First Cruise Ship Experience: Getting On SuperStar Gemini

Last year, I was lucky enough to be invited by Singapore Tourism Board to visit Singapore and give a try on some of its recommended activities and destinations for family vacation. Yes, it's totally late (last year, huh?) and the article for this experience was already published for Tribun Network, but I just thought maybe I can share my real opinion and non-formal review on that.

To be honest, I've never been getting on a luxurious cruise ship and I'm so happy that I was given the chance to experience one! People from Star Cruise were super kind to give a tour (and even a treat!) inside their one of incredible cruises. SuperStar Gemini is a cruise ship operated by Star Cruise and cruising between Singapore and Malaysia. It has 765 guest cabins, four bars, seven restaurants, two outdoor swimming pools, jogging track, and some entertainment go-tos. I can say that anything is available there! It's also a very big ship, with 10 decks that all are accessible by elevators and stairs.

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When I went through the entry deck, the ship somehow seemed and smelled a little old. No wonder - as per Wikipedia, SuperStar Gemini was said to be built on 1992. It even is at the same age as me! But as old as it looks, it still embraces the very luxurious interior, with furniture dominated in red.

Special things about SuperStar Gemini are the entertainment and facilities offered on deck. It has duty-free shopping area, where you can shop many things from bags, sunnies, to watches. If you want to treat yourself with some me time, you can also get spa treatment, massage and reflexology, hairdressing, and other beauty/health whatnots. SuperStar Gemini also has live performance stages, karaoke lounge, mahjong room, and even a casino.

A casino corner.

A casino corner.

One of the pools.

One of the pools.

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The view from the observation decks

The view from the observation decks

Dozens of bar and restaurant are ready to serve the best cuisines and drinks, all masterly served by SuperStar chefs who mostly are ex-finalists of big cooking competitions, like 'Battle of the Chefs'. The restaurants are varied for the type of dishes, from Asian to Western delicacies. No wonder that the ships of Star Cruises are leading for serving the best culinary on deck!

The tour included a lunch in an exclusive Asian restaurant called 'Blue Lagoon', which experts on seafood. When I came, the restaurant was divided into dining rooms by partitions, so it's like having a dining room all to myself. The dining room has a big round table and sofas. It also has big windows with great oceanic view. My favorite menu from the three-course dining is the 'Baked Lobster with Cheese'. It's basically big lobster with cheese melted on it. As messy as I went for it (it's a fine dining restaurant, mind you), it's totally worth it. The waitresses are very kind and helpful with requests. They even have different menu for vegetarian. Blue Lagoon serves 24 hours, so it's great to know that a restaurant with foods that you'll die for opens all day.

Our table at Blue Lagoon.

Our table at Blue Lagoon.

My delicious and beautiful lobster!

My delicious and beautiful lobster!

SuperStar Gemini offers various guest cabins, which all varied by the size, facility, and the view to the outside. My favorites are the cabins with 'Oceanview' facility, which allow guests to enjoy the oceanic view from private balconies or even from the big windows. Having a cabin with great scenic view is important, because apparently for me the cabins are still look intimidatingly cramped, no matter how big the size of the cabins are. Maybe it's because the big furniture and the rather low ceiling. So, windows or balconies to the outside would really help for the uncomfortable feeling.

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One of the guest cabins that I found very cozy. 

One of the guest cabins that I found very cozy. 

A big window in the karaoke lounge.

A big window in the karaoke lounge.

Another restaurant that the SuperStar Gemini has.

Another restaurant that the SuperStar Gemini has.

Overall, getting a trip on SuperStar Gemini is definitely amazing for vacation. Especially for families with children, because the ship also provides facilities for little kids. It has swimming pool for children and Child Care Center, where children can do child-friendly activities. You can book a trip with SuperStar Gemini through the Star Cruise website and passport will be required for check-in since the ship bounds for international port.

 

All photographs by Ruth Vania Christine

 

Instagrammable Staycation at Convivia Home

Nowadays, staycation becomes one thing that everyone needs. No wonder, people are fed up with work and traffic and basically anything in life, that they just wanna hop on a plane and leave the city. But with busy schedule, it seems like there's nothing else left to do except planning a quick getaway. And the easiest thing to do is staycation.

