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A MEMORABLE DAY IN SINGAPORE

6a013480ad3a9d970c01a3fcb66350970b-250wiNautica has completed the Safaris, Temples & Jewels cruise, sailing from Africa across the Indian Ocean to Asia, where she will finish the winter season exploring the ancient temples and modern metropolises of this vast continent. The voyage ended with an overnight stay in cosmopolitan Singapore, and guests on the next sailing, Pagodas & Palaces, kicked off their journey with an overnight stay here as well. It’s no wonder that Nautica lingers in Singapore on several of her Asian cruises because there is so much to see and do in this bustling and beautiful city.

Known as the “Garden City,” Singapore continues to fulfill its green vision that was instituted decades ago by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the first head of the independent Republic of Singapore. Despite staggering economic growth over the past 50 years, Singapore is less a concrete jungle than a literal jungle. Its soaring skyscrapers are embraced by verdant parks and tree-lined streets.

Most recently developed were the Gardens by the Bay. Covering 177 football fields and housing 80 percent of the world’s plant species, the gardens were designed to create a continuous ring of greenery enveloping the Marina Bay area. Nautica guests on the Singapore By Boat/Trishaw–Raffles Visit shore excursion viewed these spectacular gardens from the skypark of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The vantage point offered beautiful vistas of the Supertree Grove, a cluster of enormous structures designed to provide shade and shelter while also acting as hanging gardens and rainwater catches. The Supertrees even harvest solar energy! Singapore’s commitment to “green” goes well beyond lush vegetation; the city has a master plan for environmental sustainability.

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Some guests took the opportunity to further explore the expansive gardens, including the ethereal Cloud Forest, an indoor mountain showcasing an astounding diversity of plant life as well as the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. The vibrant colors and sweet scents of the Flower Dome are also a highlight of these magnificent gardens.

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There is an actual city to be found in this “city within a garden,” and a cruise down the Singapore River allowed guests to enjoy views of modern skyscrapers and other important landmarks. The cruise began at Clarke Quay, which is named for the second governor of Singapore. Once the center of commerce, Clark Quay is now a bustling array of restaurants, wine bars, entertainment spots and retail stores.

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The cruise sailed by landmarks such as the Cavenagh Bridge, one of Singapore’s oldest bridges, and the Merlion statue in Merlion Park. With the head of a lion and the body of a fish, the Merlion is the mascot of Singapore, paying homage to the city’s heritage as a fishing village as well as its original name, Singapura, which means “lion city.”

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6a013480ad3a9d970c01a73d7166f3970d-150wiGuest also had the chance to experience an invigorating ride on a trishaw, Singapore’s ubiquitous bike taxis.  They rode along the streets of the Colonial District, passing St. Andrew’s Cathedral before ending up at the Raffles Hotel, a must on many travelers’ lists of Singapore sights. The iconic hotel is renowned for its elegant High Tea and is also said to be the place where the Singapore Sling cocktail was invented. It was the perfect spot to stop for a bit of liquid refreshment!

For those who love the invigorating energy of a bustling city but are drawn to the lush greenery and fresh air of the pastoral countryside, Singapore has it all. If an Asian voyage with Oceania Cruises is in your plans, consider these fabulous itineraries that call on the amazing city of Singapore.

 

 

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50 DAYS AT SEA FOR 50 YEARS OF MARRIAGE

A few days ago I received an email from Peter
and Pauline Pretty, loyal Oceania Cruises guests from Oakville, Ontario,
sharing several photos from their 50-day Grand Voyage to celebrate 50 years of
marriage. You may remember the Prettys from a previous blog post I wrote on
their South Pacific cruise or from the article in the January 2013 Your World Your
Way brochure. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to share their wonderful photos
as well as congratulate them on this amazing milestone.

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The Prettys feel at home on the ships of
Oceania Cruises, one of the many reasons they return year after year, and
celebrating such an important anniversary did not go unnoticed on this
momentous sailing. Nautica General
Manager Jason Gelineau arranged a special celebration at the Polo Grill,
Pauline’s favorite restaurant, and the social director, Emmanuelle, serenaded
the couple.

Of course, the best part of the Grand Voyage for
these adventurers was the nearly two months spent exploring Africa and Asia onboard
Nautica. As Nautica prepares to sail for Europe for the summer, the Prettys’
stories provide a lovely recap of some of the highlights of a wonderful winter
season.

The Prettys got a feel for the history and
culture of Mozambique during a tour of its capital on the Discover Maputo shore excursion. Stops included the Central Train
Station designed by Gustav Eiffel, famous for conceiving the Eiffel Tower in
Paris, and also the Museum of Natural History, Independence Square and City Hall.
Highlights for the Prettys were the opportunity to observe semi-wild lemurs and
a visit to a local market where they shared a moment with these adorable kids.

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In Colombo, Sri Lanka, the Prettys took the Ingiriya Tea Plantation shore excursion,
where they got an insider’s look at how Sri Lanka’s most important cash crop is
cultivated. They watched harvesters pick the fresh tea leaves – 65 to 75 pounds
a day are collected – and saw how the leaves are processed. Afterward they
enjoyed a freshly brewed cup of tea and were able to purchase some to bring
home.

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The Prettys frequently enjoyed tea onboard
the ship as well because afternoon tea is one of Pauline’s favorite activities.
Longer voyages provide the chefs the time to really flex their creative muscles
and create an extraordinary event even more splendid than the traditional
teatime – the Grand Gala Tea Party. The pastries and cakes were not only
beautiful to look at but scrumptious too. Jason and Emmanuelle were among the
crew members who were in attendance to celebrate the special occasion.

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Back ashore on the Scenic Phuket & Elephant Camp excursion, the Prettys had the
chance to ride an elephant after enjoying an impressive show put on by the
elephants and their handlers. In this photo the elephant is hoping that the
Prettys will tip with bananas.

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As a contrast to their adventures in the
countryside, the Prettys also visited some of Asia’s grandest cities. Known as
the “Garden City,” Kuala Lumpur is a modern urban environment with an abundance
of greenery and beautifully landscaped parks. The Petronas Twin Towers, the
tallest twin towers in the world, are an indelible feature of the city’s
skyline.

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The Prettys also enjoyed a day exploring
Singapore and the truly unique modern landscape.
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We’re so pleased the Prettys shared their
photos and these wonderful highlights of Nautica’s
season in Africa and Asia. If their adventures have inspired you, now is the
perfect time to reserve a voyage for next season. Nautica will be back in Africa starting in December with Lands of Grandeur, and then in Asia
starting in February with Pagodas &
Palaces
.

A special thanks to Peter and Pauline for
sharing this special occasion with us, and congratulations on 50 years of
marriage!