Category Archives: Singapore

Singapore, MAR 23 2024

We had one sea day before we reached Singapore. It was a busy day. We attended a Mariner’s Club brunch In the morning and a reception in the afternoon. I forgot to mention that between the two Vietnam ports we had a personal tour of the print shop. Each evening, the Daily Planner with the next day’s activities is delivered to each stateroom. This four page planner is delivered to approximately 850 cabins each evening. In addition, the daily breakfast, lunch and dinner menus must be printed along with any letters and announcements from guest services. This is all done by one, solitary man. We enjoyed meeting and talking with him. 

I also forgot to mention the Mariner’s Awards Ceremony we attended. Bill and I each received a bronze medal which was placed around our necks by the captain. Really not that big a deal since some passengers received silver, gold and platinum medals. These awards are given when you reach a certain number of sailing days with Holland America. 

We arrived in Singapore which was the end of our cruise. We were very sad to leave all the wonderful crew we had gotten to know so well. It was not farewell, but until we meet again. We certainly hope our paths will cross with them again someday.

Our Greeters in the Terminal

We were last in Singapore in 2020.  See this link: Singapore, JAN 15, 2020 What I remembered about Singapore was the incredible heat and humidity, how clean it is, and how strict the country is. They do not allow chewing gum, cigarettes and drugs to name a few forbidden items. I heard a crew member was fined $200 Singapore dollars because he forgot he had a pack of cigarettes in his pocket when he left the ship and went ashore. Our tour guide told us anyone caught with a certain amount of drugs was hung. I don’t know the quantity that led to this penalty. 

Before entering the country we had to fill out an online arrival card where we answered health questions and listed where we were staying and for how long. When we exited the ship we had to present our passport which was linked electronically to our arrival card. They also fingerprinted our thumb. 

Our travel agent had arranged for us, as well as two other passengers, to spend two nights in Singapore with a hotel and a guided tour. Like clockwork our guide was waiting for us after we collected our luggage and completed immigration. With a van and driver, we began our tour. 

First we went to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The Gardens, made up of 202 acres, were founded in 1859 and is the only tropical botanical gardens on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It has three gardens but our guide only led us through the National Orchid Garden with 1,200 species and 2,000 hybrids. It was hot, but the heat would only get worse as the day progressed.

Named For Princess Diana

See more pictures of the orchid garden by selecting this link:

Next our guide took us on a whirlwind tour of Singapore. He had an itinerary to complete and he was determined to finish it, no matter how fast we had to move, how tired we became, or how miserably hot it was.

Swissôtel The Stamford, one of the tallest hotels

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Esplanade Concert Hall

200-year old building which was once home to Singapore’s first parliament.

St Andrew’s Cathedral, Anglican church

Merlion, statue with the body of a fish and a head of a lion.

Lunch brought us to Chinatown where we ate at a Chinese restaurant. The tour really moved too quickly and we would like to have had more time to look around Chinatown and Little India.

Sultan Mosque

Thian Hock Keng Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple, Hindu temple

Laughing Buddha

After lunch we were taken to our hotel, the Marriott Tang Plaza, where we had a little over three hours to rest up before part 2 of our tour.

At 6:00 P.M. we were picked up by a different guide and driver. This guide was more relaxed and easy going, more than willing to go at our speed.  We spent the evening at the Singapore Night Safari, the world’s first nocturnal wildlife park. With 99 acres, it has 2,500 animals.

First we had dinner at one of the restaurants inside the park. We then went to a wildlife show followed by a tram ride around the park.

Showing An Owl’s Head Turning

Racoon Opening A Big Jar

Our guide then took us on a walking tour in the park. It was unbelievably hot and humid. The park was nice but we much prefer going to these parks in the daytime when the animals are much easier to see. We got in some heavy traffic on the way back and arrived at the hotel at 11:30 P.M. We had been going since 6:00 A.M. that morning and had logged over six miles on our watches. 

See more pictures of the zoo by selecting this link:

We had the next day free so we relaxed, worked on blogs, and walked to a nearby shopping mall.

Sidewalk Traffic

Lucky Plaza

The next morning a driver picked us up at 3:00 A.M. for our trip to the airport for a 6:40 A.M. flight.

Beautiful Singapore Changi Airport.

It would take us 33 hours to get home on three flights; Singapore to Tokyo, Tokyo to Chicago and Chicago to Orlando. We found that jet lag from the twelve hour time difference to be pretty rough for several days when we arrived home.

Sunrise From The Plane

Flying Above The Clouds

With that, our trip has ended. We had a great time! We enjoyed every minute, despite the cold weather in Japan and China, the extreme heat in Brazil and Singapore, and the filthy Chinese bathrooms and difficult immigration officials. 

Next up: yet to be determined