Royal Passage to Asia

Royal Caribbean International expertly plans guided cruises through Asia.
By: Erica Walsh

Many people can feel overwhelmed when planning a vacation to the Far East. The distance, language and cultural barriers and cost can all be prohibitive factors, but what if all these concerns could be easily alleviated? Look no further than Royal Caribbean International. Their expertly planned and guided cruises through Asia offer all the comforts of home while exploring breathtaking foreign destinations.

Ports of Call
A pioneer in the cruise line business, Royal Caribbean is the first to bring a major cruise ship to Asia year-round. They have 8 different cruises designed to meet your price range, vacation length and destination goals, ranging from the three-night Best of Malaysia cruise to the 15-night Exotic Asia cruise. Ports of call include, but are not limited to, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Bangkok, Thailand, is an amazing city. But one of the most popular attractions offered by R.C. takes travelers off the sidewalks and into the Pattaya Elephant Village, a unique reserve and sanctuary where aging, sick and abused elephants live out their days in peace. Another must-see destination in Thailand is Wat Pho, famous for is statue of the reclining Buddha and world-renowned massage school. The reclining Buddha is gold-plated and measures 45 meters tall -- it's a sight you won't soon forget.

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is a beautiful and bustling Vietnamese city. A perk of cruise itineraries is that they bring you to places like Ho Chi Minh City that may not have been on a regular tour of Asia. Nearly 7 million people live in Ho Chi Minh City and it is alive with culture and excitement. R.C. offers guided tours of the city's Tao Dan Cultural Park, Reunification Hall and Ben Thanh Market. These locations offer a mixture of Vietnamese history, culture and cuisine.

Hong Kong is a city where old meets new on every street corner. A former crown colony of the United Kingdom, Hong Kong's sovereignty was restored in 1997. When visiting the city, you can take a tram to Victoria Peak, the island's highest point; wander Stanley Market, a seaside bazaar filled with local fare; stroll the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden while listening to the music of these prized Chinese songbirds. At night, return home to the ship and watch in awe as the Hong Kong skyline turns into a fantastic display of light and music during its nightly "Symphony of Lights." That's right, every night at 8 p.m. 44 buildings in Victoria Harbor participate in the world's largest permanent light and music show.

Singapore's unique identity as an eclectic mix of cultures and religions is exemplified by the city-state's unofficial language, "Singlish," a mixture of English, Chinese and Malay. An R.C. day adventure here explores Thian Hock Keng, the "Temple of Heavenly Bliss," one of the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore. It began as a makeshift altar and become a temple in 1841. The shrine here honors Ma Po Cho, the patron goddess of sailors, so you'll definitely want to pay homage to ensure smooth waters during your Asian cruise.

Of course, while in Asia any traveler wants to see the Great Wall of China. Royal Caribbean offers a Beijing cruise tour of this marvel that also highlights the Imperial City and Tiananmen Square, the world's largest public square.

The Ship
The Legend of the Seas ship hosts all Royal Caribbean cruises to the Far East. Over 2,000 passengers can enjoy the ship's solarium, outdoor running track, rock-climbing wall, casino and day spa. The ship's kitchen prepares over 12,000 individual meals a day, catering to all palates. Often inspired by destinations on the ship's itinerary, the meals are the perfect complement to your Asian exploration.

The Legend of the Seas also has a theater where there's a Broadway-style show every night. If you're not in the mood for a show, visit any one of the themed bars and lounges or relax after a day of exploring in one of the ship's four whirlpools.

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