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Genting Dream was my first experience cruising on an Asian cruise line. Would I do it again? Without a doubt! However, there is one thing I would do differently next time around. I wanted to write this Genting Dream review because it was tricky to track down detailed information on the ship pre-cruise, particularly for the different Genting Dream restaurants. Dining is a highlight on Dream Cruises’ Genting Dream, with more than 35 restaurants, bars and culinary experiences available onboard. It’s unlikely you’ll go hungry on this ship with so many dining options to choose from. Here’s a rundown on some important things you need to know before you cruise on this 3,352 passenger ship, together with hints and tips for having fun and making the most of your time onboard. 

Dream Cruises helideck
Jumping for joy on the helideck

Genting Dream boarding time

Because Genting Dream doesn’t get into Singapore until lunch time, boarding starts later that you might be accustomed to. Think 2pm onwards rather than 11am. Ask for late checkout at your Singapore hotel so you can enjoy the morning before making your way to the pier. Hotels that are handy to the Marina Bay Cruise Terminal include Six Senses Maxwell, Sofitel Singapore City Centre and the Mandarin Oriental Singapore. Don’t be tempted to turn up to dock early as the ship won’t be ready to board incoming passengers. On the plus side, your Genting Dream stateroom will be available as soon as you get onboard so you can settle in straight away. If you can manage your own bag, you can bring it onboard with you rather than having it delivered later. It’s great to take your bag straight to your room and unpack without having to wait for it to turn up.

Use the Genting Dream app

I’ve used apps on many different cruise lines and the Dream Cruises one has been the best so far. My favourite feature was being able to check my bill online during the cruise and pay using a credit card at my convenience on the last morning without lining up. You can also use the app to book restaurants and shore excursions when you’re on the ship. This is a much better idea than joining the often long queue at the shore excursions desk.

Genting Dream balcony cabin

I had a balcony cabin on my cruise and was impressed with how large it was. Most Genting Dream cabins accommodate four people so they’re bigger than those found on many other lines. The shower comes with a shower screen rather than a curtain and has good water pressure. There is a pump pack of body wash in the shower, plus individual tubes of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.

Genting Dream Balcony cabin
Genting Dream balcony stateroom

I found the toiletries to be of good quality but missed not having a bar of soap to wash my face. Next time, I’ll pack a cake of soap or some face wash. There’s a sturdy retractable washing line in the shower. There are power points for every type of plug (including Australian ones), a USB port on each side of the bed, and a small electric kettle with coffee and tea making facilities, and a mini fridge. Two complimentary plastic bottles of water are provided daily but you can also drink the water on the ship which tastes fine. I skipped the bottled water unless I needed to take it ashore for a long shore excursion.

The Palace on Genting Dream

Booking into The Palace is the one thing I would do differently on my next Dream Cruises cruise.  Not because I didn’t like my standard balcony cabin – it was great – but because The Palace offers great value for what you pay (especially if you pick up a good deal online). This exclusive “ship-within-a-ship” area is suite-only and has a dedicated dining venue, swimming pool, lounge, and chic Italian décor plus a team of Dream Butlers. If you’re staying in The Palace, you will be escorted past the crowds to a private waiting area in the cruise terminal where you can enjoy tea, coffee, water and light refreshments and complete your paperwork in style. Colourful cocktails, wine and other drinks are included in the cost of the fare. If you’re staying in The Palace, your favourite tipple will be delivered by a dapper tailcoat-wearing butler who quickly gets to know your preferences.

The Palace exclusive dining area
The Palace exclusive dining area

However, the thing that appealed to me the most about The Palace was that – along with everything else – you get a free meal at a specialty restaurant every day of your cruise. I usually spend quite a bit on specialty dining so this is a great deal for cruisers like me. Staying in the equivalent of The Palace on other cruise lines is out of reach financially for many cruisers. On Genting Dream, you can do it for less than $400 per person per night all inclusive and stay in a suite, even if you book the lowest category room in The Palace. If I travelled on Genting Dream again with my family, I would keep my eye on the website for deals and book one of the suites in The Palace for our next cruise. I like the idea of doing a stopover cruise on my way back to Australia from Europe. What a great jetlag buster!

