Resorts? You’ve been there, done that and thrown out the brochure. If, like most Asian travellers, you’re looking for a luxe holiday experience that isn’t too adventurous and active but is thrilling nevertheless, consider a cruise vacation.
On a recent sojourn on the sparkling new Genting Dream cruise ship, we discovered how the Genting Group is fuelling our travel aspirations. Purpose built for the Asian market, they say. Deployed with very accessible home ports such as Hong Kong and soon – Singapore – this cruise ship beckons with two very distinct itineraries. The longer, five-night one is similar to what other cruise lines offer (and one we definitely recommend, as the ship is so sparklingly new). But the whistle-stop weekend itinerary, which we got a close-up of, seems perfect for jetsetters who want a whiff of the high life on the high seas but not the slow pace that seems synonymous with the cruise life.
The Genting Dream has four types of staterooms, including two with private balconies, besides a selection of suites and even a gorgeous Garden Penthouse at the apogee. But if you’re going to make the most out of your weekend, we’d recommend you don’t allow the super comfortable ‘Dream bed’ with customisable duvets, the sheer amount of space, the cosy chairs on the balcony, the plush decor or the lush amenities in the bath lull you into a luxe stupor. No, no. That won’t do at all. After all, you have so much to explore on this elegant yet extensive ship!
The culinary offerings on this cruise line match some of the world’s best Michelin star restaurants. Acclaimed Australian chef Mark Best, of Sydney’s erstwhile iconic fine-dining restaurant Marque and more casual Pei Modern fame, may have other award-winning restaurants under his toque, but seems to be focusing on making a mark with his Bistro aboard the Genting Dream right now. We loved our four-course meal that featured some really fresh and flavourful Petuna Ocean Trout and a luscious Lasagne for the vegetarians. The Chilean wines, especially the excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, were literally the toast of the evening. Lunch at the stunningly splendid cabaret called Silk Route was an equally sumptuous affair that started with a wonderful white truffle consommé, didn’t skip a beat through five more courses and ended on a crescendo with a sweet Eight Treasure Tea that was truly intriguing, albeit an acquired taste. With Bistro, Silk Route and 33 other fab restaurants onboard to choose from, it’s probably going to take us a lot of weekend mini-vacays to feel we’ve done justice to the efforts of the Genting Dream’s chefs! And those who appreciate fine wines and whiskeys will be especially hard put to choose from the selections, be it Scotch and a soda or a unique single malt sampling at the classic Johnnie Walker House, or a magnum of champagne at Bubbles.
The 18-deck high ship, all of 335 metres long and 40 metre wide, weighs 151,300 tonnes and cost a billion USD to build. Not surprisingly, there’s such a plethora of activities that you probably won’t even have time for your pre-breakfast jog or a moment to catch a stunning sunset! You can start with morning yoga on the deck, indulge your twinkle toes with dance lessons through the day, or get your adrenalin pumping with some rock-climbing, zip-lining or zooming down to the pool from one of six water slides! Later in the day, the uber-glam Zouk Beach Club beckons, with its indoor and outdoor dance areas featuring the best electronic dance music and hi-tech wizardry, a fab four-lane glow-in-the-dark bowling alley and a vibe that matches and often even surpasses the club’s mothership in Singapore. And then, of course, there’s a rather classy casino and some really well-appointed private karaoke rooms that will have you trying to bring the house down, be it roulette or Rihanna!
The plush Zodiac Theatre, with its Chinese Zodiac theme, sets the stage for some beautiful live shows. Their musical – The Voyage of a Lover’s Dream (we won’t tell you the story!) – took our breath away with its ethereal elegance and energetic acrobatics. The cruise company has even tied up with the producers of China’s Got Talent to showcase some of the best from the TV show. And once your soul is satisfied with these offerings, you can visit the spa to nourish and rejuvenate your body too.
If you want to imbibe true luxury, opt for a suite at the Dream Palace, which is essentially a boutique hotel and private clubhouse onboard the same ship. Imagine enjoying yourself in hushed environs, secluded from the hoi polloi. A door opens out into a secret garden. A grand piano plays by itself in the duplex penthouse. A private butler is at your service but never in your face. You can pick from 142 luxury suites, including the two penthouses, and be privy to the attendant amenities such as extremely private lounges, dining areas, gymnasium and a stunning pool. You probably won’t even realise that the ship actually carries more than 3,000 guests because the only time you’ll encounter them will be when you’re gliding past them to your reserved tables and special show seats or while embarking or disembarking!
To know more about the Genting Dream and its schedule, please visits its website.
Note – The critic was invited by the Genting Dream. But all the opinions expressed herewith are her own.