It's been a long, long two years for Hong Kong's travel-starved residents who have resorted to staycations in the city, or for some, left and returned to a daunting three-week quarantine. But a glitzy new offering has reignited inspiration among the local population, and it doesn't involve any isolation – well it does, but at sea and in a much more blissful setting. Genting Dream by Dream Cruises offers a "cruise to nowhere" taking you to the expanse of the China Sea, on board a fun-filled ship that caters to every type of traveller. We checked in for a two-night experience of the newly-launched festive package 'A Nordic Christmas Adventure' with The Palace privileges and learned that this is indeed the closest thing to a holiday for Hong Kongers for the foreseeable future, but nonetheless, we loved it.
Genting Dream houses an endless array of activities that will guarantee you'll never be bored. And we're not exaggerating – from a Cinema at Sea and festive handcrafting to waterslides, rock climbing and ziplining, guests will always find themselves entertained. Night owls can also make the most of the trendy nightclub, beach lounge and 24/7 bars for those who want to get boozy and dance.
Accommodation is sleek. We stayed in the Palace Suite (three levels below the top tier, the Villa), and it felt more than spacious and sufficient enough for a two night stay, where, to be honest, you won't be spending much of your time in. The Palace Suites are worth booking however thanks to its numerous benefits. Dining options are better, there's a private area and private swimming pool, complimentary fitness classes and happy hours and a Butler Concierge to assist you throughout your trip. Plus, the balcony was without a doubt a highlight and made a beautiful place for restoration especially when we were further out in the ocean.
When we arrived, we received pamphlets of information and timetables for the cruise. It seems quite intimidating at first but actually once you go through it (or consult the Butler Concierge) it's quite straightforward and it's mainly about prioritising which activities to slot into your day.
On our first day, we attended the Lighting Ceremony for the A Nordic Christmas Adventure on Genting Dream at ZOUK Beach Club. This open-air spot became a regular location for us to embrace the festive spirit and make the most of the mini market – and the mulled wine.
After the lighting ceremony, we enjoyed our first meal at Umi Uma, a teppanyaki restaurant that is part of the complimentary specialty dining. The Bento Box is included in the dinner set. The YIN YANG evening show was an excellent showcase of Cantonese opera performed by incredibly talented singers and featured a mask changer.
We ventured to the Salsa Night Party after the show at Tributes, which also serves complimentary daily happy hour for Palace Guests from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.
The next morning we started with breakfast at Palace Restaurant and tried out a few fitness classes to kickstart the day. There's also a Palace Gymnasium & Studio.
Some Nordic Christmas goodies are served throughout the day.
Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times (swipe to see more images)
We tried the lunch at Seafood Grill & Prime, also a set, which was inclusive of four generous courses.
The Palace Pool & Sun Deck is the perfect place to catch the sunset.
Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times (swipe to see images)
We caught the last few days of C'est La Sea package which takes you on a premium drinks package tour of champagne, whisky and wine.
Image courtesy of Faye Bradley | CSP Times
And for our last dinner, we had the Hot Pot outdoors, a must for those who want to soak in the sea breeze while dining with winter favourites.
The second night show Verry Christmas is not to be missed and adds to the onsite festivities before arriving at the afterparty – 'A Nordic Christmas Adventure Night Party' on the Sun Deck.
Without a doubt, the cruise experience excelled our expectations in its diverse array of offerings and entertainment on a platter throughout the stay. Two nights was the ideal period for us, but for those craving a longer holiday, there's also a three-night option to tick off more things from the itinerary. Booking the Palace Suites is highly recommended to get the most benefits but it does come at a heftier price. If you're looking for a getaway that will take isolation to new meanings in times of COVID, this cruise is the place to be. Book in for the Nordic Adventure package available from now until 29 December 2021. Sailing period: 12 November 2021 to 1 January 2022.