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Honeymoon in paradise: Maldives and Singapore (WN Y, CZ J, MH J, DL F)

Honeymoon in paradise: Maldives and Singapore (WN Y, CZ J, MH J, DL F)

Old Jul 12, 2013, 7:33 pm
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: PHL
Programs: AA EXP, DL DM HH Gold, Marriot Titanium
Posts: 1,298
Honeymoon in paradise: Maldives and Singapore (WN Y, CZ J, MH J, DL F)

So, when I set out for this trip two weeks ago I thought it would be a great time to give back a bit to the trip report community. Although I've been reasonably quiet on here, I have read a great number of the many posts by others on here. As I look back at what photos I've collected, I realize that my skills are lacking. My very understanding and supportive new wife has even tried to help by pointing out things that I should be taking pictures of, and I simply missed a lot. That said, I'm more than happy to share what little I have.

So here goes. I amassed enough DL miles and HH points to string together a great honeymoon, and was able to go for broke on my first "big" miles/points redemption. The wife (to-be at the time) had one stipulation for our honeymoon - there needed to be a beach. We talked about Nice or some areas in the Mediterranean, but ultimately - there were few HH options. Hours of searching and deliberation led us to the Maldives, and the lovely Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. We tossed around the idea of this a few times but never really got serious about it, as it seemed too distant and difficult.
It took a while to agree, but finally we got a bit of help from a professional - Anthony Bourdain. You see, we both love to eat, and both really enjoy his old show (No Reservations), but what you must know is that despite his love of food and generally good insight into travel, he's often miserable. While watching old episodes on Netflix, we stumbled on Singapore. At this time, I knew little of the city state but Anthony Bourdain's glowing review of nearly everything he encountered got me thinking up ways to get there. It then occurred to me that SIN was pretty darn close to MLE, and this little side-trip would prove all the impetus we would need to start booking. After about 5 calls to the DL reservation center, 120,000 miles per piece got us the following:
- LAX - CAN - MLE on CZ in J (6 nights in MLE)
- MLE - KUL - SIN on MH in J (3 nights in SIN)
- SIN - CAN - LAX on CZ in J
I couldn't find any low level availability for the domestic legs to or from STL, so I booked those separately as follows:
- STL - LAX on WN
- LAX - MSP - STL on DL (booked in Y, UG to F on both legs)
Additionally, on the way to the resort, our flight would arrive too late for the seaplane transfer which required us to be booked on a domestic flight:
- MLE - VAM on VP
All in all, the trip would look something like this.

Although I had initially tried to work in a RTW routing through SVO, DL reservations had too much difficulty locating their own inventory leading me to the routing above.

The routing above also contained a lot of down time on the way to MLE (12 hours in LAX and 11 hours in CAN), so we made use of this time outside of the airport...

Last edited by timmy83; Jul 12, 2013 at 8:23 pm
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Old Jul 12, 2013, 7:34 pm
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Segment 1: STL - LAX on WN Y and Manhattan Beach

Seeing as though June 28th (our departure date) seemed to be the peak of all summer travel everywhere (blacked out for every companion certificate I had, and fares appearing to be about triple what I usually see), getting to LAX was a bit difficult. Being the cheapskate I am, the idea of paying $600 for a roundtrip in Y to LAX with poor connection timing (either too short or way too long) simply would not work for me. I was able to find a reasonably cheap OW fare on WN, and booked it knowing that it would create some difficulty. First, it arrived approximately 12 hours prior to our departure, and 7 hours before the CZ desk opened. Second, any horrendous irrops would put us in a very bad situation. There was little I could do about the latter (other than creating an extremely long connection), and for the former it was decided that we would rent a car and cruise around the LAX area.

Flight 1: WN 428 STL - LAX
We did reasonably well at check-in time, being assigned A56 and B10 for boarding. My lovely wife selected two very nice exit row seats which provided ample leg room for the 4 hour flight.

One of the striking differences between my usual DL flights and this WN flight was the space in the overhead bins. This picture is at the END of boarding and there is a tremendous amount of space available.

