GHK-Genting Star Cruises Coronavirus update
Genting Cruise Lines (shipowner) didn't suspend its fleet's passenger shipping operations. Instead, the company (parent of Dream Cruises and Star Cruises) expanded its cancellation policy with "Cruise As You Wish". It allows all existing and new bookings made before or on October 30, 2020 (initially July 31), to be cancelled penalty-free up to 48 hours (prior departure). These bookings are fully refunded (100%) via FCC (future cruise credit). With rebooking, the amount of the fare paid is automatically transferred to any Dream Cruises or Star Cruises itinerary starting before or on March 31, 2021 (initially December 31 2020).
Star Cruises fleet
Review of Star Cruises
Despite the global Coronavirus pandemic, Genting Cruise Lines (shipowner) didn't suspend its fleet's passenger shipping operations. Instead, the company (parent of Dream Cruises and Star Cruises) expanded its cancellation policy with "Cruise As You Wish". It allows all existing and new bookings made before or on October 30, 2020 (initially July 31), to be cancelled penalty-free up to 48 hours (prior departure). These bookings are fully refunded (100%) via FCC (future cruise credit). With rebooking, the amount of the fare paid is automatically transferred to any Dream Cruises or Star Cruises itinerary starting before or on March 31, 2021 (initially December 31 2020).
Star Cruises (website) is owned by Genting Hong Kong (GHK) and is ranked world's 3rd biggest cruise company, following Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD. The company dominates the Asia-Pacific market and is listed on the Singapore Exchange and Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In 2015, GHK introduced the corporation's newest cruise line brand - Dream Cruises. The new company started with 2 newbuilds - both top-luxury mega-liners, built specifically for the Asian / Chinese market.
Another large Chinese cruise brand is the new company (2015-founded) CSSC Carnival China Cruise Shipping. At the following link can be found listed all CruiseMapper's news related to Star Cruises owner Genting Hong Kong.
The company's introduction on the global cruise shipping market allowed Star Cruises to tap into profitable and more mature markets in Europe and North America. Its services cater to Asian guests, as well as to Europeans, Australians and North Americans, interested in Asian destinations. Star Cruises chairman is Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, son of the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, founder of Genting Highlands, Malaysia.
Star Cruises was established as an associate of Genting Group of Malaysia, incorporated on November 10, 1993, in Bermuda, with corporate headquarters in Hong Kong China. The first ships of the company were two cruise ferries bought from the bankrupted estate of Swedish Rederi AB Slite. Star Cruises was the world's first major cruise company to recruit Filipinos for its ships.
The company purchased several other used vessels in the following years. In 1998, it took delivery of the first newbuild - SuperStar Leo (now Norwegian Spirit). Sistership SuperStar Virgo (now Explorer Dream) followed in 1999. The same year Star Cruises acquired Sun Cruises.
In 2000, Star Cruises also acquired NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line), including the subsidiaries "Norwegian Capricorn Line" and "Orient Lines", becoming the biggest global cruise line in the world. Norwegian Capricorn Line's operations were soon merged into Star Cruises. Before the NCL purchase, Star Cruises had several other newbuilds (either under construction or planned), but following the merger, most of them joined NCL's fleet. However, in August 2007, Star Cruises sold 50% of NCL (for USD 1 billion) to Apollo Management, retaining just 28% stake in NCL.
In 2001, Star Cruises founded the sister company "Cruise Ferries", which started operations in July with the passenger ferry Wasa Queen on short itineraries between Hong Kong and Xiamen. These were followed by overnight gambling cruises - roundtrip from Hong Kong and from Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur). Wasa Queen stopped operating and was sold to another company in 2007, and eventually was scrapped in 2013.
The then-largest ship in the fleet - SuperStar Leo - was transferred in 2004 to Norwegian Cruise Line to take over Norwegian Sky voyages. Since 2006, the trend has been that newbuilds were to be constructed for NCL, and the old ships in the Norwegian fleet would be transferred to Star Cruises fleet in Asia.
In 2008, both Orient Lines and NCL America brands were discontinued, with Orient's sole ship, ms Marco Polo, sold to the Greece-based Global Maritime. The same year, the first ship from NCL Norwegian was transferred to the fleet of Star Cruises as SuperStar Libra.
In 2011, Star Cruises received a brand new hull art. SuperStar Aquarius, Star Pisces, and SuperStar Virgo won their new attire. On April 27, 2012, it was announced that Norwegian Dream will join Star Cruises fleet and be renamed to SuperStar Gemini starting service in 2012.
On October 7, 2013, Star Cruises announced that together with their parent company, Genting Hong Kong had entered into an agreement with Meyer Werft, Germany for the construction of one new vessel. The vessel will be able to accommodate 3,364 passengers at double occupancy and will be delivered in Fall 2016.
On February 10, 2014, Star Cruises announced that a second ship was ordered and scheduled for delivery by Fall 2017. On February 9, 2015, the first steel cutting ceremony was held for Genting World at Meyer Werft shipyard. Both newbuilds will weigh 150,000 GT.
