The New Asian ships for 2017

This year heralds a new age of cruising in Asia. New ships from Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Dream Cruises, which have been built specifically for Asia, will be launching throughout 2017. They will be bigger, better and bolder than ever before with more dining options, amazing rides and entertainment as well as new itineraries which include Asian ports. The major cruise lines have pinpointed Asia as a growth market, which means even more ships will be sailing in the region. Star Cruises has also announced it will be building two of the biggest ships in the world, and Viking Ocean Cruises has indicated it will be sending a ship to Asia in the coming years.

World Dream

Following the launch of Dream Cruises’ first ship, Genting Dream, the line will be launching her sister ship, World Dream.

While the details of World Dream have not been announced, we can safely assume that she will match or exceed the level of Genting Dream, which has been hailed as the first-ever Asian luxury cruise ship.

On Genting Dream, guests can indulge at 35 restaurants, bars and cafes, party at Zouk nightclub and, from 2017, passengers can try underwater excursions in submersibles. World Dream will be launched in November 2017.

“We are proud to be the first-ever Asian-based cruise line that will specifically cater to the luxury sector with a purpose-built new ship (Genting Dream) for this market launched in late 2016,” said Dream Cruises’ president Thatcher Brown.

“Currently, the majority of ships with homeports in Asia are mainly targeted to the mass-market consumer with the occasional premium ship deployment in this region on a more seasonal rather than a permanent basis.

“However, Asia continues to take a bigger percentage of the global cruise industry each year. As the cruise market continues to evolve and mature, so will the competition.

“At the very core, what will differentiate Dream Cruises from the other cruise lines will be our commitment and ability to offer inspirational luxury, which is Asian at heart and international in spirit for all our guests. We will introduce a new standard of excellence in service and quality at sea.”

Majestic Princess

Princess Cruises is building Majestic Princess specifically for Asia. Hailed as the most luxurious vessel in the line’s global fleet, she will set sail on her maiden voyage in April 2017 and will then homeport in Shanghai to cruise to Japan and South Korea.

Majestic Princess will have the capacity for 3,560 passengers. She will have a multi-storey atrium offering a range of activities, an adults-only Sanctuary and the SeaWalk – a walkway that extends beyond the edge of the ship for a thrilling vantage point.

On board, foodies will be able to feast at two new specialty restaurants, Harmony and Le Bistrot. Harmony is a partnership with chef Richard Chen, who was part of Michelin-starred Wing Lei in Las Vegas, and will serve a menu of haute Chinese cuisine. Le Bistrot will offer French home-style dining with a modern twist.

Other dining experiences include the exclusive Chef’s Table Lumiere, for a degustation dining experience, Crown Grill & Bar and Italian-themed Alfredo.

More than 80% of staterooms will have private balconies.

Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)announced last year that it would be returning to Asia for the first time in 13 years.

Not only will Norwegian Jewel be sailing around Southeast Asia, the line will also be sending the new-build Norwegian Joy to Asia in 2017.

The new ship will have a capacity for 3,900 guests and will be homeported in Shanghai and then sent to Tianjin for August and September, before doing three- to six-night cruises to Japan and South Korea.

The new liner will offer some world firsts. For the speed fiends, there will be a state-of-the-art go-kart racetrack on the top deck, which can cater for 10 drivers at a time. There will also be an open-air laser tag course.

In the Galaxy Pavilion, there will be hovercraft bumper cars and a race-car simulator. The pavilion will also offer immersive virtual-reality experiences, simulator rides and interactive video games.

Norwegian Joy will have two multi-storey water slides, including the high-speed Double Aqua free-fall slide, and the tandem Aqua Racer slide, which allows guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than
100 metres.

It will also offer bow to stern Wi-Fi connectivity, the fastest in the Norwegian fleet.

For the shopaholics, Norwegian Joy will offer an upscale shopping complex which will include well-known luxury brands.

NCL promises guests “First Class at Sea” experiences, starting with Norwegian Joy’s accommodation. As well as The Haven, the line’s exclusive ship-within-a-ship luxury suite complex, Norwegian Joy will debut a new Concierge accommodation category featuring larger balcony staterooms and the services of a dedicated concierge.

There will also be lots of family suites for multi-generational travellers.

The exclusive Haven Club will feature an all-new Observation Deck with 180-degree views and will serve gourmet canapés and premium beverages.

Guests can practice yoga or tai chi in the open-air Serenity Park.

Norwegian Joy will be a haven for Asian-food lovers, boasting nearly 30 restaurants including fusion Chinese, Korean and Japanese cuisine. Onboard restaurants include Sakura & Hibiscus offering hot pot and Korean barbecue.

Star Cruises

Genting Hong Kong has announced two more ships for Dream Cruises’ sister line Star Cruises. The new Global Class ships, which will be delivered between 2019 and 2020, will have the capacity to carry at least 5,000 passengers.

“Passengers on our Global Class ships will enjoy an international-class cruise experience to all parts of the world,” says Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, CEO of Genting Hong Kong.

“With the first two ships, we are focused on delivering a world-class vacation experience for cruise passengers at an affordable price whilst enjoying fun-filled onboard and on-land adventures in many cities in the most seamless way, without the necessity of checking in and checking out of airports and hotels.” More details to come.

Viking Ocean Cruises

The growing luxury cruise market in Asia is to be joined by award-winning Viking Ocean Cruises, which will be sending a new ship to Asia and Australia.

Company chairman Torstein Hagen said the line would be deploying its fifth ship, Viking Spirit, which is due to be completed in June 2018, to Asia and Australia for the summer season in 2018.

It will then move the ship to Alaska for the Northern Hemisphere summer in 2019.

In Asia and Australia, Mr Hagen said Viking Spirit will be cruising between Bangkok and Hong Kong and between Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand. Passengers will then be able to book a 93-day repositioning cruise from Auckland to Vancouver.

“In the old days, people used to call this a Circle Pacific cruise. Many of our guests like long cruises, and to get away from bad weather, particularly in the Northeast, is not a bad thing,”
Mr Hagen added.