Travelling is thrilling to most of us and what if the journey itself is as exciting as the places of interest...! The plus point of being on a cruise is you can travel minus the inconvenience and hassle of packing, checking into a hotel and unpacking at every destination. I happened to be at the inaugural journeys of two ships cruising along diverse waters. This spring/summer is set to witness some truly great explorations by Explorer Dream that tumbles from Dream Cruise of Genting Cruise Lines’ stable to reinforce its presence in North China with homeport in Shanghai with a selection of voyages to Japan.
China has a universal appeal and any travel enthusiast would jump at the opportunity to visit Shanghai. The cherry on the icing in my case was the launch of a luxury cruise liner docked on the waters of Huangpu River across Shanghai in Puxi.
And the vessel – Explorer Dream – itself is a destination to be explored leisurely during the entire journey. Guests have a plethora of 15 restaurants and bars to choose from the speciality fine dine besides The Lido & Seafood Grill by Australian Chef Mark Best – signature options from Genting Dream and World Dream.
Perfumed onion cakes from a stall around a street corner, perfectly steamed fish from a high-end restaurant, lamb kebabs from a Kashgari market, the chilli hit of fiery Sichuan fried rice – the exciting, vibrant cuisine that embraces every food, cooking technique, flavour and aroma possible – it’s all there to be discovered and enjoyed in China.
My Balcony Stateroom offered a fantastic view of the sailing ships and the rising sun on the horizon provided just the right set-up for my morning cuppa. All the 926 cabins have the best of amenities. The Palace options of Palace Suites/Deluxe Suites/Penthouse and Palace Villa in a private luxury segment has enhanced facilities like a balcony with whirlpool, a butler and 24-hour butler concierge service. For breakfast, I chose the sea-facing table in the spacious Lido restaurant which caters to all palates serving Indian food along with global cuisines and even Jain and Halal food are not left out.
Incorporating the finest global experiences to provide inspirational journeys at sea that as an Asian I could relate, was sprinkled with an international essence and it appeared to be designed exclusively for the Asia segment with the best service, F&B team and expansive luxury. In keeping with its nomenclature, Explorer Dream dons the spirit of adventure and in brand history, is prepared to venture for its debut sail outside of Asian waters, with a quantum leap towards emerging Dream Cruises into “Asia’s Global Cruise Line”.
While some cruise lines stick to the old entertainment standards, such as musical revues and poolside bands, Explorer Dream takes cruise ship entertainment to the next level by putting forth exceptional and artistic shows in the ship’s peacock-inspired Zodiac Theatre Broadway-style live shows. The ESC Experience Club promises to thrill with Virtual Reality adventures and for those who love conventional gaming, the Action Zone is there. And, of course, a casino for that Las Vegas feel.
While crossing the top deck, on my way to The Lido for breakfast, I just couldn’t resist taking selfies with the Roman-themed Parthenon pool deck with Caesar’s Slide and hot tubs in the background. In the evenings this transformed into a buzzing zone with live bands and LED screen. Families indulged in games like football and basketball at Sportsplex and the little guests were not left out either as Little Dreamers Club is full of games, workshops, costume parties.
A grand fashion show in the poolside by China’s leading designer Grace Chan (who was appointed the Godmother of the ship) marked the inaugural festivities, followed by a Gala dinner in the chic Dream Dining Room. Come autumn/winter, the vessel will then sail outside Asian waters with homeports in Australia (Sydney) and New Zealand (Auckland) with seven-night weekly itineraries.
The other was a scenic voyage this time from Mumbai to Goa in Karnika Jalesh Cruise, a smaller ship but with plush interiors and comforts. Its USP was the first ever BLOWOUT in Indian cruise, hosted by Ankit Jayn of Blowout Events – a concert to remember with a line-up of artists like Punjabi musical sensations Jassie Gill, Babbal Rai and Akull Tandon. Basically, BLOWOUT is a concert on cruise and guests were thrilled to sway to upbeat music while sailing away to their favourite beach destination. Pampered with all premium services like spa, hot spring pools, opera, entertainment, finest beverages and global cuisines, being on Explorer Dream Cruise and Karnika Jalesh Cruise are truly memorable fantasy journeys to cherish!