Celebrating 75: My Mom’s Birthday Cruise

January 27, 2023 Travel

Late last year, during a casual conversation with my mom, I realized that I did not have any plans for her upcoming 75th birthday. I panicked! What quickly came to mind was a cruise since she had never been on one and had been hearing stories about this experience from family and friends. It is a bit cliché, but I went ahead and booked.  

And what we had, to celebrate her milestone year, was truly awesome.


I booked our cruise with Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas. They provided my mom and me five days and four nights of memorable seacation, starting off in Singapore and visiting two countries – Malaysia and Thailand.

Big and beautiful. Spectrum of the seas

Enjoying our cruise!

Spectrum of the Seas is Asia's largest cruise ship with 16 decks of staterooms, entertainment and leisure facilities, and different dining options. 


Our room had an ocean view balcony. What I loved about the balcony was that every time you looked outside, you were greeted with a different view. Imagine waking up to a glorious sunrise, then looking at Georgetown next, then seeing the beautiful coastlines of Thailand. We even had one morning when we spotted a pod of dolphins. 

Different views from our window - Sunrise

Different views from our window - Georgetown

Different views from our window - Thailand's coastline

The balcony also let the ocean breeze flow into the room. We only closed the doors when it was already warm inside because the air conditioning did not work when the balcony doors were open. 


The balcony was also our quiet space inside the cruise ship. While there were so many different beautiful spaces in the cruise ship to lounge around in, like the gorgeous Solarium, we always retired in our balcony. 


Dining was also good at Spectrum of the Seas. There is the Windjammer Buffet Restaurant with a very wide selection of food. This is where we usually went if we wanted variety and something quick. There were Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian options, pasta, pastries, desserts, and a Kids buffet. My mom loved the noodle station. I enjoyed the fruits station, and was delighted when they served jackfruits, mangoes, and longans. Also, you can hop in there almost any time of the day for quick snacks.

The Windjammer

My favorite breakfast place was the Café at Two70, which is more relaxed and has more cozy dining setups. Plus, it has floor-to-ceiling windows, which gives a good view of the ocean. Food choices are limited but very select. They had yoghurt and fruit in cups, DIY bagel station, croissants, other savory sandwiches, pastries, coffee, and juices, which were all very convenient to take out and enjoy in other areas of the ship.

Breakfast at Café at Two70


The Main Dining Room was our other option whenever we wanted a more relaxed dining experience. They serve food à la carte, but you can order as much as you can eat. My favorite there was the French delicacy Escargots à la Bourguignonne, which I ordered every time we had dinner there.

Escargots à la Bourguignonne


Like Windjammer, the Main Dining is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Café at Two70 is open for breakfast and lunch only because it converts to an event venue at night.


Service at The Main Dining and Two70 were both top notch and I was glad to have so many Filipino servers we could interact with.


Aside from these three restaurants, there are other complimentary outlets like the Seaplex Dog House for hotdog sandwiches, Sorrento for pizza, Splashaway Café for fries and hotdogs, and different stations that give out soft-served ice cream. 


These food choices were more than enough for us, so we didn’t try the ship’s specialty restaurants anymore.


Entertainment was also something at Spectrum of the Seas!


We watched the Silk Road at Two70, which combined enchanting songs, thrilling acrobatics, and multimedia installations. Two70 has impressive Roboscreens, which were maximized during the show.

The Silk Road is amazing!

We also watched Showgirl, which featured mesmerizing songs and dance routines; a magic show by Australia’s illusionist John Taylor; and Philippines’ own Monique Lualhati in her show, Goddess. Surprisingly, my favorite amongst all the shows we watched was the one we almost skipped because of scheduling – The Effectors. The superhero show brilliantly used technology in their production including LED screens, holograms, and drones.

Scene from The Effectors

Aside from these shows, Spectrum of the Seas also had other live performances. Too bad the Vybes 4 was missing their lead singer during their performance. They opened with some of my favorite reggae tunes.


Our Spectrum of the Seas cruise was capped by the Virtual Fireworks party.


Aside from these, there were other activities available at Seaplex – an indoor active space – and the Splashaway Bay, which had outdoor movies and pools. But these were not really for us.


The cruise was also a digital detox for me. I did not avail anymore of the add-on Internet package. Surprisingly, I did not have a hard time. I even loved my time away from my unhealthy habit.


Spectrum of the Seas really made the journey the destination. We definitely enjoyed the cruise more than the shore excursions, which we’d also booked via Royal Caribbean’s website.


In Penang, we went up Penang Hill via the steepest funicular railway in the world to get a view of Georgetown. I am not sure though if my mom enjoyed the supposed-to-be-scenic ride because they crammed the tram with people. We also had our photo sessions at Teddyville Museum and had Southeast Asia’s favorite dessert, which is Cendol. It is a sweet, iced dessert with green rice flour jelly, coconut milk, and palm sugar syrup.

The view from Penang Hill

In Phuket we had a shopping tour, my mom’s favorite activity. We visited a shop selling dried seafood and other delicacies; a t-shirt outlet; and a mall, where we also had lunch and where I got to do one of my favorite activities in Thailand, which is grocery shopping. Though not a tour I would recommend for Phuket first-timers, it was fun for my mom. I just wish the newcomers enjoyed in-the-route places like old Phuket Town or town markets.

My Mom. Patong Beach. Random guy sunbathing. Spectrum of the Seas.

We boarded and disembarked in Singapore. We stayed at Holiday Inn Little India before the cruise. We had a brief tour of Little India and also visited Gardens by Bay where we explored two domes – the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forrest. Both were enjoyable for my mom, who loves plants.


After the cruise, we stayed at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway, which had a little birthday treat for my mom. During our last two days in Singapore, we visited Chinatown, met up with friends at Marina Bay, and shopped at Orchard Road.

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