I have always wanted to try Genting Dream Cruises but my last attempt was unfortunately foiled by Olympia falling ill. When it subsequently filed for a winding-up application, I thought my hopes of ever sailing on it had sank to the abyss as well. After some shrewd corporate restructuring (depending on which side you are on), Dream Cruises returned under a new ownership structure and taken on the parent brand name of Resorts World. As I have been monitoring its cruise ticket prices for some time, I could immediately tell a good promotion if there is one. Acting decisively, I paid approx. an all-in price of S$320 per pax (including port charges and gratuities) for a 4-day 3-night cruise on a balcony stateroom over the Hari Raya Haji long weekend via the Klook platform. Considering that a cruise package is all inclusive (full-board), this is an attractive price that is much cheaper than a hotel staycation in Singapore. This is my review of Resorts World Cruises Genting Dream which also berthed at Port Dickson and Penang during my sailing.
1) Spanking new facilities that are under-utilised
First impression when I stepped foot on the cruise was how new she was. As shown in Diagram 1, the balcony cabin that I stayed in was clean and spacious while the toilet was of a comfortable size as well.
Despite boasting modern facilities, they were strangely under-utilised throughout the cruise. I soon realised that this was because majority of the passengers were there for the casino instead. As a result, my family enjoyed the swimming pool, waterground slides, high ropes obstacle, gym and other facilities to our hearts’ content.
There was minimal need to queue in line or share the facilities with other users. This meant that Olympia could use the Little Dreamer’s Club up to the 2-hour daily limit (chargeable after 2 hours) even though it has a maximum capacity of 18 pax at any 1 time. I could also soak in the jacuzzi without waiting for it to be vacated. Some of the complimentary classes offered had so little attendees it almost felt like a private class at times!
On the contrary, the casino was packed to the rafters with virtually every slot machine taken up during peak hours. Little wonder that the line to sign up for a casino membership was insanely long at the beginning.
2) Penang stopover
My family really enjoyed the half day spent at Penang. It could have been longer if not for observing the little’s one nap time. Unlike at Port Dickson the day before, Genting Dream called at Port Swettenham directly. This meant that we could disembark and board anytime without having to wait for scheduled tender boats.
Once on land, we avoided all the land tour packages and car rental services as they were severely overpriced. We got around Georgetown with Grab and each trip never cost more than RM15 even with wet weather surcharge! Like most tourists, we went on a food tour and sampled great local hawker fare such as chendol, oyster omelette etc. Of course, we returned to the cruise not only with our stomachs full but also with hands full of local goodies and souvenirs.
As a tip for travelling during the Covid pandemic, you will save plenty of time by downloading and registering on the MySejahtera mobile app before departure.
What Can Be Improved
Apart from the positives, I also find that there are certainly areas for improvement for Resorts World Cruises.
1) Check in and Check Out process
We were issued a check-in time of 1pm and expected to check in at this time as I had already completed the online check-in. When we arrived at Marina Bay Cruise Centre promptly at 1pm, we were greeted by 3 long queues outside the departure hall. It didn’t help that passengers with later reporting times were also allowed to join the snaking queues.
We finally received our boarding pass and room keys after waiting for 45 minutes and thought that this marked the end of further waiting. To my disappointment, the operator made all the passengers wait inside the departure hall as the cruise was not ready for boarding. After an almost 2-hour ordeal, we finally reached our staterooms at 3pm.
Checking out was an equally cumbersome affair as the operator held everyone up in holding areas before progressively releasing the groups. I understand that this is to stagger the passengers and minimise bottlenecks at immigration counters. However, I felt that this was not completely necessary. Based on my experience cruising with Royal Caribbean, there is usually no congestion as most passengers would have their own preferred times to depart the ship between the 3 or 4-hour window after arrival time.
2) Too many activities/facilities require additional payment
I also found that there were way too many activities and facilities that required additional payment. For instance, I completely understand if a fee per game is levied to bowl in the dark as I imagine that this will be highly popular if it is made free of charge.
However, I found it slightly off-putting when fees were also levied for exercise classes, dance parties and performances:
- $35 fee for HIIT classes in the gym
- $20 entrance fee to Bollywood Blast Party
- Up to $80 VIP tickets for Dream Boys Performance.
Let’s not forget that these tickets were also heavily advertised throughout the cruise to ring up sales. I was not entirely convinced and did not part with my money to enjoy these paid attractions.
3) On-board entertainment
During our 4-day cruise, 2 complimentary shows were available at the Zodiac Theatre:
- 1) Yin. Yang– At best, this felt like watching (insert Country) Got Talent. At worst, this was a mishmash of disparate performances with no central theme running through it. Think acrobat, face-changing opera, Western pop dance etc appearing one after another for no rhyme or reason.
- 2) Love Matters – This was really good and helped to salvage the previous night’s disappointment. Interaction was high, hosts were genuinely funny and audience was engaged and enrapt throughout.
I am optimistic that with time, Yin.Yang will be better because I have the nagging feeling that the show was hastily put together to accommodate whichever performers/artistes that decided to stay with the new ownership. Overall, I would rate the on-board entertainment a mixed bag.
I always feel that a big part of a cruise experience is about the food although this may not hold true for Genting Dream’s target audience. There were a few plus points when it comes to the food offering on Genting Dream.
The Lido is a Halal certified international buffet restaurant which makes Genting Dream a viable option for Muslim travellers. Overall, the Malay and Indian food offered here would the better cuisines although I would suggest skipping the Western and dessert sections altogether. Outside of meal times, the Lido also serve snacks but these are largely plain congee and deep-fried processed food.
Genting Dream whips up good Chinese food at the Dream Dining Room Upper. In the mornings, I even got to enjoy dim sum with hot tea. Even though this is a sit-down concept, feel free to order second helpings if the initial round of food have not been sufficient.
Western food is offered at Dream Dining Room Lower and there’s nothing much to shout about. Let’s just say that I have had much better omelette at the army cookhouse, which is saying alot by the way.
Bookings for Resorts World Cruises are currently powered on Klook’s platform where the full itinerary for various sailing dates are available for viewing. My experience redeeming the Klook vouchers was relatively straightforward.
A week before travelling, Klook sent an online reminder to perform online check in. I also arranged for ART tests to be conducted at home via the platform. The only negative was that cabin staterooms were randomly allocated. Since I had booked 2 staterooms for my family of 4, I contacted Resorts World Cruises after booking to request for them to be adjacent or at least be located on the same deck.
Besides taking advantage of the promotion on Klook, I could also triple-stack the following combinations to reduce my purchase price further:
- Take advantage of ongoing promotion codes – eg: Get $25 off with GrabPay
- Activate Shopback to receive 3% cashback. Cashback is enhanced during special dates such as 7.7 sale
- Offset purchase price with existing Klook coins
As a result, I paid an all-in discounted price of $320 per pax for 3 nights of sailing which I consider as a fantastic deal given the food and entertainment that I had during the seacation.
If you miss the Klook promotion, you can also enjoy free upgrade from Oceanview to Balcony stateroom and an additional $100 off by paying with any UOB card. (UOB One Card, UOB Evol Card, UOB Absolute Cashback Card)
Finally, do not forget to purchase travel insurance especially now that the cruises will port in other countries. I purchased Starr Travel Insurance Cruise to Nowhere from SingSaver to enjoy $10 PayNow Rewards for premium value below $99.
After this review, I have now officially sailed on Quantum of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas and Genting Dream to destinations that ranged from “Nowhere” to Malaysia. That should complete the grand slam 😀
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