Congratulation! On booking your cruise! The next step is to prepare, and to know what to expect of your cruise so you can be fully prepared for it.
There are 1001 things you need to know before and during the cruise but there are no literature on it anywhere on the internet, except here. Dream Cruises odd to be the one giving these kind of information.
Sign Up DreamElite
If you booked your cruise through a travel agent you may want to sign up as a DreamElite member free.
You get a signup rewards of SGD20!
For a 5 night cruise we were given 1,000 points! And once you become a member BEFORE you sail you get 10% off drinks packages 😬 And if you are making booking for those specialty restaurants you get priority.
And on your second cruise, you will most likely hit Jade status and you get to check in at DreamElite check-in counter! 😋
Again nobody told us about these details.😤
And the list goes on, mostly not appealing.
It is important to note that fire is a big thing at sea. And the crew will not want to leave it to chances that the daily item you bring onboard the ship can ruin their ship, ruin their jobs, ruin your own holiday, and most importantly causes someone his/her life.
Therefore, they are extremely strict on electrical items that you bring onboard. Items that can generate heat, items that can cause a short-circuit, and items that are flammable are all prohibited to be brought onboard. If you insist they will detain the concerned item and return to you only when you leave the ship at the end of the cruise.
Some example of prohibited items:
- Extension plug
- Hair dryer/Hair iron
- Slow cooker
- Clothes iron
Other prohibited items that are not electrical:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Soft drinks
- Instant noodles
Nevertheless, we managed to bring onboard 6 packs of Milo for my son. And during our shore time in Thailand we bought loads of Bento Squid back without problems.
I also had no problem bringing my laptop charger onboard. In your cabin, on each side of the bed there are 2x USB port. But you need to bring your own cables. Also I had no problem bringing my travel adaptor (with inbuild 2x USB charger). I also had no problem with my 20,000 mAh powerbank!
There are however, no restriction on the number of luggages you can bring onboard. There are also no weight restriction on luggaes as well! So bring your whole wardrobe!
The restriction on hand-carry bring on baggage is the same as aircraft, 7 kg.
What To Bring?
It is vital that you bring EVERYTHING YOU NEED onboard. There is no supermarket or shops onboard should you forgot to pack your sunblock!! For me, I left my slippers on the sofa at home and I had to go everywhere and do everything in my shoes!
Best would be SPF 1million+++ You will spend 3 days on shore, and most other time on deck swimming or doing other activities. So a good sunblock is a must.
The last thing you want is have a low batt phone and you need to be confined to the room while waiting for your phone to charge. And the USB in the room charge quite slowly. A powerbank is also ideal for powering a small cooling fan.
- USB Fan!
It is very hot on deck or when the ship docked/anchored. When we were at Redang I reckon it must be like 40 degrees Celcius. When we were in Pattaya, Thailand the weather was also very hot.
- Sunglasses (no need to say)
- Washing detergent
Why? Wash your swimsuits and swimming trunks! The amount of chlorine used on the water features were unbelievable. And the amount of people using the water features were also unbelievable. Always wash your swim gear everyday!
Snacks like peanuts and cuttlefish can be brought onboard. They don’t sell any onboard.
Seasick pills, headache/migraine medication, diarrhoea pills
- Shower Gel/Shampoo
Although both were provided by the cruise but we find them to be below average quality.
- Nightlight/torch light
The room is equipped with blackout curtains and a small light can be useful especially for children. Unlike in hotels, they don’t provide an emergency torch light. Imagine if something happens in the dead of night.
- Smart casual clothings
For dinning in some restaurants
It can get cold within the ship especially at night when passengers were little. Children will feel cold in the theatre and restaurants.
Should You Buy Drinks Packages?
Do you enjoy drinking beer, wine, or whiskey? If your answer is no, then you do not need to buy any drink packages. It will not be worth it for you. The soft drinks, coffee and tea, package cost SGD$130 for a 5 night cruise!
The restaurants will provide free cold water and cordial juices during meal time. Outside of meal time you can request cold water free of charge from any of the bars onboard. Soft drinks are available at SGD3 per can. Limited selection only. And when I wrote limited it means like 6 types of soft drinks.
