I step out of Germany’s Hamburg Airport onto a sunny boulevard and all eyes are on me – or at least, on my entourage.
Two Chinese women, white- gloved and in impeccable black suits, trail behind me – one holds up a giant black umbrella to shield me from the glaring sun, the other pulls my suitcase behind me along the cobblestoned street.
I am completely embarrassed by it all, but they insist on doing these things for me.
The two women, tasked to attend to my every whim from the moment they meet me at the airport’s arrival hall, are butlers from Genting Dream, a new luxury cruise liner launching in Asia this month.
While the 18-deck, $1.4-billion ship – which includes itineraries to the open seas and to Vietnam’s Halong Bay and Da Nang – is based in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, it made a special stop in Singapore this week as part of its debut in the region.
It is, however, built in a shipyard in Papenburg, Germany – about 21/2 hours by car from Hamburg – which is why I am in the country for a media preview of its facilities, a trip courtesy of the liner’s owner, Genting Hong Kong (GHK).
If Dream’s butler service – said to be the first of its kind for an Asian liner – is any indication, it is clear that this cruise experience will be lavish.
Great lengths were taken to make the boating experience an unforgettable one, especially for those able to afford it: Dream’s butler service is exclusive to guests of Dream Palace, a 142-suite section of the ship with private facilities – a gym, an all-day dining space and a pool deck.