Private pool at The Palace
Private pool at The Palace

Genting Dream free restaurants

Many of the restaurants onboard Genting Dream attract a fee but there is plenty to enjoy at the two complimentary Dream dining rooms and The Lido buffet. If you’re a fan of authentic Chinese fare, head to the upper deck of the main dining room for the likes of double boiled pork stomach and pork rib soup or wok fried gong bao chicken. The upper deck restaurant is very traditional and could be a step too far for passengers who aren’t used to ingredients such as sea cucumber, pork stomach and frog’s legs. However, the food is very good. 

Downstairs dining room on Genting Dream
Downstairs dining room on Genting Dream

The downstairs dining room offers a set menu of western favourites for lunch and dinner and a buffet breakfast with Asian dishes such as dumplings, plus bacon, eggs and omelettes served to your table. At The Lido you’ll find an impressive variety of dishes, including an extensive and superb Indian section that’s available at every meal. Don’t miss the excellent vegetarian curries and paratha. All these complimentary venues get busy at peak times so it’s best to visit during the ‘green’ hours on the crowd flow chart posted outside each venue.

Dine during the green hours at The Lido
Dine during the green hours at The Lido

Genting Dream restaurants that aren’t free

You don’t need to spend a lot to enjoy a great meal at the for-a-fee restaurants on Genting Dream. One of my favourites was Blue Lagoon, the most affordable specialty dining venue on the ship. Blue Lagoon is open 24 hours a day and serves dishes such as stir fried prawns with basil leaves or satays for S$9 to S12 depending on what you order. Dishes are authentic (read: hot) and absolutely terrific.

Blue Lagoon on Genting Dream
Blue Lagoon on Genting Dream

Other good specialty dining choices include the well-priced gelataria on deck 8 and the upmarket Seafood Grill by Mark Best and Prime Steakhouse by Mark Best which is perfect for a special night out. Expect to pay around S$58 for a 200gm grilled Australian Wagyu flank steak, S$38 for a Wagyu burger and fries, or choose grilled free range chicken or black cod baked in tomato, chili, and olives for S$30.

Mark Best Prime Steakhouse & Seafood Grill outdoor dining
Mark Best Prime Steakhouse & Seafood Grill outdoor dining area

Umi Uma has a sushi bar and multiple teppanyaki grills staffed by a team of enthusiastic specialist chefs. This teppanyaki was some of the best I’ve had anywhere, especially the melt-in-your-mouth steak. Teppanyaki prices at Umi Uma range from S$58 for a classic menu up to S$78 for the standout Genting Surf and Turf featuring juicy steak cooked to order and a generous serving of prawns.

Teppanyaki at Umi Uma
Teppanyaki at Umi Uma

All teppanyaki menus come with the usual accompaniments such as miso soup and salad. Even though there are multiple teppanyaki plates, you should definitely book early as Umi Uma is popular. If you fancy a lighter meal or would like to enjoy a serene lunch in elegant yet casual surrounds, head to Crystal Life Cuisine on Deck 15. Located next to the Crystal Life Spa, this spa café serves dishes such as avocado and corn enchiladas or wholemeal triple decker sandwiches with a fruit shake for S$17. The tucked away location of this for-a-fee dining venue makes it a good choice for chilling out on sea days and enjoying soothing sea views with a healthful snack.

Crystal Life Dining
Crystal Life Cuisine

Best Genting Dream bars

There are plenty of bars onboard but one of our favourite spots for a drink was the outdoor lounge area outside Mixt Cocktail Bar. This bar is your best choice for expertly mixed cocktails such as an espresso martini or icy cold mojito and table service is available so you can enjoy sail away without leaving your seat. If it’s too hot to sit outside or the weather isn’t the best, the elegant Palm Court on Deck 19 can only be accessed via a few of the forward elevators which means not many people find their way here.

