Our Costa Victoria cruise ship docked at Malaysia Pulau Langkawi port (beside Resorts World Langkawi) on Day 4 – cruise passengers can just alight at the dock without the need for tender boats so no need to make any special arrangements for the disembarkation (like queue early for tender boat tickets).  Unlike Resorts World Sentosa with its Adventure Cove Waterpark and dining experiences, there wasn’t much to do at Resorts World Langkawi especially since you will be disembarking at the port at 7am in the morning and you need to be on the cruise ship by 1pm.  There are a few options for you:

– Go on one of Costa Victoria’s shore excursions which brings you to various attractions on Pulau Langkawi on a guided tour (fees payable)

– Arrange your own tours with local tour companies (or hire a taxi for half a day to bring you and your family/friends around the island

– Buy a 8 USD return shuttle bus ticket (per person) from Costa Victoria which will bring you to and fro Pantai Cenang (where there is a beautiful Pantai Cenang beach, Underwater World and tax-free shopping centres)

Not quite knowing what to do on Langkawi and don’t want to spend the time doing nothing on the ship, we decided to buy the shuttle bus ticket.  You can buy it from the Costa Victoria tour office the day before (the office closes at around 6pm+).  I am not sure if they still sell it on the day of disembarkation itself (I assume they would have catered just the right amount of buses for the day).

costa cruise langkawi bus ticket shore excursion

We woke up to this sight of our cruise ship within the natural harbours of Pulau Langkawi.  Disembarkation starts at 7am so we grabbed an early ala carte breakfast at Sinfoni Restaurant onboard Costa Victoria.

costa victoria cruise balcony view langkawi

If you don’t have enough Malaysian ringgit currency, there is a makeshift money exchanger counter set up right beside the buses and the point where you disembark.

mobile money changer langkawi port

There were lots of buses waiting for us when we disembarked – we just have to show our shuttle bus ticket and we were given a sticker (to confirm that we were the bus ticket holders) and ushered up the buses.  Once the bus was filled up, the bus would then depart for Pantai Cenang – the process was quite smooth and fast.

costa victoria cruise bus transfer langkawi eight dollars

The buses would alight the passengers near the Underwater World Langkawi – one of the big attractions at Pulau Langkawi but as we arrived at around 7.30am, the Underwater World Langkawi was not open yet (opening hours daily: 10am to 6pm and for public and school holidays: 9.30am to 6.30pm).  The whole Pantai Cenang area was also quite quiet except for a few tour touts offering their tour packages.

langkawi pantai cenang underwater world

The picture below shows a map of the Pantai Cenang area – it takes its name from the long straight road called Jalan Pantai Cenang.  The beautiful Pantai Cenang beach is the long sandy one by the sea – the place where the beach starts is actually very near the Underwater World Langkawi.  The area is peppered with beach resorts – the more “notable” landmarks are the Macdonald’s, The Zon tax-free shopping centre (just beside Macdonald’s) and Cenang Mall (where KFC and Starbucks and other shops are located).

pantai cenang langkawi map attractions

Since the tax-free shopping centres – The Zon and Coco Valley were not yet open (i think they open around 9am+), we went to the Pantai Cenang beach for a stroll along the beach (just a 5-minute walk from the Underwater World Langkawi).  Although it was only 7am+, it was a very bright morning – thankfully Tingyi’s eyes were protected by Transitions Signature lenses which adapted to the bright sunlight quickly, turning her spectacles as dark as my sunglasses almost immediately!

Transitions had a Transitions Viewer which allowed you to find out how the world looks like through Transitions Signature lenses through the Transitions Viewer: http://www.transitions.com/en-sg/virtual-viewer/

Now they even have decals for you to paste on your clear spectacles so you can experience Transitions Signature lenses’ adaptive lens technology.  You can get a free pair of Transitions Trial Decals here: http://bit.ly/1sBlowY.

transitions lens langkawi selfieLangkawi’s Pantai Cenang beach was really clean and beautiful – not the sandy type where all the sand gets stuck in your footwear – perhaps it was because of the low tide.

pantai cenang beach langkawi walkingThere were sea sports activities being offered by a few touts on the beach – they were not as pushy as the ones in Phuket and they leave you alone most of the time so overall it was quite a pleasant experience strolling on the beach but we did notice something peculiar – thousands of small sand piles all across the beach…

langkawi pantai cenang beach… these were actually burrows dug out by very small beach crabs – known as sand bubbler crabs (each about 1cm) which look for food among the damp sand during low tide and in the process create these small sand pellets around their burrows (which they hide during high tide).

