Cruise Away from Hong Kong in Luxury
Dream Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Silverseas offer itineraries to Vietnam, Japan, China, Thailand and more.
Dream Cruises bills itself as the first ever Asian luxury cruise line, and has just announced that reservations are open for its maiden voyage, departing on November 13. The massive cruise-liner will initially offer two-, five- and seven-night trips to picturesque destinations around Asia, from the crystal clear waters of Ha Long Bay, to Sanya, the “Hawaii of China,” to the white sandy beaches and ancient sun-kissed structures of Nha Trang in Vietnam. Other ports include the buzzing city of Ho Chi Minh and day-trips within the Pearl River Delta.
If you’re more concerned about luxury at sea, Dream Cruises’ inaugural liner, the Genting Dream, is outfitted with enough bells and whistles to keep you occupied between shore trips. In addition to more than 35 restaurants and bars on board, the ship will house one of the world’s largest Asian reflexology spas at sea, as well as six water slides, two submersibles, a ropes course, a rock climbing wall and of course plenty of live shows.
The ship fits 3,400 guests in total with the option of the “Dream Mansion” for those with deeper pockets—a “ship-within-a-ship” that’s essentially two floors of upscale suites complete with private butler service. If you identify more with Jack than Rose, don’t worry: you can still reside comfortably in the generous staterooms, 100 of which are built for families and larger groups. Seven-night cruises departing from Hong Kong start at $14,095 from dreamcruiseline.com, 2317-7711, [email protected]
Royal Caribbean is an industry veteran, so you can expect a certain level of service at sea, even on their lesser-known Asian cruise lines. The Voyager of the Seas departs from Hong Kong starting in June this year, with minimum five-day itineraries that will take you through Taipei, Sanya, Japan and Vietnam. Wave bon voyage to the office for the week and sail into the sunset on the full eight-day, seven-night itinerary, which detours at the beach town of Xiamen, China before taking you to explore Nagasaki and Okinawa in Japan.
With the few days at sea sprinkled in-between, you can wine and dine to your heart’s content at the Windjammer Buffet, scarf down hotdogs at Johnny Rockets, or grab Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and a cocktail at Sky Bar. In fact, with food everywhere you look and available 24/7, you’ll probably be more concerned with holding off the pounds by participating in an onboard activity, from riding the waves on the patented “Flow Rider” surf simulator to putting at mini golf. The kid-friendly cruise also includes a separate program for the little ones with a Fisher-Price toy room, music and arts classes, an onboard nursing service and giant playhouses. Eight-day, seven-night cruises departing from Hong Kong start at $7,268 for an Interior Stateroom. royalcaribbean.com.hk.
If you have a little more flexibility on your arrival port, you can hop onboard a Silverseas expedition, whose Silver Shadow liner departs from Hong Kong for 11- to 16-day itineraries ending in Singapore. This packed itinerary will take you on a fascinating exploration of Southeast Asia’s crown jewels, from the limestone towers of Halong Bay to the ornate temples of Bangkok and the relaxed picturesque beaches of Koh Samui. Save a few days in Singapore at the end to enjoy the city’s beautiful botanical gardens, and world-renowned street food and hawker markets.
Onboard the Silver Shadow, you’ll find a much more intimate cruise experience, with the stately cruise-liner accommodating just 382 guests—so prepare to get cozy with your fellow passengers. Suites are spacious, with over 85 percent featuring private verandas, and personalized service is almost guaranteed by a near one-to-one ratio of crew to guests. There’s also butler service available to all guests, and activities including fine wines and food tastings, chef workshops, guest lecturers and live entertainment for a true luxury-at-sea experience. Eleven-day cruises start from $4,545 with early booking from silversea.com.