Calling it a floating palace is a cliché no doubt, but that's what it is, cliché and all. Dream Cruises, from the bouquet of leisure sailing from Genting Cruiselines, is the destination for that truly chilled out holiday you ever dreamed of. Catch a flight to Singapore, board a boat and sail to Bintan Island in Malaysia, take a longer package and sail to Vietnam or Hong Kong. The options are many. Stay on board and avail of the facilities or disembark and get ferried to the city centre to do the touristy thing the city offers.
Dream Cruises has it all, whatever the inclination or sort of holiday you want. From adventure sports to having wi-fi or not, if you really want to switch off for the duration of the cruise. It works as a family holiday, a honeymoon, even an illicit getaway.
An 18-deck and whopping 151,300-tonner, Dream, as it is affectionately called, is home to various levels of hospitality. The 'ship within the ship' on the top deck allows for an extremely private sailing experience where the upper deck gives you an uninterrupted view of sea and sky with private access to certain clubs and eateries like the Whisky & Cigar Lounge. If you are happy to mingle with the others, all of the 18 decks are yours to explore. In-house amenities at par with the best five-star experience include top-of-the-line toiletries, hand-tufted mattresses and super comfortable linens. All this comes with the services of a butler should you not want to make the effort to move a finger.
But that's not where you're going to spend your time. There's scope for all the activity you ever craved. Zip line and rock climbing, swimming, a water park and basketball, it's all on offer. If this is too strenuous for a cruising holiday, there's the casino. Various slot machines can get you cross-eyed as you wait for the numbers to slot into a winning sequence. If the baby stuff doesn't appeal, there's Black Jack. In a tuxedo and sipping the best Canard-Duchene or Taittinger, you might be forgiven for thinking you're on the sets of Casino Royale and waiting for a beautiful woman in a slinky gown to catch your eye.
The dining experiences are more than one can possibly sample on a single voyage. Michael Goh, senior vice-president, sales & marketing, Genting Cruiselines, says, “We believe in concepts.” In keeping with that philosophy, there are numerous little places to sate both hunger and curiosity. The teppanyaki at the fine-dining Japanese restaurant Umi Uma is more than F&B as the attending chef livens it up with a stream of wisecracks and mini stunts with eggs and knives. Blue Lagoon is an all-day diner that offers authentic pan-Asian fare.
The food court, Lido, is humongous, there's no other word for it. Every conceivable cuisine is available. A problem of plenty, in fact. By the time you check out all the food-laden counters, you're a kilometre down (that's what it feels like) to the end of the never-ending buffet.
The world’s first JOHNNIE WALKER HOUSE at sea is on board Genting Dream. The mixologist has pegfulls of anecdotes and trivia as he serves Johnny straight up or in cocktails. Singapore's hotspot Zouk finds a place here and is where you can get your nightclub fix. In keeping with the trend of destination weddings, making vows around the fire is possible on the high seas, as are other formats of weddings and celebrations.
The Genting is a luxury cruising experience for Asians. Tan Sri Lim, owner, board executive & chairman, Genting Group, conceived the idea when he was on a cruise himself 25 years ago that had predominantly European guests. Asians have a different sensibility, he said. To that end, the vibe is relaxed on his leisure boats. Asians, he believes, love food, family and a bit of culture. Catch movies at the open theatre with its gigantic screen or book yourself for a show that's a cross between a ballet and acrobatics, try karaoke or take in a talent show.
The shopping turns out to be better priced than even duty free. Top brands entice with watches and fragrances and so much else. The spa area is the largest at sea and the treatments as diverse as the cosmopolitans aboard.
Activity is not a problem, there's no dearth of options. It's best to find quiet time: just sit on the deck and gaze hypnotically at the waves as they appear and disappear. Because the cruise itself is the destination.
2 Nights Rs 30,600
3 Nights Rs 47,750
5 Nights Rs 81,850
(Prices are per person on twin-sharing+port charges and gratuity from Singapore; and are approximate and subject to change)
2 nights Singapore-Bintan Island (Indonesia)-Singapore
3 nights Singapore-Penang (Malaysia)–Langkawi (Malaysia)-Singapore
5 Nights Singapore-Surabaya (Indonesia)-North Bali (Indonesia)-Singapore
Hong Kong Departure
2 nights Hong Kong–High Seas–Hong Kong
5 Nights Hong Kong-Naha (Japan)-Miyakojima (Japan)-Hong Kong
Other ports of call on the menu
Naha, Miyakojima, Surabaya, North Bali, Bintan, Phuket, Port Klang, Penang, Langkawi, Macleod Island, Boracay, Manila, Subic Bay, Da Nang, Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh City