MANILA, Philippines - If you’ve never been on a cruise, you probably think that it’s only for your lolos and lolas or your rich, super-extra tita and her amigas. Well, let me tell you this: you are absolutely wrong. And no, cruises aren’t just something to consider going on with your family — because let’s face it, not everyone is cut out for family trips — it might, however, just be the perfect trip for your next barkada getaway.
Dream Cruises’ new ship, the Genting Dream, is geared just for this. The cruise liner began sailing just last November, and is outfitted with enough amenities and activities that are completely the opposite of boring — tunnel slides, wall climbing, and a night club? A day definitely isn’t enough to go around all of the ship’s decks. The Genting Dream also has different itineraries depending on what kind of vacation you’re looking for, whether it’s to go see a bunch of different cities or just chill and have a staycation on the high seas.
The ship itself looks like a skyscraper on water. If you remember that scene from Titanic when the passengers see the ship for the first time, it feels exactly like that when you first lay eyes on Genting Dream. There aren’t a lot of times when you feel like such a tiny creature, and looking up at a cruise ship is one of them. The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong, which serves as the current home port for the Genting Dream, looks like a cruise ship itself, and is equally vast, getting you in the mood to sail.
Once you board the ship, the feeling is both familiar and out of this world. It looks like a hotel — carpeted floors, halls of doorways — up until you take a peek out of your window. The most amazing thing about the experience of being on a cruise ship is the simple fact that it’s sailing the wide-open seas — and that you don’t even feel it. You could probably leave a ball out on the balcony and it would be in the same exact spot the next day. Almost no need for that motion sickness medicine, if you ask me.
The ship’s stability definitely helps with getting around, because you’re gonna want to see it from top to bottom. There is literally always something to do at every floor, from eating, drinking, taking a chance on the slot machines, or bouncing around the pool area. Even the top floor has more than enough to keep you busy for a full day. On the 17th deck is the main of several swimming pools, flanked by countless sun beds (enough for your entire barkada and possibly the entire graduating class of 2017) both in and out of the shade, just in case you want to take a break from tanning but still want to lay back. Three floors above, on the 20th deck, is the waterslide park, a glorious collection of tunnel slides that snake through the top decks and the pools below it. Just make sure you’re not hungover when you decide to try this out.
If getting wet and wild just isn’t your thing, the slides aren’t the only thing you can hit up above-ship. On the 18th deck is a rock climbing wall for those who live on the edge, and for those who want to take it further and live on the tightrope, there’s a rope course right beside the wall that makes a thrill of a challenge. If you want to take it down a notch to something that’s a tad less intense, there’s a mini golf course, a toddler-sized chessboard, and the Glow Bowl, which is basically a four-lane bowling range that’s filled with neon lights.
Or you could eat. Boy, can you eat — and drink! — on this ship. There are 35 (Yes, 35. Thirty-five!) dining-and-wining spots all across the ship, which is honestly too much to go over and experience all in one trip, but it’s good to know you’ll never go hungry or thirsty while out at sea. There’s a restaurant for every craving onboard — Chinese, Japanese, Southeast Asian, and of course, Western cuisines. You name it, they’ve got it on the menu. And did I mention that the complimentary breakfast at The Lido on the 16th deck has the biggest, meatiest bacon ever? Absolute breakfast heaven.
But what’s a vacation without the draaanks, right? There are several bars scattered throughout the ship, but if you want to party the night away, there’s Zouk on the 17th deck right beside the Glow Bowl (probably not a good idea to combine the two, though). If al fresco partying is more your thing, right outside is the Zouk Beach Club, a.k.a Palace Pool Club out on sea. For those who want to go full-on tita for the night, Bar City on the 8th deck has several bars (hence, city), one of which serves wine with the push of a button. Did I mention it’s also right beside the onboard art gallery? Just make sure you don’t spill some of that wine on the art.
Once you’re ready to hit the sack, the ship’s staterooms are just as exciting as everything else in the Genting Dream. This is not an exaggeration: the beds honestly feel like they’re made of angel wing feathers, with just the right amount of firmness and support. Most of the rooms come with a balcony too, so you get to wake up to the cool sea breeze. If there weren’t so many things to do on board, cooping up in the room all day is very, very tempting. Trust me.
Going on a cruise is definitely not the most popular vacation choice for a lot of people (just 0.5 percent of the Asian population, according to Dream Cruises), probably because of the old stereotype of it being for older folks. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it, so they say. And you’ll probably be (pleasantly) surprised, too. If you’re tired of going to music festivals, or you’re just not into the idea of getting pushed and shoved in the infamous walwal-fest that is — shudder — Laboracay, well, a cruise might just be the thing you and your friends need.
* * *
For itineraries, accommodations, and more information, visit dreamcruiseline.com.