Genting Dream, Hong Kong

Passports, check! Travel Documents check!
Camera, battery packs, wallet, check! check! check!

We left home excited and were looking forward to our first trip to Hong Kong. We’re big fans of all things Asian, so visiting a part of Asia closer to Mainland China had us excited. After a 60 minute ride to the airport, and breezing through security and immigration (carry on baggage for the win!), we sat down at the Cathay Pacific lounge waiting to board our flight. A short while later, we hear the boarding call and we hopped on board! Fast forward 6 hours later, we landed in Hong Kong and checked in to the Premium Plaza Lounge to charge our phones, have a quick shower, snacked on the breakfast buffet at the lounge and then headed out to the city center for a while since we had a few hours to kill before we could board the cruise. 🙂 A few dimsum and a couple of bubble waffles later, we were all set to head to the Kai Terminal to board the Genting Dream.

It was a bright sunny day and the thought of cruising through the Southern China Sea was beginning to get real. We couldn’t contain ourselves, we were inching closer to our first stay onboard a cruise ship, The Genting Dream by Dream Cruises.

Next stop, the Kai Tak Terminal. 😀

The old Hong Kong Airport (Kai Tak Terminal) has been repurposed to now serve as the terminal for ships and was the boarding point for our cruise. We reached the terminal earlier than expected, the ship hadn’t reached port yet, so we had to wait a while before could go through security and immigration.


Then the moment arrived, we could see the Genting Dream sail closer to us. It was surreal. The ship was huge and breathtakingly stunning. Vibrant and oozing with style, it was mammoth! 😀 No one could take their eyes off her. Soon people flooded to the glass walls of the terminal to take pictures and selfies. And by sunset the cruise just transformed into a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors and visual effects; thanks to the sophisticated lights that were setup on the balconies on board the ship.

DreamCruises ensured that we were given special attention for smooth embarkation. There were several entrances to board the ship and every gate was perfectly manned by the crew to ensure each passenger clears the guest list and made their way to their respective cabins. We were smiling from ear to ear as we entered the ship with staff welcoming us and guiding us to the right deck.

The entrance to the ship was spectacular and don’t even get us started about the decor. We were simply awestruck by the scale of everything on board. A destination on it’s own, the Genting Dream opened to us a doorway and a whole new perception of grandeur. Specced out better than most five star hotels, the attention to detail was immaculate. Starting from the carpeting, where floral designs guided you to front or the back of the ship to larger than life chandeliers. This ship was huge! 18 decks high, the Genting Dream really impressed us with its decor and we could hardly wait to find what all was in store for us during this trip.

Quick fact: The Genting Dream is 335 meters in length and 40 meters wide. It houses 1674 beautiful staterooms with an unbelievable capacity of 3352 guests and with 2016 crew. (No wonder we were so well taken care of.) WOW!

After checking into our cabin, we headed out for dinner. With 44 restaurants, bars and eateries to choose from; we found ourselves spoilt for choice! Soon we decided to try the buffet at Dream Dining.

Dream Dining (Upper Deck)

Dream Dining (Lower Deck)

Dream Dining is a multi cuisine restaurant that can be accessed from the 7th and the 8th deck. The upper level served a set menu for lunch and dinner while the lower level served buffet style. We decided to try Dream Dining (lower). The dining area is huge and it accommodates over a 1000 people. The spread looked amazing! It had meats, seafood, noodles, soups, rice and also had a western section that served pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, a variety of bread, salad, fruits and dessert. It also had a bar that was located in the middle of the dining area.

Here’s what we had.

Noodle Soup, Tofu, Prawns, Rice and Veggies

Virtually everything we tried was delicious. We were pretty skeptical on how food on a cruise would taste like but we were not disappointed. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal. We were pleasantly surprised to see Indian servers who specially made Indian food for some of the guests on board. We tasted some of the Indian fare and it was really good! So all those who think they’ll crave Indian food on board can be rest assured, you’ll be well taken care of. 🙂

We know a lot of our Indian friends who are strict vegetarians and are apprehensive of venturing to a Eastern Asia or South East Asian country because of the food. But on Genting Dream even the breakfast buffet had an elaborate Indian (veg) spread that even the Chinese patrons seemed to enjoy! So one need not worry about the food onboard. They will spoil you silly!