The flight was uneventful, and we had a nice time talking to our seatmate who was a tour guide for trips to Thailand. The wife was wearing her "just married" top, and the flight attendant gave us a couple of free drinks which was a nice touch.

On landing we deplaned into the utter madness that is LAX and retrieved our bags as quickly as possible to head to the Avis lot. The Avis bus was incredibly crowded and slow but it got us directly to our car so I was a happy camper. We created an itinerary for LAX that consisted of two things: In N Out burger and Manhattan Beach. In N Out burger was delicious, although the parking/line situation were out of control. We arrived at nearly 1:30 PM and the drive-through line was choking off traffic to the street and the line was around the inside of the dining area. We took our orders to go (two animal style burgers and one neopolitan shake) and sat out on the grass near one of the runways.

Once we'd had our fill we set out down Sepulveda Boulevard towards Manhattan Beach. After a few wrong turns, we arrived, parked, and set out towards the beach to take in some of the scenery and snap a few pictures. The wife grabbed the DSLR and headed down the hill loving the scenery, only to quickly turn back around to ask me a simple question. "Why won't the camera work" My careful inspection (using the years of post-secondary education I have) led me to conclude that it wouldn't work due to the lack of a battery. It seems that my last-minute packing decision to ditch the camera bag had backfired. As it turns out, iPhones take fairly decent photos too..

We strolled a bit, but ultimately decided that the best course of action would be to find an electronics store nearby. Siri proved quite worthless here, as she kept directing me to camera shops and electronics stores in Hartford, CT which would be slightly too far for our timeline. A friendly coffee shop employee directed us to Fry's which was a couple of miles away. As it turns out, Fry's is some sort of hybrid between a MicroCenter (products sold and size) and a Trader Joe's (decor and general arrangement), but they had a battery that would work in my 12-year old DSLR so we got that as well as a much larger memory card.

On return, Manhattan Beach remained quite lovely, although there was a lot of mist in the air. We would later be told by a bartender that this was common this time of year, and was thus referred to as the June Gloom.

Plenty of surfers out enjoying the mild surf

All in all, Manhattan Beach was a pretty nice little beach town and we enjoyed our short stroll around there.

We enjoyed a couple of drinks at a nearby restaurant before heading back to LAX for check-in around 7:30. Check-in was uneventful, and we were invited to the wholly unimpressive KE lounge.

I had a shower, but have provided no pictures due to my general forgetfulness and the unremarkable nature of the lounge. Some small sandwiches and several beers consumed while waiting to board the next flight.

Last edited by timmy83; Jul 12, 2013 at 8:21 pm
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Old Jul 12, 2013, 7:36 pm
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Segment 2: LAX - CAN (CZ J) and Guangzhou

CZ Flight 328 - LAX - CAN (6/28)
Scheduled: 2300 - 0520 (6/30)
Actual: 2316 - 0404 (6/30)
Airbus A380-800

We left the KE lounge a bit early to have a walk around and prepare for the next flight, and tried to get some shots of the plane. Unfortunately, the boarding gate wouldn't allow it due to the lack of windows nearby.

Boarding began at T-45, and it was an utter cluster of humanity. They lined up the F- and J- pax and then tried to get the Y- pax separated by row. Needless to say, this was a futile effort. Either way, boarding happened fairly quickly for F- and J- and we we onboard quickly.

As has been previously described, the seats are nice and comfortable and provide plenty of room to stretch out.

- The wife really liked the extra space
Even though the cabin was full, the arrangement provided for a fairly quiet and secluded experience

Boarding went on fairly quickly, and a short taxi and takeoff ensued. In-flight service happened within a half-hour of takeoff.

The menu for the flight

The dinner service started with a nice seafood hors d'oeuvre, which was flavorful and lovely

Then soup was served, which was okay at best.

I took everything with a with white wine, which was pleasant enough, but not refilled readily. Next course was a bit of a mess. I was seated in 22E and my wife in 22F, which was the opposite of our seat assignments (we inadvertently switched as we sat where we landed on boarding). I ordered the short ribs and the wife ordered the barbecued hen, however I noted very early in the reservation process that my wife required a gluten-free meal, which one of the FAs inquired about after taking her order but long before the meal service started, and noted the change in seats. I was served her hen and she was served a very bland plate of steamed chicken and vegetables. In the grand scheme of things, not a big deal - but I know for a fact that they have the capacity to easily manage changes in seat assignments (I witnessed an FA using an iPad to reassign them on the return flight).

