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SHIP REVIEW: GENTING DREAM
We’ve never arrived at an immigration
counter in such style. It’s early
morning, and Genting Dream
is disembarking about 4,000 passengers,
including many families with gangs of
Singapore’s usually well-oiled welcome is
wilting. But for us, there is no queueing. Our
fabulous Dream Cruises butler Josip is walking
us right up to the counter, balancing our bags
with good humour and apologetic that he can’t
actually sweep us past the uniformed officials.
Josip is a blond, six-foot-four Croatian
wearing full tail-coat, waistcoat and tie. He’s
hard to miss in the throng of Asian passengers.
We feel like movie stars. It’s the perfect end
to five days in which Josip managed to make
himself an indispensable part of our lives.
“Josip, we need tickets for tonight’s show,”
we’d say halfway through the day. No problem.
And there he would be at the theatre entrance,
beaming like Bertie Wooster’s Jeeves, ready to
conduct us to our seats.
At breakfast, he helped families feed their
kids with a mix of dumplings and baked beans.
At dinner, he was ready with recommendations
and a quiet word to the maître d’.
How did we ever cruise without him? More
importantly, how could we smuggle him
through Australian immigration?
Asia’s first luxury cruise ship is now
homeported in Singapore, and is proving a big
draw card for a country determined to make
itself Asia’s cruse hub.
Launched onto the market last year, Genting
Dream is full to the brim of fabulous places
to relax and indulge. She boasts magnificent
suites in The Palace – the VIP ship-within-a -
ship area – 35 restaurants, a Penfolds vault
and a Johnny Walker whisky bar, water slides,
a bowling alley, a poolside cinema, two
enormous spas (one Asian, one European) and
the massive Zouk nightclub.
But there is more to the Dream experience
than butlers and fine dining.
It’s a United Nations at sea. Indian families,
Indonesians and Straits Chinese are the vast
majority of the ship’s compliment during our
cruise. And as families rubbed shoulders in
the Jacuzzi or pool, it was amazing to see this
cultural melting pot at work.
One contingent of Chinese was celebrating
their grandparent’s 40th wedding anniversary,
20 family members from octogenarians to
toddlers sporting red “Our Family First” t-shirts.
Dream Cruises now has two ships – near
identical twins – allowing Genting Dream to be
based year-round in Singapore while sister-
ship World Dream calls Hong Kong home.
Australians and New Zealanders are a
target for the line that boasts it can provide
a true East-meets-West experience. The
enormous growth of fly-cruise and easy
access to Singapore – one of Australia’s
favourite destinations – makes Dream Cruises
a new and different alternative to the already
successful Singapore fly-cruise market.
The line is making some mouth-watering
offers. Our cruise had a smattering of Aussie
early adopters in the Dream Palace. Jasmine, a
caterer from Perth, bought tickets at half price
and was loving every minute.
We met her at the teppanyaki table. “Please
don’t make too much of a fuss of this,” she
begged. “We don’t want everyone back home
to know how good it is!” Sorry Jasmine. We just
let the cat out of the bag.
So what can Aussie or NZ cruisers expect
from this fascinating floating melting pot? A
cruise full of surprises, that’s for sure. There’s
never a dull moment aboard Genting Dream.
You can be at a top Broadway show one
minute, and a naughty topless night club
review the next. You can witness the winners of
China’s Got Talent (some of the most amazing
acrobats we’ve ever seen), and a bizarre night
market where instant noodles jostle with
classy watches and handbags. The one thing
Genting Dream doesn’t do is boring.
Our cruise to Phuket took place during
schools holidays. So there were plenty of
families with kids. But there were still places to
spend some tranquil down-time.
Genting Dream sails five-day itineraries to
Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Phuket or Surabaya
and North Bali.
Here’s our verdict on a fascinating
Southeast Asian odyssey.
Peter Lynch samples life aboard Genting Dream, where Josip
the butler is on hand to smooth out every little wrinkle.
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