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Cruising With Some Dogs On An Albatross

A dinner cruise with our dog was the last time we’ll be eating out for the foreseeable future

It’s a frustrating time to be alive and some handle it better than others, but being in Singapore during the Covid-19 pandemic is a bittersweet situation; although there has been an uptick in community cases in recent weeks, we have the world’s lowest mortality rate at 0.05% and grand total of 31 deaths. On the flip-side, it’s hard to get away as you would in other nations when it only takes about 40 minutes drive across the entire country, essentially all of it built up, so interstate travel and the like isn’t even an option and people tend to get a bit bored. Anna is most definitely one of those people. We thought it was bad when Singapore went back into Phase 2 restrictions on May 8, meaning that group sizes in both public and private gatherings could be of no more than five people, however, as of March 16 the level was raised to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) so that boredom is now magnified; working and studying from home is now the default, gatherings are capped at two people, bars and gyms are closed, restaurants can only do takeaway, and we can’t play wind instruments. That’s right, no trumpets! But as I wrote in my previous post, Anna had been trying to keep us occupied before the most recent lockdown restrictions by planning for us to take part in events such as The Singapore Ripper and Dining in the Dark. This is also a woman who absolutely adores our dog, Kermit, so she wanted her to be able to get in on the action as well by booking a dog cruise and dinner aboard the Royal Albatross superyacht. It’s a shame that almost all of her plans revolve around eating, seeing as though we won’t even be allowed to set foot in a gym until June at the earliest, but what is this dog cruise all about? Well, here are the details:

We are delighted to announce the release of our newest and most innovative product “Dog Cruise”. A special series of sailings that are an extension of our popular romantic Sunset Dinner Cruise; but now for your furkid too! Sailing on Wednesday’s at 6.30pm, this unique dinner cruise comes with a gourmet menu for both the dogs and their owners with the option for our beloved fur friends to dine at the table like any other member of the family.

There are three options available for the cruise and Anna was initially worried because she had booked the Small Dog edition, a cruise for dogs 10kg (22lb) and under. She has been in denial about our dog’s weight for quite some time now and thought it may be able to pass for 10kg, however, despite trying to reduce the amount she eats, taking her for regular walks, and the fact that she can roam around freely in our new apartment, friends that haven’t seen Kermit in a while have all been commenting on how fat she has gotten. We decided to put her on our rather unreliable scales and they had her clock in at a whopping 16.3kg (35.9lb)! Again, those scales give out dubious weights, this isn’t self-denial, but you can put them on different parts of the floor and the results will fluctuate in about a 1kg (2.2lb) range, but even if you take that extra kilo off her, Kermit is still pretty hefty.
Regardless of weight class, this is what we were receiving with our tickets:

So what is a 3-Course Gourmet Dinner for Dogs? Well, the PDF for the menu is linked above, but if you’re too lazy to open it, this was Kermit’s menu, we opted to give her a bit of a change with the sous vide duck:

Hell, I’d eat that!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Initially the dogs were supposed to audition to be able to take part in the cruise, but that didn’t happen, most likely due to the new Covid restrictions, so we just decided that we would play it cool and act like we thought our chubby pet was a mere 10kg, but the other problem is Kermit is extremely hyperactive and playful around other dogs so we’d need to wear her out. There were thunderstorms most of the day so I had to wait for the rain to stop before I could take her out for a long walk in the insane humidity and upon our return our cleaner had arrived with her dog, meaning Kermit would spend the rest of the afternoon playing until she was completely exhausted and then it would be time for us to leave. The only other concern was that it looked like it could possibly come over stormy again so we weren’t quite sure if the cruise would be cancelled should the weather turn bad. But our backup plan for either Kermit being too fat and not allowed on the boat or simply the sea being too choppy was to find a dog-friendly place where we were departing, Resorts World Sentosa, and grab some dinner there.

Before long Anna was home from work so we donned our best oceanic attire, Anna in a Sailor Moon-inspired dress that made it appear as if she were potentially a staff member on the boat and me in my t-shirt for the Ween album The Mollusk, plus a hideous collar for Kermit. We got in our pet taxi to Sentosa at about 4:30pm and arrived with plenty of time to spare, but Anna’s one of those people who can’t relax until the end goal is reached so she wouldn’t be able to sit still until we were all on the boat. By the time we made it to the ship we still wouldn’t be boarding for another 90 minutes, in fact we couldn’t even check in yet, but that didn’t stop her from trying her luck. As I had expected, we were unable to check in, but we were asked several questions about Kermit, most of which were about her temperament. This is a dog that won’t bite you even if you try to get her to, plus she was completely exhausted from playing most of the afternoon so she passed those tests with flying colours and, much to our collective relief, nobody decided to bust out the scales, plus the weather was clearing up a little so it looked like we would be setting sail soon. We took a few photos around the port, then pulled up a seat at the pub for a couple of drinks, all the while trying to convince a very kiasu Anna that she didn’t need to line up half-an-hour before the check in counter opened on a boat that was legally only able to operate at 50% capacity, but she was still somehow concerned that we wouldn’t get a good seat, however, I managed to talk her down to queueing just 15 minutes early.
Harry’s at Resorts World doesn’t have a pet licence so we had to tie Kermit up across an empty walkway from us when we were kicking back, but here’s a glimpse at our time at the port before boarding:

Maybe the organisers got confused and thought it was supposed to be the medium and small dog cruise which has a weight limit of of 20kg (44lb) or maybe they had just thrown caution to the wind, but we had no problems getting aboard so we checked in our shoes and climbed the steps up to the ship’s deck. It turns out they were all good seats so as I expected, there really was nothing to worry about. A little about the Royal Albatross, the ship we had just boarded:

SHIP PARTICULARS

The Royal Albatross started her life in Chicago, cruising the Great Lakes prior to the beginning of an epic journey that brought her over 15,000 kilometres from the moderate climes of North America to the tropical waters of South East Asia.

Since arriving in Singapore, approximately 360,000 man hours have been invested re-designing and re-fitting Royal Albatross resulting in a sailing ship of unmatched quality and splendour.  A ship designed to entertain and impress with 22 sails, over 650 square meters of canvas and over 60,000 RGB lights to set Royal Albatross’s mood for whatever the occasion requires.


SPECIFICATIONS

Capacity

Day Sailing: 149 Guests (excluding crew)
Alongside: 180 Guests
Overnight: 10 Guests in 5 on-suite cabins

 

FLAG: Langkawi International Yacht Registry (Malaysia)
HULL: Steel
LENGTH: 47m
BEAM: 7.6m
DRAFT: 3.8m
TYPE: Barquentine (Class-A)
CLASS: RINA Yacht
MASTS: 4 Aluminium masts
SAILS: 22 (653 sq. metres)
RIG: Staysail and Squares (on the foremast)
AIR DRAFT: 28m
ENGINE: 1 X 430 HP
THRUSTERS: 2 (bow and stern)

Once aboard we were shown to our table and given a welcome mocktail, which was really just ginger ale with a glacé cherry, but there was a full bar on board so we had nothing to fear. Much like boarding a plane, we were taken through all of the safety protocol and then we were off. Sailing was actually quite smooth considering the conditions earlier in the day, the only time we really felt any motion was when another relatively large vessel passed, but those moments were few and far between. A bit of a look after we had set sail:

Tiring Kermit out beforehand was definitely a good idea, because she was pretty overstimulated by all of the potential new friends aboard the Royal Albatross, but didn’t really have the energy to do much about it at first, opting just to kick back until the prospect of earning treats arose. Throughout the night the bulk of the entertainment consisted of some pretty bad jokes, puns, and riddles for us to solve by an MC, him later in the evening walking around the deck of the ship resplendent in a white dog suit in a similar style to the one from the Australian TV series Wilfred, spouting pearls of wisdom such as among others, “Why did the dog lay in front of the fireplace? Because it wanted to be a hotdog”, “Who has squinty eyes and is addicted to cocaine? Snoop Dogg” despite Snoop Dogg being a pothead, and “If my mother were from Lebanon and my father were from Ecuador, what breed would I be? A Labrador!”. That last one doesn’t even work, but at least the food was better than entertainment. You’ve already seen what Kermit was going to be eating, well now it was our turn so we would just be getting one of each from this menu and sharing:

  • APPETISER

Pan-Seared Scallops:
Complimented with Asian style Conpoy and dried shrimp reduction. With an accompaniment of heirloom tomatoes and mixed green salad.

OR

Pan-Seared Halloumi Cheese (V):
Pan Seared semi-hard unripened cheese typically aged for 1 to 2 months, accompanied by heirloom tomatoes, mixed mesclun salad with Avocado dressing.

  • MAIN

Baked Fresh Norwegian Salmon:
Sous vide premium sashimi grade salmon, baby carrots, asparagus spears topped with pommery mustard beurre blanc.

OR

Sous Vide Maple Glazed Chicken Breast:
Tender and succulent chicken breast with a light maple glaze, baby beets, sauteed mushrooms, edamame and a signature butternut squash puree.

  • DESSERT

Orange Citrus Baba (V):
A traditional pastry with European origins, with a delicate citrusy orange flavour.

OR

Seasonal Fresh Fruit Platter (V):
A selection of fresh fruits.

