Cruising from Singapore
If you ask anyone that has been on a cruise what is the worst part of cruise, the most frequent answer will most likely be getting on the cruise at the start and leaving the ship at the end. The official wording is embarkation and debarkation. You can closely relate the embarkation with check in and boarding an airplane for an international flight. All the same elements are there, checking your reservation, checking your passport, check in of luggage and issuing your boarding pass. One big negative with many cruise terminals is its location. Many if not most are deep with ports focused on cargo ships with little additional facilities.
Friendly Cruise Terminals
Singapore stands out for many reasons, it a very clean and green city, it is well laid out and very safe. It is also trying to establish itself as the Asian Cruise hub. The Singapore Cruise Center is a small terminal with a great location and it is by far the best that I have sailed from more many reasons. However the terminals location along side of the resort island of Sentosa is also an hindrance. There is not enough room to bring in the newer bigger ships. Enter now an additional terminal the Marina Bay Cruise Center.
Singapore Cruise Center
I have sailed from Singapore Cruise Center, also called SCC@Harborfront, on three cruises. One cruise was on Star Cruise Lines who owns the familiar Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and two on ships of Royal Caribbean Lines (RCL). Two of the things that sets this terminal on the top of my list is what is around it and how easy it is to get too. The terminal is within the three story Harborfront Mall which in turns connects to Vivo City the largest mall and entrainment complex in Singapore. Vivo City is also the gateway to the world famous Sentosa resort and Universal Studios-Singapore. So you can check in early and stroll the mall waiting for the time to board. Being such a popular place, public transportation abounds. The MRT North East Line starts at Harborfront station. Fifteen different bus routes stop there, and there is always taxi service. Check in is straight forward, there is a baggage check in on the ground floor where the taxis and buses will drop you. After checking in your luggage take the escalator up one flight to the check in area. There is also an additional luggage check here. Check in is just like checking in for a flight. There is often delay between the start of check in and when you can board so use the time for any last minute shopping and working up an appetite for the buffet waiting you on board. Here is a hint for a very special photograph: take the cable car ride to Sentosa resort, it will pass over your ship. Just recently the SCC finished a $12 million upgrade. Star Cruises and some regional cruise lines sail from SCC.
Marina Bay Cruise Center
Official opened just over six months ago, the Marina Bay Cruise Center doubled the berthing capacity of Singapore. However more importantly it can handle much larger ships. RCL's 1020 foot long Voyager of the Sea was the first ship to use the new center. It is a purposely built terminal designed to handle the largest cruise ships afloat or on the current drawing boards. It is located in Marina Bay area of the city near to such attractions as the Marina Bay Sands,Raffles Place, the Singapore Flyer and of course Merlion Park. While not directly on the MRT line it is just a short bus ride from the Marina Bay MRT station. A dozen international cruise lines are now using this center.