Saturday, December 7, 2019

Singapore Disembarkation

Boy, I wish we could have stayed longer. Who wouldn't want to, after a month on a ship, continue to sail on her as she visits Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand? Unfortunately there were just too many reasons why we had to go home.
You know you've seen too many spectacular buildings in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
when the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore winds up being just another pretty building.
Disembarkation was ahead of schedule which is always nice. In Singapore, once you leave the ship you go through immigration and hand over an immigration form the ship had delivered to passengers a couple days before. After immigration you pick up your luggage and then go through customs. Red line = something to declare. Green line = nothing to declare. All went smoothly until our Princess transfers bus to the airport showed up at the cruise terminal late. Then passengers showed up late. It all worked out in the end, but not without some passengers getting frustrated and stressed.

Singapore's beautiful Changi airport, Terminal 3
Once we arrived at the airport, we found out we were still too early for check in. (It seemed that more than 3 hours was too early.) There was one very long early check in line with just one representative working and having to take care of all those cruise passengers and their tons of luggage.

We also found security wasn't what came next. Immigration came next, and here we had to have scans of both thumbs taken. Immigration led to an open area with lots of shops and restaurants. No security screening there. We found the security screening happening at the gate - a gate that doesn't open its seating until one hour before the flight leaves. Something to know if you're traveling there in the future - there are no restaurants or shops near any of the gates. If you want to eat, drink, or shop it needs to happen right after immigration. Another thing to note - you cannot take beverages to your gate seating with you. Metal detectors, pat downs, liquid size requirements, and no beverages, just like you'd expect for security in the US. There were seats outside the gates where you could wait for it to open. But again, no places around the area to purchase food or drink.

But if you have plenty of time at the airport, there's a better place to hang out. Earlier this year the airport launched a $1.3 billion (that with a B!) mall complex called Jewel. It’s connected to the airport, but you don’t have to be flying to enjoy it and you don't have to go through immigration or security to get to it. Since we had hours to kill before our flight, we took a look. The most amazing part of the space is the tallest indoor waterfall in the world. The thing is huge at 130 feet. 
Take a closer look at the picture below. See the teeny tiny people near the bottom? The waterfall is so big you can hardly find them.
Finally some Christmas decorations.  
Who knew Singapore was so industrial? Not me.
Who knew there were beautiful islands between Singapore and Taiwan? Not me.
Ever see the approach to Taipei, Taiwan at night? You sure have.
It has been a long day (I guess it's actually been two days?) and we aren’t even home yet. Today we've crossed a double digit number of time zones (I think) and the International Date Line. After leaving the ship at 9 am Singapore time, hanging at their airport for most of the day, flying over four hours to get to Taipei, a stopover there of over three hours, then another 10 ½ hours flying to Seattle, I'm so confused about what time it is (or was). I just know we can’t get home tonight so we are in a hotel near the Seattle airport. While we slept better than expected on the plane, we still need some sleep. Hopefully enough to get us home tomorrow!

I'll be getting a cruise wrap-up summary posted in the next few days so if you're interested, keep an eye out for it.