Cruising On A Dream
There are few things in life that get crossed off our bucket lists, and those can include traveling to a certain country, living abroad alone, opening a business, or singing in front of a large crowd. Part of my list though, was to go on a cruise at least once in my life. I’m not the type to be scared of traveling on water, so once the opportunity to go on a cruise (a luxury one at that) came, I was over the moon, and immediately prepared for one heck of an adventure!
Day 1: See you soon, Manila!
We get to the port, check-in swiftly with ground staff, and get to conveniently leave our luggage before boarding the ship. The dream was slowly becoming real—I was about to board this gigantic vessel with a capacity of 3,000 guests, and a crew of 2,000. Think of it as a literal hotel floating on water.
Upon boarding the ship, we meet up with the #FamousDreamers crew, have our first batch of group photos taken, and head over to our cozy cabins just in time for departure. It had the most charming little balcony, perfect for staring out to the sea. Seeing Manila Bay during the magic hour is a treat most of us take for granted; I for one was immediately in awe of the sight as the ship departed the port, as if signaling one of the most memorable trips I’ll ever be taking.
The Balcony Stateroom provides you with your personal terrace looking out at sea
Dinner was at the Dream Dining Room, the free-for-all restaurant that specializes in traditional Chinese fare. The ambience is similar to the grand Chinese restaurants we’re used to in Manila, with a set menu of appetizers, a variety of main courses, and dessert, except not everyone is fluent in English. Expect to see a lot of Chinese people onboard—mostly couples and families, as a lot of the journey itineraries start in Hong Kong.
The Dream Dining Room offerings
We ended the evening with more dessert at the Breadbox, a cozy café that offers pastries, coffee, and gelato, with a nearby open cinema-type space where guests can enjoy a free movie, or participate in the activity of the day. It was a pretty packed first day, and we were ready to hit the sack, get acquainted with our comfortable cabin beds, and get ready for another exciting day at sea.
Goodies from The Breadbox
Day 2: Revisiting Boracay
We wake up bright and early on the second day, as we approached one of our country’s favorite beaches, Boracay. It was quite evident that the foreigners on the ship were excited to see our famous white sand beach, and while all of us locals have been to the island before, it’s always a treat going back to this familiar paradise. Turbo boats took us to the main island’s port, and just like that, we were back on the sandy shores of Boracay! We spent the day frolicking in the sun, visiting favorites such as The Lind and Jonah’s Shakes, as well as one of the brand’s latest attractions, Station X—a Millennial diner’s dream! Stuffed to satisfaction, at around 3 PM, we headed back to the ship, ready to take on more than a day’s worth of cruising at open sea.
Countless spaces to lounge around and enjoy the view of the ocean
Dinner that night was at Umi Uma, the ship’s specialty Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. Choices of beef, pork, chicken, and shrimp were offered, together with mouthwatering Japanese Chahan (fried rice), stir-fried vegetables, and necessary garlic chips! After watching the Filipino Teppanyaki masters do cooking exhibitions at the table, and after a very fulfilling meal, we finished off with tea and a delicious matcha dessert.
The Zodiac Theater
The night was far from over though, as an exciting China’s Got Talent show was about to happen at the 999-seater Zodiac Theater. We excitedly took seats in front of the stage, ready to devour all the performances in store. While I admit that watching a show in pure Chinese was kind of surreal, I wasn’t the least bit bothered as the China’s Got Talent “contestants” were simply that—talented! After the show, we checked out the duty-free section of the shipped decked with the best of luxury fashion and beauty, with brands like Tiffany, Kiehl’s, Clarins, La Mer—the works! While we didn’t purchase anything, we knew it was time to call it a day, as the sea was getting a bit bumpier. This pretty much helped put us all to sleep like babies. Day 3, we’re coming for you!
The Palace Villa
Day 3: Cruising Day
I personally love taking advantage of the fitness and recreational facilities of hotels, and what better way to experience this luxury cruise ship than by availing the complimentary use of the gym? Walking into the Crystal Life Fitness center very early in the morning was such a treat: I was alone in the gym, music blasted through my ears, with the breathtaking view of the blue ocean as I ran on the treadmill. The best part about working out in early in the morning? Heading to the breakfast buffet because I know I earned it! The Lido Restaurant was busy with guests getting their share of traditional breakfast staples: Pancakes, eggs, bacon, porridge, the works! Perched on the upper level of the ship, guests are treated to dining with a spectacular view.
The gym at the Crystal Life Asian Spa
The Zouk Superclub provides incomparable outdoor entertainment by night
The day continues and one is proposed with a wide array of activities: Is it swimming at the Zouk Superclub pool or hot tub on the upper deck? A relaxing spa treatment? Fun and games at the in-house arcade? KTV for the musically inclined? Face painting with the kids? It’s all here. An entire day at sea may seem like a short while, but time seems to stand still when you’re in the middle of the ocean, feeling every wave while getting to enjoy yourself and forget all your cares in the world. Those feeling a bit more adventurous can try the giant waterslide park, or try their luck at the casino. There’s a library slash chill out area where one can stare out into the sea while reading a magazine, or just enjoy the day while sipping on a good cup of coffee. As mentioned earlier, inside the ship is a duty-free level where one can take advantage of amazing discounts and offers exclusive to guests of the World Dream!
Let your inner adrenaline junkie enjoy with all the ship's exciting feaures
The evening arrives and we have dinner at the Dream Dining Room where we get our Chinese food fix. Right after dinner, the Zodiac Theater beckons, with yet another riveting performance dubbed “Some Like It Hot”, a 50s and 60s-inspired dance show with a modern twist! There are lead singers with sultry vocals, European dancers, and an accompanying band that did the waltz and foxtrot justice. To say it was a sizzling hot performance is an understatement! Day 3 was packed, but we were also excited to reach land again. Time to call it a night!
Photo: Johanne Dalogdog
Day 4: Hello Hong Kong!
We wake up with Guangzhou, China on the horizon, as the ship was set to make a technical stop. Some mainland Chinese guests got off at this point, and we on the other hand got to enjoy a couple of hours in the winter air. Before we knew it, we were once again off to sea, this time headed for our final stop, Hong Kong. Lunch was at Blue Lagoon, their Southeast Asian restaurant. I ordered Char Kway Teow, while my companions went for noodles, and good old Xiao Long Bao. Most of our time left was reserved for packing up, checking out, bidding our lovely cabins goodbye, and spending the last few hours reveling in the beautiful ship we called home for the past couple of days.
Before we knew it, we were approaching the islands of Hong Kong, and seeing its world-famous skyline from a near distance brought familiar excitement we’ve come to grow fond of. Arriving in this city via air is one thing, but approaching these islands via sea is an experience to remember. I went up to the uppermost deck to give the ship one last look, and the same way we left Manila during the magic hour, seeing Hong Kong at this time of day with the buildings starting to light up is a treat not everyone gets to experience. While I was more than ready to get my fair share of walking and eating nonstop in Asia’s world city, I knew I was at the tail end of a trip worth reliving. Safe to say my first ever cruise ship experience was one for the books, and if you ask me, I’d be willing to go on another one in the future! Thank you for being a dream, World Dream!
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This feature originally appeared in Metro Magazine March 2018. Special thanks to Keren Pascual.