With more than 35 restaurants, bars and culinary experiences to choose from onboard Genting Dream, it’s unlikely you’ll go hungry on this Dream Cruises’ ship. We joined one of the line’s themed culinary cruises, on our sailing hosted by Australian chefs Shane Osborn and Mark Best, for a five-night round-trip cruise from Singapore.
Our cruise was billed as The Final Table, named after the Netflix reality cooking show that pits a dozen teams of two chefs against each other. The sailing included special events plus the chance to sample some of the many different foodie experiences available onboard the ship.
Here are seven of our favourite foodie experiences from the cruise, plus two unique post dining workout suggestions that are way more fun than hitting the gym.
Whip up a cooking show for Netflix, create a session on the cruise ship daily program, add two Aussie chefs who competed as a team on the program and are great mates, throw in some questions from the audience and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect sea day enrichment session. During The Final Table talk and Q&A session, Mark Best and Shane Osborn treated passengers to a behind the scenes glimpse of what life is like when you’re competing on the most expensive television cooking show ever made. From the 500 question psychological profiling exercise they had to do (twice) before they were selected to what it’s like to cook in front of 25 cameras, and why the chefs were accompanied everywhere they went in the studio, including the bathroom, this was one of the best and most entertaining enrichment talks we’ve seen at sea.
Many of the restaurants onboard Genting Dream attract a fee but there is plenty to enjoy at the two complimentary Dream dining rooms and The Lido buffet. If you’re a fan of authentic Chinese fare, head to the upper deck of the main dining room for the likes of double boiled pork stomach and pork rib soup or wok fried gong bao chicken. The downstairs dining room offers a set menu of western favourites for lunch and dinner and a buffet breakfast with Asian dishes such as noodles and dumplings, bacon, eggs and more, plus omelettes ordered and served to your table. At The Lido you’ll find an impressive variety of dishes, including an extensive and superb Indian section that’s available at every meal. Don’t miss the excellent vegetarian curries and paratha. All these complimentary venues get busy at peak times so it’s best to visit during the ‘green’ hours on the crowd flow chart posted outside each venue.
With multiple teppanyaki grills and a team of enthusiastic specialist chefs, a night at Umi Uma is worth the extra spend. Prices range from S$58 for a classic menu up to S$78 for the standout Genting Surf and Turf featuring juicy steak cooked to order and a generous serving of prawns. All teppanyaki menus come with the usual accompaniments such as miso soup and salad. Not only are the teppanyaki chefs masters of their craft, they’re also good at reading the crowd they’re cooking for. Our convivial group were having such a good time chatting to each other that our chef (cleverly) toned down the showmanship slightly in favour of a more relaxed night out with superb food, wine and conversation.
If you fancy a lighter meal or would like to enjoy a serene lunch in elegant yet casual surrounds, head to Crystal Life Cuisine on Deck 15. Located next to the Crystal Life Spa, this spa café serves dishes such as avocado and corn enchiladas or wholemeal triple decker sandwiches with a fruit shake for S$17. The tucked away location of this for-a-fee dining venue makes it a good choice for chilling out on sea days and enjoying soothing sea views with a healthful snack.
There’s a reason the wine education session that is held at the Penfolds Wine Vault on Level 8 is called a Penfolds Wine Experience rather than a Wine Tasting. Guests get much, much more than a small taste when sommelier Erdal Uysal wields his multiple metre long Riedel decanters filled with wines costing upwards of A$50 at your local bottleshop. The Penfolds Wine Experience costs S$48 per person and is ideal to do with a group of four or more wine lovers before dinner.
There are plenty of bars onboard but one of our favourite spots for a drink was the outdoor lounge area outside Mixt Cocktail Bar which has a Happy Hour that is more like a Happy Evening as it lasts until midnight. This bar is your best choice for expertly mixed cocktails such as an espresso martini or icy cold mojito and table service is available so you can enjoy sail away without leaving your seat. If it’s too hot to sit outside or the weather isn’t the best, Palm Court on Deck 19 is another top choice for a drink. This elegant bar can only be accessed via a few of the forward elevators which means not many people find their way here. With views out to sea and over the pool deck, it’s a great spot to watch the sunset and enjoy a relaxing glass of wine in sophisticated surrounds.
On Culinary Sailings there is a special dining event on the final night. On our sailing, the six course The Final Table Experience dinner with wine matching cost S$150 per person (or S$100 without wine matching) and was created and cooked by the celebrity chefs themselves. Guests at Mark Best’s elegant onboard restaurant got dinner and a show as they watched the action through the kitchen’s viewing window. Dishes included doughnuts filled with chicken liver parfait and dusted with cocoa, slow braised Wagyu short ribs with charred onions and tamarillo salsa, and a delicate frozen mandarin curd with mandarin sorbet, served with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin NV. Dietary requirements were handled creatively with several guests on our table receiving equally impressive alternative dishes.
With so much good food onboard, a workout or two is probably a good idea but you can make it fun on this ship. Genting Dream has five waterslides, including two speed slides with drops so steep they make grown men scream like little girls. Each refreshing ride comes with a stair climb workout or three as you’re going to want to do these slides more than once. If you’re braver than me, you can also complete the (free) ropes course on the top deck and take an exhilarating zipline ride over the edge of the ship, high above the waves. Or, of course, you could always hit the gym on Deck 15.