On top of this, Anna had also paid extra for a salted caramel-flavoured Baked Alaska as an extra dessert

  • PREMIERE DESSERT

Flambéed Baked Alaska:
A visually stunning desert with sweet meringue on the outside and ice cream on the inside. Perfect for couples to enjoy.
(Sea Salt Caramel with Almonds OR Pistachio Ice Cream Flavour)

The dishes were spaced out over the course of the evening and we ate well, but I guess the biggest advantage compared to the last time I wrote about eating out was that we could actually see our food this time, which means you can too!:

If you think Kermit looked excited in the photo of her eating her duck, here’s how she looked eating the sashimi. Does she even taste food?

The entertainment on board wasn’t just for the owners, but the pets, most of whom were named either Ellie, Sophie, or Teddy, got in on the action as well with competitions over the course of the evening. After the appetiser of our dinner the MC came around with treats and three cups, putting a treat under one of the cups, mixing them around, and getting the dog to choose the correct one, which Kermit did successfully. Later there was another challenge, trying to find which dog could do the most tricks, not Kermit’s strong point so obviously she bombed out of that one, but it was the final competition where she excelled; the challenge was for each dog to lay on its belly one at a time and a treat was placed in front of their nose to see which dog could go the longest without eating it. Now, Kermit’s self control isn’t that great either and when it came to her turn the current best time was 19 seconds, however, we’re not sure if she got distracted, but after a while she completely forgot that a little snack was in front of her and she just started looking around, earning herself the best time of the night when they stopped the clock once she passed the 20 second mark. Of course that didn’t set a precedence for our chubby canine as she continued to shuffle over toward other tables in an attempt to pimp herself out for dog treats from other gullible owners, first a couple next to us who happened to be friends of friends and their adopted corgi, a couple we would spend a fair portion of the night chatting to, and they bought into her act. She wan’t quite as successful with the table behind Anna because, although the couple were willing to give her a snack, we thought their little white fluffy thing was having none of it, immediately getting aggressive, just screeching, biting, and essentially trying to tear Kermit’s eyes out. It turns out that what had actually happened was someone had stepped on the white dog’s paw and it just instinctively went for Kermit, but to our surprise Kermit stood up for herself, essentially suplexing the other dog and holding it down with her paw. I guess it was back to corgi’s table where the dog was more accommodating.

The rest of our two-and-a-half-hour cruise was spent enjoying a few drinks, stubbing my toe when trying to exit the minuscule bathroom below deck that would make a tiny Japanese bathroom appear the size of a sporting arena, and just chatting to the other couple next to us, all the while taking in the beautiful Singapore skyline as dusk faded into night and everything began to light up, including currently unused cruise ships that just had messages illuminated along the side. Once we were back at the dock at Sentosa we collected our shoes and attempted to take Kermit to the taxi rank at Resorts World Sentosa so I ignorantly figured she would just follow me onto the escalator down to where the cabs were parked. Instead she stubbornly refused to budge, me slowly descending further away to the point where I tweaked something in my back when our extendible leash reached its limit and still had to try to run back up the escalator in thongs to pick her up, but I somehow managed. When we made it to the taxi stand, the winding line of at least 50 cabs would rather just wait and hope for someone, anyone, to come out of a deserted casino that is generally only patronised by tourists, something that aren’t currently allowed in Singapore, than earn guaranteed money taking us on our ten-minute ride home, solely due to the fact we had a relatively small canine in a proper transportation bag. Oh well, their loss, we called a GrabPet and a couple of minutes later were on our way home, our driver asking us about the cruise, as he had previously taken other passenegers and their pets home from it and was considering bringing his dogs aboard.

A final look at the rest of the night:

So, how was Kermit after her cruise? One word: Exhausted!

Besides a stubbed toe and a sore back it was a really fun night, the last night out we’ll be able to have until at least the middle of next month. To top it all off, everyone was given a complimentary doggy bag of dog treats, however, Kermit will only be receiving the fish-flavoured ones as a last resort, because anything containing fish gives her rancid farts!

2 Comments on Cruising With Some Dogs On An Albatross

  1. I’m not sure, but I think you may have broken entirely new ground in travel/eating/pet literature here. A simply astonishing read….well done all :). Good luck with the month of captivity, I would agree it seems a touch over the top. How does one go from “the best place in the world to be during COVID” to locked down for a month so damn quickly?

    • Dr. Tan's Travels // May 20, 2021 at 2:27 pm // Reply

      Thank you very much! Yes, the new restrictions seem like a bit of overkill and almost appears like we’re being prepped for another circuit-breaker when you watch/read CNA. Time to start hoarding that toilet paper…

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