Explorer Dream

Cruise Express

Australian owned and operated

Explorer Dream

Cruise Express’ Bec Barnes, recently spent time onboard Explorer Dream. This was Explorer Dream’s much-anticipated inaugural visit to Sydney. Below are Bec’s thoughts on this beautiful ship.

Reviewed by: Bec Barnes

Date: October 2019

Cruise line and ship: Dream CruisesExplorer Dream

Size of ship: 75,338 GRT

Passenger capacity: 1,856 pax

Year built: 1999

Year refurbished/revitalised: 2019

Where the ship cruises: Australia and New Zealand

Currency onboard: AUD

Embarkation/disembarkation: The team of four from Cruise Express received a very warm welcome from Dream Cruises. We were met at the terminal with a champagne reception and had a very smooth embarkation process onto the ship. We were boarding for lunch so only a driver’s license was required. This welcome reception at the port was given because it was her first arrival into Sydney Harbour.

Main features/highlights:  The Dream fleet features all the comforts of authentic Asian hospitality combined with the finest experiences from around the world. The Dream Cruises team state that they are Asian at heart and international in spirit.

Expect most of the usual shipboard facilities including a la carte and buffet dining, a number of specialty restaurants, several bars and lounges, the main show lounge, midship pool with waterslide, gym and shops. The Dream difference is the offer of The Palace – a ‘ship within a ship’ concept that includes private VIP facilities including an exclusive pool and deck space, lounge and restaurant. The Palace guests stay in luxurious suites with private butler service, all-inclusive drinks and complimentary access to all specialty restaurants.

Most suited to:  Families will love it, however there is also plenty on offer for couples and older travellers.

Encounters with service staff: Friendly staff, however some with limited English in the dining room.

Dining options:  We had a five-course lunch in the well-appointed Dream Dining Room including Australian Freshwater Crayfish, Saffron Risotto and Red Braised Wagyu Short Rib. Generally, food in the Dining Room is a Chinese/Western fusion style and possibly one of the best places on the ship. We also tasted canapes from Seafood Grill by Mark Best (good), Umi Uma (excellent) and Silk Road (good).

Seating up to 342 passengers, the Lido Grill is buffet-style restaurant located outdoors at the aft of the ship. With sensational outdoor undercover seating areas, the Lido Grill appears to have lots of international options as per other cruise line buffets and is included in the cost of your cruise.

Also worth visiting are the specialty restaurants (but not included in your cruise cost):
  • Seafood Grill by Mark Best – Deck 13
  • Hot Pot (authentic Chinese) – Deck 8
  • Umi Uma -Deck 8
  • Silk Road – Deck 7
  • Mozzarella Ristorante and Pizzeria – Deck 7 ( modern classic Italian)

There is also the Candy Kingdom for those with a sweet tooth.

Staterooms: 

  • Interior – from 12sqm – max occupancy 3
  • Oceanview – from 13 sqm – max occupancy 2-4
  • Balcony – from 18sqm – max occupancy 4. Queen bed, plus a small sofa beside the bed.

Entertainment: What we saw of the entertainment was excellent, first-class and very impressive.

Family facilities: There is a great kids club on Deck 12 called “Little Dreamers Club” with games, workshops, costume parties and even a DJ booth – for children up to 12 years. Esc Experience Lab – the latest in virtual reality technology and a games arcade for older kids (extra cost). Also The Zone is a multipurpose lounge featuring video game consoles and an air hockey table for older kids. There is also a substantial outdoor area for the kids with a large jumping castle and cubby house.

Activities: Fitness centre, kids club, evening shows, movies on deck, tour talks and port info, live music, video game challenges, sail away party, talent shows.

Sports and leisure: Jogging track, sportsplex, Caesar’s slide, Parthenon pool and boardwalk. A gym on deck 12 that is quite spacious and overlooks the outdoor pool area as well as views to the sea.

A spa and salon with a large selection of services , for example, you can have a facial from $156 for 75 minutes. There are also plenty of boutiques on Deck 7 and 8 mid-ship in the atrium area.

Inclusions: Dining – Dream dining room, Pavilion (Chinese cuisine), The Lido (buffet). Some entertainment and use of the gym.

Exclusions: Shore excursions, all specialty dining, some shows, some kids club activities, gelato bar, arcade, VR experience, spa, salon, Candy Kingdom and boutiques.

Self-service laundry: No, however you can do a special wash whilst cruising  – fill a bag for AU$20.

