The Road Ahead : February 2011
DEC 2010/JAN Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y THERE IS NO way Queen Mary 2 can slink into port unnoticed, no matter where in the world she is. Size, of course, is a factor. At 150,000 GRT, she is the largest ocean liner in the world and carries 2600 guests and 1200 crew. More importantly for cruise buffs, she has 170 years of Cunard history behind her -- the most famous pedigree of any ship afloat. Aside from her bulk, she is recognizable anywhere in the world for her Cunard livery, smart black hull and red funnel, a bit like Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's guard. With her towering 14 passenger decks, Queen Mary 2 is a showstopper, as all Sydney can attest when she brought the city to a halt on her first visit. Yes, there are now bigger cruise ships (ref: Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas), but no bigger liners. (Liners were ships of a specific line e.g., Cunard, Holland America etc, which sailed a regular schedule between New York and Southampton). If you are one of the lucky ones and can afford the time and money, a world cruise takes around 108 days. Or you can do a sector of a world cruise, such as a 10 day jaunt from Singapore to Dubai via exotic ports of Phuket and Cochin. Start the way you intend to continue (aboard QM2), in a high end hotel like the Mandarin Oriental -- or Raffles. The latter rates as one of the most famous hotels in the world. A few years ago, it was lavishly restored without compromising its traditions and intriguing legends, such as a tiger strolling through the lobby, and even leaving pug marks. Or so it was said. At least don't leave without trying the classic drink, the Singapore Sling. If you have a second, tiger tales increase in number and scale. While Singapore's many shopping malls are a magnet for many, there are still some vestiges of gracious colonial architecture, lush and lovely gardens, an attractive waterfront and pockets of colorful street-life. Contemporary additions to the city's skyline are the Singapore Flyer, a giant Ferris wheel which offers fabulous views and is bigger than the London Eye, and the vast Sentosa resort complex, with its plush hotels, underwater attractions, casinos and more. My favourite corner of Singapore for browsing, eating, and enjoying authentic local lifestyle is Little India and China town where you will see mighty mounds of mouthwatering fresh fruit and veg, flowers and curious ingredients that I prefer remain anonymous. An absolute must is a visit to the famous old department store, Mustafa. Meanwhile, along the street, don't be surprised to see tailors working their sewing-machines on the footpaths. A great way to get around is to take a night trishaw ride around Chinatown. Easily the best way to maximize your Singapore and Dubai are highly desirable destinations in their own right, but what better way to get there than aboard a luxury liner. STORY MAGGY OEHLBECK DIGITAL VISION FEB/MAR 2011 THE ROAD AHEAD 25 MAKES YOUR DAY DEPARTURE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL My favourite corner of Singapore for browsing, eating, and enjoying authentic local lifestyle is Little India and Chinatown ...