More details are slowly seeping out about the new ship ordered by Star Cruises for it’s Asian cruise market. The company- owned and financed by Genting- came to an agreement with Germany’s Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg late last week.
The new ship will be in the region of 150,000 tons, making her by far the largest vessel to be employed in the year round domestic Asian cruise market. That makes her almost twice the size of the current Star Cruises flagship, the Superstar Virgo.
Due for delivery in late 2016, the as yet un-named new ship will cost in the region of 700 million euros, and boast sixteen hundred cabins over a range of some eighteen decks. 4500 passengers will be looked after by a crew of 2000. She will feature no less than thirty three restaurants, bars and cafes, featuring a huge variety of on board freestyle dining options.
There will be a huge emphasis on outdoor water sports and recreational areas, as well as a dedicated retail area of more than a thousand square metres.
Star Cruises is currently an operation concentrated on a string of Asian hubs such as Singapore, Taiwan and Port Kelang. The current fleet is built around the aforementioned Superstar Virgo and a trio of former Norwegian Cruise Line stalwarts- Superstar Aquarius, Superstar Libra, and the recently recommissioned Superstar Gemini.
After years of having the Far East market more or less to itself, Star Cruises has seen increased competition in recent years from companies such as Costa, Celebrity, Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean. Initial forays by all these lines have been followed by the deployment of increasingly larger, more amenity laden tonnage. Though not all of these deployments are year round, there is no doubt that they have impacted significantly on the local market that was traditionally the preserve of Star Cruises.
The construction of the new ship represents the throwing down of a very hefty gauntlet to the opposition by Star Cruises. She also has the advantage of being built from the start to cater to the Asian market, rather than being adapted from what was essentially an American accented build.
New docking facilities now open throughout the Far East, such as the prestigious new cruise terminal in Singapore, have also fuelled a whole raft of additional itineraries for the company to consider. When the new ship comes on stream, it is likely that the older, smaller ships will be used as pathfinders to trial these potential new itineraries.
Stay tuned for further details on this exciting new ship.