Gone are the days when cruising was for the older generation. As a 19 year old travelling with my girlfriend, we always believed cruise holidays were aimed towards the older, less adventurous kind of traveller but our view on cruising instantly changed as we embarked on the Dream Cruises ship Genting Dream.
During our five-night Southeast Asia cruise, we visited three different ports: Pulau Redang - an island off the coast of Malaysia, Sihanoukville - a coastal town in Cambodia, and Laem Chabang - a port city in Thailand. At each of these ports, we disembarked the ship to participate in a few of the many available 'shore excursions' - organised tours aimed at the adventurous kind of traveller like myself. At our first port of call, Redang Island (which is now my girlfriend's favourite island) we opted for the open water snorkelling excursion, where we were taken by boat to two exclusive snorkelling locations to see thousands of colourful, tropical fish and we even spotted our first sea turtles! After 3 hours of snorkelling, we were free to explore the idyllic white-sand beaches, which called for a lazy day of soaking up the sun with an ice-cold drink.
Our second port of call was Sihanoukville, Cambodia. We disembarked Genting Dream and were greeted by numbered buses to begin the Sihanoukville Highlights full-day tour. Our friendly tour guide took us to various tourist hotspots around the coastal town, such as two Buddhist temples, a local fishing village and a huge shopping market to experience the bustling atmosphere of Asia's market stalls.
Our third and final port of call was Laem Chabang, Thailand, 2 hours out of Bangkok. Despite the long drive we decided to go for the Bangkok city tour which was a great decision, considering that this was my favourite tour of the trip. After exploring some of the most beautiful and picture-perfect temples I have ever seen, such as the Grand Palace (which I like to call the “Buckingham Palace of Asia”) we were served a delicious Thai buffet complete with mains, desserts and drinks. We then went on to take a canal tour by boat to various other temples before heading back to the bus to visit the fourth stop: a 5.5 Tonne solid gold Buddha statue worth $250 Million USD.
Although Singapore was our embarkation port and not a shore excursion, it was one of the most beautiful and exciting cities I've ever visited. The amount of attractions in this city is overwhelming. Some of our favourites included drinking delicious cocktails on top of the iconic Marina Bay Sands building, exploring Supertree Grove and the Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay, and walking through the light shows inside the bayfront ArtScience museum. If you're a lover of shopping this is the perfect destination for you! With countless mega shopping malls that you can easily get lost in as they continue on for what seems like forever underground. The one day/one-night combo either side of the cruise was a perfect amount of time to see and experience Singapore.
When we weren't out on shore excursions, we were exploring every nook and cranny of the ship and what it had to offer. Loaded with 18 floors of amenities and activities for the young and old, there was never a dull moment on the cruise. There are 35 food and beverage outlets ranging from specialty restaurants to cafes, bars, buffet dining and 24/7 snack bars. Some are included in your fare, some are not. For the cost included options 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 the Lido for Indian and international buffet.
The thrill-seeking traveller will definitely want to check out the seven adrenaline-pumping water slides featuring stomach-dropping twists, turns and thrills. You also don't want to miss the exciting ropes course which has you walking across suspension bridges and ziplining with nothing but the sea below you. If that's not your thing, try out a game of mini golf with some friends or shoot some hoops at the onboard sportsplex court.
When the sun goes down, the fun doesn't stop on Genting Dream with an array of entertaining stage shows and performances to choose from such as the Chinese acrobatic show at Bar 360. On the final night of the cruise, we had a few games of Glow Bowling which is located on Floor 17 inside the Zouk Nightclub and then went to the main pool deck for a party with amazing music and a huge fireworks display.
As well as having enough to keep you entertained for weeks on end, Genting Dream also offers some of the best staterooms in the cruise world. Even the most budget-friendly interior staterooms are designed like high-end, boutique hotel rooms which didn't feel claustrophobic at any point in time. The added balcony was a nice addition for when we wanted some fresh air, or to look out and see tiny islands passing by and watch the various ports approaching.
My first cruise experience onboard Genting Dream has been an unforgettable journey and I was able to tick four countries off my bucket list along the way. I can confidently say that out of many countries I have visited during my travels, Bangkok and Singapore are now in my Top Three favourite destinations. I believe that the cruising market has changed and cruise ships are now being made with young travellers in mind and the facilities and ports choices are perfected to satisfy the needs and wants of the adventurous traveller. This definitely will not be my final cruise and I am excited to explore other parts of the world via cruising.
Written by Callum Dobson