What It’s Like to Take a “Cruise to Nowhere”

One of DestinAsian’s Singapore-based staffers recalls the highlights of a recent voyage aboard World Dream.

World Dream at sea. (All photos courtesy of Dream Cruises)

With the Covid-19 pandemic putting the brakes on international leisure travel, our attention has naturally shifted to exploring our immediate backyards. But in places where the scope for domestic travel is severely limited, what options do residents have? Under a pilot program approved by the Singapore government, Dream Cruises restarted regular sailings last November offering multiday “cruises to nowhere.” The experience begins and ends in Singapore, with no stops on the journey. In other words, those in the city-state can now enjoy a staycation at sea, or a “seacation”!

Taking advantage of Dream Cruises’ brand-new Super Seacation offering, I assembled the family for a well-deserved Christmas break, finally leaving the Lion City behind for an out-of-town experience aboard World Dream. With Covid-19 still at the forefront of our concerns, we did our research on the company’s enhanced health, hygiene and operating protocols and found them to be more than satisfactory.

As expected, Dream Cruises carries out thorough sanitization and disinfection complete with enhanced hygiene practices for guest cabins and crew member quarters, public areas and recreational facilities. All activities on board are also organized with permitted group sizes, while measures have been rolled out to ensure social distancing in dining, entertainment, and other public areas with the promise of safe food and beverage handling procedures. And an important point not to be overlooked: all staterooms and public areas are 100 percent ventilated with fresh air taken from outside the vessel. We were convinced and sold in a heartbeat!

A pre-boarding temperature check at the cruise terminal precludes a rapid antigen test.

Of course, thanks to the new safety protocols, cruise veterans will find the pre-boarding process to be quite different from before. All passengers above six months of age have to be tested and clear negative for Covid-19 before being allowed to board. A time slot for the passenger’s test will be given before boarding and the test results will be provided within an hour.

If this is your first antigen rapid test, you can be assured that it’s painless, as unlike the polymerase chain reaction test, it does not require the swab to penetrate as deeply into the nose. It was a breeze and no fuss at all for my 10-year-old, who compared it to the tickle of a feather. Following the procedure, we collected our MICE pod tokens, which must be carried onboard to help monitor social distancing. After a few scans using the SafeEntry mobile app along the way, we were on board and ready for that cabin fever cure!

A Balcony Deluxe stateroom aboard World Dream.

With plenty of activities available for all ages, there was never a dull moment; the entire family was kept entertained from the start. Settling into our spacious Balcony Deluxe stateroom, our children started exploring every hook and cranny as though they were on a treasure hunt, while the adults went out for some fresh air on the balcony with exclamations of delight. It was truly a privilege to feel the sea breeze on our faces and listen to the soothing sound of the waves.

Beyond our cabin, we challenged each other on the outdoor Ropes Course featuring a zip-line suspended a full 18 decks above the ocean. While the kids declined to take part, they chose instead to compete in a round of mini-golf and chess. If you plan to cool off after these activities and soak up some vitamin D, you can make reservations for different pool areas, which are available in hourly slots. We highly recommend giving the various water slides a try: they were plenty of fun and suitable for all ages. Meanwhile, those planning to stay in tip-top shape can sign up for Dream Cruises’ Vitamin Sea & Dream program, which combines a range of wellness activities with workouts led by various celebrity fitness instructors.

The dedicated Kids’ Water Park on the top deck.

A Christmas-themed live production at the Zodiac Theater.

If you’d rather stay indoors, advance bookings are a must for the themed live productions and spectacles in the cool comfort of the Zodiac Theater; the magic shows by illusionist Vincent Vignaud were a hit among the little ones. Another must-do? Try the collection of high-tech games in the Esc Experience Lab. After experiencing the thrill of virtual reality, children and adults alike were begging to have a second or third go on the rides—we had to drag our kids away to dinner.

When it comes to dining aboard World Dream, passengers are spoilt for choice with an impressive selection of 35 different restaurants and bars. Though we could eat to our heart’s content at the various inclusive outlets, the Christmas holidays called for indulgent meals in the specialty restaurants. The children enjoyed singing along and getting entertained by the skillful chef at Umi Uma while feasting on delicious teppanyaki, and the adults opted for fire-roasted delights at Seafood Grill by Mark Best. We also enjoyed an intimate whisky-tasting session at the Johnnie Walker House, which was perfect for our date night!

Semi-outdoor seating at Johnnie Walker House.

We ended our Super Seacation sailing aboard World Dream on a high note with Asia’s one and only laser show at sea. Checkout the next morning was executed seamlessly with well-organized time slots and efficient service for a Covid-19 test upon disembarking. After months of being cooped up at home, a safe Christmas cruise with the family was just what I needed.

A two-night cruise with accommodation in a Balcony Stateroom starts from S$199 per person. More information here.

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