1. COVID-19 Measures
While both cruises have mandatory COVID-19 testing before you embark on the ship, Royal Caribbean requires you to take 2 compulsory COVID-19 tests. The first test is a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, which is to be taken at Raffles City Shopping Center 48-72 hours before departure. The second is an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) which will be done on the day of departure at the cruise terminal carpark. Passengers will have to arrive early, do the ART test and wait 1 hour for their negative test result before they can board the ship.
Unlike Royal Caribbean, Dream Cruises only requires you to take 1 ART test on the day itself before departure. Similarly, passengers will have to report early, take the test at the terminal carpark and wait 1 hour for a negative test result before they can board the ship.
Arguably one of the most important parts of booking a cruise trip: picking the room you’ll be staying in for the next couple of days. Royal Caribbean allows you the freedom to select your exact stateroom before during booking so you can choose where exactly on the ship you’ll want to spend your nights, be it near the elevators, far from entertainment venues, mid-ship for minimal walking etc.
In general, Royal Caribbean also has larger stateroom sizes, and more wardrobe and storage spaces available for guests to store their belongings. The balconies at Royal Caribbean are also more spacious.
Unfortunately, Dream Cruises does not allow you to choose your stateroom during booking. If you want to reserve your preferred room, you’ll have to make a call to request it.
Dream Cruises’ staterooms are also slightly smaller than those at Royal Caribbean, with less wardrobe space and no drawers available. The balcony is also more cramped and narrow as compared to the balconies at Royal Caribbean.
3. Room Amenities
Toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and separate body wash, shampoo and conditioner are not provided in Royal Caribbean. Instead, they provide 3-in-1 shampoo to use for hair and body.
As for drinking water, Royal Caribbean only provides bottled water on the first day, leaving you to purchase your own drinking water and other beverages for the rest of the cruise.
TV programmes in Royal Caribbean are also chargeable, so if you’re looking to watch movies in your room, you’ll have to purchase them.
Unlike Royal Caribbean, Dream Cruises staterooms are furnished with toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion.
Dream Cruises also provides guests with bottled water daily, so you don’t have to buy your own.
Dream also has many free TV programmes available for your viewing, from English to Chinese shows and movies.
Complimentary activities at Royal Caribbean include the FlowRider, zipline and rock climbing and more. The FlowRider accommodates 2 guests at one time, with each surf session lasting 5-10 minutes; while the rock climbing wall allows 3 guests to scale the wall at any one time. Since reservations are not required for these activities, you can expect longer wait times for each one.
You can pre-book slots to attend other activities at Seaplex such as dancing, yoga, table tennis, bumper cars, mini golf and more. Some of these activities are not first-come-first-serve and operate strictly by reservation basis, so make sure to secure your slot via the Cruise Planner before your sail date or on Day 1 at Seaplex if you wish to take part in certain activities onboard Royal Caribbean. You’ll have to book slots for all the activities you want to take part in for all the days of the cruise by Day 1 itself.
Dream has six slides: 5 adult slides and 1 kids slide, rock climbing, rope course, and a zipline—all of which are complimentary and do not incur any additional charges in order to enjoy them.
You don’t have to reserve or book a slot to enjoy the activities either, simply line up and wait for your turn. Since there are multiple slides available, with each slide taking only a minute to complete, as well as a rope course that can accommodate up to 10 people at one time, guests are well-distributed across all activities, minimising the waiting time for activities.
Dream also has similar activities to Royal Caribbean, however unlike Royal Caribbean, you don’t have to pre-book your slot for these activities. All you have to do is browse the newsletter daily for activities you’re interested in joining and then proceed to the venue 10 minutes prior in order to secure your slot.
There are 3 pool sections available at Royal Caribbean: the indoor pool, outdoor pool and the Solarium (for 18 year olds and above only).
You don’t have to book a time slot to use the pools, all you have to do is line up and wait for your turn. At any point of time, about 20 guests will be allowed in the pool, and each group will only be allowed 10 minutes of pool time. Once the 10 minutes are up, the lifeguard will call all guests to leave the pool to allow the next group of guests to enter.
Unlike Royal Caribbean, Dream only has 1 outdoor pool and jacuzzi available to use. To use the pool, you’ll have to manually book a time slot. Approach the staff in order to book a slot, and they will give you a paper slip with your time slot written on it. Each time slot grants guests 1 hour of pool time.
6. Live Shows
All the shows on Royal Caribbean are free but some of them require prior reservations in order to secure a seat. You can pre-reserve tickets to live shows online via the Cruise Planner.
Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line offering Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals onboard: from Grease, Cats, Mamma Mia! and Hairspray. Other shows available include Comedy Juggling by Steve Rawlings, Gold Art Duo, Sequins and Feathers, Starwater and Viktoria Stryzhak.
Dream Cruises also has a host of free live shows to suit all audiences such as acrobatics, magic shows, cabarets, theatre productions and more. Look forward to shows like Dream Boys (male strip show), Lumière (comedy show), Jolly Holly (seasonal Christmas show), FAITH (theatrics and acrobatics) and VISION by Vincent Vignaud (illusions and magic), just to name a few.
7. Casino & Shopping
While Royal Caribbean does have a casino, it is smaller as compared to the one onboard Dream Cruises. Betting in Royal Caribbean casinos are done in USD, so if you’re intending to visit the casino, make sure to have enough cash in US currency in order to play. Shopping options on Royal Caribbean are more bountiful, with plenty of high-end and luxury shops in their Royal Promenade shopping street such as Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, TAG Heuer and more.
Though the casino on Dream Cruises is grander and more impressive, spanning 3 decks with plenty of slot machines, table games like Roulette and Black Jack, electronic table games and more; shopping options are more limited, with only several duty-free shops available.
8. Food & Beverages
In general, Royal Caribbean’s food options cater more to an international palate, with specialty fine dining and Italian restaurants such as Wonderland and Jamie’s Italian. Royal Caribbean also has complimentary dining across 4 rooms, all of which serve the same menu but with a more personal dining experience as you’ll be seated at the same area each time so your waiter will be familiar with your preferences. There is also a buffet, the Windjammer, Chops Grille steakhouse, Izumi for Japanese and Coastal Kitchen.
Food options on Dream Cruises are identical to those served on Royal Caribbean, except with a more Asian twist to cater more towards local palates. Dream Cruises has a Hot Pot restaurant and Chinese restaurant called Silk Road for those who prefer more Chinese cuisine as compared to Western. Similar to Royal Caribbean, Dream Cruises has main dining rooms, except the difference is there is no fixed timing for dining; dining times are strictly first-come-first-serve, so you probably be seated at a different table each time, with no personalised service. Identical to Royal Caribbean, Dream Cruises also has a buffet called The Lido, Prime Steakhouse and Umi Uma for Japanese.