In May 2018, Genting Cruise Lines signed a partnership deal with Wirecard (digital payments / online shop development company) for implementing a fleetwide onboard payment system. The system ("Quick Pay") was first installed on World Dream and Genting Dream, then launched on SuperStar Virgo. "Quick Pay" allows the passenger to be in full control of their onboard money spending - including pre-authorized limits, account management, monitoring, paying the total bill at disembarkation. The technology is based on scanning individual QR codes (during check-in, in staterooms or via the ship's intranet network, then selecting the "Quick Pay" option. Payments can be made via Alipay (Chinese online payment platform) and the credit cards Visa, American Express, Mastercard, Diners Club, JCB, UnionPay. The mobile app allows passengers to set up pre-authorized amounts for themselves, as well as for friends and family members.
On March 2, 2018, via letters and emails sent to all booked customers, GHK announced that the liner SuperStar Libra ends its passenger shipping operations for Star Cruises on June 27, 2018. Since August 2018, the vessel serves as a hotel ship in Wismar (Germany) for the shipbuilding company MV Werften. SuperStar Libra is permanently docked (moored) at MV Werften Wismar shipyard's quay. Since April 2016, GHK fully owns MV WERFTEN - a new company incorporating the 3 Nordic Yards in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - the shipyards in Rostock, Stralsund, and Wismar.
(new) Genting Global-Class cruise ships
On May 10, 2016, the parent company GHK (Genting Hong) signed with Lloyd Werft Group in Wismar Germany a shipbuilding contract for all 10 new cruise vessels. In 2015, GHK purchased a majority stake in Lloyd Werft (dockyard in Bremerhaven Germany). In 2016, GHK purchased Lloyd Werft's remaining 30%, plus the three shipyards owned by Nordic Yards (Wismar, Warnemunde, Stralsund), thus forming Lloyd Werft Group.
Of the 10 newbuilds, 6 are riverboats plus 2 ocean-going (all 8 for the GHK's subsidiary Crystal Cruises) and 2 are mega liners (for Star Cruises and Dream Cruises). The new GHK liners are sisterships of the Global-Class, each with gross tonnage 204,000 GT tons, LOA length 341 m (1120 ft) and passenger capacity 5000 (lower berths). Ship deliveries were scheduled for 2020 (for Dream Cruises) and 2021 (for Star Cruises). The ship-order has optional 2 more vessels of the same class.
Global Class ships feature artificial intelligence technologies (including facial and voice recognition for expedited passenger services - boarding, disembarkation, payments), robots (performing mundane tasks), Cineplex (theme park), Asian spa complex, multiple Asian dining venues (including fast food), both affordable and premium retail shopping facilities, roller coaster, water park (with 5 slides), surf simulator. Staterooms are designed for Asian families and can sleep up to 2-4 persons. Most cabins are with two (split) bathrooms. Each liner has 8 sets of escalators and 28 elevators.
Vessel's waste and water management system was provided by Evac (world's leading company building integrated waste-wastewater-water management systems). The company's Complete Cleantech Solution package includes a vacuum collection system, wastewater treatment plant, dry and wet waste treatment plant, freshwater desalination plants (based on reverse osmosis). The freshwater generation plants have the capacity to produce over 3000 m3 of freshwater per day. The contract with Evac was signed on January 3, 2017.
On January 9, 2017, was signed a contract with ABB for delivery of Azipods (power-propulsion units), automation systems and the marine software for all 5 new Genting cruise ships ordered for both brands - Crystal and Star. The 3 Crystal vessels are from the Crystal Endeavor series expedition yachts (Polar Class 6).
These are the first purpose-built ships for the contemporary Chinese market regarding onboard amenities and services (food, cultural events, shows, enrichment programs, shopping, tours/excursions. Cruise ticket prices will be affordable. In May 2019 were unveiled more Global-Class vessel details. The ships will have industry's first theme park at sea, largest cinema at sea, world's longest roller coaster at sea, self-guided robotic assistants, industry's largest standard staterooms (sized 20 m2), Bluetooth cabin door locks, touch-screen control panel, smartphone-control of different en-suite functions (mood lighting, air-conditioning, etc).
On March 8, 2018, at MV Werften shipyard (Bremerhaven Germany) started the construction of the first of the two Global-Class Genting cruise liners.
The GHK-owned Lloyd Werft Group has the capacity to produce annually 2 mega liners (over 200,000 GT tons each) plus 1 mid-sized vessel (around 50,000 GT tons). Lloyd Werft has 2 new covered drydocks, a new ship launching platform and over 0,5 million m2 of covered fabrication halls.
In December 2018, Genting Cruise Lines announced plans to build smaller-sized (Contemporary-class) ships for Star Cruises from the German shipbuilder MV Werften. The first liner will be delivered in 2023. In 2019, SuperStar Virgo was renamed Explorer Dream and transferred to Dream Cruises in April 2019.
Star Cruises shipboard experience
The big appeal to western clients of Star Cruises is that its ships not only take guests around Asia but also let you experience an Asian lifestyle.
