Since we can’t fly, sailing is the second-best option now.
Finally, the travel ban is lifted for cruises to nowhere so we booked for Genting Dream Cruise. We were stuck for almost a year without traveling out of the country. As you know we are not able to travel in 2020 and many of our travel plans that were booked last year were canceled. When we heard that cruise to nowhere is available for booking, we just went for it. Cruises have been stopped for almost a year now and business needs to resume back to normal when everything seems to be in control.
We booked Dream Cruise from Genting Group, it’s a 3 days 2 nights cruise. We have been to once about 10 years ago. I have not gotten any memory from the last cruise we went to, the previous one was called Star Cruise, all I could remember was eating all day in the cruise and the room I booked for was extremely small, without a balcony and with a double-decker bed. That’s was a horror. This time we made sure to book a room with a balcony, in case we were told to stay in our room for emergency cases.
Luckily Dream Cruise is a pretty new cruise ship that was only started operating at end of 2017 so it was only used for a little more than 2 years and in the year 2020, it has almost no operation due to the pandemic. Dream cruise only started their operation a few weeks before our departure. We were not the first batch of people who travel, it actually restarts operation in November 2020. The 2 and 3-night cruises to nowhere are called “Super Seacation”, are for Singaporean residents only.
Due to Covid 19 situation, every passenger has to go through Covid 19 test before boarding and after aligning from the cruise ship. Our appointment for the covid 19 test was at 1.30 pm somewhere at the terminal. Strange enough, in the morning of the day of the departure we received a short notice from the Dream cruise team informing us the ship is scheduled to depart early but no reason was given to us. We were just shocked but luckily we have packed all our things ready the night before. We immediately rushed to the terminal.
Parking at the Terminal
We drove our car and parked at the terminal carpark, there are a few packages of car park coupon that is available. We choose the cheapest package for 4 days 3 Nights cost SGD 45. The other two packages are for 5 days 4 nights at SGD 55 and for 6 days 5 nights at SGD65. Once we have parked our car, we went to the ticketing booth to purchase our parking coupon. Payment can be made by mobile payment or credit cards. Keep well of your parking voucher as you need to tap the card to exit once you are back from the cruise.
Covid 19 pop up facility – Do your test before boarding
It is compulsory for guests to undergo the Covid 19 Antigen Rapid Test prior to boarding at the terminal. So we went straight to the test corner, it is a pop-up facility that has been designed to clear 125 people every 30 minutes, somewhere at the carpark of Marina Bay Cruise Centre. The test costing is $60 each but it was included when we paid for our cruise. I saw the logo of Raffles Medical Group in the pop-up facility so it must be conducted by the Raffles Medical Group team.
I was a little nervous when doing the swab test but it turned out nothing dramatic, just a little ticklish when the swab extending into my nose. You will feel a bit itchy when the staff made a few gentle twirls inside your nose. It was only a few second tests. Once you are done with your test, you were directed to sit to the other side and wait for your result. The whole process is very smooth and almost no waiting time. In about 20 minutes you are done with the test and ready to board the cruise.
I somehow feel safer that the ship is safe to be on since everyone has been tested for Covid-19 test. Still, safety measures, such as wearing a mask at all times and maintain a safe distance needed to be followed.
Contact Tracing Token
Once your test is negative, then you can proceed to check-in. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that you should drop your check-in luggage at the check-in counter before you go for your swab test.
Once we check-in, we were given a pink contact tracing token and was asked to carry at all time when we are on board. If we lost the pink token, we have to pay a charge of SGD25.
There is also another plastic card given to each of us, which acts as a room key card, ID card, and payment card in the cruise. We also need to scan the card almost everywhere when we entering the restaurant, theater, gym, casino and pools, and outdoor facilities. You can also scan the card for purchasing drinks, wine or cocktails, food, and restaurants that are not included in the package.
We were given some snacks and water before our departure. At around 2 pm, we were called to board the cruise in batches.
Our room is located on deck 13, which is the highest deck for guest rooms. The room we booked is for 3-4 people, it has a queen size thick bedding and a double sofa bed at the side. I am very impressed with the room as it is pretty big and quite spacious compared to the Star Cruise we went on 10 years ago. The bathroom is clean, with two basins, a bathtub, and a shower with a glass door to block away water from splashing out.