That said, the main course of barbecued hen was just fine, although it was a bit overwhelmed by the amount and the sweetness of the sauce.

The cheese course simply seemed not to exist - it was not offered, and when asked the FA shot me a blank stare. I didn't finish the pineapple tart, as it was bland and I didn't really want it, but the fruit served prior to dessert was nice and fresh tasting. I would have preferred the ice cream, but the FA said they didn't have any.
Nice, but small fruit plate

Bland and dry pineapple tart

After dinner, I took my bag into the cramped restroom towards the back of the cabin (shared with Y) as it was difficult to pass through the galley to the larger lavs at the front. The FAs put up a series of curtains around the galley which essentially made it into a fortress. Luckily, I had been given a heads-up that CZ no longer offered PJs in J, so I packed a pair and changed into them. I put down my seat and my wife's seat into the full-flat position (good picture here - thanks to Rocky from DoublewidesFly http://upgrd.com/images/upload/image...3-03.09.20.jpg) and managed to sleep for about 5 hours initially, then another 3 hours. The seat was fairly comfortable, and the real highlights (other than the full-flat config) were the pillows and the comforter. CZ provided two pillows, which was great to cover the little cubby on the side and a nice fluffy comforter to make it feel like a real bed. Kudos on the hard product, CZ.

When I woke up the first time, the wife was awake and hungry (she could only eat about 1/3 of the courses served) and I encouraged her to press the call button to request a snack, as there were no signs of life in the aisles or the galley. She pressed it and no one came by for nearly 10 minutes. Finally after about 10 minutes a FA walked to my seat (opposite the call light) and without saying a word, handed me a glass of water and a steamed pork sesame bun and walked away. Both the wife and I laughed as she walked away, because frankly it was one of the strangest things I've ever seen. After that, I walked to the forward bar and put together a plate of fruit and cheese for the wife. I decided that even though I'd not wanted anything, that I would eat the bun which was quite nice.

The remote for the PTV and lights - and although that looks like a flight attendant call light towards the bottom on the left, apparently it's the steamed pork sesame bun request button

About 2.5 hours prior to landing, the lights came on and breakfast was served. It started with yogurt, fruit, and very stale toast. I wasn't given the option to opt for cereal instead of the yogurt.

My order for dim sum was overlooked due to the seating swap, and I was served a quiche which was okay.

The wife received a very nice omelette with mushrooms as the GF option, which was quite lovely.

After breakfast, I cleaned up and we began an extremely long descent into CAN (it was nearly an hour from when final descent was called until we actually landed). I noted by the end of my trip that in the US we use the term "initial approach" and "initial descent" to describe what the Chinese refer to as "final descent". The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful with the exception of the very customs and immigrations videos that were shown on approach.

All in all, CZ in J is a nice enough product, and the seat really carries all the value. The service was sufficient to poor on this flight, and I think there is a lot of room for growth in the FA service component of these flights.

Tour of Guangzhou

On arrival, we were met immediately off the plane by a uniformed CZ agent holding a board with our names who escorted us to the transfer desk. We explained that due to the long nature of the layover and the fact that we'd never been to China, that we arranged a tour. She initially seemed dismayed, as they had arranged a hotel for us (the Pullman at CAN), but she worked with immigration to get everything set up for us to be given a 24-hour transit visa which took about an hour.

Once out of the airport we began our tour of Guangzhou at 6:15 am with our lovely guide, Jacquelyn, who tried her best to highlight some of the unique aspects of Guangzhou. She specifically focused on how focused on food and growth the Cantonese were, as well as her dismay over the loss of a great amount of culture in the name of progress. Here are some of the highlights.

Guangzhou TV tower, which is 217 M high.

