Redefining Your Level of Luxury Cruising Experience
Nobel laureate Thomas Eliot once wrote this popular line, “the journey, not the arrival matters,” which applies to our day-to-day experiences. Today, we take a closer look into this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we recently enjoyed onboard Genting Dream Cruise Ship.
Not everyone gets to experience what it’s like to live on a cruise ship. We used to think that cruising is just for those who have gone through retirement, reaping the rewards of hard work and perseverance, but the truth is sailing on a cruise ship is for everyone—young and old.
Luckily, Team Out of Town, along with other Pinoy travel bloggers, got invited to spend three days and two nights inside a Genting Dream cruise ship last September.
Inside the Luxury Cruise Ship
Genting Dream is touted as the first Asian-oriented luxury cruise ship that considers Singapore as its home port. It’s a 1,100-feet long, 130-feet wide, and can accommodate 3,400 passengers.
It boasts many boutiques, bars, restaurants, and other attractions distributed in its 19 decks including a rock-climbing wall, a spa and fitness complex, a private clubhouse, a mini-golf course, an outdoor promenade deck, and a waterslide park among others. The brand under which it is a part of, Dream Cruises, has received different accolades last year including recognition by the Global Times as the “Best Preferred Cruise Brand for Families” and during the 2018 Asian Cruise Forum as “Asia’s Best Cruise Ship”. It was also included in the list of “Top 10 Large Resort Ships” made by the 2018 Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Guide.
In this article, I will share with you my experience inside the Genting Dream starting from the boarding process, the accommodation, down to the different onboard and shore excursion activities and dining options. But before I show you the highlights of our adventure, here are important steps you need to remember before you set foot on the cruise ship.
Get the Fly Cruise Transfer Service
It was actually not my first time to cruise, and while there may be some exhausting experience during check-in process where air and sea travel converge, the check-in at Changi Lounge at the Jewel Changi Airport was seamless thanks to the Fly Cruise Transfer Service.
While this is completely optional, I find this convenient. The transfer service package includes a hassle-free luggage transfer which means that from your luggage check-in in Manila, you can have your luggage delivered to your respective cabin. It also grants you exclusive access to the Lounge where you can claim your stateroom key card. The transfer service will make sure that you can get to Marina Bay Cruise Centre terminal in time for check-in.
Genting Dream Fly Cruise with Singapore Airlines available until March 31, 2020.
What’s amazing about this trip is you get to decide the routes depending on your budget. Feel free to choose from 3 unique roundtrip Singapore cruises until March 31, 2020, aimed to give you inspirational voyages at sea:
5 Night Southeast Asian Splendour – Rates start from USD 543/person
Sailing to Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh | Surabaya – North Bali | Penang – Phuket – Langkawi – Kuala Lumpur | Ko Samui – Bangkok
3 Night Cruise Escapades – Rates start from USD 443/person
Sailing to Penang – Phuket | Penang – Langkawi | Melaka – Langkawi | Langkawi – Phuket
2 Night Weekend Getaways – Rates start from USD 315/person
Sailing to Melaka | Kuala Lumpur | Bintan Island
For more information about this exciting promotion, you can visit any local travel agency. Promotion is valid until December 31, 2019. For inquiries, call (02) 836 6080 or email email@example.com. [more details]
If you did not avail of the Fly Cruise transfer service, you will have to proceed to the Marina Bay Cruise Center to board and embark. Make sure you have prepared all the necessary travel documents before you head to the check-in counter. Upon arrival at the check-in area, go to the lane designated to your cabin class and be ready to present your cruise ticket and other travel documents. You must pass through security screening and present your access card. Once cleared by immigration, you may then board the cruise ship and start your vacation.
To secure your stateroom key card, present your confirmed cruise ticket at the counter. The stateroom key card is a four-in-one card that acts as an onboard identity card, onboard charge card, gangway security pass, and cabin access key card. In case you lost your keycard, you can immediately report it at the cruise reception for replacement. Online check-in can be done 7 days up to 24 hours in advance prior to departure. There are designated counters for guests who have checked in online.
Provide your Credit Card Info / Cash Deposit
It is not mandatory that you show your credit card/debit card or cash deposit to establish that you have an account onboard. But, pre-authorization will help faster Express check-out and final settlement of your account on the last day of your cruise.
Depositing your Passport
You need to surrender your passport before boarding the ship. You need not worry since you will be able to claim it the night before you checkout.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO BRING
First things first, make sure you have the following documents before leaving: your passport, a photocopy of your passport’s bio page, a copy of your cruise ticket, and a visa (if applicable). Also take note that the currency while on the ship is in Singapore Dollar, but don’t worry! Money changer is also available onboard.
You’re not spending the rest of the trip inside the ship, so make sure to bring lightweight clothes for daytime activities and shore excursions in Singapore and Indonesia. Remember that the ship only allows 2 pieces of personal luggage on board.
If you plan to dine in specialty restaurants or attend night parties, don’t forget to pack smart casual wear and appropriate shoes. Always prioritize comfort over looks, but if you can strike a balance between fashionable and convenience – much better.
