Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 2 - Singapore and Board Millennium

Today we board the ship for our start of the cruise. We had a great night sleep and the beds at The Fullerton Bay were wonderful. My mother and I are slowly recovering from what seemed like a marathon orientation of Singapore yesterday. I took a shower and then used the free wifi in the room which was very fast.

Our bathroom is very nice!

Fullerton Bay Hotel Bathroom

Another photo of the room
The room has a master area to control all the lights.

Master controls
There was also a drawer with glasses to use with the tea/coffee maker.

I considered going back to the pool but since it was nearly 9:00 am we went straight to breakfast. We activated our Do Not Disturb button on the door when we left.

Do not disturb and housekeeping buttons

Breakfast is served in the opulent Clifford room. It was not crowded and we were seated at a nice corner table.

Clifford Breakfast area
Lovely display of breakfast items
The assortment and variety of items for breakfast was wonderful. It was not overwhelming and yet they had a great selection.

Nice selection of Asian specialties
We had a nice relaxing breakfast for an hour or so. My mother wasn't interested in walking around much so we just went across the road from the hotel to a shopping arcade to pick up a few items. Last night I was unsuccessful in finding hair products I liked so I was hoping to find something in one of the little shops.

The stores were mostly closed. It is amazing how late things get going in business oriented Singapore! The pharmacy would not open until 11:00 am so we went to look at one of the hair salons. It was open and they had both Shiseido and Kerastase products. I ended up with the Kerastase shampoo and conditioner. I even got to collect a gift with my purchase! It was a small nylon tote bag.

As we were leaving the shops more of them started to open. We met a gentleman who was traveling alone and cruising but not on our ship. He was Australian and said his wife passed away recently. He was looking for a sporting goods store to buy some clothes. We walked with him for about 5 minutes and then parted ways. We went to 7-Eleven and my mother purchased a pain reliever made in Hong Kong. We went back to the hotel and I left my purchases in the room.

Fullerton Bay Hotel
We admired the sitting area and the hotel lobby on the way to the room.

Lobby area

Hotel Lobby
My mother decided she wanted to rest for a while. I planned to take short walk from the hotel across the street and the river to the Historic District. I would also be able to view a lot of the Central Business District (CBD) during my walk. I had a short window of only an hour as I needed to be back by 11:30 am. We planned to board the ship at Noon.

In order to get to the other side of river I needed to use the underpass from the Fullerton Bay to the Fullerton Hotel to get across the street. It was very easy!

Fullerton Underpass

Once in the ballroom area of the Fullerton Hotel I stopped to use the very nice restroom.

Nice bathroom!

I went upstairs to The Fullerton Hotel and took a few photos before departing out the back door.

Fullerton Hotel Lobby

Important Real Estate Developer

I crossed the little pedestrian Cavenagh Bridge which was built in Glasgow and named after a Singapore Governor. The bridge opened in 1870 and is 260 feet long. There is still a sign on the bridge which forbids the passage of cattle and horses.

Cavenagh Bridge
No cattle or horses allowed
Some of the oldest buildings in Singapore are located in this area.

Asian Civilization Museum
The Empress Building is home to the dowdy Asian Civilization Museum. Originally I had planned to visit but it did not fit into our schedule yesterday. It does not open on Monday's until 1:00 pm. The building is interesting and was constructed in 1864 and has had 3 extensions up to 1905. It was used for government offices until the 1980's housing the Registry of Births and Deaths.

This restaurant is located just to the side of the Asian Civilization Museum. I had planned to eat dinner here if we were not so tired last night.

I walked by Parliament House which was built as a private mansion for Scottish merchants.

Old Parliament House
Side view
From the this area you can also view the river and the modern buildings across the way.

Central Business District

I next walked by more government buildings including the current Parliament.

Government building

Parliament Building

The National Museum of Singapore was built by Sir Henry McCallum. A glass structure was added in 2008 which doubled the museum in size. The Rotunda Dome has 50 pieces of stained glass.

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles Landing site
The Raffles landing site is the spot where Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore.

My final viewing spot was of St. Andrews Cathedral. This is one of the rare examples of English Gothic Revival architecture in Singapore. It was designed by Colonel Ronald MacPherson and built with convict labor. The first services were held in 1862.

St. Andrews Cathedral
It was getting hot and a little too sunny without my hat which I had forgotten in the room. I started making my way back.

New building going up
View of the Singapore River
Crossing the bridge
Back at The Fullerton Hotel
I took a walk along the promenade to get some photos of the Central Business District.

Central Business District
Beautiful buildings across the river
Walking toward the Fullerton Bay Hotel
From One Fullerton it is possible to get a view of the Merlion statue. The Merlion is the half fish - half lion statue which was unveiled in 1972. It is said to symbolize the unity of the lion city.

This time I was not late getting back to the room. We gathered our bags and went downstairs to get a taxi to the Marina Bay Cruise Center.  We loved the Fullerton Bay and regretfully checked out close to noon time.