5 Goats statue, telling the story of the history of Guangzhou

The Chen Clan Academy and Guangdong Folk Arts Museum. This contained a number of Chinese arts and cultural items including paintings, ivory carvings, slik embroidery, and traditional room design.

Shamian island - Home of the consular and embassy offices

An interesting open market - She described how important food preparation is to the Cantonese, and how specific items were used as medicine. We saw hundreds of different types of mushrooms, spices, and even scorpions and lizard skins to be used in soup.

Following this, we had a nice lunch with our guide, did some shopping, and headed back to the airport as it was too hot and humid for us to continue shopping (all that was left on the itinerary)

Last edited by timmy83; Jul 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm
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Old Jul 12, 2013, 7:37 pm
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Segments 3 - 4: CAN - MLE (CZ J) and MLE - VAM (VP Y)

We were back at the airport by 13:00 for a 16:30 flight and cleared security and immigration after about 30 minutes, leaving us ample time to explore the lounge. We used the main international lounge near gates 101 and 1, which was large and very nice. Due to the heat outside and the amount of walking we had done, we each decided to take a shower - and the SkyPearl VIP lounge had wonderful shower facilities featuring flight information displayed through the mirror.

Shower room mirror displaying flight info

Very nice shower

Shower room amenities - This shower room had some of the nicest amenities, as well as some odd ones such as a bathrobe and a scale

The rest of the lounge was very nice, and these pictures illustrate the upper level main lounge area. The lower level was mainly a dining area with small platters of Cantonese and Chinese food. My favorites were the chicken siew mai

Seating area near the windows

Seat nearest the small gaming area - this little room had 4 computers on which you could watch videos or play games

Main seating area

There was a row of private relaxation rooms that we had intended to use, but they were all locked (presumably in use) when we arrived and there were no attendants to help us either get in or wait-listed. We opted to use the massage chairs which provided a 15 minute massage of your choosing, assuming you know Chinese. Otherwise you got to play massage chair roulette, which I lost at.

Massage chair remote - The topmost grey button on the left side was my choice, which was clearly "rip legs off" mode.

The lounge itself was well stocked with food, soft drinks, water, wine, Chinese beer, Johnnie Walker, and oddly - a fancy bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Unfortunately, the upper level was extremely warm due to the rounded glass surrounding the club and the general warmness of the airport and city. After a couple of hours, we decided to leave early for the gate and try and pick out some souvenirs.

CZ Flight 3083 CAN-MLE (6/30)
Scheduled 1630 - 1950
Actual 1646 - 1900
Boeing 777-200

Boarding for this flight took place from a lower-level, and again the CZ agents formed two queues for boarding, splitting the J and Y pax up. The J pax were held back for several minutes and the Y pax boarded a large bus that shuttled them to the rear boarding door of the plane. The J pax were escorted to a smaller bus with seating that drove us to the forward boarding door. On boarding, we were greeted by the FAs, and shown to our seats.

The CZ 772 only has 18 seats in J- and they are configured in 3 rows of 2-2-2, which provided ample legroom, and a decent recline.

CZ 772 Seat - Newspapers were placed in the seats prior to the flight. As we were the only native English speakers, we were the only ones to receive English-language papers

The service on this flight was much much better than on the LAX-CAN route. The FAs were attentive, polite, and very oriented to pax comfort. I did not get a shot of the menu, as it was not at my seat and only presented briefly.

Very sad looking plate of nuts and a glass of Dynasty white wine - The nuts were not warm

Starter of cold beef, a fish cake, and bean curd - The wife and I had different opinions. I liked the bean curd and hated the beef, and she felt the opposite.

Main course - Chicken and vegetables - This was lovely. The wife received a beef dish which was nearly inedible

Dessert - Vanilla mousse cake - Forgot that I was supposed to take a picture before eating it. It was pretty light and nice.

As I previously stated, the service was spot-on. My wine was continuously refilled without me having to ask and the FAs continuously monitored and paced the meal based on where we were with each course. On completion, the FA even helped my wife unwrap her comforter so she could settle in for a nap. In addition to the service provided around the meal, there was a small bar with wine set up at the front of the cabin. I chose not to partake as I had drank enough wine, and there was an unruly group of pax at the front of the cabin that I preferred to avoid (one kept kicking his footrest loudly and slapping himself in the head).