If you enjoy drinking
How much do you drink daily? Or rather, how much can you drink per day? The break even number is about 4 beers per day for you. And for Dream Cruise to start losing money you will need to drink more than 14 beers per day. Huh?
Let’s forget about the first day and the last day, since you will most likely be busy. Let’s also forget about the days when you are onshore and not onboard. That gives you time during the night to have a drink.
Onboard they sell beer at SGD$10 per bottle (before 18% service charge!!). So a 5 nights beer/wine package will cost SGD$210! You need to consume 4 beers x 5 nights x SGD$10 in order to break even.
And if you want Dream Cruises to feel the pain of selling you unlimited beer packages, you need to drink even more! Considering they most likely purchase the beer at less than SGD$3 per bottle.
For easy calculation sake, assume Dream Cruises purchase their beer at SGD$3 per bottle. You have 5 nights of drinking. In order to make your SGD$210 work for you, you need to drink 14 beers! 14 beers x 5 nights x $3 = SGD$210!
The truth is that Dream Cruise most likely purchase the beers at duty free rate which is even cheaper. So they will win no matter what.
So you think you can do better with whiskey?
The package price for whiskey for a 5 nights cruise is a whopping SGD$383!!! Day light robbery! My wife ordered a shot of Bailey’s and that cost us SGD$18!!! It’s just one single shot of Bailey’s dafug is wrong with you Dream Cruises? In a bar you get TWO shots of Baileys to the equivalent of a single shot of whiskey.
You will need to finish 3 bottles of Johnny Walker Black to breakeven during the 5 nights! And to make Dream Cruises feel the pain, you will need to finish 6 bottles of whiskey in 5 nights!
Even if you manage to achieve 3 bottles in 5 nights, you will most likely be wasted every single night to enjoy any other thing throughout the cruise.
Onboard Wifi: Should you buy?
The Wi-Fi on the ship is not cheap by any means. They are charged for the entire duration of your cruise, averaging SGD$19 per day for basic internet connection at turtle speed.
At trickle speed. I suspect it is throttle to less than 1 mbps. The plan also allows two devices to be used at any time.
|Nights||Cost in SGD$|
Slightly better speed but don’t expect to stream Youtube or Facebook live. Allows two devices to be used at any time as well.
|Nights||Cost in SGD$$|
Source: Dream Cruises Website
Activate your roaming is better
Me and my wife activated our roaming service from Starhub which cost a mere SGD$5 for 1 GB of data for three days and it covers all destinations in South East Asia.
At the end of our third day we activated another 1 GB of data, and the total damage was SGD$20 for me and my wife throughout.
During the first night my wife was extremely miserable having difficulties adjusting to life without internet 😣. I was having a blast with the kids though. 😏
By the next day after breakfast, our ship had already reached Redang. And there’s 4G available! It was back to civilisation again! We had a full day of stable and fast 4G connection throughout our day even when back onboard the cruise there are still signal.
One advice for choosing location of cabin: CHOOSE STARBOARD CABIN for better signal! We were given port cabin and thus the signal was not as good.
At sunset the ship left for Sihanoukville and no internet till the next day. After breakfast again my wife’s phone got a weak 3G signal even before we dock. Same thing again we had good 4G signal throughout the day until we left for Thailand. And we had good signal again even before the ship docked at Laem Chabang.
It was only the last day and our cruise were out at sea the whole day that we were completely cut off from internet usage.
Unless you are a worse internet addict than my wife, I think you should just rely on your international roaming.
Shore Excursions: Should You Buy?
First of all, nobody told us what exactly was Shore Excursions, how much it will cost and what if you don’t purchase one. So we were totally lost.
Shore Excursions are sightseeing tours organised by Dream Cruises for passengers when the ship docks or anchored. They usually include visiting a few tourist attractions with a meal thrown in.
In my opinion the fees they charged were too high. For perspective most shore excursion cost more than SGD$100 per person! That’s in excess of $400 for a family of four. And if you go for all three shore excursions that will set you back a whopping $1,200 for a family of four.
Now, while you are out on shore excursion the opportunity cost is your time using the facilities on the ship. As such for a 5 night cruise, and you go for 3 shore excursions, that only leaves you with 1 day for enjoying the ship facilities. The remaining one day would be gone on the last day for disembarkation procedures.