The first thing we checked was the beautiful sea view off the balcony, overlooking Singapore Island, MBS building, Singapore Flyer, and Garden By the Bay. At first, we could not open the sliding glass door as there is a child lock at the top.
2 sunbathing chairs are on the balcony. For us, we will use it to air the swimming costume, certainly not sunbathing.
What a beautiful sunny day with a nice view.
Royal Caribbean – Quantum of the Seas
While enjoying the view from the Balcony we also saw Quantum of the Seas operated by Royal Caribbean park next to our cruise. I noticed there were many windows of the balcony that were wide opened and guests are sunbathing outside, seems to me, they are waiting. This scene made me thought of Diamond Princess when Covid 19 hit the cruise ship. Anyway, I didn’t think too much as I can’t wait to rush for our late lunch, which opens from 2 pm onwards.
It was only when we are back to our home, we learn from the news (because only then we have the wifi. During the entire cruise seacation, we do not have any wifi as we do not want to pay extra for wifi ) that Quantum of the Seas found a suspected covid 19 patients so the cruise has to return back to Singapore one day before. The cruise departs one day earlier than our cruise and in order not to have the mix crossing for both ships in the immigration center, they want all guests in Dream Cruise to go up on board before guests from Quantum of the Seas alight. Now we know why we were called to rush to the terminal to board the cruise ship immediately on my departure day. The mystery revealed.
The ship has more than 35 international dining and bar concepts with few specialty restaurants that are Western Seafood Grill, Prime Steakhouse, Silk Road Chinese Restaurant, and Japanese Umi Uma Teppanyaki. First, we explore the inclusive restaurants, The Lido which is located on the same floor as the swimming pool.
The Lido Review
Scan your card at the reception, then the staff will assign a number written on a small piece of paper. Go look for your table. With so many inclusive restaurants, my favorite would be The Lido, simply the food range is abundant, and most importantly, you are overlooking the sea. All the tables are overlooking the sea view.
No more self-service at buffet restaurants
Guests are not allowed to touch the food from the buffet bar, all food is served by the staff behind the buffet bar. Tell them what you need and they will put the food on your plate. The same goes for the drinks, there is a staff pressing different flavors of juices from the machines the whole day.
The food range in The Lido is basically an international buffet, a wide selection of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Western corner.
Below are from the western corner and Chinese.
Salad bar selection
From Malay Corner
They even have chili crabs from the Malay corner.
Dessert selections on Day 1
Dinner at Dream Dining – Chinese (inclusive restaurant)
Next, we explored Chinese.
This is a more refined sit-down meal, the meal will be served at your table. First, comes the Chinese tea, next is the entree.
Then all the dishes will serve together at one go, which includes a steam fish Teochew style, salted egg chicken, mushroom vegetable, chili mussels, and a pork bones soup.
Dessert is the red bean with orange peel.
Deck 16 to 18 are for the outdoor activities
Passengers are required to wear marks on board and pre-book to get into entertainment facilities on the ship as there are capacity limits for each venue.
Only 26 people are allowed in the swimming pool at any one time. Go book your time slot immediately once you board on the cruise to secure a good time slot.
For the jacuzzi, only 2 persons in the pool at one time. 4 jacuzzies at each corner in total surrounding the big pool.
The mega-ship has 6 slides in total, 2 are fairly steep slides, almost 90 degrees for thrill-seekers, and 3 fun slides with a different design which gives you different surprises.
The water slides are for all ages, unleashed your inner child and play along.
The open slide painted in orange is for beginners like me. Once you are familiar with the ride, go try faster water slides.
On day 2 we woke up early to watch the sunrise from the sea, you can even do it in front of your balcony.
We discover a huge basketball court.
Giant Chest Corner
A runner track on the deck of ship.
Rope Course – the one that I was trying out was is only the preparation for the real cool rope course. It sits below the real rope course.
The rope course sit on the top, it has 32-obstacle to get through and finish up with over-sea zipline.
Rock Climbing, my very first time and it is 7 m high. You need to have your own socks but shoes will be given. All safety equipment is sanitized after use. You saw the staff spray generously on the shoes, helmet, and the safety harness.
I spotted a huge cargo ship sailing past us, probably carrying my Taobao purchase.
At night, you can book the mahjong table and play till 12am.