Of note, there is no in-seat IFE, so the FAs handed out personal tablets throughout the J cabin. I opted to pass and try to sleep, but was unsuccessful due to some turbulence crossing the Indian Ocean.

No idea where we were at this point

After a while, we were beginning our final descent into MLE (see my comments above) and service items were cleared. On clearing customs, we met with the Conrad representative who took our luggage and asked us to wait for the remaining pax. From the arrivals area, we were escorted to the domestic terminal where the Conrad rep took our passports and checked us in to the VP flight. He then took us to the Moonima lounge and told us that we would should wait until the lounge attendants call us for our flight. The lounge had an assortment of cold and warm food and soft beverages. It was initially quite nice and tranquil, but filled up towards the end of our stay and became somewhat unruly. We left when called, which was about 10 minutes prior to boarding, cleared security, and boarded.

VP Flight 613 - MLE - VAM (6/30)
Scheduled 2100 - 2130
Actual 2115 - 2140
ATR 42-500

Our seat assignments found us in 1E & F, which were the only rear-facing seats on the ATR-42. The flight itself was completely uneventful and we quickly landed at Maamigili. At this point, our island host met us and gave us juice and began showing us (on a map) all of the offerings on the island, as well as our amenity package (for being Hilton Gold and for our honeymoon).

After about 10 minutes, we boarded a bus which took us to the dock to board our speedboat to the island!

Last edited by timmy83; Jul 14, 2013 at 3:26 pm
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Old Jul 12, 2013, 7:39 pm
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Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Our stay at the Conrad Rangali was on points, using 225,000 for a 6-night stay. I also requested a paid upgrade to an overwater villa for a couple of nights, which would be honored at the end of our stay. This was nice as it really gave us two full days in the OWV.

We arrived at the island at nearly 11pm on 6/30, and after a few more brief words with our island host in the reception area, he showed us to our beach villa - #204.

Beach Villa 204

After a brief tour of the amenities, our host left for the evening so that we could get some rest. In the room, there was a nice split of champagne, chocolates, and fruit in the room. Suffice it to say that since the champagne was on ice and ice melts, we made short work of the bottle (it's a celebration, after all!).

Honeymoon champagne

After our luggage arrived, we enjoyed some more champagne and chocolate in the lovely outdoor bathtub. The bathtub is quite large and several steps away is the outdoor shower, which had a special representative waiting to greet us.

Crab in the shower

After a few more drinks, we found the very comfortable bed and slept off the 48 hours of transit we'd just endured. We woke up early the next morning and went to breakfast at the Atoll Market, which is a lovely buffet featuring Asian, Continental, and American breakfast items, which is included for Gold and Diamond members. The majority of the offerings were quite good, and the waiters offered coffee and constantly refilled our OJ at the table. Following breakfast we checked in at the dive shop to register and schedule our orientation dive, which SubAqua requires in order to plan a dive with them. As it was only 8:30 and the orientation was to take place at 11:00, we took our snorkeling equipment out to the beach. Rangali features a beautiful house reef off the east side of the northern half of the main island which we spent a couple of hours exploring.

Beautiful house reef

A decent swim across the house reef led us to the drop-off, where we saw our first shark of the trip. Unfortunately, my photography skills are limited, and I was only able to capture a blurry shot - but you can see fairly well that it's a black-tipped reef shark.

Black-tipped reef shark - Bigfoot blurry, but it's there

Following this, we had a lovely orientation dive around the lagoon area which took us around the sunset restaurant and Ithaa. We followed this with a light lunch at Rangali bar and then cleaned up for cocktail hour at Vilu.

Vilu is the true gem of Rangali - the food is exceptional. Even the little bites they brought us during the complimentary cocktail hour were excellent. The views were similarly excellent.

The view from Vilu

After cocktail hour on the first night, we met up with several other US-based HH members and met with ConradMaldives for a feedback session which included some more champagne (I love celebrating!). As this went on longer than we expected, we decided to just have dinner at Rangali bar which was very nice. I also had my first mojito of the trip - the Maldivian Mojito, which used dark rum, brown sugar, and added Angostura bitters. It was refreshing and quite delicious (and I will be attempting to make this at home).