The next day started off with an elaborate breakfast at Lido, one of Genting Dream’s big all-day-dining restaurants. We saw guests enjoy some healthy and delicious breakfast delights with a massive spread of Western, Chinese and Indian breakfast options. They also serve lunch, dinner and a late night supper for the guests on the ship.

Eggs, Bacon, Sausages, Waffles, Pancakes, Ham, Mantao Buns, Dumplings, Scallion Pancakes, Baos, Soy Milk, Noodles and Juice

The pictures will show you the wide variety of food served and we really enjoyed trying the Chinese breakfast. We absolutely loved the Scallion Pancakes, Youtiaos aka Chinese crullers and Mantao Buns with soy milk, the plump Pork and Chicken dumplings and baos.

We knew our day would be fun and that it would be spent well exploring the gigantic ship and made the most of the time we had on board. Our onboard tour guide gave us a tour of the main areas of the ship. She was courteous, well trained and happened to be from Mumbai too. It was virtually impossible for us to complete touring the whole ship on foot in a span of 3 hours; however she managed to give us a glimpse of all the important, interesting and must visit areas of the ship. Some were even given exclusive access meant for VVIPs. It was amazing how a ship could house so many recreational areas. There was literally something for everyone.

As food bloggers, we wanted to ensure that we had enough time to showcase the best restaurants and the absolute must haves. So for lunch we chose renowned Australian Chef Mark Best’s restaurant to dine at.

Mark’s Bistro is a haven for diners who sophistication, elegance and truly great food. Our dining experience at Chef Mark Best’ s first restaurant at sea was nothing short of extraordinary. The concise and to the point menu boasts of the culinary artistry of the internationally acclaimed Chef Mark Best and promises to give you his contemporary rendition of western favourites.

We were really thrilled to have our meal there. The highlight of dining at this restaurant is that they serve Miyako Beef – the finest and one of the best tasting wagyu beef from Miyakojima, Japan. It is also called the Phantom Wagyu Beef, known for it’s melt-in-your-mouth texture and succulently distinguished flavour. A definite must have!

We started off by breaking bread. Quite literally as they served one of our favourite flavour combinations on bread – Parmesan and Paprika! It was crusty, chewy and so flavourful. This simple Parmesan and Paprika bread was an indicator of the level at which this restaurant operates. Brilliant! The amuse bouche that was served to us was Parma Ham wrapped in thinly sliced Melon. Classic, light and very delicious.

Our entree was a warm bowl of Cauliflower Soup with Spring Onion Oil. It was mild, the spring onion oil added freshness and definitely amped the flavour of the cauliflower. It was a brilliant Asian touch to the soup. We also had the Alaskan King Crab Salad, which was served on baby Lettuce leaves that acted as wrappers. The salad was simple, with generous portions of chunky crab meat. The lettuce leaves were fresh and added that perfect crunch. It was everything you want a simple salad to taste like. Fresh, and full of natural flavours.

For main course we had the Grilled Iberico Pork Chop and and Australian Flank Steak. Both were served on a bed of sautéed mushrooms with a side of a potato gratin slice. The meats were cooked perfectly. 😀 The mushrooms were a really good addition, the Jus was rich and flavourful.

Our dessert was a bowl of the most perfect Panna Cotta we’ve ever had. It was served with a blueberry Coulis. Simply superb! This restaurant is a must visit when you cruise through the Southern China Sea on the majestic Genting Dream.

For dinner we opted for a more theatrical experience with Umi Uma, Genting Dream’s Teppanyaki restaurant that serves amazing Japanese food! The whole experience of Chefs juggling food, making music with knives, interacting with the guests while cooking delicious food is an absolute sensory treat! We had the Teppanyaki Combo ‘Dream Ocean Shinto’ (Sea Scallops & Jumbo Shrimp). Starting with a miso soup and crunchy cucumber salad, we were really excited for our live teppanyaki experience. The chef began by introducing himself and how he would use simple ingredients like salt, pepper, garlic, soy sauce and butter as seasoning for our meal.

His comic timing and choreography on the grill maintained the smiles on our faces and had us clapping and cheering throughout the meal. He started off by grilling Prawns and Scallops followed by vegetables and then made fried rice that was shaped like a heart. 🙂 The eggs were rolled into a “snake shape” before it was added to the rice. The whole experience was delightful and the food was so delicious that it still makes us want to go back for more. This meal was perfect. 🙂

The dessert was exceptional! We had the coconut Pancake with Icecream and a Matcha Cake.