crab hole pantai cenang langkawi beach

After a short walk along Pantai Cenang beach, we decided to walk back to town to get our most basic necessities – no, not food but Wi-Fi! Wi-Fi onboard Costa Victoria was very expensive (about 8 USD per hour as the cheapest rate) so once we are on shore, it was time to catch up on some emails, Facebook updates.  You can get free Wi-Fi from MacDonald’s but we found that the Wi-Fi connection was not very stable – perhaps because many others from the cruise ship had the same idea as us (while waiting for the tax-free shopping centres to open).

langkawi pantai cenang macdonalds free wifi

A better option was to go to Cenang Mall – quite some distance away from Underwater World Langkawi (see map above) but well worth it as you can find KFC and Starbucks there as well as a MacDonald’s too.

cenang mall jalan pantai cenang langkawi

You will need to purchase something at Starbucks to get a password for the free Wi-Fi in the cafe – the password is printed on the receipt and is unique to one device.  So for more devices to connect, I suggest you split up your purchases so you get a few receipts so different devices can connect to the Wi-Fi.  Starbucks dessert cakes and coffee is also a lot cheaper here in Malaysia than in Singapore :-) so it was time to catch up with some of my cravings here too.

starbucks langkawi free wifi pantai cenang

After some time of surfing, we decided to walk around to see what’s available around town.  Do note that if you want to try local food at some of the smaller kopitiams, you should go early as they close quite early for breakfast (they close typically around 9am+).  For other shops selling clothes and other knick-knacks, they open typically after 10am.

langkawi pantai cenang shopping

The Zon tax-free shopping centre – you can find almost anything here – chocolates, watches, baby clothes, alcohol (do note that there are restrictions on how much you can bring into Singapore tax-free).  Not sure if it is really cheaper because of the tax-free or just because we are shopping in Malaysia but it doesn’t happen – as long as it is cheaper, it is great.  We also stocked up on some water and snacks to bring onboard.

the zon pantai cenang langkawi tax free shopping

langkawi pantai cenang tax free shopping

The Zon is located side by side with Coco Valley (both connected internally so you can walk in between both shopping centres easily but you can only buy Coco Valley stuff at Coco Valley side – same with The Zon).  Coco Valley is also connected to the Underwater World Langkawi exit so visitors to the Underworld World will exit at Coco Valley.  Coco Valley’s entrance is also where all the buses that ferries passengers back to the cruise ship, will be parked.  That’s it for our quick walk around Pantai Cenang on Langkawi – not quite the full Langkawi experience but for a quick getaway from the cruise ship, I think it was quite ok.  One more tip, if you are travelling with a large group of friends or family, you might want to consider getting your own taxi to and fro Pantai Cenang (it will cost perhaps RM 20 to RM 30+ for a 4-person taxi one-way).  There are plenty of taxis at the Langkawi port as well as taxis at the Macdonald’s area.  This might be cheaper than paying USD 8 per person for this round trip to Pantai Cenang.

coco valley langkawi tax free shopping

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Onboard performances are a key part of a cruise experience – there are typically 2 performances at 7.15pm and 8.45pm in the evening (both are the same) catering to guests having the cruise dinner at the 2nd and 1st sitting respectively. On Costa Victoria, the performances are held at the Festival Theatre at Deck 6 Traviata (these are “stall” seats) and Deck 7 Carmen (“circle” seats). The best seats are the ones at Deck 6 – guests on Deck 7 can check out the performance from projected video on a screen if they can’t see the stage. The good seats are typically all snapped up about 15 minutes before each performance so go early and chope your seats if you have the time. Each show is about 45 to 60 minutes long.

The first musical performance onboard Costa Victoria was themed “Rich & Famous” starring the singers Paul and Sorina as well as the Costa Victoria dancers – expect lots of costume changes and great singing and dancing.

costa-victoria-cruise-performance-rich-famous

costa-victoria-cruise-musical-rich-famous

I loved the performance on the second evening the most where Costa Victoria had brought in ICE – a world famous Michael Jackson impersonator from Las Vegas. Excellent dancing and costumes – this feels almost like a mini Michael Jackson concert – really impressive and awesome work by ICE! All the singing is done by ICE and I am impressed by how he manages the elaborate costume changes between songs – the Costa Victoria dancers also did a very great job in supporting him in the dances. Look out for the signature Moonwalk and the Michael Jackson yelp -> Ow…!!! On the next day, there is even a short dance class conducted by ICE to teach a full Michael Jackson dance sequence.

