We were now finally arrived in Singapore, after an amazing cruise crossing the Indian ocean, and this port would be one of the regular Turnaround ports (or Embarkation ports), for the next few months, alternating with Hong Kong. Depending which side of the Singapore Strait we would operate in.
Because one of the cruises will take us on the north-western side along Malaysia, Thailand (Indian Ocean side), Andaman & Nicobar Islands, to Burma (Myanmar), and back again to Singapore. A 2 week cruise.
The other cruise, on the south and eastern side of Thailand would take us in to the Gulf of Thailand, with several stops in various Thai ports/islands, to Cambodia, Vietnam with overnight in Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City) to Da Nang and Hue, and an overnight in spectacular Halong Bay (sometimes in Haiphong). And then a sea-day before we end up in Hong Kong with an overnight as well. This particular cruise was without the doubt the favourite cruise among all the crew members. It had sea-days, beaches, big cities, small cities, scenic cruising, and several overnights. It is still my all time favourite cruise.
Some of the Deck hands organizing stuff on the mooring decks.
But first, we would have a stressful turnaround day in Singapore. And if we wanted to go into the city for a few hours, we could of course, but that also meant that we would sacrifice rest (sleep), since this day normally starts very early in the morning, like most turnaround days do. This day is extremely busy for all 3 main departments onboard, which are the Hotel department (the by far biggest), Deck Department, and Engine (technical) department. We all had a stressful day in turnaround ports, but Hotel department normally had it more busy, since they had to prepare the ship for the next passengers (pax).
Not only should the ship be prepared for new passengers, but we also would receive a lot of new technical spare parts, food and beverages, a huge amount of regular stuff for daily use as toilet papers, soap, washing materials in general, pencils, pens, light bulbs, navigational charts, paint, mooring lines, you name it. More or less whatever you might need in the society, we would had to carry with us, and get shipped to various ports for replenishment. To list it all would be 100 pages long.
Of course, all the stuff that we would receive, could not just be shipped to ports here and there, as that would be a very expensive way to do the logistics. So most of it came with container ships from the various continents to one of our Turnaround Ports, depending of what we had ordered via the Company's purchasing department ashore.
Receiving a new Satellite antenna.
So needless to say, but this day also included a lot of carrying, storing/organizing, loging (register) the stuff we received. And at the same time, these ports were also when we normally would receive several service technicians for the various equipment onboard. Anything from radars on the bridge, to technical stuff in the Engine control room, to washing machines in the laundry, or dishwashers in the galleys. Or maybe the Stage manager had issues with his light and sound booth during the shows with the ship's entertainers. This port would also normally be the port where we crewmembers would receive whatever stuff our families had sent to us.
Other visitors would be the ships agents (local hired liaison people), Immigrations officers to clear the ship, Customs to seal whatever should be sealed in the various tobacco, spirits, or other bonded stores. Health authorities to check the ship had the correct papers, and no issues, Harbour authorities for sometimes doing general inspections of the ship and crew. And sometimes official inspections with IMO (International Maritime Organization) inspectors, to see we were safe and sound to be able to sail from A to B.
In other words, these turnaround ports could be a nightmare, or at least a day that easily could last 18-20 hours (not actually allowed to work that much). And sometimes you just have to go the extra mile for yourself and your colleagues (and company), otherwise it will NOT be done in time, and that will just postpone a problem to next time and just add to what else we would expect in that port. But you kind of get used to this. It is all worth it in the end.
Let’s get the Pax-Drill over with so we can start the cruises in South East Asia.