"SuperStar" ships were the first to offer the largest number of restaurants afloat. This innovation later passed on to Norwegian's "freestyle dining". SuperStars Virgo and Leo offer Italian, Asian, Japanese and Chinese restaurants. Virgo also has the only Indian restaurant afloat. Naturally, Star Cruises ships offer the usual formal dining room, casual buffets, and poolside grills. All dining venues offer open seating for ultimate flexibility.
Shipboard entertainment features spectacular shows by Chinese acrobats, card rooms (Mah Jong), private rooms for parties, karaoke rooms. Onboard service is friendly, impeccable, discreet. Star Cruises has a no-tipping policy and brags with one of Asian cruising industry's highest crew-to-passenger ratios - one staff member for every two passengers.
Star Cruises predominantly markets Asian travelers. The internationally focused SuperStar Virgo attracted passengers from Japan, Malaysia, Australia New Zealand, as well as adventurous-spirited North Americans and Europeans.
In 2018, Genting Cruise Lines signed an agreement with Okinawa Agricultural Cooperatives Association and Leospo Inc. Following the partnership, on select GHK-owned cruise liners is offered Okinawa-sourced food and local produce.
- The new onboard dining options include the famous Okinawa Wagyu beef and Okinawa Agu pork. The offer is available on select ships and during summer when they cruise to Okinawa.
- In 2018 (April through November), these premium food specialties were available on World Dream, SuperStar Aquarius, SuperStar Gemini, SuperStar Virgo. The exclusive gourmet dishes are served via specially designed theme menus. They also include the traditional Japanese dishes Shabu Shabu (with ingredients stirred in cooking pot) and Teppanyaki (iron griddle cooked food), as well as BBQ Okinawa Agu Pork and the wok-fried Okinawa beef (with bitter gourd garlic) and Okinawa beef rib eye (with sweet plum sauce).
Genting fly-cruise deals
In June 2017, "Genting Cruise Lines" (consisting of the companies Dream Cruises and Star Cruises) and Asia's largest airline "China Southern Airlines" signed a Memorandum of Understanding on an exclusive "flight and cruise" partnership in China.
- The deal is for discounted fly-cruise deals on cruises leaving from homeport Guangzhou-Nansha - a premium travel hub and cruise homeport in Asia.
- By this strategic agreement, both China Southern Airlines and Genting combined their resources in sales, marketing, promotions, and product development, creating a competitive travel product by the new "Air+Cruise+Travel" program. The program targets both individual and group travelers.
Free Birthday cruise
Star Cruises offers free Birthday cruise deals on select ships and departure dates. Company's "Free Birthday Celebrant Package" consists of:
- Cabin decorations (set up on the embarkation day)
- 0,5 kg chocolate cake
- Birthday card
- Cruise voucher (at the ship's Reception) is applicable at onboard retail shops and spa/wellness outlets. To use the voucher, you need to swipe your access card at the outlets. When you settle your bill during checkout, the voucher's value is deducted from the total amount due.
- Free Wifi vouchers for 2 passengers for the entire cruise (at the ship's Reception). Wi-Fi connections on Start Cruises ships are available in all public areas and in staterooms.
Genting Cruises Private Island Resort
In early November 2017, GHK corporation signed an agreement with the Macleod Island's owner "Tint Tint Myanmar Group" (headquartered in Yangon Burma) to jointly built new cruise ship facilities on this private island.
Cruise line private Islands are among the best-known assets of the world's largest cruise shipping companies (Carnival Corporation, RCCL Royal Caribbean, NCL, MSC). However, most such private island resorts are located in the Caribbean.
GHK's partnering with Tint Tint Myanmar Group makes Macleod Island the first Asian private cruise resort destination. It is opened exclusively for Genting cruise ship tourists visiting the island on liners operated by the GHK-owned Dream Cruises and Star Cruises. Among GHK's other Asian projects are Guangzhou Nansha Port development (in China) and Port Danang (in Vietnam).
Itinerary of Star Cruises
Star Cruises and the new brand Dream Cruises are both Chinese cruise companies owned by the Genting Hong Kong corporation.
Following on Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit held in Qingdao, Star Cruises celebrated the inaugural cruise of SuperStar Aquarius from her new homeport Qingdao on June 13, 2018. Guests from the Shandong peninsula and neighboring cities are now able to enjoy journeys to Japanese destinations like Beppu, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Sasebo. The flagship SuperStar Virgo (now Explorer Dream) also offered Qingdao homeport itineraries (November 2018 through March 2019).
Star Cruises officially set a record number of homeport deployments done by the same brand in Port Qingdao. Via deploying her flagship SuperStar Virgo to homeport here, Star Cruises becomes the only cruise line in history to have 2 cruise ships homeport in Port of Qingdao during the same year.
While cruising at sea, passengers enjoy a hassle-free experience onboard SuperStar Aquarius, complemented by Asian hospitality and delicacies unique to Star Cruises. The flagship of Star Cruises, SuperStar Virgo, calls Qingdao homeport starting in November 2018, taking passengers on 4-night voyages to Kagoshima, Fukuoka, and Nagasaki.
Note: Starting operations for Dream Cruises in mid-April 2019, SuperStar Virgo was renamed "MS Explorer Dream" and homeported in Shanghai (China). For the winter season 2020, Explorer Dream was deployed in Australia New Zealand.
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