Updated: Oct 15
Turns out, my very first cruise experience ever was a cruise to nowhere. And it was ridiculously fun. If you're thinking about embarking upon a #seacation aboard the Genting Dream Cruise, make sure you book a room at the Palace Suites, because the exclusive privileges as a Palace guest are what made this experience so memorable for us.
We arrived at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, where the 1000-ft behemoth of a cruise ship was docked and where we would embark with priority as Palace guests - not that there was a line. Every cruise guest is required to present a negative PCR test (taken within 48 hours prior to boarding) and a double vaccination record, in addition to the usual identity documents.
We boarded the ship, and it was straight to the room to drop off our things. The room itself was surprisingly big - as big as a 5-star hotel room on land. The mini bar was stocked with soft drinks, beer, Nespresso machine, assorted snacks and Champagne. The Butler (oh yes every Palace guest has a "Butler" on call) even decorated the bed with towel swans to complete the romantic holiday mood! The large balcony was our favourite part of the room though, with cushy seats to curl up on and enjoy the view from.
We were reminded of happy hour from 5-7, which is a complimentary free-flow of selected drinks for Palace guests, so we made our way to the public bar (The Lido) as the sky began emitting brilliant hues of purple and pink. Singing enthusiasts might also like to know that The Lido hosts open-mic karaoke! Our first dinner on-board was Japanese teppanyaki at Umi Uma, where we had our complimentary Palace set meal alongside a little show by the chef. PS - palace guests receive a complimentary lunch & dinner at cruise restaurants per day, with breakfast in the Palace lounge.
After dinner we went bowling at the flashy neon bowling lanes situated next to Zouk nightclub (which was already in full swing lol). This was when we could feel the boat start to leave the dock, and the captain announced we would be moving into "international waters". After bowling, we even watched a magic & ventriloquy show in the giant theatre, which has reserved seats at the front for Palace guests. Very child-friendly!
There's also a cinema for movies (with showtimes on a brochure that's left in your room) and karaoke rooms bookable for a minimum of 2 hours. I learned that the main attraction for many of the guests was the casinos - which opened up all around the ship once we had left Hong Kong waters. Yet another perk for Palace guests is that they get special access to the high-stakes Baccarat tables located in the Palace Lounge.
We called it a night and went back to our suite for one of the *best* sleeps of my life. Was it something about the barely-there rocking motion of the boat as it moved across the sea or the extra plush sheets? Idk but I woke up more revitalised than I'd felt in a while! By morning, we were floating in the middle of the South China Sea with nothing but deep blue sea beyond our balcony. Palace guests get daily buffet breakfast in the Palace Lounge, but instead of serving yourself, you get served due to COVID regulations. Tea or coffee, choice of eggs, and a tasty buffet selection of western & Asian dishes.
The cruise has so much to offer during the day time, too. Outdoor pool, water slides, ropes course, zip-lining, rock climbing, table tennis, and mini golf take up an entire section of the ship. At the same time, there was a Japanese food market happening for a limited period, so there was a whole area serving up Japanese festival-style snack food like sausages, taiyaki, yakisoba, and more.
Jon's main objective on any holiday is to get a good, deep tan above all else - so we were happy to find that Palace guests had access to a special, secluded Palace pool with its own bar attached. It was so nice and quiet without the crowds of the general pool. Another thing - now that we were in the middle of the ocean, the air felt incredibly clean and crisp. Another reason why this seacation beats out many staycations on land!
There was also another area in the back filled with these cool cabanas, great for photos.
After a few hours of drinking long islands and coconuts by the pool, we were reminded that we had a complimentary afternoon tea back in the Palace Lounge (daily for Palace guests). Forgot to mention that we had also just had lunch at the Chinese restaurant - Silk Road - which turned out to be our favourite restaurant on-board. We had a huge live lobster between the two of us and it was so fresh and delicious. I definitely recommend ordering the seafood options over the meat.
The afternoon tea set included a selection of sweet and savoury bites along with scones and coffee or tea. Gamblers from the night before were still sat at the Baccarat tables below at the high-stakes tables, so we had that as an entertaining view. At this point I was completely stuffed after the buffet breakfast, massive lunch, and Japanese street food.
After tea, we went back to the pool and stayed there all day until our hot stone massage. Yes there's also a full spa facility on the ship, however saunas & steam rooms are closed due to COVID. After a blissful hour and a half of having all the tension in my body kneaded away, it was time for dinner at Prime Steakhouse by Mark Best. I loved how different all the restaurants felt, as this one had a much more romantic date-night vibe to it. There's a canteen for snacks and late night food if you're still hungry (gong zai meen, fried chicken, etc.), which isn't free but insanely cheap for huge portions.
Generally, the ship didn't feel crowded at all, and felt like it was at half capacity. It's so huge it resembles a small town, so there was zero feeling of claustrophobia. Yes, there's a gentle rocking sensation at times and depending on where you're standing in the ship, but it was never bad enough that I felt sick (and I tend to get VERY seasick).
The GENTING DREAM SUPER SEACATION starts at HK$2,788 per person for a 2-night sailing with full Palace privileges.
Palace guest privileges include:
·Priority Check-in & Check-out, Embarkation, and Disembarkation
·Butler service within The Palace & 24-hour dedicated concierge service
·One lunch and one dinner per day at our specialty restaurants (ie. Silk Road Chinese Restaurant, Umi Uma, Umi Uma Teppanyaki or Korean BBQ, Prime Steakhouse by Mark Best, Seafood Grill by Mark Best, Hot Pot and Blue Lagoon)
·Exclusive daily evening Happy Hour with selected wines, beers, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. Free-flow of chilled juices as well as selected hot beverages, including Chinese tea, Japanese tea and coffee selection throughout the day
·Exclusive access to The Palace areas (ie. Palace Restaurant, which includes complimentary dining, Genting Club, Palace Pool & Sun Deck, Palace Spa, and Palace Gymnasium & Studio)
·Priority at production shows
·Complimentary access to Palace spa facilities, including sauna and steam room (currently closed).
·Complimentary internet access (per guest)
For more details of The Palace, please visit the website: https://palace.dreamcruiseline.com/en/
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