I recently went on a cruise for the first time in my life. This was on the Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas cruise which set sail from Singapore and went up to Penang and then came back to Singapore. I had flown in to Singapore from Mumbai for this.
There were various reasons why I had never taken a cruise before. To start with, my wife and I both thought that we would get bored on a cruise and hence preferred to spend time in different cities instead when we went on holidays. My mother in law and her sister went on a cruise recently though. They came back and told us about how much fun they had on it. Especially in the group activities. This worried me too. My wife and I both prefer to have time by ourselves when we travel, as do I even while travelling solo after all. We both like a bit of luxury and comfort when we travel and I wondered if cruise room could afford that. I must admit that being on the seas for days at stretch made me wonder if I would feel a bit lost or even nervous. The day before I left my mother messaged me asking me to get a prescription for any sea sickness pills and to buy them. “People get seasick on cruise,” she told me and I began to wonder if going on the trip was a good decision!
The three days on board the ship made me completely change my mind though. To start with, ‘getting bored’ was the last thing that was possible. There was something or the other going on at all times. Take the DreamWorks parade on the first evening where I was most excited, but naturally, to see Poh from Kung Fu Panda prance by. I walked into the large theatre one night to watch the Broadway musical shows there. Coincidentally, the track playing when I walked in was a hat tip to Moulin Rouge in Paris and it brought back memories of our being there a couple of years back. I had planned to stay for a short while that evening but the energy of the performances and the majesty of the music kept one captivated. Post dinner each night, there were the coordinated dance performances led by the cruise master at the Promenade area. I could quite imagine my mom in law joining in the enthusiastic passengers in the dance competitions going on. The group consisted of people of all groups, races and gender having a ball. In one corner, you would have spotted me one night focusing on the ice cream that I had bought from the Ben and Jerry counter and was relishing, but that’s me. I did hang out at the Jazz Bar after dinner every night where the singer would belt English rock ballads from the 70s, 80s and the 90s. These were songs whose lyrics I knew unlike those played in cafes and gyms in Mumbai today as I am more a Beatles and Springsteen person than a Bieb one!
The ship had a gym and place for rock climbing and surfboard simulations and other sports. It had a library too. Any guesses on which one I chose?
And to fuel one on, there was plenty of food. From the extensive spreads at the Windjammer and to the rather regal sit-down dinners at the dining room, the café at the promenade and the cappuccinos there and the nice Japanese meal that we had Izumi on our last night made for some pretty hearty meals. Given that the cruise has many Indian customers, the ship has an Indian selection too.
I was happy to know that chef Ranveer Brar had come on board as a consultant with the company to help improve the quality of the Indian food served on board. Chef Ranveer Brar is now working closely with chef Anil George of the Voyager of the Seas and his team. Chef Anil is a Pune boy and is the executive chef of the Voyager of the Seas. He is responsible for catering to the food requirements of passengers from across the world who come on the cruise. His team consists of people from all over the world too.
Ranveer Brar has worked in and managed kitchens of all scales of before course…hotels, chain restaurants, standalone ones…in Indian and in abroad. The kitchens of a cruise liner pose their own challenges and that is where the seasoned expertise of chef Anil comes into place. The partnership of the two chefs does indeed promise some interesting Indian meals on board the Voyager of the Seas in the future.