Playtime on the pool deck in Palace Class.
What a weekend for a cruise. The weather gods had kindly dictated that we were to be blessed with pool-friendly temperatures and endless blue skies for our 'no port of call' mini-cruise from Hong Kong.
Dream Cruises had very kindly invited myself, my husband and my ten-year-old son to experience a two-night sailing on board World Dream. The round-trip cruise departs from the city's Kai Tak cruise terminal on Friday evening and returns on Sunday morning. It's a cruise, quite literally, to nowhere, slowly ploughing the sparkling waters of the South China Sea while passengers enjoy all-inclusive food and drink and plenty of fun entertainments.
Enjoying the slides and games in the water park.
As a cruise novice I was initially reticent about the whole thing - what if it was all a bit, you know, *cruise*? Would I need 'cruise wear'? What if we got bored on board? Would we be crammed into a tiny, windowless cabin? What if I got seasick?
I’d agreed to the trip because my son has had ‘cruising’ firmly at the top of his bucket list for the last three or four years. He was absolutely delighted to finally get his wish.
Of course, all my fears were completely unfounded. After a slick boarding process (top tip, if you upgrade to Palace Class you receive priority boarding), we were shown to our roomy cabin by our private butler, Yuri, who would be taking care of us during our trip.
He immediately busied himself showing us around our accommodation (large double bed - tick; large bathroom with bath and roomy shower cubicle - tick; double sofa-bed fully made up with pull-around privacy curtain for my son - tick; outdoor balcony and furniture - tick; Nespresso machine - tick).
He then got on the phone to organise our restaurant bookings. There are six dining venues on board, covering Chinese, Japanese, Korean BBQ and hot pot, plus Prime Steakhouse and Seafood Grill.
We opted for seafood on the first night, Teppanyaki for Saturday lunch, a decadent afternoon tea and then Prime Steakhouse for our final evening, squeezing it in before the live show at 9pm.
Having unpacked and tucked away a delicious lobster bisque in the seafood restaurant, we sat out on the Boardwalk and enjoyed a stunning Friday evening sipping a chilled glass of wine on a comfy couch as the ship slid through a sparkling Victoria Harbour.
After a dreamless night of smooth sailing it was blissful to fling open the balcony doors the next morning and see nothing but blue - gentle ocean waves merging almost seamlessly with the brilliant cerulean sky.
As Palace Class guests, we were accommodated towards the bow of the boat with slightly more upmarket dining facilities and a separate pool. The buffet breakfast was served to table and included an egg station, plenty of western and Asian choices and waiters on-hand to whip up one more cup of latte, or deliver another glass of fresh OJ.
On a day as sunny as this, the obvious post-brekkie option was to hit the pool. World Dream boasts two swimming areas, one is open to all, the other is tucked away at the bow of the boat and reserved for Palace guests. The main pool area includes a water park with a large swimming pool, hot tubs, an astro-turf play area with plenty of children’s games laid out (think giant Jenga, boules, pétanque and other lawn games), slides and fountains and climbing ropes, a couple of gentle waterslides and a whole host of wilder slippery dips. Towards the stern there was also a climbing wall, golf putting area and a basketball and soccer pitch.
As the main pool deck on the boat, this area can get quite busy, so it was nice to be able to slip through the Palace door and back to our quieter pool. During our cruise this deck was practically empty and we spent most of Saturday lounging in the hot tubs on the bow of the ship, swimming lazy laps and relaxing on the loungers and daybeds. It felt rather decadent to be able to escape a busy Hong Kong weekend of kids’ sports fixtures and general social whirl.
Sharing a little lunchtime love.
Our lunch at the Teppanyaki restaurant was a great hit. The friendly Philippine chef had all the tricks up his sleeves, and was soon merrily throwing eggs around, creating maps of Hong Kong out of the fried rice and perfectly grilling Wagyu steak, salmon, scallops and other treats. He kept us entertained for a fun hour.
After lunch I sneaked off to the Crystal Life Spa while my husband took Harry for a kick-around on the soccer pitch. I enjoyed a Tourmaline Thermal Heat treatment, which marries tourmaline, a semi-precious gemstone, with far-infrared rays and heat therapy for a deep relaxation massage. The warmth of the treatment and the gentle rock-and-roll of the boat soon had me drifting off.
Soon it was time to head out for our Saturday night steak dinner and then on to the ship's show. This turned out to be a highly enjoyable, energetic and sparkling live performance in the Zodiac Theatre. We were mesmerised by the acrobatics, daring aerial acts and the LED light show.
On the last morning, we had been warned by Yuri that the ship docked promptly at half-past eight. I awoke to see the Po Tois drifting past our balcony, which spurred us to quickly pack our case and head off for breakfast.
Our eggs and bacon arrived just as we entered Victoria Harbour on a brilliantly sunny morning. And by the time we sailed past Junk Bay, we were tucking into croissants and coffee. At Kai Tak, we were ready with our cases in the priority disembarkation line.
A quick taxi journey home and we were back to reality and Under 10s Sunday morning rugby training.
What we liked
Mum - the (very) competitively-priced spa.
Harry - playing soccer on a cruise ship.
Dad - Teppanyaki Saturday lunch with free-flow beer.
This feature first appeared in the Winter 2019/2020 issue of Asia Family Traveller magazine. Dream Cruises will start sailing again in Hong Kong July 2021. Two- and three-night cruises on board Genting Dream will depart from Kai Tak cruise terminal - Covid regulations apply. Bookings are open now.