Post dinner we left to witness the mystical love story of an Astronaut and a Mermaid with the spectacular show – The Voyage of a Lover’s Dream at the Zodiac Theatre. It was simply magical! The production quality and the larger than life performance left us in awe. The sound and light, it was nothing like we’ve ever experienced before. Even though the show was primarily in Cantonese, we could understand every scene. The artist performed with such flair. A must see for everyone onboard. It was out of this world. 🙂

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay onboard the Genting Dream. Being our first experience on a cruise ship, it surpassed all our expectations with regard to hospitality, service, food and entertainment. The Genting Dream is a beautiful cruise ship and feels nothing short of a luxurious 5 star hotel at sea. Its decor oozes sophistication, style and luxury, giving guests an experience they will cherish for a lifetime. We enjoyed every single meal we had on board. With cuisines like Chinese, Thai, Malay, Japanese, Western and Indian, we were spoilt for choice with amazing selection of restaurants to choose from. So Indians who are apprehensive about travelling without the comfort of Indian food can be rest assured to be well taken care of. The variety of Indian food options at breakfast alone will put a smile on your face at the start of your day!

Genting Dream, is another world on its own where the sun never set and the fun seems to fade. We saw people of all age groups enjoying themselves with recreational activities, games, music, casinos, shopping and the list goes on and on. We had an amazing time and would encourage everyone to try it, as it’s worth every buck spent. You’re not only transported away into the calmness and serenity of the ocean but also into an experience that you will cherish forever. 🙂

Grand Hyatt Mumbai

2015 was a fun year!

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We were awarded the IFBA award for Best Restaurant Review Blog, we got married (woohoo), and finally kicked off something we’ve been waiting for for a long time… We added in a ‘Travel’ section to our blog. 🙂

We started off with Goa in January, and we’ve got Calcutta, Chennai, Pune and Kerala on our calendar this year.

We got married on the 26th of December 2015 in a very private ceremony with just 12 people on the guest-list. So we were really happy that Grand Hyatt, Mumbai decided to host us for three days just a day after our wedding. We’ve had some of our most memorable dining experiences at their restaurants, so this just made it extra special.

We were won over with all the attention and warm greetings we got from the Hyatt associates upon our arrival. From day one we were made to feel like we were the only occupants in the entire hotel. But it was not just us, the staff there made sure that all the guests were treated warmly in a genuine way.

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Let us take you through the property! First, the ascending stairway to the lobby gives you a glimpse of how ‘grand’ it is going to get. Modern architecture fused with contemporary art makes for some really cool décor; all while fulfilling that expected 5-star flair. I have always wished to be around the team that handles the interiors; would love to watch them list, buy and place the beautiful pieces that adorn a 5 star hotel. Grand Hyatt, Mumbai has an impressive collection that of over 100 pieces of art. The hotel’s public area, sections of the lobbies and restaurants sort of transform into unique art galleries with specially commissioned installations curated by various artists.

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Our room. We were put up at a Grand Executive Suite. As you enter, you find yourself in a very cozy living room with a work desk and a window that gives you a good view of the city. The bath area looked really neat with the bathtub and shower, robes, toiletries, and everything required to ensure that you feel pampered at any given time of the day. Ah the Himalayan Bath Salts just works wonders if you just want to soak in and relax.

To our surprise, Grand Hyatt had a lovely bottle of Champagne placed in a bucket of ice, with two slender flutes and a platter of yummy chocolate cupcakes at our arrival. There was also a box of assorted chocolates that made us smile. We had three lovely days ahead of us and we couldn’t wait for it to begin.

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First stop! Lunch at Fifty Five East. Fifty Five East (FFE) remains one of our favourite restaurants in the city for brunches and buffets. With Indian, Thai, Lebanese and Japanese cuisine, you are spoilt for choice when you’re dining at FFE. The Big Brunch Sundays are the best thing to happen to any food lover. With a 50% discount on the rates, one can really enjoy their Sunday with a large group of friends or colleagues. They’ve also got a 20% off on online reservations all through the week. This time we had a light lunch though, had some amazing Sushi and Japanese food. Their Miso soup is to die for.

After lunch and a quick nap, we headed out for a tour of the hotel. We were mesmerized by the expanse of the property and how simple, yet artistic and modern the architecture was. The pieces of art in this hotel will have art lovers thoroughly engrossed; it is so beautifully showcased without disturbing the theme of the hotel. We were impressed to find out that the Grand Hyatt Plaza shopping center is spread over 100,000sq.ft. Be it haute couture, fine watches, exquisite jewellery and accessories, international fashion brands and lifestyle products, the Grand Hyatt Plaza opens doors to a whole new world of shopping. And hey, there’s an ATM too!

