After a 14-month hiatus, I ‘took to the sea’ once again, this time for a short gig as a Guest Entertainer on the MS Columbus 2. The Columbus was wrapping up her 112-day world cruise when I joined her for the Southeast Asia leg of the journey – Singapore to Dubai. Getting there and getting home were the greatest challenges. My time on the ship and in the ports was absolute bliss. My shows were well received, but the greatest joy was the surprise reunions with old friends from across the Pond and the blossom of new friendships, and new artistic ventures. From 03/20/14 – 04/05/14, the ports of call included Singapore, Porto Kelang (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia; Langkawi, Malaysia; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Kochi, India; Mumbai, India; Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Getting there was enough of an adventure to share those details as well. May I say, I love Singapore Airlines- I love them shamelessly and unabashedly! If you should be traveling in that corner of the world, I highly recommend them! I love them so much I think it’s worth planning a trip to Southeast Asia, just to experience Singapore Airlines!
My original travel plans for joining the ship were to fly from Harrisburg PA to Washington D.C, D.C. to London, London to Singapore – a total of 20 hours of flying. This would be, by far, the longest flight I’ve ever endured; my biggest concern was arriving at the ship healthy after spending so much time in the air. Those concerns were eclipsed by new concerns when my 1AM flight from D.C. to London was delayed and then cancelled, thus insuring I would miss my flight to Singapore as well. Now my most pressing concern was missing the ship when it departed from Singapore.
Kudos to the United Airlines transfer desk for successfully rerouting the entire passenger manifest in less than 90-minutes! The staff entertained several scenarios in getting me to Singapore, including flying via Nerito, Japan. Much to my surprise and delight, they rerouted me to Frankfurt, the plane now delaying its departure to accommodate the once London-bound contingency.
We landed in Frankfurt the following morning. It sounds silly, but I was delighted to spend the day frolicking through Frankfurt airport, sipping Milschcafé,and stocking up on my favorite German cosmetics. In the evening, I embarked on the 12-hour flight to Singapore from Frankfurt. I already knew I would miss the ship in Singapore. The production company that hired me had notified the ship, reserved a hotel for me in Singapore, and booked a flight to Kuala Lumpur early the following morning. I was now scheduled to join the ship in Porto Kelang, Malaysia. My agitation morphed into elation, fueled in part by sleep deprivation. I was having an ADVENTURE!!!
My 12-hour flight to Singapore was heavenly! The plane was half empty, which allowed me to stretch out completely, occupying 3-seats in Economy. The food was restaurant caliber, the service outstanding. The flight attendants all looked like movie stars, and every hour or so they would float down the aisle, gifting us ice cream or toiletries. I slept 7-hours straight on that flight; when we finally reached Singapore the following afternoon, I felt completely rejuvenated.
The lush, sultry jungle air soothed my dismay when I learned that my luggage had not arrived. A Singapore Airlines Agent sought me out – a first in and of itself – and assured me that my luggage would be arriving this evening on another flight and would be delivered to my hotel room. She then handed me $120.00 Singapore Dollars (US $96.00) to cover incidental expenses and make my stay in Singapore more pleasant. I started to wonder if I was still asleep on the plane. What Airline does this? Is this T.S.A. Bizarro World? Up is down, down is up, they give you money instead of taking it and seek you out instead of ignoring you. A mirage, perhaps?
True to their word, my luggage was delivered to me in the wee hours of the morning. The next day, fed, watered, rested and with my luggage in tow, I took the red-eye puddle hop from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. The Port Agent picked me up at the airport and drove me to the ship. 20 hours of travel turned into 50+, but I was high as a kite as I bounced onto the MS Columbus 2, now docked in Porto Kelang!