Confessions: Working on Southeast Asia's largest cruise ship
We speak to a few of the 1,185 crew members of the Mariner of the Seas to see how they keep the vessel shipshape
Singaporean Mark Koh Zhi Wei likes his colleagues so much that with his family away on vacation, he decided to spend his Christmas holiday back at the office.
Except his office is the Mariner of the Seas, one of five Voyager-class cruise ships from Royal Caribbean International and currently the largest cruise ship in South-east Asia.
Mr Koh spent his leave with his colleagues, including his girlfriend whom he met while working on the ship. They are part of the 1,185-strong crew.
"They're like my second family. We know everything about one another," said the second officer.
The crew is so international, there are 49 nationalities on board.
Mariner of the Seas is homeporting here for the fourth time since 2013.
The ship will sail to destinations such as Malaysia and China till March 2017.
The ship is more than 300m long and 48m wide. It has 15 decks fitted with 16 pubs, clubs and lounges and 10 pools and whirlpools.
Mr Koh joined cruise line Royal Caribbean straight out of national service in 2014.
"There was a big culture shock with the procedures to follow and also having to look after so many guests," he said.
For eight hours a day, Mr Koh assists the first officer to navigate the ship, feeding him information about the ship's course and condition.
For him, the Malacca Strait is the hardest area to navigate because there are many large ships around.
Mr Koh also spends three hours on side duties such as ensuring the life-saving appliances and firefighting equipment - fire doors and extinguishers - are in working condition.
He even scrapes off and paints over rust on the lifeboats himself. For guest safety, no work is beneath Mr Koh.
He told The New Paper: "I'd like to work for Royal Caribbean for the rest of my life."
The ice skaters do their flips and rolls so effortlessly that guests may not realise how difficult it is to perform on a moving ship.
Ice captainAlexander Demetriou, 27, from England, told TNP: "When the ship moves... we feel it 10 times more (on ice)."
He leads a team of 10 ice skaters who perform acrobatic shows for guests.
Their routines are risky. One example is the bounce spin, where Mr Demetriou holds his partner by her ankles and spins her up above his head, slowly lowering her.
With each rotation, her head narrowly misses the floor.
What makes it even more stressful is that his partner is his Canadian wife, whom he married in August this year.
But this is all part of the job.
"The best part of the show is seeing the guests' faces when we pull off a stunt they think we can't do," said Mr Demetriou.
His favourite part of the job is getting to see the world.
"I can't imagine just how much it'd cost to travel where I've been. In fact, I am getting paid to do it!" he said.
A staggering 18,000 meals are prepared daily on the Mariner of the Seas.
It has three main kitchens with more than 100 cooks preparing food for the 3,807 guests aboard.
Taking charge of all this is executive chef, Mr Anil George, 47, who is from India. Meals have to be prepared in advance - the crew starts preparing dinner from as early as 11.15am.
To maintain freshness, the food is put in fridges and cooked an hour before mealtime.
Mr George said the process is like a well-oiled machine.
After the food is cooked, a tasting panel of two chefs in charge do a quality check.
Once the green light is given, about 70 stewards use trolleys to take the food to the dining areas.
Ingredients are ordered three months in advance, which is why guests have to confirm their dietary needs when booking a cruise.
There are 15 massive stores in the ship filled with enough food for seven days, and stores are restocked whenever the ship docks.
Although the work is taxing, the camaraderie among the cooks pull them through.
"We are all very professional, but we are also like a family," said Mr George.
They are the unsung heroes of a pleasant cruise journey.
Stateroom attendant, Mr Iwayan Darmayasa, 24, and his colleagues are part of the housekeeping team of 172 that clean guest rooms every day.
The Indonesian and his fellow attendants stretch together every morning to prepare for the hard work ahead.
Each attendant cleans 16 to 18 rooms daily.
"There are worse things than vomit to clean," said Mr Darmayasa.
As they are away from home during the festive season, executive housekeeper, Mr Kelvin Alexander, from Trinidad and Tobago, 46, is throwing a Christmas party for his staff.
They are even doing a secret Santa gift exchange.
"It'll be fun," he said.