Last updated: 01:22 PM ET, Thu October 06 2016

The Domestic and Foreign Cruise Pursuit of Asia

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Norwegian Cruise Line | Jason Leppert | October 06, 2016

The Domestic and Foreign Cruise Pursuit of Asia

Photo courtesy of Dream Cruises

International cruise lines are already jockeying for position in the burgeoning Asia market, and it’s only the beginning as ships from U.S. domestic brands and Asian foreign brands are starting to come online purpose-built to the tastes of local passengers.

Well before the recent boom, Star Cruises emerged as the primary line in the Asia-Pacific region, and its parent company. Genting Hong Kong. is everywhere in the news recently as it rapidly expands its Crystal Cruises brand as well as introduces its new Dream Cruises brand.

Dream Cruises has been established as the first dedicated Asian luxury line, and its inaugural ship is the brand new Genting Dream (pictured above, sporting its newly announced color LED lighting), which is finishing its construction by Meyer Werft in Germany ahead of its November 2016 launch.

READ MORE: The Cruising Tide Rises in China

Eagle-eyed observers might recognize the Genting Dream’s architectural similarity to Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway-class ships such as the new Norwegian Escape, and that’s because the Dream is essentially a modified version catering to the Asian market. After all, Genting is a major shareholder of Norwegian.

What’s interesting is that Norwegian itself has the new Norwegian Joy, another larger Breakaway-class ship, which is being built to cater to the Chinese market and coming from the same German shipyard immediately behind the Dream in June 2017.

What’s more, from a corporate standpoint Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Limited will in 2017 deploy to the region existing ships from each of its three brands – Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, including the Norwegian Star, Nautica and Insignia, and Seven Seas Voyager respectively.

READ MORE: Carnival to Build Two Vista-Class Cruise Ships in China for Chinese Market

Meanwhile, Carnival Corporation is progressing towards building new ships in China for the Chinese market, thus launching an entirely new native cruise line. Two Vista-class ships, like the newly introduced Carnival Vista but tailored to regional tastes, have been ordered from a joint shipbuilding venture between Italian Fincantieri and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), with an option for another two. The first is expected to come online in 2022.

Before then, the new cruise line is set to form by purchasing existing Carnival Corp. ships, although no exact timeline is yet known. Ships that may be considered for transfer are the oldest in the corporate fleet as Carnival builds new ones to replace them domestically. The practice is fairly common elsewhere in the industry, and the aging, albeit refurbished, eight Fantasy-class ships from Carnival Cruise Line are the most likely candidates to move over.

Also in recent news, Swiss-based MSC Cruises plans to send its MSC Splendida to China in May 2018, joining the MSC Lirica, which has been successfully deployed there since May of this year. The addition will bring the line’s MSC Yacht Club ship-within-a-ship concept to the region for the first time as well.


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