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Smooth sailing

A first-time cruiser bewildered by your choices? Here are some cruise lines for you to consider.

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Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Spectrum of the Seas, will be arriving in Singapore for the first time In May next year, and will have the cruise line's first private enclave for suite guests.

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Azamara offers complimentary AzAmazing Evenings - bespoke events showcasing authentic cultural entertainment. Some examples include a night out at the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra (above).

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Oceania Cruises has renowned French chef Jacques Pepin as its executive culinary director, and guests can dine at its restaurant Jacques onboard (above). Modelled after a Parisian bistro, it serves some of Chef Pepin's favourite bistro-style dishes.

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On the Genting Dream (above), guests can enjoy the cruise ship's waterslide park with six looping slides.

A first-time cruiser? Choosing the right cruise line to take you on your maiden voyage can be bewildering, given the huge number of operators to choose from, each specialising in its own area. So, besides taking into account practical considerations like the length of the trip and the destination, it's also prudent to find an operator that fits your travelling style.

We give you a hand with choosing the right cruise.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

If you enjoy exclusive accommodation

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Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Spectrum of the Seas, will be arriving in Singapore for the first time in May next year, and will have the cruise line's first private enclave for suite guests.

Guests booked in the suites will enjoy VIP privileges such as exclusive card key access, a dedicated restaurant and lounge and a private elevator and outdoor space for relaxing.

And families who want more bonding time together - as well as the space for it - will be delighted by the ocean liner's two-level, 2,809 sq ft, Ultimate Family Suite.

The three-bedroom suite, which accommodates up to 11 guests, includes a master bedroom that extends above the sea level providing unparalleled ocean views, and a recreation room complete with surround sound equipment for guests to enjoy karaoke and movie nights.

Spectrum's sister ship, Quantum of the Seas, will also be in Singapore in November next year.

Both ships will feature adrenaline-pumping facilities such as a skydiving simulator RipCord by iFly and surf simulator FlowRider. Spectrum of the Seas will also have a Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience.

When it hits Singapore's port, Spectrum of the Seas will be offering a three-night cruise to Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) on May 18; a four-night cruise to Penang on May 21; and a nine-night one-way cruise to Shanghai on May 25, calling at Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Quantum of the Seas will be offering four- to seven-night cruises to regional destinations such as Penang, Phuket, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City.

Info: Go to www.royalcaribbean.com.sg or call 6305-0033 for more information.

AZAMARA CLUB CRUISES

Good if: You want an in-depth experience of a destination

If you're not content with just taking an Instagram-worthy photo of your destination and calling it a day, the destination-immersive Azamara Club Cruises (www.azamaraclubcruises.com) is for you. For one, the cruise gives guests more time in ports so you can be more immersed in the place.

Also, its three intimately sized ships - Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest and the new Azamara Pursuit - can fit in smaller ports that bigger vessels can't stop at, so you'll get to visit unique destinations.

On shore, the Cruise Global, Connect Local land programme offers in-depth excursions during which guests could find themselves buying fresh produce at a bustling market, learning to make a traditional dish at a resident's home or cycling through scenic villages.

Azamara also offers complimentary AzAmazing Evenings - bespoke events showcasing authentic cultural entertainment. Some examples include a night out at the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, watching Maori culture come alive with a performance at the Te Papa Museum or seeing acrobats soar in Monaco.

Info: Cruises that start from Singapore this year are a 10-night Thailand & Vietnam Voyage on Nov 26, 2018; and a one-way 16-night Java Sea & Western Australia Voyage on Dec 6, 2018. Go to www.azamaraclubcruises.com or call 6305-0033 for more information.

OCEANIA CRUISES

Good if: You enjoy good food

With renowned French chef Jacques Pepin as Oceania Cruises' executive culinary director, it's hard to go wrong with a meal on any of its liners.

There is the restaurant Jacques, for instance, on cruise ships Marina and Riviera. Modelled after a Parisian bistro and decorated with art from Pepin's personal collection, it serves classic French country cuisine reinterpreted by the master chef.

And The Bistro, which is on every ship, serves some of Pepin's favourite bistro-style dishes like croque monsieur.

There are many other culinary choices on board too, ranging from authentic Italian dishes to bold Asian flavours. And unlike some other cruise lines which levy a surcharge for fine dining, you pay no extra here regardless of the restaurant you choose. Plus, classes in the Culinary Center help you acquire hands-on cooking skills.

Offshore, the cruise line hosts Culinary Discovery Tours. You could visit a winery in Madeira or a fish market in Rio de Janeiro accompanied by a master chef, for example, or taste the authentic flavours of a region or learn culinary techniques in local cooking classes. It also schedules Jacques Pepin Cruises, which feature special signature menus, lectures and culinary demonstrations.

A Jacques Pepin Cruise setting sail this year is the 10-day Lisbon to Rome journey which departs on Sept 14, 2018; and one next year is the 12-day Amsterdam to Lisbon which departs Sept 17, 2019.

Oceania also sails from Singapore to places such as Dubai, Barcelona and Rome.

Info: www.oceaniacruises.com

DREAM CRUISES' GENTING DREAM

If you just wanna have fun

For a fun time at sea, you could opt for a voyage on Dream Cruises' Genting Dream, the biggest luxury ship currently based in Singapore.

The floating integrated resort which is designed for the Asian market, has an array of entertainment options to ensure that no one gets bored on the high seas.

For one, this mega cruise liner houses homegrown nightspot Zouk's latest outlet. Called Zouk At Sea, it has an indoor dance club and Zouk Beach, an outdoor party deck with a splash pool ideal for foam parties. Resident Zouk DJs and international DJs will spin the decks.

But if adventure is in your blood, answer its call with a romp at the cruise ship's waterslide park with six looping slides; or swing by the ropes course, with its 35m zipline that extends out over the side of the ship.

And then after a hard day of playing, retreat to your room for a good rest. To give yourself a treat, you could lodge in the cruise liners' Palace private enclave.

This includes the Palace Penthouse, which has a separate living room with dining area; and the two-bedroom, 224-sq-m Palace Villa. The duplex suite features a whirlpool, a grand piano and a spacious balcony.

And here's something extra: If you are looking to pop the question, Dream Cruises can help plan a memorable proposal. Want your personalised message on the 300m-long ship-side LED lighting system? Or a more discreet engagement ring in a champagne flute during dinner? You just have to ask.

Good luck.

Info: Genting Dreams has two- to five-night itineraries from Singapore to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Go to www.dreamcruiseline.com

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