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Old 16-08-2019, 09:50 AM   #2702
Winterdews
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Join Date: Sep 2018
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I also went on the 9 Aug trip too. Brought my parents (69 years old) on their first holiday in a long time. They briefly went on shore at Penang at 3/4pm to buy some Penang products at the port shops, then went back on board. We were at Lido buffet when we observed the ship leaving port for a bit. At first i though the ship was re-positioning itself to head to Phuket later at night, but later heard that it was due to rain + strong winds. When the ship was leaving Penang port at 9pm, we saw from our balcony stateroom that the port crew had deployed a crane to retrieve a gangway that fell into the water hahaha.

This is my third cruise. First two times was with RCL Mariner of the Seas in 2017 and 2018 Mar-Apr period, so I was constantly comparing this cruise with RCL.

Embarkation-wise, my parents were kiasu, and we arrived at cruise centre at 11am. I started queuing for the self-check-in at 11.45 and got the cruise passes shortly after self-check-in opened at 12pm. We got Group 1, and were released to go on board i think around 1pm or earlier. We heard Group A(?) boarded first. We hand-carried our luggage and dropped it off at the cabin before going to lunch.

Room-wise, i booked a Balcony Deluxe for my parents and me. It wasnt too tight for 3 folks. I had the sofa bed and it wasnt comfortable. Overall, it was new, clean, and had some free toiletries (unlike RCL, which doesnt even give toothbrush/toothpaste, and my friend had to ask around for one).

Food-wise, GD is more suited to Chinese palate. Lido is good for meals when you know the masses are on-shore. It resembles a wet-market when everyone is on board. It was especially bad on Sat 12-1pm when everyone was trying to grab lunch before going to shore. The key benefit is that it has Western, Chinese, Indian (vegetarian) and Halal food. As someone with no dietary restrictions, you can pick from all 4 sections. I didnt see anyone taking food with their hands, so that's good. I really loved the Indian crackers (Papad) haha.

Only went Dream Dining Upper thrice and Function 8 once. Never tried Dream Dining Lower since my parents dont like Western sets. Dream Dining is about average but the food is served quite fast. The breakfast dim sum is good. My parents also loved they served decent coffee and tea (compared to the dispenser-type coffee at Lido). Also, the host will give your family one whole table, and you didnt have to share with anyone else. So a family of three will just end up taking a table meant for 5/6. My dad didnt like Function 8 coz folks will be asked to share tables when the Function 8 is full.

Never tried the other restaurants. I tried the ice-cream parlour and the sea-salt was really nice. Can look out for the happy hours for free toppings. I also won a herbal jelly thru the on-ship lucky draw (drat! didnt win the 6D5N cruise haha) that was served at the Blue Lagoon.

Entertainment-wise, I loved the Sonio show and caught it twice. The second show "Some Like it Hot" was more singing and dance, and more enjoyable if you were familiar with 60s-70s tunes. The Chinese acrobatics show at Bar 360 was also decent. [I didnt catch the Dreamgirls show - anyone knows if it was worth catching?]

I participated in the third night dream party and it was fun to just dance along for 2hrs to the mass dances and the live band + DJ. The cruise staff leading the dance were really good, as were the band that performed contemporary hits.

I tried the pool on the third day morning, and it wasnt crowded since many people were on shore at Phuket. I wanted to try the slides, but the lifeguards didnt allow googles (i had corrective ones) due to safety reasons, so i didnt try the slides. Towards the afternoon, it got more crowded. The adult pool is quite deep - 1.7m (my height!) at the shallower end and 2m at the deeper end. Not really long enough for anyone to do decent laps.

The level 15 gym is small, but doesnt get a lot of traffic. The equipment are new, and similar to what you can find at Safra gyms. I think i saw some of the Sonio performers use it on Day 3 AM, but didnt bother them.

I also went on the bridge tour ($30) and galley tour ($25) on Day 4. The bridge tour was quite cool and you get to speak with the staff on duty and take photos. The galley was quite noisy, but the exec sous chef doing the tour did his best at showing the kitchen, prep areas and freezers. We also had a brief look at the ship's "I-95" (termed as the route running the length of the ship where crew can get one end to another at Deck 4) and also saw the crew going into the crew mess.