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We passed by the Gourmet Store and reminded each other to stop by later for their Signature Cold Coffee. We were told that it was something we had to try during our stay. We came back. Wow! We really recommend the Signature Cold Coffee. Their salads and sandwiches are hearty, healthy and delicious. The deli is stocked with an amazing selection of cheeses and cold meats; and even buy flowers. The choices seem endless. I reminisced of the time I used to rush to the Gourmet Store after work to pick up chocolate truffles for Joash. It made us smile. 🙂

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The next day started off with breakfast at Fifty Five East. Our first big breakfast as a newly married couple. It was GRAND! They really know how to bring their A game when it comes to serving kick ass breakfast. I think almost everyone who knows us knows how picky we are about breakfast, and we do take it pretty seriously; but one look at the beautiful roasted Ham and we know we are going to be defeated by that alone. J Here’s a picture of what went down that day, there were eggs, sausages, mushrooms, hash browns, cheese, ham, bacon, fresh fruits, juices, freshly baked croissants; the works. We were so full that we skipped lunch and ate dinner at around 11pm. #FoodComa

Our day was spent exploring the hotel. Climbing the 127 stairs that lead to the executive accommodation was one of the feats we accomplished. Here are a few pictures of the beautiful suites that you can check in to  and the lovely view of the Grand Hyatt Hotel–

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It was time for dinner, and Grand Hyatt’s Celini was on our mind. Celini opens for dinner at 7:30pm. Funny story, we had been trying to get our hands on the Paan Ice Cream that’s available at Grand’s Hyatt’s Indian restaurant, Soma, for a really long time. We inquired at Soma, but their kitchen would close at 11:55pm. So, we wouldn’t have been done with dinner at Celini by then, so we told them, maybe another time.

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We ordered our meal and completely lost track of the time; it was about 12:30am by the time we had finished dinner. As we were leaving Celini, our waiter asked us… “I heard you wanted to have the Paan Ice-cream at Soma. Their kitchen’s closed for the day now, but would you like us to send you the Paan Ice-cream to your room?” We were impressed. The restaurant manager at Soma had probably spoken to the manager at Celini about the Ice-cream. That’s excellent customer service. So we made our way back to our room, only to find a big bowl of Paan Ice Cream garnished with gooey Gulkhand at our door soon after we got back. We loved it. It was perfect for our late night movie marathon.

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At Celini we were left completely in awe of the décor. With paintings of moon dominating the interior, the cozy yet contemporary look makes for an ideal place for a romantic candlelit dinner. Known for it’s traditional Italian food with a modern twist, Celini tops as one of the best Italian restaurants in the city for us. The restaurant after operational hours transforms into an all night café. Here’s a gist of the meal we had.

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Besides Celini and Soma, the China House restaurant and lounge has won over many hearts with their spectacular food, great ambience and music. Chef Hermann Grossbichler does an excellent job overseeing all the kitchens at Grand Hyatt and ensures that the quality and the variety of dishes available are better every season.

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We also had a really good meal at the Lobby Lounge. They have premium selection of Eau de Vie and Indian single estate teas. We tried the Herbal Infusion Egyptian Camomile Tea with Herbs and it was unbelievably relaxing. We also had the Spanish Garlic Prawns and the Baked Cannelloni stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta cheese; and it tasted nothing like we’ve ever had before. Very impressive.

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A staycation is not complete without spending quality time at the spa. The Club Oasis Fitness centre & spa ensures that one is pampered and rejuvenated with their extensive range of relaxing treatments. The fitness centre is functional 24/7 and has the best equipment in the industry. The spa area includes beautiful spa suites, private showers, changing areas, steam and sauna rooms and whirlpool baths. They have various packages and some are exclusively for couples. We enjoyed 60 mins of pure bliss followed by some soothing ginger tea. We were transported to a place of complete tranquility.

Looking back at the time we spent at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai; I can only think of the lovely memories we made during our stay there. It’s a beautiful combination of excellent service, great food and warm people that would always bring us back. What truly touches your heart are the lil things, the attention to details, in everything they do that sets them a class apart. We love the spirit at Grand Hyatt and are happy to have experienced that first hand. Here’s to many more Grand memories at Grand Hyatt.