Maldivian Mojito and friend

The next day was our planned "Picnic on a deserted island" excursion. The dhoni left at 10 am, and we enjoyed the ride from the sun deck. On arrival, our guide (Jellyfish) took us on an excellent snorkeling tour of the "dream island".

View from the top of the dhoni

After about an hour of snorkeling and some relaxing on the beach, lunch was served and included meats and cheeses, salads, and a lovely Maldivian tuna and noodle dish which was plenty spicy. We spent another hour or so on the island before heading back to Rangali. We went to both the complimentary cocktail hour and the happy hour, where we ordered a couple of frozen tropical beverages (Pina colada and Rangali Dream)

That evening we dined at Sunset, which was a very nice experience. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling very hungry and ordered very little despite the appetizing fare. Even better was the sunset, which was strikingly beautiful. My pictures don't do it justice (they were taken on an iPhone and frankly, I wasn't too worried about pictures while dining with my beautiful wife )

The lesser beautiful view from my seat

During the meal the manager on duty, who was the housekeeping manager, stopped by to greet us, thanked us for being HH Gold, and bought us our wine. I found this to be a very nice touch, and greatly enjoyed the small bonus of a free glass of wine.

The next couple of days saw us go on two dive excursions of two tanks each. I know others have said this about the Maldives, but the diving is truly exceptional. The SubAqua divemasters were great - we worked with Berenice on the first excursion and Joseph the second. They did a great job of orienting us to the environment and getting us in to see the interesting aquatic life around the thilas.

We also had our honeymoon celebration dinner at Mandhoo on our third full day, which was a very nice three course meal, which we enjoyed with a bottle of champagne.

Mandhoo restaurant

View from our table

After our final dive on the fourth day, we cleaned up and packed for our move to the OWV scheduled for 14:00. We walked to reception and met with our island host who would escort us there. Unfortunately, as the dhoni approached, the skies opened up and a very heavy rainfall began. It was at this point that I began to appreciate the abundance of large, white Conrad umbrellas available throughout the island.

Rain on its way

The next two days involved some snorkeling, enjoying the pool on our deck and the reef out our back stairs.

Plunge pool on the deck

Distance from our deck to reef there was significantly more reef nearby

They also involved a significant amount of intermittent rain which led to us eating at Rangali Bar for our final two dinners on the island. The food at Rangali is very good, but it's a casual atmosphere and the views are only excellent (not breathtaking). This didn't prevent us from getting a few more shots of the wonderful surroundings and more drinks.

Rangali Nighttime

Rangali bridge

Relaxation paradise

Slightly bent palm tree

Seaplane takeoff roll

All in all, our stay at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island was excellent. The staff was exceptionally friendly, and my wife really appreciated that those working at Rangali bar knew us my the end and anticipated what we needed. I was also very grateful to have the change to speak with two of the managers during our stay who worked hard to assure we had a great stay. The only trouble we had was regarding our honeymoon - as we did not yet have a marriage certificate and received multiple requests from our island host to provide evidence that we were married. There were multiple exchanges involving emails of pictures from the wedding, invitations, programs, and several forwarded email exchanges with vendors until he escalated it to the manager on duty. I was very appreciative for the provided honeymoon amenities, but had a hard time with the fact that they didn't know how to deal with the lack of an official marriage certificate (I blame the arcane processes in place in central Connecticut, mostly).

Finally, we were disappointed in some of the entertainment options at Rangali. There were scheduled acts on two of the nights and we headed over to enjoy some drinks and the entertainment. Both nights, the acts didn't go on as expected and we left the bar early to enjoy one of the pools.

Despite those very minor comments, the majority of our stay was great and the wife is already planning our next trip :-)

Last edited by timmy83; Jul 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm
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Old Jul 12, 2013, 7:40 pm
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Segments 4 - 6: Seaplane - MLE (Male tour) - KUL - SIN (MH J)

So, this part of the report will get a bit dicey. Due to the time of day, I don't really have many pictures from Male, and due to general tiredness, I've none from the MH flights. Hopefully I can draw a picture with my words.