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Explorer Dream

Cruise Express’ Bec Barnes, recently spent time onboard Explorer Dream. This was Explorer Dream’s much-anticipated inaugural visit to Sydney. Below are Bec’s thoughts on this beautiful ship.

Reviewed by: Bec Barnes

Date: October 2019

Cruise line and ship: Dream CruisesExplorer Dream

Size of ship: 75,338 GRT

Passenger capacity: 1,856 pax

Year built: 1999

Year refurbished/revitalised: 2019

Where the ship cruises: Australia and New Zealand

Currency onboard: AUD

Embarkation/disembarkation: The team of four from Cruise Express received a very warm welcome from Dream Cruises. We were met at the terminal with a champagne reception and had a very smooth embarkation process onto the ship. We were boarding for lunch so only a driver’s license was required. This welcome reception at the port was given because it was her first arrival into Sydney Harbour.

Main features/highlights:  The Dream fleet features all the comforts of authentic Asian hospitality combined with the finest experiences from around the world. The Dream Cruises team state that they are Asian at heart and international in spirit.

Expect most of the usual shipboard facilities including a la carte and buffet dining, a number of specialty restaurants, several bars and lounges, the main show lounge, midship pool with waterslide, gym and shops. The Dream difference is the offer of The Palace – a ‘ship within a ship’ concept that includes private VIP facilities including an exclusive pool and deck space, lounge and restaurant. The Palace guests stay in luxurious suites with private butler service, all-inclusive drinks and complimentary access to all specialty restaurants.

Most suited to:  Families will love it, however there is also plenty on offer for couples and older travellers.

Encounters with service staff: Friendly staff, however some with limited English in the dining room.

Dining options:  We had a five-course lunch in the well-appointed Dream Dining Room including Australian Freshwater Crayfish, Saffron Risotto and Red Braised Wagyu Short Rib. Generally, food in the Dining Room is a Chinese/Western fusion style and possibly one of the best places on the ship. We also tasted canapes from Seafood Grill by Mark Best (good), Umi Uma (excellent) and Silk Road (good).

Seating up to 342 passengers, the Lido Grill is buffet-style restaurant located outdoors at the aft of the ship. With sensational outdoor undercover seating areas, the Lido Grill appears to have lots of international options as per other cruise line buffets and is included in the cost of your cruise.

Also worth visiting are the specialty restaurants (but not included in your cruise cost):
  • Seafood Grill by Mark Best – Deck 13
  • Hot Pot (authentic Chinese) – Deck 8
  • Umi Uma -Deck 8
  • Silk Road – Deck 7
  • Mozzarella Ristorante and Pizzeria – Deck 7 ( modern classic Italian)

There is also the Candy Kingdom for those with a sweet tooth.

Staterooms: 

  • Interior – from 12sqm – max occupancy 3
  • Oceanview – from 13 sqm – max occupancy 2-4
  • Balcony – from 18sqm – max occupancy 4. Queen bed, plus a small sofa beside the bed.

Entertainment: What we saw of the entertainment was excellent, first-class and very impressive.

Family facilities: There is a great kids club on Deck 12 called “Little Dreamers Club” with games, workshops, costume parties and even a DJ booth – for children up to 12 years. Esc Experience Lab – the latest in virtual reality technology and a games arcade for older kids (extra cost). Also The Zone is a multipurpose lounge featuring video game consoles and an air hockey table for older kids. There is also a substantial outdoor area for the kids with a large jumping castle and cubby house.

Activities: Fitness centre, kids club, evening shows, movies on deck, tour talks and port info, live music, video game challenges, sail away party, talent shows.

Sports and leisure: Jogging track, sportsplex, Caesar’s slide, Parthenon pool and boardwalk. A gym on deck 12 that is quite spacious and overlooks the outdoor pool area as well as views to the sea.

A spa and salon with a large selection of services , for example, you can have a facial from $156 for 75 minutes. There are also plenty of boutiques on Deck 7 and 8 mid-ship in the atrium area.

Inclusions: Dining – Dream dining room, Pavilion (Chinese cuisine), The Lido (buffet). Some entertainment and use of the gym.

Exclusions: Shore excursions, all specialty dining, some shows, some kids club activities, gelato bar, arcade, VR experience, spa, salon, Candy Kingdom and boutiques.

Self-service laundry: No, however you can do a special wash whilst cruising  – fill a bag for AU$20.

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