Ultimate Cruise to Nowhere Showdown: Dream Cruises vs Royal Caribbean

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Dream Cruises vs Royal Caribbean: Which cruise liner offers the better cruise to nowhere experience?

Note: I’ve updated this article with additional perspectives from my second Royal Caribbean cruise. Now that I’ve had non-suite experiences on both cruise liners, I have a more apples-to-apples comparison to work with.

If you’re looking to escape Singapore on a Cruise to Nowhere, it’s currently a two-horse race between Dream Cruises and Royal Caribbean, the only STB-approved operators. Dream Cruises operates 2-3 night cruises on World Dream; Royal Caribbean operates 2-4 night cruises on Quantum of the Seas. 

Top: World Dream | Bottom: Quantum of the Seas
Top: World Dream | Bottom: Quantum of the Seas

But which one is a better choice? Having done both, here’s my take. 

🚢 Dream Cruise vs Royal Caribbean Showdown

Dream Cruises vs Royal Caribbean: Policies

Before we even talk about the differences onboard, let’s talk policies and practices. Dream Cruises and Royal Caribbean differ in some very important ways:

Policies
 
Choose Stateroom Online Not allowed Allowed
COVID-19 Testing ART
(same day)
PCR
(48-72 hours before)
BYOB Alcohol Not allowed Up to 2x 750ml bottles of wine per stateroom
Internet, Dining, Beverage Packages Buy onboard* Book before or onboard
*According to this link, Jade and higher members of Dream Cruises’ loyalty program can pre-purchase beverage packages at 10% off. I suppose you need to call in.

Your stateroom location could be the all-important determinant of how much you enjoy your cruise. Those prone to sea sickness will want to be mid-level, mid-ship where movement is kept to a minimum. Light sleepers will want to be located away from elevators and entertainment venues. Lazy bums will want to avoid either extreme of the ship (long walking times).

Royal Caribbean stateroom selector

Royal Caribbean lets guests choose their exact stateroom during the booking process; Dream Cruises has no such functionality (you’ll need to call up reservations if you want a pre-assignment). 

LHS: Royal Caribbean COVID-19 testing at Raffles City | RHS: Dream Cruises COVID-19 testing at Marina Bay Cruise Centre Carpark

COVID-19 testing is a mandatory part of your cruise experience, and both companies go about it very differently. Dream Cruises uses the less invasive (and less accurate) COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART), which is carried out on the day of departure. Passengers will need to arrive early at the cruise terminal to do their test, wait about an hour for the results (in the carpark, not very glam), and board after they test negative. 

Royal Caribbean uses the more invasive (and more accurate) COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, which is carried out between 48-72 hours before departure at Raffles City. Results will be released within 24 hours, and passengers with negative tests can proceed straight to boarding once they arrive at the cruise terminal. 

For those who like their booze, Royal Caribbean permits guests to bring on board two bottles of wine or champagne (750 ml each) per stateroom. These can be enjoyed in the room, or in a restaurant for a US$15 corkage fee (which in my experience, was never charged). Dream Cruises strictly forbids passengers from bringing alcohol on board.

Finally, it’s possible to pre-purchase dining, beverage and internet packages ahead of your Royal Caribbean cruise through the online cruise planner. Dream Cruises lacks this feature, and all package purchases must be done on board. I feel like this puts more pressure on guests, insofar as they have no opportunity to research the packages ahead of time (but not you, dear reader, as I’ll lay them out clearly in subsequent reviews), and it also means a lot more stress on boarding day as you rush to book things up. 

Who wins here? Royal Caribbean, without a doubt. I like the convenience of being able to choose my exact stateroom online, browse the various dining/beverage/internet packages ahead of time, and BYOB. While their COVID-19 test requires you to physically head down to Raffles City, it cuts both ways- on the day of departure, there’s no further wait and you can start enjoying your cruise immediately. 

Dream Cruises vs Royal Caribbean: Price

Balcony Stateroom Prices
(Lowest rates for May 2021)
 
2-night cruise S$402 S$825
3-night cruise S$504 S$1,205
Rates are for 2 pax and inclusive of all port fees and gratuities

Cruise pricing can fluctuate dramatically, so take the above quotes with a pinch of salt- it’s always best to do a comparison search with your actual dates.

