. A glimpse of the open sea meant everything. I’ll book a similar cruise again if I can experience it over and over.
More in part 3. 🙂