MALAYSIA | Cruising in Style from Kota Kinabalu to Puerto Princesa

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius Pool Area

Still full from a hearty Malaysian breakfast, I stepped out of the deck and welcomed the morning. The horizon is an endless blue—the Sea of Sulu. A pool ripples along with the waves a storey below me, and from afar, I can finally see land. From my estimate, I think we finally crossed over to the Philippines and I’m seeing the tail-end of the Palawan Peninsula.

Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius Cruise Ship

48 hours ago, I was in Palawan for a four-day photo assignment in Coron. From Busuanga, I boarded a plane back to Manila, threw my dirty clothes on the floor of my room and packed in a fresh set in my backpack. I was back in the airport and in no time was flying to Sabah in Malaysia. My itinerary, to go back to Palawan through Kota Kinabalu via Star Cruises’ Superstar Aquarius ship.


Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius Cruise Ship

It was my first time to visit Kota Kinabalu but the city flashed before my eyes far too quickly. Minutes after landing at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, we were immediately herded to a van and were soon facing the colossal hulk of the Superstar Aquarius. I’ve been on ships before, but this one is simply massive.


Stardust Lounge at Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius Inside the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

The Superstar Aquarius has a gross tonnage of 51,039, measures 754 feet from end to end, and has a width of 93 feet.

You can fit 15 basketball courts inside one deck of the ship. It has a total of 13 floors and has 10 restaurants, 3 retail shops, numerous game rooms, a basketball court, golf driving range, swimming pools, spa, beauty salons, and a jogging track. All in full luxury cruise style, of course.

Cabin Hall at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

It was really too much to take in all at once, but my confoundment was emphasized even more as we went aboard and headed to our designated cabins. The room hallways were endless. The Superstar Aquarius can accommodate a total of 1,511 passengers on its 756 cabins. And that spells a lot of tourists.

Oceanview Stateroom at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

Finally finding my room at the port-side of the ship, I slipped in my keycard and was greeted by a spacious two-bed cabin with the view of the sea—well, it’s not called the Oceanview Stateroom for nothing.

It has an LCD television, a closet, a vanity table, and an en suite toilet and bath with hot water. Sweet!

Oceanview Stateroom at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

While everything about my room is great, what I really liked about it is the lounge area where a sofa and a table are set. This is my favorite part of my cabin. This is where I read, browse the web through the ship’s satellite Wi-Fi, watch TV, and simply relax while looking at the passing sea through the porthole.

Dynasty Restaurant at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

Unloading my backpack, I quickly met with the Star Cruises Philippines group at the Dynasty Restaurant for lunch. I haven’t had anything since my very early breakfast from home and I was rarin’ to try out the Chinese dishes offered at this restaurant.

Braised Eggplant at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

Food was served as soon as we took a seat. Chicken soup, fried chicken, shrimp omelet, braised eggplant, and vegetable curry. Everything was good but the one that stood out for me was the crispy fried chicken marinated with bean curd. Fried chicken? Yeah, fried chicken!

At the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

Settling in, I roamed the ship, looking like a first-time cruiser. And indeed, this is the first time I’ve been on a cruise, and so far, I’m loving it. It felt like I’m on a five-star hotel, only it’s moving through the high seas.

Surprisingly, you’d think that you’d get bored from simply being on a ship, but it wasn’t long before we were being called out again to eat.

Laksa at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius Dynasty Restaurant at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

Dinner was again set at the Dynasty Restaurant, but this time, the buffet spread consisted of multi-Asian cuisine. They have Chinese, Balinese, Taiwanese, Singaporean, and a plethora of other dishes. I did a round of everything and came back for a second serving of Singaporean laksa noodles. I’m already burstingly full, but it was that good.


Magic Show at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

Before bedding down, we were invited at the Stardust Lounge. A magic show was being held there and we were just in time for it. The Superstar Aquarius cruise features different shows nightly, some are free of charge, the others you have to pay for.

Nightly Show at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

We saw two shows during our cruise, and both were excellently done. The production was first-rate, the performers were spot on, and they were really entertaining. I initially thought of passing them up, having had to finish some work-related matters, it was a good thing I didn’t though. Work can wait, lol.

Spices Restaurant at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

I was up early the next day and was looking through the choices for breakfast. I can either have it at the Mariners, where they serve international dishes, or at the Spices Restaurant, where they have Malaysian food.

It was a total no-brainer for me.

Mee Goreng at Spices Restaurant in Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius Kopi Ice at Spices Restaurant in Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

Before this trip, I was constantly craving for mee goreng, a Malaysian noodle dish I’ve tried during my trips to Kuala Lumpur earlier in the year. And I wasn’t disappointed as I checked the buffet set at Spices; they have my favorite noodle dish along with curries and the usual Malaysian fare.

To finish off my breakfast, I asked for a glass of kopi ice, which goes perfectly with mee goreng.


Skyline Bar at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

With time to spare before docking in Puerto Princesa, we were toured around the ship by one of the cruise’s staff. They showed us the shops, the bars, rooms, and other facilities of the Superstar Aquarius. My companions particularly took note of where the Skyline Karaoke is located. A singing session seemed to be brewing up. Oh no.

Kiddie Room at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

We were all impressed with the suites shown to us, which drew oohs and aahs, but I find the kiddie cabins to be much more fun. Everything about the room is dressed up for kids and one of my companions even wanted to stay in one. I’m pretty sure this is a big hit for the children aboard the cruise.

Mariners Restaurant at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

Before docking, we converged at the Mariners Restaurant for lunch. It was gonna be a multi-course one, something I’m usually fidgety about. I’m pretty much a street-food kind of guy and I’m not really that comfortable with fancy, swanky dishes.

Mariners Restaurant at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius Mariners Restaurant at the Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

They served us breads for starters, which I found to be quite good, followed by soup. For the main course, I chose the… Alright, I forgot the name of the dish, it was simply too long! As far as I know, it’s pasta with a slab of steak topped by prawn. It was actually superb and filling, which was surprising for me as I usually find fancy dishes to be too bland.

The Star Cruises Superstar Aquarius

Lounging around the ship, I soon noticed the familiar shapes of outrigger boats sailing alongside the Superstar Aquarius. After more than 24 hours on high sea, we finally hit the waters of Puerto Princesa. A few minutes later and we were all being called to the departure lounge where a day pass for our Puerto Princesa Shore Excursion was handed out.

And just like that, I’m back in Palawan once again.


Star Cruises Kota Kinabalu - Puerto Princesa Cruise

Star Cruises Philippines
Address: 4th Floor Horizon Centre, 100 Andrews Avenue, Newport City, Cybertourism Zone, Pasay City, Metro Manila
Contact Number: (632) 8836-6080 | Facebook

Star Cruises Cruise from Kota Kinabalu to Palawan


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  1. Hindi ko pa natry magcruise dito. Yung eggplant, braised pala luto nun. Peborit ko yan di ko alam title. Now I know.

  2. Eto yung sinasabi ng Lolo at Lola ko na gusto nilang i-try. Will show your blog series to them :D

    1. Punta kayo Mica, they have an ongoing promo up until December 15 :)

  3. kainggit naman to! gusto ko din!!! masarap food?

    1. Chyng, may masarap, meron okay lang, depende sa restaurant na kakainan mo at sa type mo. Andami kasi nilang restaurants on board :)