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May 21, 2019

Party at Sea

Suriati Jamil offers eight reasons to experience It’s The Ship, the largest festival at sea in Asia

Suriati Jamil

Hiking 200km across northern Spain, dancing in the streets of Basque Country, motorbiking in the desert terrain in Iran in the dead of the night — all done and dusted.

As an adventurous wanderer, I love the freedom of travelling without boundaries on the road. So when I was invited to embark on a cruise trip, I was initially hesitant. But never one to say no to new experiences, I decided to go for it with an open mind.

Unlike typical cruises, this one is a rave party at sea with It’s The Ship on Dream Cruises over three days and two nights. It sets sail from Marina Bay Cruise Center and gets you geared up for action all the way across the straits, and back again.

Music festivals are common on land, but not so much at sea. So although it took a while for me to let this party theme sink in, I found the idea of rave cruises pretty radical.

Besides, I like that it was for adults, specifically 18 years and above. There were no parents chasing after their kids to quickly get in line at the buffet table, nor noisy kids chattering away or throwing tantrums. Although I must say, inebriation does turn adults into children too.

I planned to bask in the glorious sun all day, chilling out in the “moving hotel” and taking lost of pictures to upload on my Instagram.

And of course, get my groove on and join in the merrymaking. So I packed my bags and got ready to party on my first cruise — a milestone for me at 35 years old.

Here are eight reasons why you should hop on board the next It’s The Ship cruise in November: 

1. Press “pause” in reality 

You are not at the mercy of unpredictable weather when you party on a cruise. I recall trudging about in latex boots in a quaqmire of mud, waiting in queues in dull weather, and having to sit through sets by musicians or DJs that I didn’t like at festivals around the globe.

On the cruise, I could retreat to the safety of my cabin while I perused the party schedule to plan when to turn up for my favourite sets. 

2. Food on demand

There were no long lines to join to get anything I needed. In fact, I was spoilt for choice with the variety of food available.

The ship had at least 14 restaurants and eight bars to satiate your hunger at any time of the day. I had char kway teow, porridge and American-style breakfast at five in the morning with fellow revellers. 

3. National Geographic moments

I felt like I was staying in a moving hotel at sea. The seaview kept changing, each as breathtaking as the last.

I was also awed by dramatic weather changes that played out in the sky, turning it from sunny and blue to dark and stormy, complete with electrifying claps of thunder and flashes of lightning. I’d also caught sight of flying fishes leaping out from the sea. 

4. Expand your social circle 

I joined the cruise alone, but left with a new posse of friends. I guess the stars were aligned when I met like-minded people from all over the world — China, Taiwan, the United States, Australia and Malaysia — on my first cruise. Amid the revelry, we promised to catch up. And isn’t that a story to tell when you bump into one another by chance again the following year? 

5. Entertainment haven

Even if you are not into a particular DJ set, there’s no chance that you’ll ever get bored on the ship.

Dice with Lady Luck at the casino, play games at the arcade, gun for a few strikes at the bowling alley, get an adrenaline rush on the zipline, or try out a new fitness regime.

My new friends and I had a blast at the Mini-Golf zone although our golf game was completely out of whack. Every confident swing had the ball flying the wrong way, causing us to burst into gut-busting cackles. 

6. Time out for yourself

That moment the ship set sail and cruised to the sea, away from the familiar sights of city skyscrapers and urban noises, I felt my usual hectic pace of life slow down, nice and easy, like the gentle breeze caressing my face everytime I step out to the balcony.

While it’s mostly a party ship filled with merrymakers, “me” time is absolutely essential. I could’ve got off the ship when it berthed in Phuket for a five-hour layover to explore the local digs at night, but I decided stay on board to cosy up in bed in my comfy suite instead. Waking up to an ocean view, enjoying the solitude in my own space and having a sense of knowing I’ve earned this peace was priceless. 

7. Spa-tial treats 

Who doesn’t love a good massage?

Visiting the spa in between DJ sets was a priority on my to-do list during the cruise. Crystal Life offers Asian- and Western-style massages and a variety of other spa treatment packages to pamper you from head to toe. Their Asian massage techniques combine acupressure treatment techniques and foot reflexology.

It might seem strange to shuffle from my suite to the spa in my cushy room slippers, but it was a norm to be seen walking around in your bathrobe and slippers.

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