Shobhana’s Cruise with her Family
Staycations are passe! Ever enjoyed going to nowhere? With the slightest of relaxations of the pandemic rules, we’ve found ourselves gearing up to enjoy a new form of holidaying- the cruise to nowhere. Right now, we have two cruise ships, The Spectrum of the Seas, operated by the Royal Caribbean and the Genting Dream, operated by Dream Cruises that provide Hong Kongers an opportunity to relax on a seacation! Two of our Localhood volunteers, Shobhana and Alex, were aboard cruises and had the time of their lives and they have a lot to say on how to prepare for a cruise, what all to look forward to on a cruise and their experiences.
Shobhana went on a three night cruise aboard the Genting Dreams with her family. Do check out the prices at their Tsim Sha Tsui office, you might get some surprise deals. They chose to book two connecting rooms so that all members can sleep peacefully, while monitoring the kids in the adjoining room. Parents with slightly older kids can look into this option as you are charged on the number of persons and not on the number of rooms. They recommend that you undergo the PCR test at least 48 hours prior to departure. This can be arranged through the government website (click here for list of approved testing centers).
Shobhana’s family boarded the ship from the Kai Tak cruise ship terminal on a pleasant Sunday afternoon after passport control and other formalities. Note that non permanent residents of Hong Kong need to carry their passports as well. Before boarding, all guests are given a clear pouch on a lanyard in which they can store their access cards that can be used to enter their rooms as well as will be swiped at every venue that they visit on board.
The entire duration of the cruise is filled with activities for kids, adults and families too. Ranging from the exciting water slides and the zip lines, to the movable giant chess board and miniature golf, to board games, to quizzes and games shows, to playing the Nintendo switch on a giant screen, to dazzling stage shows and dance programs, to multiple movie screenings at various places, plus entire floors of casino and pinball machines, one can be occupied the entire day!
Being vegetarians, they had anticipated some trouble in the food department, but the attentive staff at the inclusive buffet restaurant went out of their way to whip up some tasty vegetarian range of dishes so that was also taken care of! In all, the cruise is definitely a go to option according to this family! Not only did they get a break from the daily bustle, but they enjoyed themselves, had a whale of a time and experienced an entirely new way of holidaying in this floating resort at the seas, all at a much cheaper rate than any staycation!
Alex’s Cruise with his partner and friends
Getting to Kai Tak was easy enough by taxi from Kowloon Bay MTR, as the taxi approached the entrance you get an amazing view of the docked Dream Cruise Liner and are in awe at the scale of this towering city.
Getting on board was a piece of cake, staff were extremely helpful in directing you to your room and running through your muster point should there be an emergency. Was thoroughly delighted with the room, the balcony makes a huge difference and I knew I would be taking downtime just peacefully watching the world go by..
First things first was to order our free flow alcohol package, if you are just a wine and beer drinker you can take the basic package at around $500 otherwise if you want the premium package with spirits, bubbly and cocktails that would set you back around $1400. While this was a bit steep at first I quickly realised that they had bars almost everywhere on the ship to which you could easily get a drink and also take said drink anywhere on the boat.
Due to Government restrictions both cruise liners are only allowed to occupy a maximum of 50% capacity which means there are still some hidden gems you can find tucked away sipping on a nice cool drink watching the sea go by all by yourselves. For this reason alone I would recommend going. When else but during COVID are you going to get so much free space on a Cruise, at times it just felt like it was our own private cruise.
Food wise we decided to have dinner at the extra paid restaurants, the first night was their Japanese/Korean/Hot Pot Restaurant. I would say this was pretty enjoyable, quality was good, taste was good and guess what? You could enjoy your drinks package at dinner too! Second night we went to their steak house which was a tad disappointing, top tip: Only do the steak, everything else off the menu seemed to be quite average.
There was so much to do and so much to see! There was a ropes course, thoroughly exciting as you hang off the side of the ship, Mini Golf, Slides that whizzed you at speeds that could rival race cars, an outdoor cinema at the back of the ship and live performances every night. What did it for me was the bridge viewing platform, hit the three night cruise to actually get a TOUR of the bridge.
But honestly after being locked in HK for so long just being able to sit back in peace and watch the world go by was enough to whet my appetite and give me the cruising bug, now I want more and am already looking at my next Cruise to Nowhere 😀😀!