Seaplane flight
We received our bill on our final morning, as well as our seaplane assignment - 16:55. We were unable to secure late checkout, so we decided to pack a small bag and lounge around the pool for the afternoon. We'd initially discussed trying to do lunch or cocktail hour at Ithaa, but unfortunately the weather turned quite nasty. Intermittent downpours and gusty winds greeted us that afternoon so we spent a while in the Rangali bar enjoying drinks and a good lunch.

Last drinks before departure

After a while, the rain stopped and we proceeded to the pool for a couple of hours of lounging and reading. Surprisingly this was our one and only visit to the main pool, as we'd mostly swam around in the sea and for pool swimming we chose to use the Quiet Zone (adults only) on the other side of the resort.

Enjoying the pool

Around 4:15 I decided that I'd had enough pool and sun and headed to the fitness center to shower up for the day and prepare for the flights home. The fitness centers showers were very nice outside of being extremely dark, and they left me feeling refreshed and ready for the flight out. I suppose my timing was great because as I stepped out, the next downpour had begun. The wife followed my lead and we met up on the big, full bed-sized loungers near the bar to await our departure time. At 16:55 we headed towards reception to meet with our island host, who stated that the seaplane time was not yet known and that we could relax in the interim. It was a little over an hour before the seaplane was near enough to move us to the departure area (which was a bit frustrating, as we missed the entire cocktail hour at Vilu!). We headed over and awaited our plane.

Our seaplane off the island

Inside the seaplane

The ride was nice and the views pretty good, although the bad weather around made it difficult to see too much.

Views from the seaplane

Tour of Male
On landing in Male, we met with the Conrad rep who escorted us to the bus to the airport. There we met with our tour guide, who was to take us across the water to Male. We paid our $1 fare and took a very crowded boat to the island, where we learned about the various government buildings, mosques, and markets in Male. It was a very pleasant town, but there wasn't much in the way of photo opportunities, especially since the lighting made it nearly impossible to take a photo that wasn't all streaks of light.

Street in Male with Scooters everywhere - of note, I was trying to snap a photo of the tobacco shop that shared the same name as my wife's family... fail on this account

Either way, we enjoyed our 2 hours spent in Male and were impressed by the calm and polite disposition of the locals. Pur tour guide explained that it is a very safe and polite place, mostly because the island is so small that everyone knows everyone. We were also impressed by the number of scooters everywhere, as apparently it is extremely expensive (due to the 200% import tax) to buy an automobile. Our guide explained that outside of tourism, fishing was the top industry and that the fishermen do very well in terms of income. This was followed by him asking if we liked fish, and him quipping that us Americans love fish and chips, to which we responded that he was thinking of Brits. He followed up with, "Oh, yeah - Americans... I love Big Macs!." Ugh... American culture fail.

We then proceeded to take our $1 boat ride back to the airport island, had some lovely fast-food Thai, and checked in for our flight. With our boarding passes, we were offered an invitation to the very nice premium lounge, where we would stay until boarding. When boarding was called, we proceeded down to the boarding area only to wait for nearly an hour while the Emirates flight held up our boarding (the called last call over a dozen times and each time more pax would come out of the woodwork to board). Once we finally were called, there was no order (no biz/elite boarding, etc) as the gate services are all handled by airport employees. We took a bus to the plane (which was silly, as it was only about 200 feet away) and were greeted immediately on boarding.

MH Flight 176 - MLE - KUL
Scheduled: 2245 - 06:00
Actual: 23:35 - 06:30
Boeing 737-800

We were seated in seats 2A&C and received lovely service on this flight. Unfortunately I was too exhausted to remember to take any pictures during the flight, but it started with Satay, which was excellent. I then had some of the fish entree, which was fine, and finished by passing on dessert and having another wine. I managed about 2 hours of sleep on this flight, and the wife got a couple as well, so we were in reasonably good shape on arrival in KUL.

Sunrise at KUL

We proceeded to the nearest lounge, which was the MH regional lounge. It was quiet and full of amenities, and the wife enjoyed the breakfast of champions.