For May 2021, the lowest rates I could find on Dream Cruises were well below Royal Caribbean. It’s possible to get some discounts on Royal Caribbean fares with HSBC credit cards or AIA Vitality, but my general sense is that Dream Cruises is more budget-friendly. I suspect you’re being cross subsidized by the gamblers.

Dream Cruises vs Royal Caribbean: Staterooms

The stateroom categories on Dream and Royal roughly map to each other. There are interior rooms with no outside view (although Quantum has rooms with virtual windows), ocean view rooms with portholes, balcony rooms, and suites. 

Here’s how they measure up in terms of size:

Stateroom Sizes
 
Interior 140 sq. ft. 166 sq. ft.
Ocean View 172 sq. ft. 182-302 sq. ft.
Balcony 215-237 sq. ft. 242-253 sq. ft.
Suite (Entry-level) 398 sq ft. 348 sq. ft.

As a general rule, Royal has larger non-suite staterooms, but slightly smaller entry-level suites.

I stayed in a Balcony stateroom on both Royal and Dream, and even though the difference in room size is perhaps 20-30 sq. ft., it’s definitely noticeable. I’m trying to use shots from similar angles in the respective staterooms, but do note I was on the port side for one voyage and starboard on another, hence the door and balcony are reversed. 

World Dream Balcony Room
World Dream Balcony Stateroom
Quantum of the Seas Balcony Stateroom
Quantum of the Seas Balcony Stateroom
World Dream Balcony Stateroom
World Dream Balcony Stateroom
Quantum of the Seas Balcony Room
Quantum of the Seas Balcony Stateroom

The Quantum of the Seas stateroom feels slightly wider, and has more storage space thanks to two wardrobes and an additional credenza. On the other hand, the World Dream room is more modern, (it launched in 2017 vs 2014 for Quantum), with features like 2x USB ports on each bedside and notably faster Wi-Fi. 

Both rooms have excellent beds and soundproofing, so a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be an issue either way. 

The balcony on World Dream is extremely cramped. You can tell by the fact they couldn’t even place the two chairs perpendicular to the railing. 

World Dream Balcony
World Dream Balcony

In contrast, the balcony on Quantum was relatively more spacious (note how the chairs are perpendicular to the railing, and there’s even space for an ottoman), and it felt more pleasant spending time out here. 

Quantum of the Seas Balcony
Quantum of the Seas Balcony

Rooms on both ships were clean and made up twice a day, although I found Royal Caribbean to be a bit more personable in this respect (the cabin attendant personally introduces him/herself on the first day).

Dream Cruises vs Royal Caribbean: Food

Both Quantum of the Seas and World Dream have a wide variety of dining options, and some concepts will overlap. For instance, both have a main dining room and a special one for suites guests, both have a steakhouse and a Japanese restaurant. However, not all concepts will have a corresponding equivalent- World Dream has a hotpot and a specialty Chinese restaurant, while Quantum of the Seas has a molecular gastronomy fine dining restaurant and a specialty Italian joint. 

Here’s a rundown of how things map across ships:

Dining Options
 
Main Dining Room* Dream Dining Room Upper
Dream Dining Room Lower
American Icon Grill
Chic
Silk
The Grande
Special Suites Restaurant Palace Restaurant Coastal Kitchen
Buffet The Lido Windjammer
Steakhouse Prime Steakhouse Chops Grille
Japanese Umi Uma Izumi
Italian N/A Jamie’s Italian
Molecular Gastronomy N/A Wonderland
Hotpot Hot Pot N/A
Chinese Restaurant Silk Road N/A
*Dream Dining Room Upper serves Chinese cuisine, while Lower serves the Western menu. Silk, Chic, The Grande and American Icon Grill all serve the same items; they’re collectively referred to as the MDR

In general, Dream Cruises caters to a more local audience, while Royal Caribbean will appeal to international palates. 

Complimentary Dining

Dream Dining Room Lower and Upper

 

Complimentary dining on Dream is served across two main locations: the Dream Dining Room Lower and Dream Dining Room Upper. The Upper section serves Chinese food, while the Lower section serves Western food. 

Unlike other cruise liners, Dream does not have “traditional” dining where you show up at a fixed time every night. It’s strictly first-come-first-serve, which means the potential for waits. Also, since you get a different table every time, you can forget about receiving anything other than anonymous service. 

