LEISURE WORLD (ex SKYWARD, etc.) Decked!, Part Two



528 feet long
74 feet wide
15,853 gross tons
Built by AG Weser (hull number 942)
850 passengers
250 crew
Powered by MAN Diesels that produce 17,380 bhp
twin screw
16 knot service speed

All Photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2012 unless otherwise noted.

Singapore skyline, featuring the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

To get to the LEISURE WORLD from Singapore, one must first take a taxi to the Tanah Merah Cruise Terminal, which is located at the far eastern end of the island, adjacent to the airport.

New Century Cruise Lines ticket counter, Singapore.

Once inside the terminal, it is easy to find the New Century Cruise Lines ticket counter. Although New Century caters to a Chinese-speaking clientele, the agent was fluent in English and very friendly. She also wanted to make sure that we understood that the LEISURE WORLD is a gambling ship and not a typical cruise ship.

Ticket to ride.

Tickets are $43 Singapore per person and that includes two ferry rides, the first from Singapore to Batam in nearby Indonesia and the second, from Batam to the anchored ship.

Ferry to Batam. Photo by Mike Masino 2012.

On the ferry, I opted to ride on the sheltered open deck at the stern so I could take photos of the anchorage off Singapore, where supertankers, bulkers and massive container ships are lined up as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately, the open deck is a haven for smokers, whose ranks are as populous in Singapore as the ships at anchor.

Inside ferry to Batam.

Meanwhile, my traveling companion Mike enjoyed a far more comfortable, air conditioned and cushioned ride.

Batam, Batam, Batam…

There was no time to visit Batam, which looked pleasant enough with its modern resort style housing and a golf course at the marina entrance.

Aboard ferry to LEISURE WORLD.

Once the first ferry arrived, we filed off with our fellow passengers onto the second ferry in a process that is repeated several times a day.

LEISURE WORLD first glimpse.

The LEISURE WORLD spends the greater part of the day at anchor off Batam, then moves under her own power at approximately 9:30 each night to another anchorage off the Malaysian island of Pulau Tekam, where she sits until about 7:00 AM before returning to Batam.  Our time was short; otherwise, we would have booked a cabin to experience an actual overnight “cruise” on the ship.

Nearing the stern…

Alas, getting optimal photos on the approach to the ship is a challenge since the ferry has no forward open deck and it tends to aim straight for the LEISURE WORLD’s midships flanks, blocking full views from either side.


Aside from her colorful livery, the LEISURE WORLD’s most dramatic alteration from the NCL era is the boxy, two-deck casino structure that now obscures what was once her pool and lido.

NCL Starburst.

The original NCL “starburst” beading is still visible on LEISURE WORLD’s hull. This was first painted over by NCL when they altered their logo in the mid-1980s but was temporarily restored when the ship began her Singapore-based career.

LEISURE WORLD Atlantic Deck (5th Floor) Reception, facing aft.

Once aboard, we surrendered our passports, then headed to Reception to reserve passage on the 5:00 PM ferry back to Singapore. This would not only provide ample time to cover the non-Casino areas (where photography is strictly forbidden) but give us a chance to take exterior photos of the ship in daylight.

Captain Igor.

Our time on board began with a quick visit with the ship’s amiable Ukrainian Captain Igor, who is an alumnus of the lamented MAXIM GORKIY (ex HAMBURG) as well as the ENCHANTED CAPRI (ex AZERBAYZHAN) and ISLAND ADVENTURE (ex KAZAKHSTAN).

LEISURE WORLD Wheelhouse, facing starboard.
LEISURE WORLD Captain’s Office, facing starboard.
LEISURE WORLD Captain’s Office, facing port.

The good captain was very busy but kind enough to let us visit the LEISURE WORLD’s expansive wheelhouse (“Big enough for football”, he joked) and his office, one of the most lavish “captain’s living and dining rooms” I have seen on board any cruise ship.

Since most of the LEISURE WORLD is a dedicated casino, capturing the non-casino deck areas and spaces was easily managed before we enjoyed a special lunch in the dining room.