Singapore follows the same time zone as ours (GMT+8), so time onboard will be the same time in the Philippines but will change when the ship docks in other countries like Thailand.
Dream Cruises Mobile Application
For convenience and up to date information on daily events and activities, make sure to download the Dream Cruise mobile app before getting onboard. The app provides important information about the vessel, daily events and activities, spa treatments and dining reservations. You can also use the app to check on your bill. The Dream Cruises app is now available for iPhone and Android.
Mandatory Safety Drill
Before the ship begins its sail on the first day, you need to take part in the safety drill to better prepare you for unwanted circumstances.
This will help you familiarize the emergency exits and assembly station nearest you. The drill usually takes place at around 21:00. Be aware that there are rules that you need to observe on board to keep everyone safe during the cruise.
Shore Excursions (Shorex)
What I love joining the cruise is that we also get to enjoy multiple destinations with one packing. To enjoy your holiday, there are pre-arranged tours at every stop in case you missed making your arrangements before the trip. Another advantage of booking a Shorex is that you don’t have to worry traveling on your next destination and the cost.
During the recent trip with Genting Dream, we were given three Shorex options which includes the Tanjung Urban Explorer, Scuba Tryout at Trikora Coast, and Bintan Black Coral Leisure Diving. The tour cost usually starts at SGD5O and lasts up to 8 hours.
We took the first option which includes Gurun Pasir Busung where we admired the famous Indonesia sand dunes – which is an Instagrammers haven. We also stopped by at the Telaga Biru known for its blue lake, and had a little taste of paradise at the Trily Resort Center Mangrove Forest.
If you have missed pre-booking, you can book tours onboard via the Dream Cruises app or through dedicated Shore Excursions & Cruise Consultant. For more options, head over at www.dreamcruiseline.com.
What’s Inside the my Cabin
The ship is an utter surprise, because it isn’t only big – it’s lavishly decorated with a dash of modern touch in it. They house various accommodation for guests, with 1,680 cabins, 1,278 outdoor cabins and 3,360 passenger cabins spread over two exclusive floors. Not to mention, the Casino area is scattered everywhere! You can even walk by at some slot games from all the corners of the ship. Talk about accessibility!
For discerning passengers, you can book among their 142 suites featuring a ‘highly personalized’ European-style butler service and other special privileges. There are also spacious staterooms – featuring tastefully decorated private balconies and plush beddings – and I happen to stay in one of these rooms.
I’m pretty amazed with its well-arranged 20 square meter cabin with a queen bed, a sofa, Satellite TV, coffee and tea making facilities, mini-refrigerator, video-on-demand options for free. and a balcony which provides a fantastic view of the ocean, complete with table and chairs — a perfect place for me to write while enjoying the sunset.
They have provided toiletries from shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, towels, robes, and slippers.
Another thing I noticed was that the room smells good and it was clean. They also provide two bottled water daily.
There are several dining options onboard serving array of international cuisine but only three of them are included on the cruise package.
Dream Dining Room Upper: Tired from wandering around the ship? Head over at the Deck 7 at the Aft section of the ship, where most guests dine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not to worry with food menu options, as they offer both Asian and international cuisine with menus rotated daily. As for Chinese cuisine, their Cantonese style dim sum or two noodle dishes are highly recommended! There’s also regional menu served for dinner every evening, where mostly ordered dishes include the spicy Szechuan dishes to hometown Hakka staples.
Dream Dining Room Lower: If the Room Upper is crowded, the best thing to do is go to Room Lower and try their semi-buffet style Western food. Here, they serve the usuals — the cold cuts, cereals, some traditional English fare, and Chinese dishes. As for the breakfast, try their omelet with plenty of selection of toppings, scrambled eggs, sunny side up to boiled eggs which comes in a mini egg cup.
Here at the Room Lower, you don’t get to indulge in quality meals, but you also get to have a glimpse of the helipad and the bow of the cruise ship from the windows.
More Dining Options at Genting Dream
Another memorable treat for all Japanese cuisine lovers is dining at Umi Uma where Chefs put on an entertaining teppanyaki performance for their guests. They will be juggling and cooking food in front of you, and is one of the highlights of the dining experience. It’s located at Deck 8, and features three unique dining concepts, which includes the traditional cooking show performed over the Iron Plate tables.
Another favorite in the ship is Bistro by Mark Best — a contemporary steakhouse focusing Australian beef, lamb and seafood. This dining area is perfect for romantic dinner, and for those who wanted to have a taste of dishes curated by an expert culinary team.
The Lido – Indulge yourself with an extensive spread of Indian cuisine at Lido located on Deck 16 at the Aft Section. In its U-shaped room, you’ll see multiple offerings from international cuisines like Chinese and Western delicacies, 24-hour snacks, coffee, and tea, and a dessert section filled with sweet treats such as frozen yogurt with fresh fruit.
