It’s the seventh day of Chinese New Year and also Valentine’s Day today.
恭祝大家 猴年 好事连年、如意安康！
Hubby and I ushered in the Year of the Monkey on board cruise ship Celebrity Millennium.
Celebrity Mellennium docking at Laem Cha Bang (8 Feb, first day of CNY)
We had been spending most part of our Chinese New Year (CNY) away from home in the last few years (mainly in Japan) and for a change this year, we decided to just have a short trip instead. We jumped to the opportunity to sail with Celebrity Millennium once again when we learned about this 5-night chartered cruise trip to Ko Samui and Laem Cha Bang (Thailand), departing on 5 February. Both of us like sailing on a big cruise ship (this was our fifth time), out in an open sea and we are so blessed that we have never had any seasick problems even at times when the ship was a little rocky due to rough sea conditions. For us, a cruise trip is always very relaxed but yet there was never a moment of dullness as what many would think so. There are many programmes and activities lined up for us each day but it is up to us to pick our choices. We love chilling out at Al Bacio (a cafe on board) over a cup of coffee and a book, or sitting in the balcony of our room looking at the sea and listening to the sound of the waves. In fact, just less than four months ago, we sailed on the same ship for 8 nights in Japan and Busan, South Korea. It was something very memorable and enjoyable.
On board Celebrity Millennium, the mood of CNY celebration was vibrant. The ship was decorated for the occasion and the climax was on the eve of CNY. There was a Chinese menu for re-union dinner with Pen Cai (盆菜) specially prepared by a chef and his team of assistants from a Hong Kong restaurant. In normal time, only western food, buffet and fusion food are served. Abalone Yusheng was available too at additional costs. There were also God of Fortune, countdown party etc. We even had fire-crackers! I mean the electronic ones! 😀
Little surprises found in our room on the eve of CNY
This dish was actually served in a pumpkin and each serving was for a minimum of four people. Since there were just two of us, we were served this mini portion in a bowl instead and it was in addition to the western meal we opted for. The Pen Cai was really good!
God of Fortune who is actually the chief engineer of the cruise. He was accompanied by the Hotel Director.
God of Fortune made his first appearance at 7:30pm to distribute Hong Baos (red packets with money in them, a CNY tradition) to young children and we also had the opportunity to take photo with him. He made his second appearance at the Grand Foyer where we had the party, just before midnight for the countdown. By the way, the God of Fortune is a handsome Caucasian man! 🙂
Another surprise for the night!
This ice-carving of a Monkey holding a peach was unveiled right after we ushered in the Year of the Monkey, by the captain of the cruise. It was just so attractive that many rushed to take a photo with it. Some even touched it as if they would receive some good luck by doing so, just like many did so with the God of Fortune!
Video of CNY Countdown Party (7 Feb)
So we really had a great time that night and it is definitely another precious travel memory to be cherished for the rest of our lives. It has been so many years since we last actually had so much fun celebrating CNY!
The cruise trip would had been perfect if not for the adverse weather/sea condition at Ko Samui that prevented all of us who had signed up for shore excursion to proceed with our plans that day. Hubby and I were all excited about exploring Ko Samui as it was our first time there but it was not meant to be 😦 While we appreciate that our safety was of utmost concern of the captain, the compensation (US$50 per room) was almost next to nothing and it came too late (after I had done my shopping on board and settled my bills at the front desk!). So we decided to use it to try out luck on roulette at the casino. No luck though! 😀
Back in Singapore since the third day of CNY, we are getting into the mood of CNY celebration after a few years’ of break. Today, I was all happy and excited to see lion and dragon dances, one of CNY rituals, at the places that I went to. That’s a bonus for being home in this time of the year! I like lion dances a lot since young and I remember my parents had paid for the troupe to perform at our home then.
Video of Lion and Dragon Dances seen on 14 Feb