It’s not often one gets to board a cruise ship docked at Harbourfront just for a look-see, especially when it’s a LUXURY cruise ship. My pal Bosco and I got to do a tour of the ship, and enjoy a quick lunch on board, thanks to Sky Premium. Apparently, it’s an around-the-world cruise which starts and ends in Miami. See the world in 6 months on this cruise? Yes, sign me up… when I’m rich and retired! 😀 I certainly won’t mind being on this ship with lots of friendly, smiling crew. In fact, the ship can accommodate up to 669 passengers, and it comes with 400 crew members; so any time the retired ol’ me needs help, I’ll be sure to get it. 😀
Here are 5 reasons why I think retirees will enjoy being on Insignia:
#1: The Chillaxing
At the Sundeck on deck 11, you get to enjoy the blue skies, a good tan, and simply laze by the pool. If you don’t fancy swimming, there are two hottubs filled with saltwater (which might be better for your skin) 🙂 Also, there’s a new specialty cocktail every day at the pool bar. Hang on… I might not want to wait till I’m retired. 😀
#2: The FOOD
A little bird told me that Versace plates are used in one of the restaurants on-board. But you’ll have to make a reservation with your cruise booking (or immediately after boarding the ship) in order to get a table. *wink*
Here’s the lunch we were treated to:
What we had for lunch: (1) Maine Lobster and Daikon with Caviar, (2) Stuffed Provolone Cheese Pasta Purses with Butternut Squash Cream, (3) Pink Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Black Truffle and Foie Gras Demi-Glace, (4 *Alternative main) Den Miso Glazed Sea Bass, (5) Papuan Chocolate Volcano, (6) Petits Fours and Macaroons
I’d say it’s either hit-or-miss with our lunch menu that day. The lobster + caviar starter was, obviously, a delicious treat. The stuffed provolone cheese pasta purses which followed were slightly cloying and ‘jelat‘ after the first mouthful. The beef and fish mains were good. The Papuan Chocolate Volcano was a huge HIT, but the petit fours and macaroons left much to be desired. If this accurately reflects food standards on-board the Insignia, well, I guess passengers will quickly figure out what they should or shouldn’t order – after all, they’ll be on-board for a while.
Insignia has 2 specialty restaurants which require reservations. For Italian fare, head to Toscano, unless you’re craving for some good ol’ steak, in which case you should head to their steak house ‘Polo Grill’. At Toscano, staff will bring out a giant wheel of parmesan every night. The food is made fresh every night and it’s very fine dining with Versace plates, no less. There’s also vinaigrette and olive oil pairing, somewhat like wine pairing. 😀 The restaurant has some 8 selections of olive oil and 4 for balsamic vinegar.
At the Steakhouse (Polo Grill), you can indulge in some steak, lobster, crab, primerib, chicken, etc. There’s also a themed night depending on which port the ship is at. The chefs will procure the ingredients from that particular city for your meal.
*Ice cream is made on the ship every day too. There’s a range of sugar-free desserts at every restaurant, and they’re made to be suitable for diabetics. And the Insignia has begun serving vegan food too!
At ‘Waves’ located near the pool, you can grab some hamburgers, hotdogs, etc. In short, you’ll never go hungry on the Insignia. And on the rare occasion that you’ve missed a meal, fret not, as there’s 24-hour room service.
Special mention: the Papuan Chocolate Volcano is a must-try…
#3: The Staff
The staff on-board the Insignia are very friendly, and always ready to greet you with a smile. They might also be able to call you by name by the end of the cruise.
#4: The Pampering
Head to the Spa for everything from manicures to waxing, massages to haircuts. You can even get a new hair color here.
#5: The Entertainment
What’s the point of getting on a cruise if there’s no entertainment to look forward to? On board the Insignia, there’s the gym, of course. For those who prefer more sedentary activities, there’s mahjong, card games, jigsaw puzzles, stage shows, art classes, and last but not least, THE CASINO! The casino is open only on seadays and remains shut when the ship is in port (it’s illegal to operate the casino when in port!)
From 7am to 10pm, head to the fitness center for spinning sessions, yoga, pilates, etc.
We did not get to visit the suites, but we did get a look around the library. There’s a beautiful hand-painted ceiling which you must see. The library looks very homey as it’s designed to look like someone’s living room – to be the passengers’ home away from home. There’s comfy furniture and a good selection of books. I’m told that because the seats are so comfortable, people come here to read, but they do also find themselves falling asleep here. 😀
Elsewhere on the ship, from 4pm to 5pm, passengers get to enjoy tea with a string quartet playing. There’s also a baby grand piano on-board (I hear they have a talented pianist too) and if it’s your thing, you can also indulge in some cognac and wine tasting. The Insignia is very atas indeed.
But the most important piece of information I noted during the tour of the ship is that the Insignia has very good Wifi, what with the new satellites they’ve invested in. And even if you’re not too IT-savvy, there are ‘Internet Managers’ on board to help you out every morning and afternoon.
If you’re a retiree with some extra cash to spend, I’d highly recommend you give this cruise a go. I think it’ll be fun, meeting other retirees from around the world and trading (life) stories. If you’ve not reached that (life) stage yet, then a cruise might get boring for you. True story: LOML and I were at Maldives some time back, and at the resort’s pool bar, he had one of every drink on the menu then went off snorkeling, following a baby shark back to where it came from. I sat on the beach, read a book, and occasionally wondered what would happen if he met the baby shark’s, well, parents. So if you and your partner aren’t ready for a chillaxing sort of getaway then the usual free-and-easy holidays which involve flying would be more suitable. (Less likely to see sharks too)
Lots of thanks to Bosco from Hearted Moments Photography for these pictures 😀