So what is it really like?
Our friend, the wonderful family and lifestyle photographer Jenna Louise Potter, spent three nights with her family and some friends on board the cruise ship Genting Dream this summer. We thought you'd like to hear some more about Hong Kong's famous 'cruise to nowhere' so asked Jenna to tell us all about her seacation experience!
Over to you Jenna!
So you’re thinking about going on a cruise…here are a few things to take note of!
Before departure - Covid Test
Covid test before boarding. Everyone needs one and they can be done at community test centres for HK$240 if you are over three years old. Going privately will set you back around HK$1500 and please factor in that babies/toddlers under three years old will need a private test.
Our Room - Deluxe Balcony
Our package included staying in the deluxe balcony rooms which were amazing. The rooms are cosy and the beds are incredibly comfortable with great bathrooms. We had two rooms next to each other as we brought our lovely helper with us.
Food & Restaurants
There is food included in the deluxe room cruise package which is to be be eaten in the Lido restaurant. I would say it is very average and more school canteen style with a not very inspiring selection. Think very simple and quite bland - rice, veggies, chicken, prawns/fish, soup, simple salad, fruit and some desserts mainly in a quite Chinese style. All totally edible but nothing to get excited about! The kids didn’t mind this at all but us adults chose, instead, to eat at one of the seven restaurants on board, which you pay extra for. But be warned - you have to book these!! Do this the minute you get on board. We didn’t book straight away and by the time we came to do this they told us they were all full. Luckily we were very flexible (and enjoying the cocktails included in our drinks package!) so managed to wait for a late dinner around 9pm so always got a table. We loved the Sushi and the steakhouse. The Teppanyaki is highly recommended but we couldn’t get in. So definitely try book this! The Blue Lagoon restaurant on the 7th floor is great for western burgers/chicken wings etc.
If you would prefer to upgrade to a better all inclusive restaurant you could consider booking a Palace Suite. They are double the price of the deluxe balcony but you do get access to a much nicer restaurant (with table service rather than buffet style) plus access to a private Palace swimming pool. This was apparently empty most of the cruise. The rooms are nicer, and you will have a butler to book all your restaurants whilst getting first priority on them as well.
You’re only allowed to book one pool slot for the whole cruise BUT we still managed to swim a ton. They didn’t seem to police this too strictly, unless the pool was absolutely packed. Again, advice is to go and book this the minute you get on board or you’ll wait for ages in a queue.
The slides are incredible! There are baby slides which my 3 year old LOVED and then five huge fast slides. My 5 year old is a daredevil loving the big slides and had no problems on them on the first day, the second day she was told she was too short. So there are inconsistencies! But we just rolled with it.
Fun for the kids
The arcade is fun for kids but at $15/game it racks up quickly! Every child has a key card on their lanyard with the covid tracker so watch your children as we had a pretty hefty arcade bill with my 3 year old just shopping for all the games he wanted!!
The Kids club is good (lots of fun arts and crafts activities) and a nice break from the sun but you do have to book this. You get two hours for free and after that you can pay hourly. My kids also enjoyed mini golf and ziplining as well as loving the pool and the water slides.
The Zouk beach club has an outdoor cinema. We never watched anything but went to take a look and its looks really great. Definitely worth checking to see what’s showing.
We did the free flow drinks package which is $1300/pp and you can basically have whatever you want while you are on board. The wine wasn’t great so we stuck with cocktails. I'd also recommend the cafe on the 6th floor for nice takeaway coffee options which are part of the package.
We loved Mixt cocktail bar. The barmen were so lovely and made us the most amazing drinks exactly how we like them. We went every night before and after dinner! Margaritas, Cosmo, Espresso martini and Mojito were all excellent!
Some little things to note
- The mask rule is not enforced around the pool and/or on slides which was freeing!! But inside you have to wear them but it didn’t feel strict though.
- The staff are so friendly and really try to be as helpful as possible but language barrier is a slight issue and there were very understaffed so we did have to wait a bit.
- My top tip is to really enjoy the cruise you should be open minded, super flexible and roll with it to get best out of your time on board. If you can be a bit fussy, pedantic or lacking in patience …this is NOT your holiday! Well, at least not right now. They are apparently getting lots more staff by the end of the month as they stuck in quarantine.
The most important thing I'd say is that the cruise really is what you make of it. If you are a going to nit pick at all the negatives, I don't think you will enjoy your time but if you are chilled and easy going about it all then I'm sure you will love it like we did! Yes you might have to wait for food or pool time etc, but just get a cocktail and relax! We laughed for 72 hours and it was so nice to have a change of scenery and get out of HK for a few days.