Experience unadulterated luxury on board The Palace, a ship-within-a-ship from Dream Cruises
The boutique hotel / club house is a unique concept and features opulent suites, exclusive offers, restaurants and a pool
We could spot it from a mile away. The Genting Dream, one of Asia’s largest cruise ships stood docked on Singapore’s port as we drove along the road that wraps around it. While it made its first voyage in 2016, the ‘updated’ The Palace, a boutique luxury hotel and club house within the ship, was still in the first few months of its operation when we flew down to Singapore for a weekend cruise. About 335 metres high, it was the hull of the ship that we noticed first as we began the embarkation process. It features a painting entitled Voyage of a Lover’s Dream by pop-artist Jacky Tsai, from Shanghai, who is known for creating the famous floral skull for the late Alexander McQueen. This was definitely a promising start.
Making an entry
The Zodiac Theatre, a 400-seater that hosts live shows, was our first stop. Here, we were debriefed about the entertainment, restaurants and shopping — plenty to keep one occupied while sailing the high seas. Post this, we took a tour of The Palace on board the Genting Dream, which lasted for over an hour, speaking volumes of how massive the ship is.
When we were finally shown to our room, we were exhausted but glad to have some time to ourselves. The Palace comprises 150 luxury suites across four categories, and ours was the Palace Suite, a plush 37-square-metre space with a queen-size bed with linens from Frette (an Italian textile company known for its luxury linens), a 42-inch TV, an opulent bathroom with toiletries from Etro, a private balcony where you can sip on coffee while feasting your eyes on endless miles of ocean, a Nespresso machine to make said coffee and a whole lot of other features that made us feel utterly pampered. And did we mention it also comes with a personal butler, always at hand to fix you a drink or have your clothes pressed? Jonathan, our butler, originally from Taiwan, was friendly and despite the language barrier, polite and helpful.
Occupying about 10,000 square metres, the ‘ship-within-a-ship’ offers diners the exclusive The Palace Restaurant, which serves a mix of international cuisines. This was where we had dinner on our first evening. Post dinner, we caught a live show at the Zodiac Theatre. Titled Some Like It Hot, the hour-long show had dancers perform to live music. More interesting than the performance was the flamboyant outfits of the dancers, complete with feathers in vibrant hues, crystal studded bodysuits and dramatic headgear.
Breakfast with a view
Waking up early the next day, we settled down for breakfast at the Palace Restaurant, with views of the sea. We enjoyed a leisurely meal sipping on multiple cups of tea as we tried to prolong our monopoly of a corner table, with stunning views over the glistening waters of the Indian ocean, as much as we could.
We then made our way to the shops. Covering everything from jewellery and watches to apparel, beauty, liquor and footwear, labels with stores on board include BVLGARI, Mikimoto, Cartier, Gucci, Burberry, Kate Spade New York, Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada, Chanel, Tony Moly, Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, Henessy and Havaianas. Spread across 1,100 square metres, this duty-free location is an easy way to spend hours and of course, lots of money.
Bistro by Mark Best, was our lunch destination and we had to force ourselves to leave the shopping haven to make it in time for lunch. Helmed by the renowned Austra-lian chef of the same name, it uses ingredients sourced from small-time producers, and focuses on Australian beef, lamb, river fish and seafood. The delicious lunch of medium rare steak was finished in no time. While a quick nap would have done us good, we were happy to have our aching feet attended to at the Crystal Life spa instead. The 45-minute treatment was utter bliss. And we finally took a small nap late evening, as we had a packed schedule to look forward to that night.
En route Japan
It was around 8 pm on the second day that we emerged from our room, relaxed and comfortable, to indulge in a Japanese meal at the restaurant, Umi Uma’s teppanyaki table. Thoroughly entertaining, the chef pulled out all the tricks synonymous with teppanyaki from his chef’s hat, and we enjoyed every minute of it.
With the authentic Japanese flavours still lingering on our palate, we headed to Zouk Beach Club, where a foam party was underway. We ditched our sandals and stepped into the foam, as we danced, or at least tried to (thanks to the slippery floor), to the music. Having pretty much worked off dinner, we headed to Silk Road, for the highlight of the night. A fine-dining Chinese restaurant, it turns into the location for
a steamy cabaret at 11 pm. Called After Dark, the show involves a set of sensual sequences set to music, performed tastefully and elegantly.
Room for theatrics
If adult entertainment is not really your thing, there are plenty of other ways to keep yourself entertained. Catch live shows at Zodiac Theatre or head to the karaoke rooms. For lovers of outdoor activities, there is the waterslide park, a mini golf course, a rock climbing wall, a zip line and of course the swimming pool, besides a host of other features that one can find on the website.
After the show, we retired to our room, as we intended to spend our last few hours of the cruise on the balcony. Soaking up the emptiness around us, the cool sea breeze and the peaceful solitude, we caught ourselves feeling wary of getting back into the grind but grateful for two days away from all the chaos
that is life in the city.
Suites at The Palace start at Rs.1,20,000++
The writer stayed at The Palace on invitation from Dream Cruises