costa-victoria-ice-impersonator-michael-jackson

costa-cruise-michael-jackson-impersonator-ice

The performances on the third evening were themed “Viva Italia” – perfect fit with the fun dinner we had earlier where the restaurant staff celebrated in typical Italian style. Here in this performance, the singers and dancers brought the audience through Italian history and music culture – you might not understand some of the songs sung in Italian but appreciate the “soprano” style of powerful voices! Again, lots of elaborate costumes – personally like the Venetian dance segment.

viva-italia-costa-victoria-cruise-musical

viva-italia-venetian-costa-cruise-performance

What really caught me by surprise was the performance on the day of arrival at Singapore port. The performance was held at 10.30am – all guests were required to leave their rooms with their luggages by 10am to prepare for disembarkation at Singapore at 2pm. There was only one sitting for the performance and it was titled “I have a dream” – it was actually a staff performance where the cruise staff from different functions e.g. chefs, security guards, cabin attendants and games team put together a performance showcasing their talents in singing and dancing. Excellent effort by the team and they were able to keep the audience engaged throughout the session!

costa-victoria-staff-performance-i-have-a-dream

costa-cruise-victoria-staff-singing-dancing

costa-victoria-special-performance

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Review of Cats – a Musical or rather “Mew-sical” at Singapore Marina Bay Sands Mastercard Theatre

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJanuary 17, 2015
cats musical singapore marina bay sands

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical CATS is now showing in Singapore at Marina Bay Sands Mastercard theatre.  I heard of CATS because of its reputation as being one of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history and this musical also have been shown in over 300 cities since its premiere in London in […]

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5 Alternative Asian Destinations to Check Out for 2015

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJanuary 17, 2015
Nepal Mountain Range

Asia is a real favourite for backpackers of all nationalities, with its wealth of fascinating countries, delicious food and stunning natural scenery making it an obvious choice. Countries such as Thailand and India are the most popular, but there’s still plenty to discover in Asia if you prefer to stay away from the gap year […]

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Top Five Places You Must Visit in Maui

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJanuary 12, 2015
Thumbnail image for Top Five Places You Must Visit in Maui

When visiting the Hawaiian Islands, your first task is to select which island you want to experience. While each island has it’s own unique attractions and scenery, Maui offers a wide variety of activities and spectacles for people of all ages and interests. If you enjoy spending time outdoors and you’re looking for plenty of […]

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Review of Costa Victoria Balcony Classic Stateroom Cabin

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJanuary 11, 2015
Costa Cruise Victoria Balcony Class Stateroom Cabin

We had shared on an overview of our cruise experience onboard Costa Victoria and the dining experiences onboard Costa Victoria – I will share more on the Costa Victoria Balcony Stateroom Cabin is like. The cabin is decked with modern contemporary decor – the room size is typical of most cruise cabins’ size. Adequate space […]

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Planning the Ultimate Climbing Adventure

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJanuary 11, 2015
Rock Climbing Travel Adventure

If you enjoy the thrill of an adventure vacation and exploring the great outdoors, there are few breaks that can compare to a climbing getaway. However, unlike a relaxing beach break or city tour, there are several things that you should consider before booking, namely the destination that will best suit your abilities and needs, […]

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Review of Pan Pacific Singapore Harbour Studio Room Staycation

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJanuary 3, 2015
Pan Pacific Staycation

We had reviewed our staycation experience at the Pan Pacific Deluxe Panoramic Room 4 years ago. We heard of Pan Pacific Singapore’s $80 million transformation in 2012 – we had to check out what’s new and Pan Pacific’s redesigned rooms with its guest-centric and functional enhancements.  Here is a review of the Pacific Harbour Studio […]

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11 Tips for an Enjoyable Cruise Experience with Costa Victoria

by Zhiqiang & TingyiDecember 30, 2014
Costa Cruise Victoria

We had shared at earlier blog posts on our experience onboard Costa Victoria 5D4N trip to Langkawi and Phuket as well as our meals onboard Costa Victoria.  With thousands of passengers onboard, you will definitely need to queue for various things from boarding to disembarking. If you want to save some time queuing and waiting, […]

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Review of Dining Onboard Costa Victoria Cruise (Ala Carte and Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and even Supper Options)

by Zhiqiang & TingyiDecember 27, 2014
Costa Victoria Food Dining Experience

A cruise review is not complete without talking about its huge variety of dining options.  Onboard Costa Victoria, there are 7 places to have breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper, of which there are 3 restaurants (1 paid – Club ‘II Magnifico’ and 2 complimentary – Sinfonia and Fantasia). Breakfast onboard Costa Victoria (Ala carte dining […]

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