LEISURE WORLD has eight passenger decks, largely retaining their names from their latter day NCL era, from top to bottom: Top level of dome (unnamed, formerly called Observation Deck), Tropicana Deck, Sun Deck (8th Floor), Boat Deck (7th Floor), Rainbow Deck (6th Floor), Atlantic Deck (5th Floor), Biscayne Deck (4th Floor) and Caribbean Deck (3rd Floor).

Observation Platform (top level of dome)

Forward Observation Platform, facing starboard.
Starboard Observation Platform, facing forward.
LEISURE WORLD totally random Observation Platform carpet shot.
Aft Observation Platform, facing starboard.  Note top/aft portion of “tripod” support…
Aft from Observation Platform.

This tour begins in the upper level of the dummy funnel dome, where two levels of decking are cantilevered from a “dipod” that forms the base of the radio mast. The aluminum and glass shell is built around this innovative structure. The Observation Platform level is accessed via a spiral staircase forward and houses a seating area on the starboard side, various games to port and an observation platform aft.

Tropicana Deck

MV LEISURE WORLD, Forward Tropicana Deck, facing aft.
LEISURE WORLD, forward Tropicana Deck, facing forward.
MV LEISURE WORLD Tropicana Deck altar.

Tropicana Deck, formerly known as Compass Deck, begins with the monkey island atop the wheelhouse and continues aft via a wide swath of open decking that is now covered in a thick rubberized material. In addition to a golf-driving net, rowing machine and jogging track, there is a small Buddhist altar (far more suited to the ship’s current incarnation than the onetime Mayan temple), presumably to assure good luck in the gaming rooms.

Port Tropicana Deck passage, facing forward.

Narrow walkways lead aft on either side of the dummy funnel dome.

Tropicana Deck Bar, facing port.
Tropicana Deck, facing aft.
LEISURE WORLD basketball area, facing aft from midships Tropicana Deck.

The enclosed portion of Tropicana Deck is accessed from stairs on either side just aft. There is a dancefloor, bar and lounge area that make it a favorite spot for karaoke, nightclubbing and crew recreation.

MV LEISURE WORLD, basketball court, facing forward from aft Tropicana Deck.
MV LEISURE WORLD, aft from base of funnels.

The aft portion of Tropicana Deck is where the Mayan temple once reigned at the base of the LEISURE WORLD’s uptakes. Today, it is a sunning and observation platform overlooking the ship’s basketball court.

Sun Deck (8th Floor)

MV LEISURE WORLD, aft from port bridge wing.

Sun Deck (8th Floor) begins with the wheelhouse and continues aft with officers’ accommodation.

LEISURE WORLD Sun Deck stairs, facing starboard.

This level also houses the very top portion of the forward stairtower with a large vestibule built around the dipod base of the dummy funnel.

Sun Deck games area, facing forward.

A games deck with a basketball court follows.

LEISURE WORLD Massage Room door.

At the base of the funnel uptakes, there is a massage room that now occupies the former sauna. Casino spaces occupy the remainder of this level.

Boat Deck (7th Floor)

MV LEISURE WORLD, forward Boat Deck, facing starboard.
SKYWARD bell from Boat Deck.
SKYWARD builder’s plate.

Boat Deck (7th Floor) begins with a wonderful open observation platform overlooking the bow. From here, there is a view of the ship’s immaculate fo’c’sle and beautifully polished SKYWARD bell. And, mounted at the base of the bridge housing, the ship’s builder’s plate.

Port Boat Deck, facing aft.

Finite open promenades continue aft on either side of this level under a span of lifeboats and davits. Boat Deck concludes with another massive casino space.

End of LEISURE WORLD Decked!, Part Two

More to come….

Special thanks: Marek Amielanczyk, Jonathan Boonzaier, Martin Cox, Captain Igor, Michael Masino

2013 Passenger Ships Desk Calendar by Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

Latest posts by Peter Knego (see all)


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.