Friday, 6 June 2014

Adventure Cove Waterpark Trip Report

I visited Adventure Cove Waterpark in Sentosa, Singapore with my parents in November 2013. I went on a weekday (actually took leave for it) after hearing many stories of long queues on The park was over six months old at that time but thankfully most of the things look as good as new.

Myself with my parents at Adventure Cove Waterpark

My family was able to enter 30mins before the park opened via a limited time offer for POSB Card holders. The staff was friendly but it was clear from the start they had a lot of rules to follow.

In general, the park is very well themed - more so than the other water parks I been to like Sunway Lagoon of Malaysia (trip report coming soon). Even seemingly minor items like handrails are adorned with mysterious symbols and sculptures. Although the first attraction we encounter was the river, we decided to head straight into middle of the park.

[tip] Change at the Wave Pool area and use the lockers there so you will be closer to the slides and most attractions.

[tip] Bring smaller bags so they can fit in the smaller $10 lockers. The larger ones cost $20. My family actually squeezed all 3 of our bags inside that 1 small locker. Lockers are valid for use for whole day

 Note the extensive theming in the water park

Attraction 1: Riptide Rocket

Riptide Rocket is the park's most intense ride powered by both water (downhill) and electromagnets (uphill). This is actually my first waterslide I took in my entire life (cannot believe, right?). The best part is that you do not have to climb up - there is a conveyor belt that brings you all the way to the top with your raft. Thank goodness I went to that ride first, the queue was almost an hour long just minutes after we hopped off the ride.
[tip]Take this ride first thing before the crowd comes or last thing when everyone else is at the showers.

The slide itself is really dynamic. The motions are more sudden but less dramatic than Revenge of the Mummy. Be careful at the final dark tunnel - I see many people fall out of their rafts throughout the day.

Attraction 2: Rainbow Reef

This is one of the highlights of Adventure Cove, alongside Riptide Rocket. You basically get to snorkel in a salt-water reef with 20,000 fish. It is one of only 2 attractions where Adventure Express can be used (the other is Riptide Rocket). I really love the large variety and number of fish in the reef, and just viewing from the side is quite an experience. The arrive super early or super late rule also applies to this attraction.

However, I had difficulty breathing through the masks, so I gave up this attraction. I actually tried a couple of times at the load area but still cannot do it properly.

[tip]Do not get adventure express. It is valid for only 2 attractions and you can simply use the technique I highlighted above to circumvent the queues.

Attraction 3: Adventure River

This is the largest attraction of the park, and the one of the longest lazy rivers in the world. However, I think it also breaks the record for having the most number of lifeguards at any single pool. A staff told me that single attraction needs over 30 lifeguards on active duty alone. This is safety conscious Singapore at its finest.

The river itself has very good pacing, perhaps about 3-4 km/h. Depth of 0.9m is shallower than most other rivers which I visited. The theming is impressive, and there are many zones including a tunnel through an aquarium and view of the ray bay.

Floats and life jackets are available at no extra charge. Many floats simply drift along unattended.

[tip] Go to this attraction when the park is most busy, say about 2pm-3pm. This is the only ride where no queues are required

Other water slides

There are 4 other "normal" water slides, and 1 mat racer.

I do not like Dueling Racer as there are just too few lanes so (1) big groups cannot play together and (2) the queue for this 5 second slide is disproportionately long (it was my longest ride of the day)

Spiral Washout and Whirlpool Washout are located beside the grotto. Although only double float are provided, singles can also slide (though they must carry the huge 2 person float themself). I personally like the toilet bowl style Whirlpool Washout more. In fact, the funnel at Spiral Washout was quite a letdown as the oscillations are so mild and pacing of the ride really slow.

Tidal Twister and Pipeline Plunge are located between the wave pool and Riptide Rocket. Pipeline is a much faster slide but it is also very short. Tidal Twister has a more moderate pace and the ride is quite long (almost a full minute, rare for water slides).
[tip] Queue for Tidal is usually much longer than pipeline. It is better to take pipeline 3-4 times than to ride Tidal once.

Of course, this is Singapore, so no new passengers will be dispatched into the slides until the previous person has completely cleared the splashdown pool. That is no big deal for short slides like Pipeline, but the the queue for long slides like Tidal Twister moves really, painfully slow (imagine 1 person every 2 minutes)

Spiral and Whirlpool slides only provide two-person rafts

Other attractions

There are 2 kids areas, a bigger one called Big Bucket Treehouse and a smaller wading pool called Seahorse Hideway. Surprisingly, they allow adults to take the small slides at Big Bucket Treehouse, something that it's Malaysian counterpart Sunway Lagoon never allow.

The wave pool called Bluwater Bay alternates between calm seas and rolling waves. I can really see many guests bored during the calm period (which lasts a full 15 minutes) so I think the park can really consider shortening that interval.

My parents tell me that Splashworks is a waste of space. I kind of agree. There are a few activities that I can do for free at West Coast Park playground without the risk of getting wet, and the requirement for proficient swimmers means many people are left out. (fyi I don't know how to swim)

The food at adventure cove comprises of a couple of food stands at a quick service eatery called The Bay Restaurant. Food is same price as USS, about $12 for set meal with drinks. Quality is mediocre - no match for the themed meals at USS. I honestly think it is more worth to simply use the water coolers provided, though take note: Unlike USS, there are NO water coolers in the queue lines, so drink before you queue

 Water jump at splashworks. The one I did at OBS is like 3 times the height

Bluwater Bay with the big waves

Overall I had a good day there. My ratings are
  • Lazy River: *****
  • Wave Pool: *
  • Kids Area: **
  • Water Slides: ****
  • Special Attractions: ***
  • Park Operations: **
  • Theming: *****
  • Dining: **
  • Overall: ***

Other tips:

  • If you feel shy, you can choose to wear T-Shirt and PE Shorts. No need to wear revealing swimsuits
  • Singapore is really hot. Do not forget your sunscreen
  • Attraction may be closed due to lightning. Please do check the weather forecast before buying
  • Souvenir photos costs upwards of $30 each. You may not want to trouble the photographers (politely decline them) to take photos of you using their cameras if you don't intend to buy
  • Average queue lines for slides is about 20 mins on this Thursday I went. I really cannot imagine the queue during weekends
  • The shoe racks outside attractions are for SHOES only. Do not act smart and place your valuables there. I seen I-Phones on the racks several times