So in the end, the cruise company sold you a very expensive trip.
The million dollar question: Will you be allowed to go ashore if you do not purchase Shore Excursions packages?
The answer is YES!!! You can go ashore without paying extra!
You can go ashore whenever the ship docks or anchors. The only disadvantage is that you will need to wait for those who bought shore excursions packages to debark first. Only then can you go ashore. And it is your own responsibility to return back to the ship before the stipulated time or otherwise the cruise will leave without you!
During our trip, we went onshore for all three destinations. And we did not spend a lot of time on shore. First, Redang was just too hot. The heat took a toll on the children and we headed back to the comfort of the cruise shortly. Then at Sihanoukville it was a complete waste of time. Even before the ship docks I had a turn off immediately.
The sea were simply littered with plastic bags and trash. And when we went onshore there was a crowd of taxi touts waiting for us. The environment was not conducive at all. A lot of us return immediately back to the ship.
On our last port call at Laem Chabang Port, Thailand we went to Pattaya instead of Bangkok. There wasn’t time for Bangkok honestly. It took 2 hours one way to Bangkok (excluding time in traffic). And the coach ticket to Bangkok is very expensive. So we paid about SGD$60 (after a quick bargain) for the coach to take us to Pattaya.
Again, the weather is too hot. The ship docked during the day and most of Pattaya was asleep. We did not do much at Pattaya, just having McDonalds for the children and some shopping in the mall.
In the end, the conclusion was, there were hardly any time for you to properly enjoy going on shore. You will be better off relaxing and chilling onboard the cruise ship and make full use of the facilities, and FREE MEALS!
Your cruise package includes free meal, but it does not mean that you can have your meal in any restaurants onboard free of charge. You may only have your free meal in selected inclusive restaurants onboard the Genting Dream.
The Lido – Deck 16 Aft
This is a HUGE restaurant.
Strictly speaking it covers from midship to aft (a good 100 meters plus). Take the lift from either the Aft or Forward lobby to deck 16.
This restaurants can easily serve a few hundred people at any point in time. This restaurant serves mainly Indian cuisine, some Malay/Muslim food, vegetarian, and some pizza french fries which they called international.
It is buffet style and eat till you drop. There is time constraint so don’t be late! We never had any problem finding seats here. You can look out into the ocean while you eat! Simply awesome!
The quality of the food here is pretty good, especially the Indian selection. Variety is good and different from day to day, meal to meal. But nothing to shout about.
Dream Dining Room Upper – Deck 8 Aft
This is a Chinese restaurant, and serves only Chinese cuisine. Meals are served to you. Each meal has a unique menu.
Breakfast is usually tasty congee with tim sum. Lunch and dinner usually consisted of a soup, two vegetable dishes, two meat dishes. You can order extra portion of any of the dishes served at no extra charges.
And the food is A W E S O M E ! OMFG! 🤤
My wife and children love it! It is easily better than most restaurants in Singapore. And they don’t sprinkle MSG like most restaurants do. There is no thirsty feeling after dinning here.
Good things are scarce. This restaurants is always full. You will need to go on a waiting list. But don’t be put down by that. The nice lady will write down on a piece of paper when you should return. The waiting time is usually 1 hour.
Don’t vent your anger on the poor lady telling you there is no more place. It’s not her fault and it’s not easy repeating “sorry we are full” to thousands of passengers and still put up a smile.
What we usually do was, since I am an early waker, I would shower, get dressed, and head towards the restaurant to get a queue number while my wife and children took their time to get up and get ready. By the time they were ready it is almost our turn!!!
If you do not like the idea of a waiting list, you can turn up when the restaurant just opened or about to close. It is up to you to risk it! But they will always try to serve every last customer no matter how late, but not too late though.
Dream Dining Room Lower – Deck 7 Aft
This restaurant is basically the same as Dream Dining Room Upper, except that half the restaurant serve western cuisine and the other half serve the exact same menu as Deck 8.
Somehow, the level of service was also different. We found that the lower deck had much better service standard than deck 8. The staffs were more cheerful and more eager to please. The western cuisine is also very good.
And as usual, the queue here is even longer than deck 8’s!