In case you just wanted to have a small meal in the afternoon, you can visit the bakery onboard offering freshly baked pastries and cakes, and some smaller meal options. If you head outside, you’ll see the World Grill, known for their flame-grilled steaks, burgers, and hotdogs. Try it! View outside is definitely a must-see.
Top Deck Attractions
Too lazy to go out for a stopover? Not a problem at the Genting Dreams. The ship isn’t only heavy on dining but is also jampacked with family activities as well. There are different levels of water slides, mini-golf, a rope course where you walk into an obstacle while overlooking the side of the boat, a 35-meter zip line and a view 18 decks above the sea, and a 23-feet rock-climbing wall. You can also head over at the arcade for some indoor fun.
There’s also the Sportsplex, a large outdoor court on Deck 19 where you can play basketball, tennis, and other games.
Let’s not forget to get ourselves pampered once in a while. Luckily, Genting Dreams also houses the Crystal Life Spa and the Crystal Life Asian Spa which offers soothing massages, therapeutic remedies, and Western and Asian treatments for their guests. In case you wanted to have your hair done, you can visit The Gentleman’s Barber and Le Salon are also available for passengers to receive personal grooming such as hair or nail treatment.
If you want to sweat out a bit, a gym is also available at the cruise ship, equipped with only the quality equipment.
Evening Shows and Events
Cap off your day with one of Genting Dream’s exciting live performances at Zodiac Theatre located at deck 7. To skip the hassle, you can watch free-performances through the Dream Cruises app. If you’re lucky, you get to watch circus acts and dance numbers depending on the schedule.
Fortunately, we were able to watch one of the shows at Zodiac Theatre called Some Like It Hot. It was a very festive show, exuding a ‘50s and ‘60s vibe theme with a modern twist. And the featured dancers aren’t just ANY dancers! They are award-winning ballroom dance champions, joined by singers Tatyana and David for a unique and world-class performance. There were foxtrot and waltz numbers which makes this a must-see in the cruise.
Cinema at Sea
If you’re more of a movie person and want to have some alone time, then head over at the Zouk BeachClub for top-rated films with an open-air surround sound and the experience of being under the stars. There’s also on in the lobby, and at the Zodiac Theatre where they feature the latest 3D blockbuster flicks in hi-fi sound.
Shopping at The Dream Boutiques
If you’re up for some shopping spree, the Dream Boutiques, the Dream Store, and the Souvenir Mart might just be the place for you. For the Dream Boutiques, feel free to splurge yourself with some of the world’s top luxury brands and designer goods at sea. Now that’s impressive! There’s a selection of prestige watches, fine jewelry, leather goods and more.
For caps, t-shirt, goodies, gifts, and other merch, head over the Dream Store and the Souvenir Mart.
Genting Dreams is an all-in-one entertainment venue – from the karaoke area at Silk Road on deck 6, the Zouk Beach club, an outdoor beach club completed with cabanas and cocktails, plunge pool and pool tables, where guests can enjoy DJs and live music, with of course, a signature cocktail drinks on hand.
No need to worry about your latest social media updates – as there is a Satellite Internet connection available on Dream Cruises. But of course, you can buy Wifi packages straight from Dream APP to skip the queue.
Checking Out and Disembarkation
This is where the Dream Cruises app comes in handy again. You can check out your account and settle your bills before heading to the assembly area.
Important Tips and Reminders
Board as early as possible
Everybody hates a long queue, agree? We suggest you board earlier so you can wander around the ship without being crowded yet.
Know the daily activity schedule
Planning your activities for the whole trip would save your time and effort. Download the Dream Cruises app and get updated on the latest event and activity you can enjoy. In addition, there is also a daily newsletter placed outside your room for more information.
Book activities in advance
You don’t want to feel disappointed if the restaurant or an event in the ship is already fully-booked, right? It’s best to book some activities and do some reservations like the Shore excursions on the mobile app to make sure you enjoy your trip without having to wait for a seat to open.
Read the Dream Daily newsletter
It’s always good to get an updated round-the-clock schedule and activities on the ship, be it from scheduled fireworks, dining schedule, or a free performance from their onboard entertainers.
Bring clothes which are perfect for party time, separate shirts for some outdoor fun, and formal ones if you’re going on a romantic dinner in one of their fine-dining restaurants. It’s also best to pack light to save some luggage space and avoid additional fees.
Here’s a useful tip: To save more space, try using ziplock bags or packing cubes so you can stay organized throughout the trip. To avoid seasickness, bring some meds just in case.
Even if you’re not into spending loads of money for international travels, you’ll now that alternatives such as cruise are all the rage.
It may have a perception of being expensive, but in reality, it’s worth every cent, especially if you’re traveling with your family. Cruising with Genting Dreams is much more affordable compared to other luxury cruise lines, but does not compensate for their quality of service and experience.
At the end of the day, it will always be the shared experiences that matter most.
For more information, you can follow Genting Dreams on their respective social media accounts: Facebook /DreamCruisesPhilippines/
*This trip was made possible in partnership with Dream Cruises