With views out to sea and over the pool deck, it’s a great spot to watch the sunset and enjoy a relaxing glass of wine in sophisticated surrounds. Many bars on Genting Dream have a Happy Hour that is more like a Happy Evening as it lasts until midnight. Signage on top of the bar details when happy hour is on or you can ask the staff. There is also a Penfolds Wine Experience which is held at the Penfolds Wine Vault on deck 8 and includes much more than a taste of wines costing upwards of A$50 at your local bottle shop. The Penfolds Wine Experience costs S$48 per person and is ideal to do with a group of four or more wine lovers before dinner.

Penfolds Wine Experience
Penfolds Wine Experience on Genting Dream

Genting Dream entertainment

If you enjoy lavish cruise ship shows with plenty of razzle dazzle, you’ll love the entertainment in the main theatre on Genting Dream. The ship’s company of entertainers includes not one but multiple troupes of dancers and singers. There is also a separate team of acrobats who wouldn’t look out of place at Cirque du Soleil. More entertainment is available throughout the day at a separate ‘in the round’ stage in the multi level casino. This venue hosts everything from acrobatic performances to fashion shows and bands and has a unique light up stage which changes to suit each act. Performances here are exceptional and offer plenty of variety. The only downside is smoking is allowed inside the casino which could hamper your enjoyment of this venue.

Multi level casino on Genting Dream
Multi level casino on Genting Dream
Round stage in the middle of the casino
Round stage in the middle of the casino

Genting Dream activities

Genting Dream has a four lane bowling alley on Deck 17. Games start at S$10 per person for off-peak bowling so it’s not exactly cheap, but it looked like fun. There is a video arcade and VR/AR gaming experience featuring immersive gaming plus simulators, bike racing arcade games etc. These are all paid-for activities.

Swimming pool on the main deck
Swimming pool on the main deck
Kids waterplay area on Genting Dream
Kids waterplay area on Genting Dream

There is a terrific kids waterplay area and a (very deep) swimming pool on Deck 18 which is ideal for water loving Aussies. Unlike the pools on most Australian-based ships, this one is never crowded. Genting Dream also has a mini-golf course, a rock climbing wall and several ropes courses plus an exhilarating zipline ride that goes over the edge of the ship, high above the waves. All of these activities are free.

Genting Dream ropes course and mini-golf
Genting Dream mini-golf and ropes course

On the final night of each cruise there is a live band and funky line dancing on the top deck (give it a go, it’s more fun that you might think) and a fireworks display high above the ship. If you enjoy dancing the night away Zouk Beach Club opens in the evening and stays open until late. On some nights, you can attend special events here for an additional fee.

Zouk Beach Club on Genting Dream
Zouk Beach Club on Genting Dream

Genting Dream waterslides

Genting Dream has five waterslides, including two speed slides with drops so steep they make grown men scream like little girls. You need to take off ALL your jewellery (even tiny stud earrings) to go on these waterslides. If you can’t remove your rings because they are too tight, cover them with a band aid and you’ll be fine. The three slides on the left are slower than the two speed slides on the right. The purple speed slide is slightly faster than the yellow one so do the yellow slide first if you’re feeling nervous. Each refreshing waterslide ride comes with a stair climb workout or three as you’ll want to do these slides more than once. It’s more fun than the gym and a great way to work off some of that great food.

Disclosure: The writer travelled on Genting Dream as a guest of Dream Cruises.

Want more great cruise advice? Check out our tips for choosing the perfect cruise, cruising with grandchildren, cruising with tweens and cruising with kids of all ages, solo cruising, the best activities on Ovation of the Seas, doing a Transatlantic cruise with kids, cruising in Australia or Papua New Guinea, Iceland cruise tips, cruising on a megaship, scoring a bargain cruise fare, cruising the Mediterranean, making the most of a cruise ship kids club, luxury cruising with kids, and the Byron Beach Club onboard P&O Cruises. We have also reviewed Disney Wonder, Pacific Adventure, Celebrity Edge, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas, Pacific Encounter, Carnival Splendor, Voyager of the Seas, Nieuw Statendam, Viking Helgrim, Pride of America, Coral Expeditions in Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef, Celebrity Solstice, and Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.