Silk
Silk, one of four MDR venues on Quantum of the Seas

On Royal, the complimentary dining is split across four different restaurants- American Icon Grill, Chic, Silk, and The Grande. They all serve the same menu, and where you’re seated is a function of whether you’re on My Time Dining or Traditional.

Regardless of which you choose, they endeavor to put you at the same table each night so you can have the same waitstaff and build a rapport. Our waiter was fantastic- by the second day he had figured out our preferences, and automatically brought extra portions of what he thought we’d like (and was spot on). 

Note: This personalised treatment applies mainly at dinner. For breakfast and lunch, you’ll be assigned at random, i.e more like the Dream Cruise system.

I found breakfast to be the most underwhelming meal on both cruise ships, but at the very least Royal offered more options. On Dream, you had the same Western breakfast every day, with the only variable being a special that rotated between french toast, waffles, and pancakes.

Dream Dining Room (Lower) Breakfast
Dream Dining Room (Lower) Breakfast

The Chinese selection had more variety, but still relied heavily on oily carbs. 

DDR Upper breakfast
DDR Upper breakfast

 

Royal’s menu stayed the same each day, but they had nine different options plus a wide choice of sides. 

Royal Caribbean breakfast
Royal Caribbean breakfast

The star of lunch and dinner on Dream were the fish dishes. I was surprised by how good they are, and thankful they didn’t use cheap dory or some other bottom feeder. Instead, we had seabass and snapper, both cooked to perfection. 

DDR Lower Meal
Dream Dining Room (Lower) Lunch
Dream Dining Room (Lower) Lunch
Dream Dining Room (Lower) Lunch

The rest of the stuff on Dream, sadly, was cheap and unappetizing. I’d actually have been perfectly happy just going for the mains and skipping everything else. 

Dream Dining Room (Lower) appetizers and desserts
Dream Dining Room (Lower) appetizers and desserts

If your tastes veer more Chinese, you’d be able to enjoy a rotating menu of several dishes at each seating. It goes without saying that the Chinese option on Dream were much better than Royal’s. 

DDR Upper lunch
Dream Dining Room (Upper) lunch

On Royal, lunch focused on fast-casual options, like burgers, quesadillas, pasta and sandwiches. 

MDR lunch options
Main Dining Room lunch options

Dinner was the real highlight, with choices like Steak Diane, Mojo-Marinated Grilled Pork Chop, and a surprisingly delicious prime rib. You can order as many appetizers, mains and desserts as you want, and we never left hungry. 

Main Dining Room dinner choices
Main Dining Room dinner options

In the battle of the buffets, Windjammer trounces Lido. Not only does the layout feel more inviting (cuisines are grouped by islands, instead of an assembly line, and there’s much more room for people to move around while browsing), but the variety and quality at Windjammer put Lido to shame. 

Windjammer
Windjammer on Quantum of the Seas
Lido on World Dream
Lido on World Dream

Frankly, the food at Lido was depressing. I’m going to quote from my review here: 

Think industrial cafeteria food, then imagine it a hundred times worse. Then picture it served in a chaotic, cramped environment with screaming kids and dirty tables, and you’ve only started to conceptualise the hell that is Lido. 

The options were low quality, heavily reliant on carbs, fried food and processed items, and presented in a bland and unappetizing way. Dire. 

Lido selection
Lido selection

In contrast, the options at Windjammer may not have been steak and lobster, but they were certainly higher quality than Lido. There were also a few stations that would assemble your item to order, like burgers or pasta. 

Windjammer selection
Windjammer selection

Other free food options on World Dream are extremely limited- in fact, outside of the MDR and Lido, I can’t think of any other venue that had complimentary dining. On Royal, you’ll be spoiled for choice with pizza at Sorrento’s, hotdogs at the Dog House, healthier options at Solarium, sandwiches and soups at Two70, and random surprises like soft serve ice cream by the pool. 

Specialty Dining & Beverage Packages

Chops Grille on Quantum of the Seas

Dream and Royal differ in the way they price specialty dining.

On Dream, specialty dining works purely on an a la carte basis. When you board the ship, you’ll be offered a Day One “embarkation offer”, where you can buy dining credits at the following prices:

  • Pay S$50 get S$55 credit (9% off)
  • Pay S$100 get S$120 credit (17% off)
  • Pay S$150 get S$180 credit (17% off)
  • Pay S$200 get S$250 credit (20% off)

In addition to this, certain set meals at places like Umi Uma and Hotpot will also be sold at a 20% discount (which you can further pay for with discounted dining credits, saving even more). When I was sailing, KrisFlyer members received a 20% discount off all food at specialty restaurants as well. 

On Royal Caribbean, things work differently. With the exception of Izumi (which uses an a la carte model), you pay for a reservation, during which you can order as much as you want at a particular restaurant. You can also buy an Unlimited Dining Package (UDP), which lets you eat at as many specialty restaurants as you wish (it cost S$135 for my four-night cruise). 

Both Dream and Royal have beverage packages, which I’ve tried to map to each other below:

Beverage Prices
(3-night cruise)
 
Soft drinks only N/A S$33
10x premium coffee N/A S$42
Non-alcoholic drinks S$90 S$82
Non-alcoholic drinks + Beer S$118 N/A
All drinks except hard liquor S$138 N/A
All drinks S$235 S$163

Drinks packages are generally cheaper on Royal. If you opt for a la carte pricing, it’s more or less comparable, with the exception of hard liquor. A shot costs S$15 on Dream Cruises, versus S$12 on Royal. 

Remember: the key with Royal Caribbean is to wait for sales. Opt-in to their email communications (you can always unsubscribe after the cruise) so you’ll know when beverage and dining package are going on sale.

If in doubt, just lock in something first- you can always cancel without penalty prior to boarding. 

Chops Grille vs Prime Steakhouse

LHS: Chops Grille, RHS: Prime Steakhouse by Mark Best

In this category, there’s just no contest. Chops Grille is an amazing place to get a steak, and Prime Steakhouse is an amazing place to waste your money. 

Let’s talk prices first. Chops Grille costs S$31 for lunch and S$68 for dinner. You’re technically allowed one appetizer, one soup & salad, and one main course + unlimited sides, but in practice the staff are more than happy to bring multiple items. 

At Prime Steakhouse, a steak alone already costs you S$55 (I’m adjusting for the 20% discount available from buying credits on embarkation day, and adding in the 18% gratuity). Once you factor in a starter and sides, you’re definitely going to be shelling out more on World Dream. 

Prime Steakhouse menu
Prime Steakhouse menu

Does that extra money buy you quality? Like fun it does. Here’s Chops Grille’s ribeye…

Ribeye at Chops Grille
Ribeye at Chops Grille

…and here’s Prime Steakhouse’s version. 

Ribeye at Prime Steakhouse
Ribeye at Prime Steakhouse

Visually speaking, the Chops Grille ribeye looks so much more appealing, with a lovely char and juicy-looking marbling. In contrast, the Prime Steakhouse ribeye looks anemic and although there are some grill marks, the sear isn’t anywhere as impressive. 

LHS: Chops Grille, RHS: Prime Steakhouse by Mark Best

Flavor wise, it’s a home run for Chops Grille. While both steaks were cooked to a proper medium rare, the Chops Grille ribeye had an amazingly juicy interior, perfumed with roasted garlic and dotted with melting fat. The Prime Steakhouse ribeye lacked the distinctive marbling you’d expect, and was even chewy at times. 

Izumi vs Umi Uma Teppanyaki

LHS: Izumi, RHS: Umi Uma Teppanyaki

Quantum may walk the steak contest, but World Dream takes the Japanese restaurant category. 

I wonder how much of it is due to the fact that Izumi is a victim of Royal Caribbean’s arcane sourcing procedures. Because it’s a US-based cruise liner, it’s subject to FDA regulations, one of which is all raw fish must be frozen and sent to the USA for inspection. I don’t need to tell you what freezing does to sashimi, salmon sashimi in particular. It was a watery, unappetizing mess.

Izumi
Izumi on Quantum of the Seas

Even ignoring the sashimi, the rest of the menu at Izumi was plain bad. The ramen was soggy and tasteless, the rolls were sticky and unappetizing. 

In contrast, Umi Uma’s teppanyaki was the highlight of my meals onboard World Dream. They use fresh prawns (Royal only has frozen), and the difference is night and day. My set menu of surf and turf wasn’t cheap (~S$100), but I really enjoyed it. 

Umi Uma teppanyaki on World Dream
Umi Uma teppanyaki on World Dream
Umi Uma teppanyaki on World Dream
Umi Uma teppanyaki on World Dream

Other Specialty Restaurants

LHS: Wonderland. Yes, this unappetizing mess is one of the dishes they served up | RHS: Jamie’s Italian

The specialty restaurants on Quantum of the Seas are somewhat inconsistent. During my first visit, Chops was phenomenal, Jamie’s and Wonderland dreadful. During the second, Chops was average, Jamie’s was pretty good, and I didn’t bother returning to Wonderland because I felt ripped off the first time. I think they’re all worth trying at least once, but it’s really a case of YMMV. 

Hot Pot on World Dream

It’s not like the specialty dining on World Dream was any better though. Hot Pot’s “premium” set was a mix of cheap, fatty pork (80% fat, 20% meat), and bulked up with cheap items like fish and beef balls. It wasn’t enough food for one person, but ordering additional items was extremely expensive (S$5 for a single portion of mushrooms, $6 for beef balls, $17 for pork belly). 

LHS: Sparkling Brut | RHS: Moscato, served to me as Sparkling Brut (look at the color; darker color= sweeter)

Last point: be careful when ordering wine on World Dream. Two times at two separate restaurants, I ordered a sparkling brut from the wine list. Both times, I was served Moscato; the bartender had mixed up the bottles. I’m willing to believe it was a genuine mistake, but as a safety precaution, always ask to see the bottle. 

The winner for dining? Royal, hands down. On Royal, the question always was “how many more meals can I squeeze in?” On Dream, the question was “what’s the least bad thing I can eat?”

Dream Cruises vs Royal Caribbean: Entertainment

Royal Theatre on Quantum of the Seas
Royal Theatre on Quantum of the Seas

All shows on Quantum of the Seas are free, and there’s a wide range to choose from:

  • Comedy Juggling by Steve Rawlings (comedy)
  • Gold Art Duo (acrobatics)
  • Sequins and Feathers (cabaret)
  • Starwater (musical)
  • Viktoria Stryzhak (violin recital)

I managed to catch all of them (review here), and while some were better than others, the overall standard was very high. Starwater was a particular highlight- a blockbuster original musical with top notch costumes, singing and production values. It’s the kind of thing I’d have paid money to see outside. 

Starwater on Quantum of the Seas

Also fantastic was Sequins and Feathers, a tribute to cabaret shows throughout the ages. 

Sequins and Feathers on Quantum of the Seas

World Dream, on the other hand, only has two free shows:

  • Dream Variety (variety show with singing and acrobatics)
  • Vision by Vincent Vignaud (magic show)

A third show called Dream Boys is available, but this will cost you S$50. What was especially surreal was the way the cruise director casually sauntered onto stage after the magic show finished, told the kids in the audience about the upcoming video game tournament, then in the same breath started pitching Dream Boys to the adults. 

Dream Boys pitch. Get used to these.

“It’s not just sexy, it’s also funny,” she tried to explain, as if the main obstacle to attendance was the lack of a healthy dose of comedy to accompany the acts of wanton carnality. 

Dream Boys, a family-friendly production

Get used to these pitches; they’re a frequent feature onboard World Dream. Dream Boys also got a shout out immediately after the suitable-for-all-ages Dream Variety show, and I swear the grandmother in front of me swallowed her dentures when she saw the trailer. 

Dream Variety Show
Dream Variety Show

As for the free shows, well, I didn’t particularly enjoy any of them. The Dream Variety show was a strange mash up of English and Chinese dance numbers and songs, and I suppose it may appeal to the older generation, but it wasn’t for me. 

Vision by Vincent Vignaud on World Dream

Likewise, Vincent Vignaud’s magic show felt a bit like Gob from Arrested Development (he was so campy I half expected Final Countdown to start blasting), but not in a good way. In my opinion, a solid magic performance is more than just technical competence; it’s about having the charisma and humour to engage the audience. I didn’t get any of that here, and it didn’t help that many of the illusions weren’t that hard to figure out (one of them was a carbon copy of Mark Shortland’s phone smashing routine on Fool Us).

I realise it’s all subjective, but if you ask me, Royal Caribbean wins the entertainment round hands down. 

Dream Cruises vs Royal Caribbean: Activities

Both cruise lines go all out to ensure that guests don’t get bored. 

On World Dream, you’ll find an elevated rope course that culminates in a zipline ride 18 decks above the ocean. There’s also a mini-golf course, five waterslides, a LAN gaming hub, and a VR game studio (do the early bird 1-for-1 games; never pay full price). 

Dream Cruise activities
World Dream activities

Quantum of the Seas, on the other hand, has a wave pool and skydiving simulator, bumper cars, an observation capsule, and more swimming pools (including the lovely Solarium, exclusively for adults). There even used to be laser tag and escape room games, but those have been suspended due to COVID. 

Royal Caribbean activities
Quantum of the Seas activities

Both ships also have kid’s clubs, and dance classes/trivia sessions throughout the day.

Do note that the pool on World Dream requires reservations, and getting one means standing in a long, slow moving queue (there’s no digital booking option). With Quantum, it’s first-come-first-serve, and the lifeguards will enforce social distancing restrictions. 

I think the options are solid on both; it boils down to what you’re more interested in. 

Dream Cruises vs Royal Caribbean: Wi-Fi

Both Dream Cruises and Royal Caribbean offer Wi-Fi onboard, at the following prices:

Wi-Fi Prices (Per Night)
 
  Regular Fast Regular Fast
1 device S$9 S$14 S$13 S$16
2 devices S$16 S$25 S$22 S$24
3 devices N/A N/A S$26 S$27
4 devices S$27 S$42 S$27 S$31

Dream Cruises is cheaper if you just have a single device, but by the time you go up to four, Royal Caribbean becomes the better deal. As mentioned earlier, Royal Caribbean holds frequent sales in the run up towards departure, so pay attention to the prices in Cruise Planner. You can always cancel and repurchase plans without penalty, so lock in deals when they appear. 

In terms of internet speeds, my experience was that Dream Cruises was better. That said, I realise this is highly dependent on weather conditions, the route your cruise sails, and how many people are on board, so you’ll need to take these results with a pinch of salt. 

 
  Down Up Down Up
Peak Speed 11.4 Mpbs 33.0 Mbps 3.7 Mbps 1.9 Mbps

For what it’s worth, I was able to do Whatsapp video calls on both ships without too many issues, and for Royal Caribbean, YouTube videos were able to load quickly enough at 480p. 

Dream Cruises vs Royal Caribbean: Overall Vibe

Dream Cruises knows that a sizeable proportion of its clientele come to gamble, and it’s not shy about appealing to that.  In fact, it’s hard to find a byway on the ship that isn’t lined with slot machines or some other game of chance, assaulting you with their bright lights and constant din. 

Slot machines on World Dream. Where exactly? It doesn’t matter, you’ll see this everywhere

Even if you’re not a gambler, the gambling is almost impossible to ignore. On embarkation night, a ship-wide announcement was made over the PA informing everyone we were now in international waters, and the casinos (that’s plural; World Dream has more than one) had opened. If you wandered through the main concourse, you’d almost certainly run into one of many jackpot bingo sessions (cost of entry: S$20). 

World Dream Jackpot Bingo
World Dream Jackpot Bingo
World Dream Jackpot Bingo
World Dream Jackpot Bingo

Want to take in a relaxing show? Sure, but before that, a message from our sponsors. Did you know you can buy scratch cards and win fantastic prizes? Yes, and we’ve got people wandering the aisles now selling them, so be sure to flag them down! 

World Dream Scratch Card Sales
World Dream Scratch Card Sales

It was just relentless, and come to think of it, even the kid’s games in the arcade were predominantly games of chance. Start them young, why don’t you?

World Dream arcade
World Dream arcade

Some will say I’m nitpicking; that getting annoyed with gambling on Dream Cruises is like complaining that a cow moos too much. Perhaps so, but I want everyone to go in with their eyes open. For all its ancillary attractions and activities, Dream Cruises is, first and foremost, a floating casino. If you like that, you’ll have a great time. If not, you’ll find it grates after a while. 

Royal Caribbean, on the other hand, had a decidedly more family-friendly theme. You won’t find male strippers here, and the vice is strictly contained within a single casino area. You could spend a week onboard and never come across it. It could just be me, but I found that a lot more relaxing. 

Conclusion

Rock wall on Quantum of the Seas
Rock wall on Quantum of the Seas

No prizes for guessing that Royal Caribbean was my favorite of the two cruises to nowhere; the food was better, the service was better, the shows were better. By the end of day 2 on Dream, I couldn’t wait for it to be over; with Royal, I didn’t want it to end. 

For those who want more details, here’s my complete reports for World Dream and Quantum of the Seas. 

🚢 Cruise to Nowhere: Dream Cruises
🚢 Cruise to Nowhere: Royal Caribbean

What else would you like to know about Royal Caribbean vs Dream Cruises?

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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ithh

Dream Cruises is run by Genting. Not surprising at all.
The cruise line is just an excuse to run a casino.

Wee Lin

With $500 vs $1200 for the same package (3 nights, balcony), yeah, no surprise winner here.

Waiting for the “Mandarin Orchard vs. Mandarin Oriental” or the “Economy to Japan vs. Business to Japan” showdowns 😉

Wee Lin

That is a very fair warning to people who haven’t tried either indeed. If the price is the same, pick Quantum of the Seas. If you’re able to book Dream for $500 though I’d consider that to be a decent deal (then again I spent most of my time on both ships on the balcony reading my first books in years). But yes, avoid Lido at all cost (unless it’s 3am and you’re hungry), lol. Meanwhile I wouldn’t mind some better promotions to have another trip with the Quantum of the Seas. At the current price point, I’d rather revisit… Read more »

ZYX

I will use Air India to New Delhi and SQ A380 to New Delhi to replace the latter metaphor LOL

Guest

I found the shows on Dream quite bad.. But there’s some free lounge performances that were decent. (Singing)

Outdoor activities were good coz I love thrill stuff. (The flying fox over the water was the highlight). Waterslides were a bit different coz i hate the water lol.

Food I found the western options on Dream quite ok. The chinese one sucked. lol.

And yes. They heavily advertise casinos yet don’t have the brains to open up more tables lol. can be a 1hr wait to play your games

ZYX

Soups at the Western were really appalling. Chinese was tolerable for me, and dim sum for breakfast simply beat Lido or western.
Was trying to be cheapstake on World Dream and didn’t go for any paid F&B/activities. Would be interested to know free activities on RC also.

Last edited 7 months ago by ZYX
anon

I don’t like chinese soups at all mostly except for the common ones like lotus or peanut lol..

Western was ok but some soups were indeed weird.

VR is a must to go for. The rest I didnt pay too lol

ZYX

P.S Aaron you need to remind Dream Cruise goers to bring swimming spectacles for waterslides.

Anon

The casino is a joke.. thats all I can say… There is no vibe at all. Partner cannot even stand behind/next to u.. really a big joke.

western free food was decent actually. But chinese is really just common stuff you can find outside.

Cant comment on lido/breakfast as I didnt eat those.

ZYX

It’s due to safe distancing…Even though there may not be safe distancing ambassador onboard to fine you, photos uploaded to social media can cause greater reaction…

ZYX

3N Dream cruise actually has 3 shows (though the 1st on boarding day may not be regarded as show, just singing only).

ZYX

BTW is RC only available on their official website? Meaning cannot use SRV.

ZYX

Saw it, but don’t understand why prices of 3N vs 4N are 289 vs 619…

Barney

Looks like I am joining AIA vitality!

Mac&Cheese

I always take Dream Cruise Palace category, which I feel it’s more worth the price. As Palace guest, I have the following perks: ( 1.Priority on boarding & disembarking , swab test 2.Unlimited wifi, unlimited all kinds of drinks including alcohol drinks, 3.Daily free meal from those paid restaurant for both lunch & dinner, 4.Butler service (1 butler serve about 10 Palace guest) 5.Daily pressing service, 6.Delegated poor, gym, 7.Better seating for daily entertainment show 8.Delegated gambling room (I don’t gamble thought) I wanted to try Royal Caribbean, but I find their tier of suite rooms are too complicated. Different… Read more »

Mac & Cheese

The palace restaurant is good for breakfast, with good selection from western, to dim sum or porridge. But they do not serve lobster.

Usually I take lunch & dinner at those paid restaurant which is available for palace guest for free.

As Palace guest can only visit each restaurant for free once during the sailing, you can have free lobster from Seafood Grill by Mark Best & Prime Steakhouse. As two of the restaurants are at same location and serve the same menu.

Michael

Royal Caribbean offering kids cruise free and would probably be cheaper if the pricing is based on 4pax/cabin. would paint a different picture compared to the pricing based on 2pax/cabin.

tanyamib

For similar price point I can get Palace suite on dream cruise or junior suite on RCL, the choice goes easily to dream cruise for the perks. But of course if I can get grand suite on RCL for same price then I would go for grand suite LOL

Ali

“Other free food options on World Dream are extremely limited- in fact, outside of the MDR and Lido, I can’t think of any other venue that had complimentary dining.”

Did you mean “Dream Dining Room and Lido”?

Thanks for all the cruise reviews, it’s interesting to see how they have changed. My last cruise was when SuperStar Virgo was still a new ship…

Tom

Thanks for the detailed analysis. By the looks of the screenshot you took of the cruise planner it seems that we are booked on the same 4 night cruise at the end of March.

Are you having trouble booking things at the moment? For example the dining options / packages were only loaded for me yesterday and I still don’t have any activities to book such as the gym apart from the Northstar and iFly.

RC said this was because it is one of the extended sailings but are you having the same problem?

Nitpick

Lol you are just nitpicking cos of the casinos.

SLE

Now no more premium drink package included with Dream Cruise’s Palace Level Benefits unless one has booked one before Early Feb. Now it’s only Happy Hour at Palace Lounge between 5-7pm when it comes to alcoholic drinks.

RC convert

Just came back from a RC cruise in the Jr Suite category – we got a 4N deal for $800 pp! Service was impeccable, food was seriously good at Coastal Kitchen (and pretty good at Windjammer and the other free spots too), performances were OK, though production values were generally very high. But the ship is decked out beautifully, very tasteful – and I loved the chic Solarium! For the price we got, it was an amazing experience, certainly suited to our preferences.

Tan Chan Boon

不用比较,根本没得比,Royal C 就像五星级酒店,另外一艘就是食堂。服务员水平的距离也差不多那样。水平的问题。

CH Tan

When you say this “you can always cancel and repurchase plans without penalty, so lock in deals when they appear”, do you actually lose money because your bank would have to convert to USD the initial payment and then back to SGD for the refund?

Thanks in advance!

CH Tan

Hi Aaron, thank you for your reply! I plan to get the Deluxe Beverage Package at 30% off but am wondering if I should wait for the price to drop to 40% off. Thing is, not quite sure (1) if it will even drop to 40% off; and (2) if the 10% difference (approximately 100 bucks) will outweigh the forex losses.

Sky

You were absolutely right about the magic show by Vincent Vignaud. We just came back from a 4 day 3 night stay at Dream Cruise and went to his magic show. Not only was he neither entertaining nor funny he picks on audiences to entertain the crowd because he lacked humor.

Be careful when you attend his show – you can get picked on and be humiliated. We wished we had read your review earlier so we did not have to waste our precious vacation time to watch his incompetence in magic and engaging the audience.

Sky

True that. Everything aside, we are really glad to have found this useful site that gives more comprehensive (and honest) reviews that are not obviously written in favor of the respective cruises/restaurants. We’ll definitely be using this more often for our staycations/future travels! Once we can actually get out of Singapore…

Samantha

Aaron, I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your review. It was painstakingly detailed and done with a lot of heart. Thought you should know your effort and passion got through to your audience. Best wishes!

Dyna

Is the purchase considered online ? Hence WWMC?

Jo Jo

Very useful review Aaron, thanks for the effort. Just to update that RC now requires both PCR and ART. Plus they stealthily removed priority boarding for suite passengers, informing you only one week before boarding of this change and leaving us stuck with a tragic 5:30PM boarding time. Was looking forward to the sky loft we booked, but this has been a truly depressing start to a much awaited holiday.

Wjin

Thank you for the unbiased review. I’ve sailed on both ships (just came back today from the World Dream) and I agree with you about practically everything. I read and watched other (sponsored) blogs and YouTubers praising the food on World Dream like it was one of the highlights, but you called it out as it is. The Lido was really a cheap cafeteria (reminded me of cookhouse food), the Chinese breakfast was mainly carbs with barely any protein. We visited the 24 hour snack corner once and didn’t go back, the food was just over fried and not palatable.… Read more »

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