Leisure giants buoy cruise market

Updated: 2016-06-10 08:35

By Qiu Quanlin(China Daily Europe)

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 Leisure giants buoy cruise market

Top: The Superstar Virgo cruise liner calls at the Sanya Phoenix Island International Wharf in Sanya, Hainan province. [Photo by Wu Haoning / For China Daily]

Above: Tourists board the Chinese Taishan cruise liner bound for Sasebo and Fukuoka, Japan. [Photo by Tang Ke / For China Daily]

Dream Cruises, which Brown describes as Asia's first luxury cruise line, will launch its maiden vessel, the Genting Dream, in November. The ship is set to sail from its homeport of Nansha in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, offering two- to five-night cruises to Hong Kong, Sanya in Hainan province, and Da Nang and Halong Bay in Vietnam.

Its sister vessel, the World Dream, will begin operation in late 2017, according to a company source.

Both are undergoing fit-outs from Genting subsidiary Lloyd Werft Group, which was formed through a merger of the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven and Nordic Yard's three shipyards in Germany.

According to Genting, the shipyards will capitalize on the growing demand for new cruise ships and realize the company's global expansion plans for its three cruise brands.

According to company sources, two mega cruise liners for Star Cruises and eight for Crystal Cruises will be built in the shipyards in the near future, with the first two ships being designed with Chinese characteristics. They will be the first purpose-built cruise ships to be deployed for the Chinese market, the sources say.

"Genting Dream, with its maiden cruises departing from Guangzhou, will be a response to the needs of Chinese travelers, as well as those from greater Asia," Brown says.

He says the company's expansion plans in the Chinese mainland include moves into Xiamen, Fujian province, and a base in Sanya, offering services geared specifically to appeal to Chinese travelers.

Brown says Dream Cruises is aware of what is needed to expand its business in the highly competitive China market. The luxury sector has seen the entry of several leading international players into the Chinese market over the past few years.

"Genting has a history of more than 20 years in the luxury cruise industry - that is the DNA for Dream Cruises. And we understand very well the needs of the Chinese travelers," Brown says.

The Genting Dream, which is 335 meters long and 40 meters wide, will feature Chinese art, cuisine and onboard entertainment facilities, he says.

The ship will include the largest piece of "floating artwork" by Chinese pop artist Jackie Tsai, who is known for his work with international fashion labels Alexander McQueen and Shanghai Tang.

"Most of our front-line staff can speak Chinese, and we will have Chinese spa services and offer the very best of Chinese regional, Asian and international cuisine," Brown says.

Its cruises are priced from 999 yuan to 4,999 yuan ($150 to $760; 130 to 670 euros) a night, according to the company.