Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ships We'll Never See—or Sail

It’s well known that Miami has long been considered the world’s cruise capital, but there’s a growing shift farther afloat to the Far East—specifically to China. The burgeoning market there has in the past had to settle for older vessels converted for their culture and tastes, but traditional cruise lines are now preparing their newest ships specifically for their Chinese passengers. The trend seemed to begin with Royal Caribbean positioning Quantum of the Seas in China after an introductory season in the United States and other lines are following in its wake.

Last week Princess Cruises announced that its ship now under construction, a sister ship to Royal Princess and Regal Princess, will be named Majestic Princess be based in China year-round beginning in summer 2017. It will be their first vessel built specifically for Chinese guests incorporating a unique blend of international and Chinese features. Befitting her dedication to the Chinese market, Majestic Princess will also carry a Chinese name on the hull, 盛世公主号, an interpretation selected by Carnival plc’s China employees, which has the suggestive meaning of “Grand World” or “Grand Spirit.”

Royal Princess and Regal Princess were named after iconic previous vessels, while Majestic Princess will carry a name that was chosen by our global employees,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “The name Majestic Princess is well suited to the Princess Cruises experience in China, and she will offer a truly magnificent experience to our Chinese guests,” added Swartz.

The 143,000-ton vessel, Majestic Princess will be home-ported in Shanghai, carrying 3,560 guests for cruises to Japan and Korea, and will offer many of the special features that have made Royal Princess and Regal Princess so popular and distinctive. These include a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship; the unique over-the-ocean SeaWalk, a glass-floor walkway extending 8 meters (28 feet) beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! interactive studio; and the special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds guests in a curtain of light.

“We’re excited that Shanghai will be welcoming this newest, most advanced addition to the Princess fleet, as it represents our brand’s long-term commitment to the continuing growth of the China market,” said Swartz.

Majestic Princess will offer the international flavor of cruising with Princess, drawn from the brand’s expertise as a leader in premium destination cruising. The cruise ship’s cuisine will span the globe, serving authentic dishes from Italy, France, North and South America, Southeast Asia, Japan, and China—all freshly prepared on board. Guests will enjoy a festival celebrating dance, music, and crafts of exotic cultures; an array of international guest entertainers; and Las Vegas-style production shows starring a cast of singers and dancers from around the world.

Not to be outdone, Norwegian Cruise Line will introduce their first purpose-built ship customized for the China market in 2017. Currently under construction, the yet-to-be-named new ship is being designed for the China market with accommodations, cuisine, and onboard experiences that cater to the unique vacation preferences of Chinese guests.

“Our new purpose-built ship for China will have characteristics that are authentic to Norwegian Cruise Line and yet distinctively Chinese in all of its sensibility,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. CEO Frank Del Rio. “With this new ship, Norwegian will unquestionably offer our Chinese guests a superior product and introduce a new standard of innovation and excellence into the marketplace, with an unrivaled level of customization for the Chinese consumer. It will perfectly suit what modern Chinese travelers value from an upscale cruise experience.”

The new ship will be the second of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus class and features the line’s unique style of cruising known as Freestyle Cruising—interestingly, which was first introduced in Asia by Star Cruises before being adopted by Norwegian. Aboard NCL ships, Chinese guests will indulge in a resort-style vacation experience, with the freedom and flexibility to spend time doing whatever they wish, from enjoying world-class entertainment to fine Mandarin, Cantonese, and Continental dining; from duty-free luxury shopping to participating in any number of first-at-sea activities on board; all on their own time schedule.

With a capacity of 4,200 guests, this new Breakaway Plus-class vessel will provide the same sense of freedom and flexibility found on all Norwegian Cruise Line ships, but with experiences and amenities designed specifically with Chinese guest in mind. The level of customization will go beyond the physical design of the ship. Working with partners in China and local experts on the subtleties of Chinese culture, Chinese guests who sail on this new ship will be provided with an unmatched quality-level for service, cuisine, entertainment and overall experience that is simply not available in the China market today. Additional details, including the ship's name, homeport, accommodations, dining, and entertainment will be shared in the coming months.

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