By Jeremy Khalil on January 3, 2019
SuperStar Gemini – one of the popular cruise ships by Star Cruises – is currently taking up residency at Port Klang from 5 November 2018 until 28 April 2019. With SuperStar Gemini’s homeport deployment at Port Klang, including having Penang and Langkawi as port-of-calls, Star Cruises is committed to position Malaysia as a cruise hub for the region. Read on to find out the reasons why you should cruise on SuperStar Gemini at least once in your life…
|Tip: If you suffer from motion sickness, best to bring along motion sickness pills. Normally, the larger the ship, the more stable it becomes.|
SuperStar Gemini – at 50,764 gross registered tonnage – is 230 metres long and 29 metres wide with average cruising speed of 18 knots. Backed up by experienced and well-trained crew, this 25-year old 13-storey ship is remarkably well maintained with 765 cabins and 1,530 lower berths. Though passengers new to the ship might feel like being in a maze at first, passengers would eventually get their bearings right on the second day of the cruise. It would be fun for passengers to spend time on board exploring all of the ship’s accessible sections, nooks and crannies. That said, passengers need to remain safe and follow the crew’s instructions at all times.
The sleeping experience on SuperStar Gemini is like being in a cradle because the ship gently rocks side to side as it traverses the waters of the Straits of Malacca. The cabin (also called stateroom) is similar to what you expect from a normal hotel room but in a more compact scale. For better cruising experience, it is recommended that passengers opt for the Oceanview Cabins on the upper decks with larger windows located to avoid feeling claustrophobic. The cabin’s bathroom comes with flush toilet that is not accompanied by spray hose or built-in bidet, so those who need to clean up afterwards using water need to be creative.
Since cruising is hassle-free, this form of vacationing is recommended for families, couples and groups of friends to holiday in one comfortable vicinity and strengthen bond with each other throughout the trip. Cruising can also be treated as part of meetings, incentives, conferences and expositions (MICE) tourism because corporations can organise incentive trips on cruise ships to reward their employees or as retreat for their management teams.
SuperStar Gemini serves up a wide selection of award-winning Asian and international cuisines through its 11 restaurants and bars. Four of those restaurants are classified as privilege (which means that food and beverages served are complimentary since they have already been priced in the cruise fare): western semi buffet at Bella Vista, and international spread at Mariners, both on deck 9; Oceana Barbecue on deck 12 and Chinese non-halal dining at Dynasty on deck 11. All food served at the privilege restaurants, except for Dynasty, are sourced from halal-certified food suppliers.
SuperStar Gemini offers various onboard leisure activities such as spectacular shows, live revues, relaxing spa, beauty salon, and duty-free shopping, all part of Star Cruises’ promise to deliver signature, heartfelt Asian hospitality. On top of the exciting family-friendly performances and movie screenings held at the Stardust Lounge that can accommodate up to more than one thousand spectators on deck 10, there are more entertainment and shopping outlets await on decks 9 and 11. The ship has children day care centre too on deck 11 where parents could leave their children for a few hours at an additional fee.
There are two pools, one located on deck 9 outside Bella Vista and another one on deck 11 on the same level as Topsiders bar and the 24-hour Blue Lagoon (non-privilege) dining outlet. Those who wish to sweat it out and keep their fitness level up could jog along the designated track on deck 7. Alternatively, they can head to the well-quipped fitness centre on deck 12 that is open from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m., adjacent to the spa called King Neptune Health Club. To unwind and relax, there are many corners where passengers could just lounge and order beverages of choice while listening to live music such as the IR Lounge on deck 10. Passengers could also sing their hearts out at the Observatory Lounge cum karaoke studio on deck 12.
SuperStar Gemini offers a variation of three-night itineraries that include Phuket in Thailand, with the additional options of embarking in Penang and Langkawi, which means that you could visit more than one destination at one go. Passengers can now choose to depart from any of these well-connected travel hubs to discover a variety of popular round-trip itineraries such as the four-day and three-night Phuket and Langkawi cruise or four-day and three-night Phuket and Penang cruise, including special cruises like the five-day and four-night Phuket, Krabi and Penang cruise that departs on 6 February 2019, and the three-day and two-night Singapore cruise departing on 10 February 2019. Alternatively, passengers can savour the four-day and three-night round-trip cruise itinerary to Port Klang and Phuket from Penang available on selected departure dates.
As passengers arrive at Phuket, there is no pier right on the shore for the cruise ship to berth, so the ship drops anchor at Patong Bay and passengers are ferried to the beach using tenders (smaller boats). Once arrived on shore, since they would then might have around five hours at the destination, passengers should quickly go for the excursions they have booked earlier via the Shore Excursion counter on deck 7, next to the reception. Alternatively, passengers who do not opt for any excursion can frolic along Patong beach on foot and check out its eateries, cafes, bars or outlets, including the vibrant Jungceylon shopping mall.
One unique excursion is to the marble-cladded 45-metre tall white statue of Big Buddha meditating in cross-legged position with serene facial expression and eyes lowered as if gazing down at visitors, located about an hour’s drive from Patong. Since the statue perches on a hill overlooking Chalong harbour, visitors can witness the green undulating surroundings and sunset on a clear day.
Another interesting place to visit is the Si Supalak Orchid cashew nut factory to witness how cashew nuts are prepared. Visitors are bound to be bowled over by the multitude of crunchy and lip-smacking packed cashew nuts laden in diverse flavours – among the best sellers are honey and wasabi. This is the best place for passengers to stock up on snacks as souvenirs to bring back home. However, passengers need to be aware that getting to the factory takes around one hour to get there from Patong beach.
In Penang, the ship docks at Pier Swettenham in George Town, which is a stone’s throw to the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage core area, Penang Town Hall and Fort Cornwallis. Passengers should saunter down Beach Street, Acheh Street, Armenian Street, Campbell Street, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and Light Street, among others, to take in their charmingly wistful atmosphere and quaint pre-war structures. Culminate the walk at Padang Kota Lama Food Court or the popular eatery Hameed Pata Mee Sotong to sample lip-smacking Penang street delicacies like pasembur (a local snack consisting shredded cucumber, potatoes, beancurd, turnip, beansprouts, prawn fritters with other seafood served with a sweet and spicy nut sauce) , coconut shake and the Malaysian dessert called ais kacang (shaved ice laden with sweetened beans, palm sugar, evaporated or condensed milk, syrup, green rice-flour jelly called cendol and creamed corn, including nipa palm attap seeds, topped with vanilla ice cream) located 15 minutes’ walk away from Pier Swettenham.
Passengers who prefer a more contemporary experience should head to the island’s largest indoor themepark called The Top Penang, housed within the iconic Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR) Tower that was completed in 1986. Upon reaching the tower’s observatory deck on level 65, they should take selfies while standing or sitting (or even lying) on the deck’s glass-bottomed ledge. Then, they can bring their ‘walking-on-air’ experience a notch higher by walking along the vertigo-inducing cantilevered and uncovered U-shaped glass-bottomed observation bridge called Rainbow Skywalk on level 68. The excursion to The Top Penang can be arranged by SuperStar Gemini’s Shore Excursion counter.
Those who are more adventurous can test their mettle by playing the obstacle course called Gravityz that includes flying fox and bridge-crossing without handrails 239 metres above ground, located right on the ledge outside level 65. Remember: this activity is only for those who are 18 and above, not less than 100 centrimetres tall, not weighing more than 100 kilograms, have no heart-related diseases or high blood pressure or pregnant.
Reminders when cruising:
Find out more about Star Cruises’ SuperStar Gemini at www.starcruises.com/th/en/ships/gemini