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When in Singapore, you Singapore Sling

If you wanted to know how much of a city you can fit in 24 hours, I have a gauge for you.  I slept a total of 3 hours in my beautiful Marina Bay Sands hotel room, and I have zero regrets.

I departed the Celebrity Millennium for the last time of this voyage around 7:30a with Kiran, my new cruise buddy for life, using his priority status with Celebrity, we walked off among the first passengers.  We hugged, parted ways and I jumped in a taxi to go the short 1.5 miles to the hotel as he headed to the airport to continue his journey to Kuala Lumpur.

Not expecting, but really hoping, for an early check-in upon arrival at the hotel, I left my bags with the bellhop and waited patiently in the line of 3 guests for my turn. There were no rooms in my room category available so I kindly asked if there were any upgrades available.

The front desk clerk patiently clicked away.  Her acrylic nails pecking at the keyboard.  She looked up and said there is an upgraded room available, it’s on a higher floor with a view of the light/fountain show, it will cost an additional S$170 (the exchange rate is .75 to 1 US Dollar) but it’s on a smoking floor.

She could see the hesitation in my eyes.  I despise smoke smells.  She reassured me that the room is ionized between each guest and that I shouldn’t smell anything in my room.

Now faced with the prospect of checking in at 8a or waiting until 3p was staring me directly in the face.  It was a no-brainer.  I had to take the room, which I did.

Ten minutes later, I was whisked up Tower 2 to the 36th floor.  Immediately upon stepping out of the elevator, the smell of smoke hit me in the face.  I wandered down to my room at the very end of the hall, opened the door in both excitement and great hesitation, relieved to step inside, close the door and smell absolutely zero cigarette smoke.

Sigh of relief.

I took a quick video of the room, unloaded my backpack and put all the important stuff into the hotel safe, and departed the room as quickly as I had stepped in.

Having my regular bags stored at the bell stand for the day was no big deal.  Having a place to store documents, some extra cash, prescriptions and extra credit cards was well worth the upgrade charge. There really is no price for peace of mind in some instances.

First off, down to the hotel lobby for a latte, then back up to the 57th floor to lay my eyes on the famous infinity pool overlooking the city skyline.  It was yet another pinch me moment.

Staying at the Marina Bay Sands was not a foregone conclusion.  The Raffles Singapore (and the original Singapore Sling) had also long been on the dream destination list, and choosing between the two was no easy feat. At the end of the day, I chose the hotel based on the infinity pool.  I have no regrets.

After a few quick photos, I went back downstairs to speak to the concierge about my plan of attack for a single day of sightseeing in Singapore.

She suggested the hop on-hop off bus, which followed up with what Kiran had suggested before we parted ways back at the terminal. It’s always good when two people suggest the same thing, so I booked it and walked over to the nearest bus stand, only to find out it didn’t start running for more than 45 minutes.

Shame on me for not paying attention before buying the ticket.  I wasn’t about to waste my precious time when I only had a day, so I flagged down a cab, jumped in and away I went to Chinatown.

I was meeting up with Alex from the cruise ship as he was staying in Chinatown.  We navigated thru a street market, past a Hindu Tempe to find our way to the Buddhist Temple.  In shorts, I wasn’t able to enter the Hindu Temple per the signs posted at the door, so I observed from afar and then was happy to learn that I could still enter the Buddhist Temple.  (Take away, know where you’re traveling and what cultural norms are). 

Singapore lies just 85 miles north of the Equator.  It’s always warm, sometimes a lot hotter. At the end of the day, I still would have worn shorts, it was hot and extra humid for this American and I was glad to have shorts on in the heat and humidity.

We then ate an early lunch of Vietnamese deliciousness at the Food Hall, which is also home to a Michelin star stall, but I passed on that because I wanted what I wanted.  My pork and spring roll vermicelli bowl was fresh and the perfect choice.

Now almost 1p, I said my goodbyes to Alex to finally hop on the hop on/hop off bus and go off to Little India.

Visual stimulation overload! Little India was absolutely spectacular.  All decked out for the holidays, my biggest regret is that I didn’t get to go back to Little India at night.  If their street decorations were this beautiful during the day, seeing them at night would have been beyond anything I had ever seen as far as holiday light displays, but there were only 24 hours in my day and I didn’t have time to go back.

Back on the hop on/hop off bus, I visited the Malaysian area of the city, before circling back towards the Marina Bay Sands hotel.

I met a bunch of new cruise ship friends that had departed other vessels on the days prior that were also sightseeing. We had great conversation and discussion about our sailings on very different itineraries.

After a day running around in the hot, sticky Singapore (winter) weather, it was time to finally jump into that famous infinity pool. 

Happy tears!

Walking out to the edge of the pool for the first time and peering over the side of the building to the harbor 57 stories below is memorable.  It’s not a sheer drop off, there is a ledge for the water and a railing that’s out of sight from the pool deck, but there is not a lot separating you and the view is vast.

I lounged by the pool, enjoyed a Singapore Sling, because it would be a crime not to, and baked in the sun for several hours.

Part of that time was also spent doing a photoshoot with the hotel photographer.  It’s not often that there’s one available and always being behind the lens myself, there wasn’t a second thought about paying for photos of myself in the infinity pool.

After a few hour reprieve and cool down, it was time to go back out exploring.  Up next was the Gardens by the Bay, the Supertrees, the flower dome and finally the Avatar Experience.

I meeting some really fun people along the way and it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.  Thankfully it was largely indoors and air conditioned.

Tired but not ready to give up, I dined at Spago back up on the Rooftop adjacent to the infinity pool.  It was an good meal and the cocktail was delicious and refreshing.

Still not yet done for the day, I ventured back across the street to the Marina Bay Sands shopping center and was aiming to catch the 7:45p light/fountain show. One of the largest mall I have ever seen, I got lost and couldn’t find the proper exit. I missed the first show...

While lost I ran into some of the boys from the cruise ship in the food court, we chatted for a bit and then I continued on with my mission to locate the proper exit and watch the show.

I stood outside in the light drizzle for about a half hour to maintain my front row position along the railing.  Umbrellaless, it was my last opportunity to watch for the evening so I stood there, drenched and watched the fountains and lights dance across the harbor in front of me in a delightful display.