Dying to have a getaway, me and some friends browsed around AirBnB and found a lovely home called The Convivia. It's located in the heart of Bandung, to be exact at Jalan Cibangkong No. 10, Bandung, near Trans Studio Mall. The unit is actually located on a small and narrow block, but it's just minutes to crowd-centers, like the famous Jalan Riau, Jalan Braga, and even Dago. So, long story short, we ended up staying a night in this house.

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The coffee table seemed very antique.

The coffee table seemed very antique.

A corner in the open kitchen.

A corner in the open kitchen.

As you see, the inside of the house is beyond adorable. It's so cozy and, the most important thing, very instagrammable! We spent hours to take pictures of the interior. We really love the house as we wished to be able to live permanently in it and relive some Friends scenes.

To be specific, the house is actually a two-story building and each floor's rented separately. At that time, we got the first floor space. The unit that we rented has a living room, a kitchen, three bedrooms, and a bathroom.

In the living room, there are a gray sofa with some cushions, a coffee table, a cabinet, and two other seatings. The kitchen provides clean basic utensils (glass, plate, spoon, fork,etc) and cook tools (cutting board, microwave, etc). There's also a mineral water dispenser for hot and cold drinks. Near the kitchen, there's a dining table with seatings for four.

Every bedroom is furnished with a flat-screen TV (complimented with cable TV program), a wooden desk, and a wooden installation where you can put your things, like bag or else. You can also find some fresh-cleaned towels there. In the bathroom, there's a shower connected to a heater, and a water closet. Outside the bathroom, there's a washbasin with a big mirror on the wall.

The cabinet in the living room. 

The cabinet in the living room. 

Desk and TV provided in each bedroom.

Desk and TV provided in each bedroom.

Reading corner. 

Reading corner. 

To be honest, this is the first time I use AirBnB, and my first impression for this first unit is certainly positive. The service is absolutely impeccable! When we arrived, there was a man who helped us with the check-in. Turns out, he lives in the same building through our stay and had been such a great helper on anything we need during the stay, with his intuitive and fast service.

What I also like about the unit is the lighting. I have to say the unit is seemed to be thoughtfully built with great lighting. There are too many switches just for a room! With that, you can choose how you would like the room be, whether it's brightly or dimly lit. The dining table also has some unique hanging lamps which we love so much.

And even a small thoughtful gesture moved us. During our stay, Convivia Home provided sachets of instant drinks like coffee and tea. A friend of mine, who claims that she can't have a morning without a cup of coffee, was indeed very happy for that.

Also, there's a key for each bedroom door that can be brought with you whenever you go outside the unit. So, security: checked! The bedrooms are also smell very nice, not to mention that each room has different scent. And, oh, have I mentioned that we're complimented with free and stable Wi-Fi connection?

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Me being cozy as ever.

Me being cozy as ever.

The thing that bugged me though was the rather dusty floor. After we arrived, we left our shoes outside the building and did a little tour inside the unit while wearing socks. We thought the floor was alright, up until we found the bottom part of our socks were awfully dirty. However, Convivia Home did provide some slippers to be worn inside the unit.

If you drive a car to the building, it would be quite tricky to find a parking lot. The building actually has a garage that fits one car and a carport. It means only two cars can be parked within the area. Remember that the building is located on a very narrow alley.

You can call yourself lucky if the building isn't fully occupied with costumers who bring cars. Or if the alley simply isn't crowded with the cars of local families who live around the building. But if not, the man who lives in the building would be very helpful to figure out where your car should've been parked. Like a valet, he even would be very happy to handle the car through your stay.

Another complain I do have about the unit is that, during our stay, the washbasin was seemed to be unclogged and it spent hours to empty the basin from the used tap water. It's very annoying because the used water that flooded the basin was a very displeasing thing to see.

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The owner of Convivia Home also owns a restaurant nearby called Srunding Authentic Indonesian. It serves mostly Indonesian menu and gives free breakfast for all Convivia Home costumers. It's just around 10 minutes by car and the food's alright. The place is also instagrammable though. For foreigners, you can also check out some cool activities and workshops there, like making batik or tie-dying.

To have a staycation here is totally recommended. Me and my friends sweared that we would come back again someday, or maybe to try other Convivia rented spaces, because turns out when I checked on AirBnB there're still some other adorable spaces. And if you're planning to have a staycation in Bandung, you should really try the Convivia Home.

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Photographs by Ruth Vania Christine and Gevintha Karunia Maully