DREAMING AT SEA
MICE on Genting Dream
According to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) and CHART Management Consultant’s analysis of 2016, passenger cruise trends in Asia have seen monumental changes. An annual increase of 29.3 per cent has been observed in passenger capacity of commercial ships. While there were 43 liners in Asia in 2013, last year this number rose to 60. The report also claimed that eight out of ten Asian passengers preferred to travel within Asia itself.
In terms of emerging outbound markets in Asia, China, India and Hong Kong are estimated to be the top players. In 2014, India had around 18 million cruising tourists. This number is predicted to reach 50 million passengers by 2020, implying an upward trend in India’s cruising interests.“Asians enjoy holidays that bring them to several destinations, allowing them to experience different food and cultures all in one go,”says Michael Goh, senior vice president of sales at Star Cruises.“Cruising offers them the most convenient way of exploring multiple exotic destinations in a single holiday.”
The opening of Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Terminal in 2013 has been instrumental in catalysing Asia’s cruising industry. Formerly Kai Tak International Airport, it was pulled to the ground in 1998. The stretch of land remained unused until it was refurbished by Foster and Partners into a state-of-the-art terminal managed by World Cruise Terminals. The threestorey colossal terminal can accommodate two cruise ships of up to 2,00,000 tonnes each. Since its opening, Kai Tak has welcomed 18 cruises, carrying 7,30,000 travellers.
It is from here that I embarked upon the Genting Dream, my designated home for the weekend. Genting Dream, along with World Dream are two cruise liners launched by Genting Hong Kong under Dream Cruises (dreamcruiseline.com) in November last year. Beginning with Star Cruises, Genting Hong Kong ventured into the cruising world in 1993. The company has played a big role in
developing the cruise industry in Asia. It acquired Crystal Cruises in 2015 and with the debut of Dream Cruises, it launched its “first luxury cruise line”.
Built keeping in mind the Asian market, Genting Dream and World Dream are designed with Oriental elements. They feature a weekend sailing itinerary that sets sail into the South China Sea from Hong Kong, which I had the chance to experience. For two nights, we cruised in Chinese waters, watching exceptional sunsets and experiencing the facilities on-board.
I was appointed a Balcony Stateroom, the thirdlevel accommodation option of Genting Dream. Categories begin at Inside Stateroom (no window and balcony) and Oceanview Stateroom (with window). There are several options for those looking to indulge in a bit of luxury including Garden Penthouse and types of suites. An alternative option is Dream Palace, a sort of boutique hotel within the cruise. It features its own list of exclusive F&B and accommodation options that assure privacy, which for some is the ultimate luxury.
MICE AT SEA
Corporate events in the cruising industry is another interesting aspect I discovered while sailing the Genting Dream. Event managers see immense utility in planning gatherings on cruises. Firstly, it helps to have the entire group in one location at all times, especially if one of the goals of corporate events is team building. Cruise ships are the ideal environment for official happenings in confined spaces that offer a host of facilities and venues. Secondly, it helps maintain budgets. Considering cruise packages are “all-inclusive” trips, this leaves out the possibility of additional expenditure. All accommodation, dining, entertainment and facilities are included in the price, making it simpler for managers to plan and execute the event.
We explored a number of spaces on the Genting Dream for all scales of MICE. Its grand Zodiac Theatre (that holds live performances) works well for staging conferences, award shows and 3D cinema. This 1,585 sqm theatre can accommodate 999 delegates and offers 395 headsets for multi-lingual interpretation. For functions, seminars, meetings and other events, Tributes (244 sqm) can accommodate around 170 people. There are also two meeting rooms (41 sqm) that can fit eight professionals each. More private events for about 100 delegates can be held at Palm Court (495 sqm) that features an observatory, bar and afternoon high-tea menu. Zouk Beach Club, and
Genting Club Pool and Sun Deck are the outdoor venues for informal happenings.
If run-of-the-mill MICE venues are not of interest, Genting Dream has an array of outdoor activity options to consider for team building. This includes SportsPlex — basketball court and multi-function outdoor space, ropes course, rock climbing wall and five rooms for karaoke.
If you’re wondering how Genting Hong Kong plans to keep you occupied on a cruise that has no shore stops, the following will answer your doubts. There are 35 restaurants on-board including Hot Pot for Asian, Umi Uma for Japanese and the much sought after Bistro by Mark Best — internationally acclaimed Australian chef Mark Best’s first outlet at sea. There is also Bar City, a destination on Genting Dream that features five snazzy lounges. Whisky at Johnnie Walker House, cocktails at Mixt or champagne at Bubbles Champagne Bar — there’s something for all kinds of palates. Singapore’s iconic nightclub Zouk is another venue for a fun night out at sea.
For wellness seekers, Crystal Life Asian Spa or Vitality Pool with Jacuzzis are rejuvenating spaces. There is also a fitness centre, salon and well-being centre that offers exclusive beauty treatments. The massive liner features a shopping venue sprawled across 1,100 sqm. Within it are labels such as Cartier, Folli Follie, Gucci and Omega to name a few, for some high-end retail therapy.
Those looking for something more low-key can enjoy live production shows at the 999-seater Zodiac Theatre or walk through the displayed art on-board. Adventure lovers can even dive into the sea in a submersible that’s designed to carry one pilot and four passengers. There is also a spa, waterslides and other adventure sports on-board.
Time flew by on-board the Genting Dream. Being a nature lover, I wasn’t disappointed by the views from my Balcony Stateroom, where I enjoyed coming back to after a hectic day full of activities. While the cruise is packed with adrenalin pumping liveliness, it is here that I felt one with the limitless high-seas and enjoyed the most.
Clockwise from far left: art displayed on-board; view from Balcony Stateroom; Dream Deluxe suite; F&B at Bistro by Mark Best, and Blue Lagoon; Zouk Beach club; the Dream Palace sun deck and pool; main pool deck; and Bubbles Champange Bar