Fullerton Bay chandelier

It was about a 10 minute drive to the cruise center. We almost had a near catastrophe though when exiting the taxi. The cruise center is built on a steep incline. The taxi drivers in Singapore do not get out to remove luggage. They remotely pop the trunk. My mother exited the vehicle and closed the door. I for some reason must of had a sixth sense about something going awry. I was holding on to the car door waiting for the driver to open the trunk. All of a sudden he started to speed away! I yelled STOP!! Luckily that worked and he pulled over. I can only imagine if he had left with all our luggage! I doubt he was interested in our clothing. I would like to believe the driver was just totally out of it but I am still debating that. I would advise anyone not to pay the driver until you have your belongings out of the trunk.

Boarding Celebrity Millennium

Crisis averted we walked into the Marina Bay Cruise Center and headed to the Celebrity Millennium. It was not crowded at all and we were able to board the ship in no time. While we were standing on the gangway there were several Celebrity staff running up and down demanding to collect our passports. It would have been much easier to do this in the cruise terminal. The crew seemed rather frantic about this and it seemed odd. We handed our passports over and received a ticket stub with out stateroom number on it. They were holding as many passports in their hands that they could hold and just running up an down the gangway.

We walked onto the ship and rolled our luggage to an empty elevator and went directly to our room on Deck 11. We are in one of the new Aquaclass staterooms (AQ 1141) that were added during the refurbishment in April 2012. The room did not appear new at all. It seemed so sparse and very basic. We do have a large balcony that overlooks the wake so that is one positive. This will be our sixth sailing on Celebrity. Our last Celebrity cruise was over a year and half ago on the Solstice. I think the Solstice and our most recent cruise on the Crystal Symphony have spoiled us. Perhaps we need to readjust our expectations for this cruise.

Celebrity Millennium
AQ 1141
At least we had a glass shower door and Hansgrohe shower head. That cheered me up somewhat.

Bathroom AQ 1141
It was now about 1:15 pm and the Millennium was supposed to depart at 2:00 pm. I still didn't know what time the muster drill would take place but was certain we would hear an announcement about it shortly.

We unpacked and had plenty of space to put everything. I used the drawers in the desk and my mother utilized the closet. The shelves along the wall were also quite useful. We finished the unpacking and then decided to explore the ship. We went down to deck 3 where the Guest Relations is located and also the Olympic specialty restaurant.

Olympic Restaurant
I had made two online reservations for Qsine but my mother decided to add Olympic for tomorrow night. At first there seemed to be difficult confirming the reservation but we were flexible so it was accomplished.

The ship appeared to be in very good shape. The Millennium was launched in 2000. We have sailed on her sister ship the Constellation twice (last time being in 2006) and the Solstice twice. We also sailed on the Celebrity Century in 2008 for a Western Mediterranean cruise which we enjoyed very much.

Around 3:30 pm they announced that the Muster drill was to take place. We made our way to the Rendezvous Lounge on deck 4.  It was very crowded when we arrived and was standing room only. After waiting about 30 minutes they started the drill. It was nice not to have to take our life vests with us. The drill was not as thorough as others we have done on Crystal or Princess. They just covered the basics with an audio description. I was glad when it was finally over.

We went back to our room to get ready for dinner. There were several announcements made. One was repeated a few times for the Park family to go to Guest Relations. Apparently they checked in yesterday but somehow ended up missing the ship! Another announcement was for those that had not turned in their passports to do so immediately. We were wondering why the ship was delayed departing. The missing Korean family and the passports explained it. Finally at around 5:00 pm we pulled away from the dock.

Marina Bay Cruise Center
Departing Singapore with a view of Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer

Beautiful Singapore

Our balcony is quite large and being at the stern of the ship provided a great view of our sailaway. There are two lounge chairs, a padded lounger and a large table.

During our departure from the dock there was a bit of excitement. There was a large freighter that seemed to want to cross our path. It looked like a collision was possible. The Millennium suddenly picked up speed and cut the freighter off. We learned from the Captain the next day that this did present a problem and that he was on the phone with the other ship during this time. He told them he was going to cross their bow and then disappear! I am glad he handled it well.

We also found out that the reason for the late departure was because the Singapore authorities insisted on stamping each and every passport with a departure stamp. This seems reasonable so why Celebrity was unprepared for this is a mystery.


Those in Aquaclass staterooms have a private dining room called Blu. Guests in suites can also dine in Blu on a space available basis for $5 fee per person. We had enjoyed the food in Blu on the Solstice. I expected it would be similar on the Millennium.

We arrived at Blu around 7:30 pm. With the refurbishment and "solstilization" of the Millennium class ships, part of the main dining room was allocated to Blu. It was well done and seemed just the right size. We were seated next to a window at the last table in the back.


I started with an appetizer of goat cheese in a chili sauce. It was good but not fabulous.

Goat cheese
For the next course I had leek and mushroom soup.

My main course was beef which I usually don't order. It was kind of heavy which was surprising.

Beef with potato
I am not your typical "meat and potato person" but that is what this dish seemed to represent. It was actually pretty good.

I was able to save some room for desert as well.

Chocolate dessert
I unfortunately don't remember what my mother ordered but I think both of our meals were a success. We were sleepy so decided to pass on the show. We did go to the iLounge to purchase our minutes for the Internet. They don't configure your mobile devices with a shortcut page. You just sign in and create a password.

We both checked email for about 5 minutes and then went back to room to collapse!

Tomorrow we will have a relaxing day at sea.

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