The only bad point was that the bridge tour started at 1015 and the galley tour at 1100. When i booked it, the reception staff said i should have enough time for the bridge tour. However, the bridge component ended at 1050, and there was also a inclusive tour of the helipad too. So i had to drop that component to make it in time for the galley tour.

[Spa] I booked on the second day for three treatments (50% off, total damage of $153 (18% included) for 180mins. Quite worth it. I did 60mins reflexology and 60mins body massage on Day 2, and another 60mins body on Day 3. My first masseuse Bella was quite good - can ask for her.

App and Payment - the app was quite useful for booking the Sonio and Some Like it Hot shows, and for viewing the Dream Daily if you dont have the daily newsletter with you. You can also view your bill and do quick payments for your expenses via the app. Quite convenient compared to RCL, which forces you to link a credit card to your room card.

I didnt try purchasing the onboard wifi, since i wanted to do a detox. Since i was always connected to the onboard wifi to view the app easily, i think some data does get thru, and my phone will get some notifications.

Ship-wise, I think the lay-out was quite well-designed. There werent any spots that made you do detours (whereas RCL Mariner had a few weird floors that forces you to take some stairs when trying to walk from one end to another. RCL Mariner was also packed at the indoor plaza areas.) With 3400 pax, there was surprisingly a few areas that werent crowded, like the L15 gym and crystal life cafe; L17 sun deck aft and zouk area; L19 forward Palm Court (may be occasionally closed for private functions) and Terrace. When i was chased out of Palm Court once as they needed it for a private function, i found a nice little corner at L5 forward where there were some seats near the meeting room area. [Did anyone try camping at L15 crystal cafe? Will they ask you to order food/drinks to continue staying there?].

Service-wise, I think RCL staff are more friendly and will smile more. For GD, a few standouts are my room steward, some of the DD-upper waitresses, and the cruise entertainment staff leading the exercises/games/dream night.

Ship-stability wise, i felt GD was a bit rocky. You can certainly feel the rocking at the forward and aft sections, including my cabin (L10 forward), and DD-upper, and Lido. Compared to RCL Mariner, i only felt vibrations when the ship enters/leaves port, and never on the high seas. Perhaps it was the seasonal weather (it rained 3 times, but not heavily) and we did experience strong winds at certain times.

Overall, I was quite satisfied with the trip. My parents really enjoyed it, and they want to do a longer cruise next year.
Hello fellow cruiser on 09aug. Glad that you enjoyed the trip. Hope you did your dreamelite membership onboard as it comes with some perks.

That trip the weather indeed was quite bad with strong winds and waves. I heard from penang people on 9aug penang was hit by a mini typhoon and can see alot of fallen branches and some tress was uprooted too.

Cabin
For Balcony deluxe cabin take note not all balcony deluxe is the same some comes with bathtub and some not. If you have seniors without the bathtub one shd be more suited.The standing shower is more spacious compare to the balcony standing shower. If you purchase your cruise package you are allowed to select cabin number.

Dinning
You should try Lower dinning deck 7 for breakfast. This is where i usually have my breakfast. It somes with dim-sum , chinese cum western buffet style, eggs order. I quite like the pan-cakes. And they have table for 4 & 6. There is a $1 snacks menu at blue lagoon 11pm to 2am not too bad for a bite.

Gym
Yup quite same as safra and not crowded and can see the female dance crew sometimes doing their workout lol

Show
Yes Sonio is better then the previous mermaid show. The dreamgirls show is it at silkroad? If silkroad is a adult show.

SPA
If got promo is good deal. The chair is very comfy makes me sleep.The facilities all looks new and clean.

The party is nice can make you feel wana boogie abit as the cruise director matthew is doing a good job with improvements on getting the crowd to join in. My 1st time onboard was a angmoh lady cruise director which is not so fun.

I have cruise on RCL mariner & voyager before. Each to his own i still prefer star cruise as i enjoy the gambling component since gemini and virgo days. GD is more newer and bigger. Yes service wise can improve but nobody is perfect if it is a full and packed cruise. Dream is launching their global class ship in 2021 hopefully 1 of it is home port in singapore. 205000 ton should be ranked top 10.

Today going up again should be quite crowded as got jackpot tourney.
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