Breakfast of champions

After a short time in the regional lounge we set out to find the international lounge, as I had read that it offered a relaxation room, which we agreed would be nice. We took the train to the other terminal and entered the international lounge. Unfortunately, it was packed and there was no hope of finding a bed in the relaxation room. So we did what any experienced traveller would do at 7am after little sleep; we ordered champagne and ate breakfast. We stayed in this lounge until boarding, and took the train back to the regional terminal.

Octopi adorning the train

After a brief walk through security, we were on our way!

MH Flight 611 - KUL - SIN
Scheduled: 09:25 - 10:25
Actual: 09:29 - 10:21
Boeing 737-800

Our flight was brief and pleasant, and even included a meal of a curried chicken pie which was okay. We landed soon enough and made our way to the metro.

In case you needed reminding that you were in Singapore

Last edited by timmy83; Jul 21, 2013 at 9:03 am
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Old Jul 12, 2013, 7:41 pm
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Singapore (Conrad Centennial Singapore)

After arrival, we proceeded through the metro passages to get towards downtown. On arrival at the metro platform, there was a very nice woman offering assistance in getting fare cards from the machine. We gave her money and she produced proper bills for the machine, after which we headed to the waiting subway car.

Last edited by timmy83; Aug 1, 2013 at 7:12 pm
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Old Jul 12, 2013, 7:42 pm
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Segments 7 - 10: SIN - CAN - LAX (CZ J) - MSP - STL (DL F)

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Old Jul 13, 2013, 1:38 am
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Looking forward to the rest as we are booked on the CZ LAX-CAN-MLE in J next January also staying at Rangali
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Old Jul 13, 2013, 9:23 pm
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Originally Posted by vxmike
Looking forward to the rest as we are booked on the CZ LAX-CAN-MLE in J next January also staying at Rangali
You will have an absolute BLAST!!!!
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Old Jul 14, 2013, 12:24 pm
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Thanks timmy83 for the great trip report - can't wait to read about the rest of the trip.
One interesting point - the airline had arranged a hotel for your layover - did you know that was going to happen? That's pretty nice customer service!
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Old Jul 14, 2013, 3:28 pm
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Originally Posted by BigEyedFish
Thanks timmy83 for the great trip report - can't wait to read about the rest of the trip.
One interesting point - the airline had arranged a hotel for your layover - did you know that was going to happen? That's pretty nice customer service!
I have to say, every experience with CZ personnel outside of the LAX-CAN (and return) we had was truly exceptional. They really worked hard to ensure an easy transit through CAN, as well as our comfort. We had not been informed in advance about the hotel arrangements, but I was very grateful that they were offered.
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Old Jul 14, 2013, 6:12 pm
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Originally Posted by timmy83
You will have an absolute BLAST!!!!
I can't wait

Was a bit disappointed at the lack of service you experienced on LAX-CAN. As you said it's mostly about the seat for long flights, but the food simply looked awful. KE simply isn't available in early January for us, and I'm not aware of any other decent Skyteam options. I decided against flying to the Conrad on the night of arrival into MLE given the time. I didn't want to waste an entire night on a 10pm arrival plus I wanted to take the seaplane during daylight hours. I hope this decision ends up working out.

Looking forward to the rest of the report
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Old Jul 15, 2013, 6:56 am
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Originally Posted by vxmike
Was a bit disappointed at the lack of service you experienced on LAX-CAN. As you said it's mostly about the seat for long flights, but the food simply looked awful. KE simply isn't available in early January for us, and I'm not aware of any other decent Skyteam options. I decided against flying to the Conrad on the night of arrival into MLE given the time. I didn't want to waste an entire night on a 10pm arrival plus I wanted to take the seaplane during daylight hours. I hope this decision ends up working out.
The CZ service on LAX-CAN was pretty lackluster, but you're right - DL redemption options are pretty poor with the exception of MH. The food wasn't really that bad, but it certainly could have been better.
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Old Jul 15, 2013, 3:59 pm
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Great read so far! Looking forward to the rest :-)
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