Last Updated: May 14, 2019
The last time I went aboard a cruise was when I was little, and I could only remember the unending lines of food at the buffet and waddling in the huge pool.
When we were invited to a 5D4N Dream Cruises Singapore experience, I jumped on the opportunity to be acquainted with travelling on a large vessel again. Besides, we get to visit three different countries on this trip and that was what sealed the deal.
We were checked into the Balcony Deluxe Stateroom (S$1,428 for 2 pax, 5D4N), which comes with a private balcony, a queen-sized bed and a sofa bed. The 22-square-metre room was comfortable for two and did not feel claustrophobic at any point in time.
The balcony was a welcome addition whenever we wanted to get a bit of fresh air. It was also great that we could look out to see the tiny islands passing by, or if we were approaching the various ports.
When we weren’t out on shore excursions, we were exploring every nook and cranny of the ship and what it has to offer. Packed with 18 floors of amenities and activities for the young and old, there was never a dull moment on the cruise.
For adrenaline junkies, the Waterslide Park will set your heart pumping as you swoosh down three different levels of slides.
Don’t underestimate the Rope Course! Not only must you walk across suspension bridges and take on high elements, but the last portion will also see you zip-lining over the sea.
I was not ready to dangle my body over the vast waters, though those who have overcome the obstacles look really contented to have done it. Go for it if you’re not afraid of heights!
If you’re expecting a raving crowd at Zouk, you’ll not find them here. The upside: the dance floor is all yours. The downside: be prepared for karaoke competitions, Bollywood-theme night, and other activities that are nothing close to the Zouk we’re familiar with at Clarke Quay.
Just beside Zouk is the Glow Bowl (S$10 per pax / 10 frames). The lanes are shorter than the usual alleys, but that’s great for an amateur bowler like me. We had a swell time racing each other on the scoreboard.
Dream Cruises is committed to keeping you entertained and there are shows you can catch on board every evening.
One such show is China’s Got Talent – The Dream Experience, complete with the same setup and lighting of the actual show. The performers were past participants of the show. You can even “vote” for your favourite participant on the Dream Cruises app during the live performances and spine-tingling stunts.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the room package. You can choose to dine at the Dream Dining Room (Upper Deck) serving Chinese food, Dream Dining Room (Lower Deck) serving semi-Western food, and Lido for Indian and international buffet.
We found ourselves going to the lower deck for the breakfast buffet and upper deck for dinner. The set menu for lunch and dinner rotates so you don’t have to worry about getting sick of the food.
On one night, we were even served Chilli Crab, which was cooked beautifully. The only thing missing was mantou to mop up the gravy.
If you’re looking for a change from the usual dining places, Umi Uma is a contemporary Japanese restaurant where you can enjoy a teppanyaki meal.
We were entertained by the chef’s theatric performances, juggling the spatulas and creating flower designs on the griddle drawn with eggs. Our tummies were bursting from the scrumptious meal, with a good laugh every now and then.
I ordered a Grilled Salmon Set (S$58), which comes with salad, garlic fried rice, soup and a dessert of choice. The grilled salmon was succulent and the meat flaked apart easily, I wolfed down the entire set in no time.
Seafood Grill by Mark Best is another restaurant you should check out, especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion aboard the Dream Cruises. There are also booth seatings available if you want a more intimate dining session.
Two menus are available, offering a good variety of steak and seafood options. If you take a closer look at the menu, you’ll find dishes with a playful twist like Lobster Rendang — but we stuck to the classic and got a steak as part of the Set Menu (S$48).
The first port of call was Redang Island, Malaysia. The fine sand and clear waters call for a lazy day of soaking up the sun with a bottle of beer over a good read.
The last time I set foot on this island was more than 10 years ago, and it has since become vibrant with more resorts and bars. I am glad it still remains unspoilt even with the increased number of visitors.
If the main beach is too crowded for your liking, stroll further and you’ll find a quieter beach, though it’s a little more rustic and less developed.
The second port of call see us stopping in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. There’s an option of going on a six-hour Shore Excursion to five attractions (S$172 – Adults, S$122 – Kids) or Free & Easy.
Do yourself a favour and go with the latter because the places of interests were underwhelming. We left the Tomnub Rolork Village feeling disheartened because of the heaps of rubbish seen floating under the bridge, but it was interesting to see the fishermen’s family and their way of life.
If you’ve been to Siem Reap and visited Angkor Wat, then Wat Leu won’t have anything much to offer. Hopefully, the standard of living will get better in years to come and they will eventually find a better way to manage their waste.
The last port of call of the 5D4N cruise was at Laem Chabang Port, two hours away from Bangkok via the free shutter bus service.
We alighted at Central World and made used of every hour we got to eat all our favourite Thai food.
On the last night of the cruise, everyone gathered at the Main Pool to sing and dance along to songs.
The festivities hit the climax when the deck lights were dimmed and they launched fireworks out at sea. We only wished it lasted longer!
If you have the time, pre-book a Bridge Tour to go behind-the-scenes. Learn how the captain and his crew operate the ship, then take some photos on the helipad.
The Palace Tour is really eye-opening too, because you can get a glimpse of what a luxurious holiday aboard a ship looks like. The space is exclusive only to the Palace guests, including their very own dining area, casino and pool.
The Palace Villa is insanely gorgeous, housing a living room, two bedrooms, a private sun deck and whirlpool to lounge at. There’s even a staircase that leads to the pool.
This one’s definitely on my bucket list!
I would hop aboard Dream Cruises again if I’d like a fuss-free holiday as the cruise plans out the daily itinerary, but of course, you can opt out and laze by the pool all day. It’ll be great for families with kids since most of the activities on board are family-friendly.
I enjoyed how easy it was to disembark at the various ports (Read: no long lines to get past the customs unlike the airport). The only deterring factor is that Dream Cruises isn’t the most affordable vacation and drinks are not included. However, you can purchase the S$250 drink package for unlimited alcohol.
These days, it’s all about self-care, so let loose and spoil yourself.
Expected Damage: Balcony Deluxe Stateroom (S$1,428 for 2 pax, 5D4N)