Cover features

Floating dreams

Written by Ben Blaschke

Boasting an abundance of luxury entertainment options including Resorts World at Sea, Genting’s new World Dream cruise ship is sure to make a splash when it arrives in its new Hong Kong home this November.

On 17 November 2017, Asia’s newest luxury cruise ship will arrive in Hong Kong. Genting Hong Kong’s World Dream will operate out of home ports in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, departing weekly to destinations including Boracay and Manila in the Philippines, Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang in Vietnam as well as a regular three-day, two-night cruise around the Pearl River Delta.

But it is the ship itself that looms as the star attraction. World Dream is described by operator Dream Cruises as a “floating high-end, integrated resort at sea” – a giant 150,000 tonne entertainment complex boasting 1,686 staterooms with capacity for 3,400 guests.

Targeted specifically at the higher-end Chinese and Asian market, it offers an incredible array of entertainment facilities, most notably Resorts World at Sea. Roaring to life whenever World Dream hits international waters, the impressively sized casino space spans two levels and offers popular table games baccarat, roulette, sic bo and blackjack – with minimum bets starting at HK$1,000 – plus slot machines in the main gaming areas and a selection of high limit private gaming rooms. Guests can also utilize the ship’s recently launched FSG Mobile app, which allows for real money wagering on selected on-board live casino games wherever Wifi is available.

There is no shortage of adult entertainment on board, with World Dream’s gaming facilities complemented by a Mahjong room, Karaoke club, private party deck, beach club, virtual reality experience and the impressive Zodiac Theatre, home to various live shows.

But for those in search of a bit more variety, there is also a huge selection of sporting, pampering, shopping, video gaming and dining options to choose from. In total World Dream boasts 35 separate restaurant and bar concepts, from the family friendly buffets at The Lido and 24/7 street hawker food at Blue Lagoon to the fine dining Silk Road Chinese restaurant, Mixt cocktail lounge and the ultra-exclusive Genting Club.

If outdoor activities are your thing, the outdoor jogging track, rock climbing wall, swimming pool and SportsPlex offer invigorating ways to start the day, while if you’d rather take a load off there are two luxury spas offering both Asian and Western style massage treatments plus plunge pools, saunas, steam rooms and relaxation lounges.

Genting says that 70 percent of staterooms feature private balconies offering views out to the horizon, however World Dream also boasts 142 luxury suites in their own dedicated section known as Dream Palace. Guests of Dream Palace have access to Genting Club as well as European butler service, where a “Dream Butler” will provide personalized service such as priority table booking at any of the ship’s bars or restaurants.

At the very top of the tree sits World Dream’s two Garden Penthouses – two duplex suites each featuring two bedrooms, a private sundeck, grand piano and daily champagne plus transfers to and from the ship. Luxury at its finest.

Given the amenities at hand on World Dream, it’s easy to see why cruise ships are expected to be one of China’s primary growth tourism opportunities in the coming years. Recognizing this increasing demand, in 2015 the Chinese government outlined a plan to establish three main cruise ship base ports, including Shanghai and Tianjin, which will allow for around 2.9 million passengers to board each year by 2021. Another 10 “departure ports” located around the country will see passenger numbers grow from 2.1 million now to 4.6 million in 2021.

“We are extremely excited to welcome World Dream in Guangzhou and Hong Kong this November and to introduce our guests to our much anticipated second ship,” said President of Genting’s Dream Cruises, Thatcher Brown. “We will continue to build on the strengths of her sister ship Genting Dream to deliver exceptional service and experiences that are Asian at heart and international in spirit.”

World Dream will certainly be hard to miss when it makes its long-awaited debut in Hong Kong on 17 November. The ship’s hull displays an enormous and incredibly colorful artwork, designed by Jacky Tsai, depicting the captain of the ship looking through his telescope at Chang’e, the Chinese fairy, who is surrounded by whimsical elements as she floats through the air. In the background, a mermaid and an astronaut are seen in silhouette on the moon as they hold hands and fly away into the distance. On the port side of the ship, the mermaid and the astronaut are rendered more fully in dazzling color to complete the love story.

“Tsai’s distinctive artwork skilfully blends Asian and Western influences together to create a truly iconic visual statement that encapsulate our brand’s ethos – Asian at heart, international in spirit,” said Mr Brown.