Day 2 breakfast – nasi lemak, mee goreng, and vitamin C water from Raffles Medical group.
In the evening, we went for a cocktail before our dinner at the bar while watching guests learning cha cha dance
Western Style dining – inclusive restaurant
The entree is seafood salad.
Main are Soba noodles.
Introducing some Entertainment on board
Genting Dazzle Trio performed some local singing before the acrobatic show started.
Since it was the Christmas season, a musical production with acrobatic elves, Santas; beautiful ladies, and handsome fit guys performed the 45 minutes show. This group of talented artists ware from Ukraine, you will see how professional they are, they are just world standard.
Light and sound show
Line dance conducted by Dazzle Trio
Little Dreamer club for younger kids
Further steps was also taken by the cruise, over 40 “cruise ambassadors” in dark blue polo shirts are seen walking around the cruise ship to ensure guests keep their distance from one another. There was a time that I have forgotten my mask after eating and went to get my dessert, immediately I was being called out,” Ma’am, ma’am, your mask!”
Night view of the upper deck of Dream Cruise.
Bar 360 degree
The bar sits near the casino, very impressive as the 3 storey 360-degree lounge gives everyone a view of the live entertainment from any angle.
Twice as Nice
This couple coming all the way from Las Vegas, they not only singing English songs but also sing Shanghai Beach, and other songs from Teresa Teng. They are Westley and Shelly, the guy has a great voice and a nice mustache. You may bump into them at The Lido Buffet during meal hours.
Duty Free shopping
Enjoying a morning sunrise at the top deck of the cruise ship.
Doing my morning workout with rope skipping.
The gym is well-equipped with all the things you need to train, a weight section and cardio section and yoga or stretching room.
The Blue Lagoon
There is no chance to go hungry when you are on the cruise. The Blue Lagoon open 24 hours, offering a casual local menu such as noodles, fried rice and dim sum.
The good thing about cruising is it combines the best of all-inclusive resort and touring in one. Main dining meals, eat all you want. Accommodation, activities, and entertainment are all included in your fare. It is just like a floating resort that brings you to nowhere, in my case since it is Cruise to Nowhere.
Dream cruise is built for the China and Asia market, in the elevator lifts, you hear 3 languages spoken, Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. Many of the performances are also conducted in English and Chinese.
The total capacity of Dream Cruise is 3400 passengers and the number of crew is about 2000. There are in total 18 decks. Due to covid 19, Dream Cruise only take in half of the guests but we only had about 800 guests on board. So there is no queue everywhere we went. Dining is always smooth and full of food and the same goes with entertainment and waterslide park.
If you drink a lot of alcohol, then you may want to consider getting the beverage package. There are 3 beverage packages, allowing you to enjoy a choice of unlimited wines, special brew coffee, tea, soft drinks, juice, or bottled water throughout the whole cruise. You are not allowed to bring your own alcoholic drinks on board.
We did not go for the package as we aren’t good drinkers at all but we still try to order once from the bar and the price is just reasonable, less than SGD 20 for a cocktail. Things sold at the bar are at a reasonable price, not highly charged at all.
Do remember to pay your tax before you check out the cruise ship at the lobby located on deck 7.
On the day of check out, after payment, please go back to your room and wait for the announcement. Still, they will be someone knocking on your door when it is your turn. We are on deck 13 so checking out at around 9 am. It just 20 mins to align from the cruise ship and go through immigration. Then you need to go for another covid test. You can go home without waiting for the test result, they will only notify you if you have contracted covid 19.
The check-in time is open from 12 pm and around 2 pm you are allowed to board on the cruise. After you have seen your room, you can go straight for late lunch. Originally, our cruise ship was scheduled to depart at 9 pm but due to a suspected covid patient from Quantum of the Sea of Royal Caribbean cruise ship, our cruise ship was made to depart earlier, at around 5 pm. They wanted to make sure that guests from Dream Cruise are all departed before Quantum of the Sea alighting so that there is no mix of guests in the immigration and covid test corner.
With fewer guests, we enjoyed the greater space on this mega-ship. Still, everyone is wearing a mask at all times, and there are automatic handwashing stations in front of the restaurants. We feel quite safe and relaxed since everyone has done the Covid 19 test before on board.
You can find more information at the youtube below: