Rekindling the romance after 20 years of marriage
It’s widely believed – even studied – that the relationship between your parents plays a colossal role in shaping the way you view love. And I can say with full confidence that for me, that much is true.
Image credit: Isabelle Lee
Whether it was managing finances, respecting elders or treating people with kindness, my parents have always been exemplary role models to my siblings and me. And through their marriage, they taught us about compromise, sacrifice and the importance of “family first”.
Sacrificing romance to raise my siblings and me
Image credit: Isabelle Lee
One of the main sacrifices my parents made once we, children, came into the picture; was to put romance and their wants on the back burner. Raising the family took top priority, and things like candle-lit dinners, movies, couple holidays were quickly replaced by outings to theme parks, staying up to help with homework, and tucking us into bed.
Often, the act of parenting would leave them so spent, it was hard to find time for anything else. On top of it all, my dad’s schedule as a pilot along with my mum’s daily duties and work commitments didn’t leave them with a lot of time to spend together or go on planned, let alone impromptu dates.
Image credit: Isabelle Lee
Over the years, they kinda settled into a comfortable rhythm, and the most romance we’d witness from them would be a peck on the cheek or a hand-holding whenever we were out together as a family. But even so, the love my parents had for each other was evident from the way they cared for each other.
Gifting them some quality time in the form of a cruise getaway
These days, even though my siblings and I are all grown up and dad is home more often due to the whole Covid-19 situation, mum’s work has gotten much busier as she regularly attends virtual meetings well into the night.
Image credit: Isabelle Lee
With the start of university just a couple of months away, I wanted to give my folks a going-away gift of sorts, one that would let them spend some couple time together, away from their busy schedules. And what could be a better option than a cruise to nowhere? The best part was, tickets to Dream Cruises’the World Dream were only $299/person – well within my budget as an intern.
Entering university was not only a milestone for me, but for my parents too: their eldest daughter was finally adulting. And because I was sure the added responsibilities of being a uni student would keep me busy in the near future, I got myself a ticket – and an adjoining room – as well so I could make priceless memories with them before school starts.
Couple activities onboard the World Dream
Boarding for the cruise started early in the afternoon, giving us plenty of time to settle down and explore.
Setting sail during such times, I was slightly worried that additional measures would mean delays and inconvenience. But boarding turned out to be a breeze – we completed and received the results of our complimentary Covid-19 rapid antigen test results within half an hour of arriving at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre.
The whole procedure was extremely efficient, and we dodged the crowds because we were assigned to groups with different test and boarding times.
Though the cruise was only set to depart later that night, we were able to board the World Dream soon after the test, letting us settle in comfortably into our stateroom.
The romantic 3D2N itinerary
Their Balcony Deluxe Stateroom had more than enough room for three – but the purpose of this trip was to give them more quality time and I was not going to stand in the way of that!
Before the whole Covid-19 situation, my family’s go-to holiday destinations were Taiwan and Thailand. Massages or a spa session would always be on the trip itinerary regardless of destination, so naturally, the first order of business aboard was to get everyone in the mood for the ultimate nua experience.
1. Spa session
We headed to the Crystal Life Spa for a well-deserved Swedish massage ($130/pax) to kick things off. Just my luck – there was a buy-two-get-one deal, so I got to have in on the experience too. I was glad my parents got to have their massage in a private room for couples, and the whole romantic experience I had hoped for was playing out according to plan.
The spa package also included complimentary use of the sauna for an hour, and by the end of the session, we were so relaxed that it felt like we were walking on clouds.
2. Outdoor movie
Never thought I’d be bringing my parents to “Zouk Beach Club”, but that’s where the outdoor movies are screened.
Earlier in the day, I’d pored through the itinerary to pick out the best couple activities to fill up their 3D2N stay, and a movie under the stars was a definite pick. We huddled up for a screening of Fast and Furious on the comfy deck chairs, thoroughly enjoying the unique experience with the cool ocean air at night and barely-noticeable rocking of the cruise.
Ironically, it felt a little like I was the parent chaperoning the two lovebirds on their cruise date.
My parents aren’t super adventurous, so virtual reality (VR) arcades and the wild water slide park were out of the question. I nudged them towards a game of mini-golf the next day, a first for my folks, and the many embarrassing misses and lucky hole-in-ones left them laughing and really letting their hair down. Thankfully, the gorgeous, sweeping view of the open sea also upped the romantic factor of the fairly simple – and free – activity.
4. Korean cooking demonstration
The cooking demo was part of “Rhythm of Korea”, the cruise’s theme for the month.
And while there were plenty of activities to choose from, we decided on a cooking demonstration. The only thing my parents love more than food is a good competition, and dinnertime in our household often plays out like the latest season of MasterChef.
Having spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking up a storm during the Circuit Breaker, my dad was keen on attending a kimchi workshop to elevate his Korean cooking skills in time for our next ramyeon night.
The workshop was hosted by one of the most popular banchan sellers in Singapore, Jin Kimchi, and was pretty eye-opening as we were let in on the founder’s time-honoured family kimchi recipe, along with demonstrations on whipping up Kimchi Pancake, Kimchi Gimbap and Kimchi Stew.
5. Jazz performance and laser show
With a whole range of performances and shows to catch, we also had the chance to kick back at the luxurious Palm Court lounge to tune in for a live jazz saxophone performance. All that before capping off a memorable second night with a mesmerising laser show on the pool deck.
6. Scrumptious food options across three dining facilities
Feasting on the international buffet spread at The Lido against the panoramic backdrop of CBD made it feel like every meal was a date – with the exception of my headcount at the table.
The over 20 restaurants onboard offering everything from sushi to steak left us spoilt for choice during mealtimes but it was the three complimentary dining halls that we frequented the most during our time aboard. Perhaps it was the fact that we did not have to fork out extra money that made our meals extra satisfying.
In addition to The Lido, other complimentary dining facilities include Asian cuisine at the Dream Dining Room Upper and Western-style dishes at Dream Dining Room Lower. There, entrees like poached fish and duck confit, along with dimsum were definite favourites. But possibly the best part of the cruise was the 24/7 snack bar that lets you refuel with a cuppa and some pastries while soaking in the view.
Rekindling the romance on a surprise cruise getaway
The trip, though short, was thoroughly enjoyable and I was glad that not only were my parents able to go on the dates they’d been missing out on, I got to spend valuable one-on-one time with them before entering the next phase in life.
If it’s been a long time since your parents spent quality time together, then a cruise getaway is something I’d 10/10 recommend – the many things to eat, see and do truly made us wish we booked the 4D3N package instead.
Book a cruise getaway aboard the World Dream on Klook
For now, cruises are the only way we can leave our shores for a holiday – no wonder they’ve become the hottest “destination” for travel-deprived Singaporeans. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway with loved ones or an exciting adventure with friends, there’s plenty to see, do and experience aboard the World Dream.
The plethora of activities on board from hip hop classes to art and crafts sessions for the little ones and even a Street Fighter & Tekken esports tournament will leave you spoiled for choice and completely entertained the entire time.
Thrill-seekers will be kept busy at the rock-climbing wall, high elements course and water park that features a range of six slides, while competitive souls might fancy the arcade and esports arena. For those looking for exciting new adventures, there’s the dedicated VR showcase with rollercoasters, mazes and first-person shooter experiences.
I got to experience the first-person shooter ($15) experience at the Esc Experience Lab that let me “walk” through the map – physically!
The World Dream’s three complimentary dining facilities offer more than enough variety to keep you well-fed during those three days and two nights, but for an upgrade, you can top up to feast on filet mignon prepped by dexterous teppanyaki chefs at Uma Uma (from $58) or on a luxurious spread of lobster and oysters at Seafood Grill (from $108).
The World Dream is also Asia’s first halal-friendly cruise, with halal dining options and other facilities like prayer rooms.
Tickets to the World Dream start at $299/person for the Balcony Suite. But if you’re looking for a truly exceptional experience, the Palace Suite starts at $600/person and comes with luxurious amenities like a bathtub and access to exclusive dining facilities.
Bookings through Klook will include port charges and your rapid antigen test, and you can enjoy an additional 10% off your tickets when you book activities through Klook’s More To Singapore campaign page.
If you’re looking for more cruise-like experiences, you can book a romantic dinner cruise on the Southern Straits, or float down the Singapore River with a tour. Otherwise, head out for an island-hopping adventure with Singapore Island Cruises as you venture into St John’s and Lazarus Island.
To recreate your very own cruise itinerary on land, try these activities:
- Wild Wild Wet – waterpark with one of Asia’s longest free-fall water slides
- G.Spa – cosy spa with baths, saunas and free-flow food and drinks
- Headrock VR – adrenaline-pumping VR arcade in Sentosa
This post was brought to you by Klook in collaboration with the SingapoRediscovers Campaign.
Photography by Clement Sim.