After sleeping-in the next day, we eventually set off to explore Penang. After getting a map from a tourist counter on the way out and negotiating the throng of taxi drivers etc. we set off not knowing what to expect.
We were soon surprised to find a narrow street filled with artwork and for a change it was possible to interact with these, which several tourists, including ourselves enjoyed doing. We soon realised that this was a theme of the area and set out to find more.
This seemed to be a new trend in several cities. As some of the old industries disappear, this simple idea creates interest and a chance to find a new identity. It also creates a tourist attraction, and one, which looking at the number of different nationalities viewing them, was a really successful idea, These pieces of artwork, being interactive, gave a novel approach to the idea and was appreciated by visitors as well as now being listed as a heritage site.
After finding several more artworks, and having a tour of a Chinese market, where the art walk was featured on several buildings, we also managed to take a look at some of Penang's landmarks. Then, after a hot, busy day, it was back to the ship .
Talking to other guests, who had gone on the rickshaws, they would recommend the activity, as they had enjoyed the adventure round the busy city. We were sorry to have missed this but finding the artwork was an added bonus for us.
To save the planet's resources, Marella have stopped giving out paper maps of the ports that they visit; instead they suggest you take a picture of one on an interactive screen, on board ship, which is not ideal. Although we applaud their good intentions, we were surprised that we received about ten information sheets on trips alone, and also one leaflet each night called Cruise News. If you were being cynical, you could wonder if, by not providing a map, the company would hope that passengers wound be more likely to buy their trips, rather than travel out into the unknown on their own.
If we had known this before arriving on the cruise, we could have printed our own maps, or as a lot of cruise information is now on their Navigate App and on the interactive screens, a map could be added as a downloadable PDF.
In a couple of ports, they had welcome desks and you could get a map there; one guest went into the nearest hotel, as most receptions have a tourist map on their counters. The Cruise News leaflet that you receive every night, could have included a small map, that you could take out with you.
We weren't the only passengers who felt this way; it was one of the main topics of conversation round the destination service area!