A floating Star

The flagship cruise liner of the Star Cruises’ fleet in Asia, the SuperStar Virgo boasts of a wide range of entertainment options, luxury duty free shopping and multiple restaurants serving cuisines from around the globe to appeal to today’s discerning traveller By Rituparna Chatterjee

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The flagship cruise liner of the Star Cruises’ fleet in Asia, the SuperStar Virgo boasts of a wide range of entertainment options, luxury duty free shopping and multiple restaurants serving cuisines from around the globe to appeal to today’s discerning traveller By Rituparna Chatterjee

SuperStar Virgo, the flagship cruise liner of Star Cruises’ Asian fleet, is a destination in itself. Built in 1999 and after a recent US$ 25 million refurbishment, SuperStar Virgo has successfully positioned itself as an ideal on-board destination catering to a diverse group of travellers – be it MICE, corporates or families looking to explore China’s Pearl River Delta, Hainan’s Sanya, Vietnam’s Halong Bay and Da Nang. With a passenger capacity of 1,870 in 935 cabins, the cruise liner features a wide range of entertainment options, luxury duty free shopping and restaurants serving cuisine from around the globe, including Italian, Japanese and Southeast Asian. Giving his perspective on the Star Cruises brand and the global cruise market, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman and CEO, Genting Hong Kong, a global leisure, entertainment and hospitality enterprise operating Star Cruises, states, “Since we started Star Cruises we have developed it into an international brand and we are familiar with the three principal markets – luxury, contemporary and premium.” Thay goes onto highlight the need for developing fly and rail cruises from China, adding that, “Worldwide, 60 per cent of cruising in the US is fly cruise from Miami and various other ports. Here we have the opportunity to develop fly cruise from China. We will be acquiring the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany to develop it into the most efficient cruise shipyard for Star Cruises and our other brands.”

Global experiences

Guests on-board the SuperStar Virgo have the option of choosing from its 10 restaurants and bars serving different cuisines from across the globe including Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, western and international. Some of these restaurants include – Blue Lagoon (24-hour dining outlet serving Asian specialties), Café Gelato (outdoor ice cream bar), Genting Palace (Chinese restaurant), Mediterranean Buffet (serving international buffet), Noble House (Chinese restaurant), Palazzo (serving modern Italian/western cuisine), Taipan (Chinese a la carte restaurant), Samurai Restaurant (Japanese restaurant), Taverna (poolside themed snacks bar) and The Taj (Indian buffet restaurant).

Adding to these food and beverage offerings are the diverse on-board entertainment and karaoke facilities which includes the Activity Centre, Galaxy of the Stars (live music, dance lounge and cocktail), private Karaoke room, Starlight Video Arcade (video arcade games, WII and Xbox) and The Lido (show lounge). In addition to these are – Aquaswim, Oscar’s Salon, Parthenon Pool, Star Track (jogging circuit), Universal Gym, Canopus Watches and Jewellery, Library/Writing Room, Ports O’Call (souvenirs and shopping area), Reflexology Lounge and The Aces Club.

The big Dream

Genting Hong Kong recently launched its premium cruise brand Dream Cruises to target specifically the Asia market and further cement its position in the Asia-Pacific region. The tentative date of sailing for Dream Cruises is November 2016. Dream Cruises is the third cruise brand of Genting Hong Kong, apart from Star Cruises and Crystal Cruises. Thay stated, “Dream Cruises will be Asia’s premium cruise brand. The ship will be bigger than SuperStar Virgo and the price point will be higher as well. We would finalise the price point in January.” The itineraries of Dream Cruises will include a two night cruise (Pearl River Delta); a five night cruise (Vietnam and Sanya); and a seven night cruise (starting in Guangzhou/ Nansha Port).

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The ship will boast of 1700 staterooms accommodating 3400 lower berth guests; sectional meeting space; 35 restaurants and bars; various entertainment areas like Zodiac Theatre, Bowling Alley, Zouk, etc; outdoor adventure; relaxation and rejuvenation facilities like The Gentlemen’s Barber, Aeris Spa Cafe, etc, among others. The ship will also have the Genting Club, a boutique hotel within a hotel. The Genting Club will have 142 suites wherein guests would receive exclusive privileges, including priority access, European butler service, among others. An investment of US$ one billion has been made for this cruise. Speaking about the target market for the Dream Cruises brand, Michael Goh, senior VP – sales, Star Cruises stated, “The major target market for Dream Cruises will be Asia. 40-50 per cent would be domestic clientele and the rest would be international comprising of Indian, European, American markets among others.”

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