Genting Hong Kong has been the pioneer of the Asian cruise industry for long, but it really came into limelight when it created Dream Cruises and acquired Crystal Cruises in 2015, thus becoming a global leisure, entertainment and hospitality company.
“The Asian cruise market, especially in China, is rapidly growing. We are willing to meet the needs of theemerging generation of confident, independent-minded and affluent Asian travelers. through our new brand,” said Thatcher Brown, president of Dream Cruises.
According to the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association, the country’s 10 major ports handled 629 cruise ships in 2015, a year-on-year increase of 35 percent, with about 1.24 million Chinese passengers traveling overseas.
“Dream Cruises will specially cater to the large and rapidly growing premium market in China and Asia,” said Brown.
The potential for growth in the huge Chinese cruise market has already attracted an increasing number of luxury foreign operators, including British- and American-owned Italian cruise line Costa Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.
Genting Hong Kong took on the bold initiative to grow the Asia-Pacific market as an international cruise destination with the founding of Star Cruises in 1993, building a strong reputation for top-class Asian hospitality.
“Integration of the head company’s experience in luxury cruises over the past 20 yearsandunderstanding of the high-spending Chinese travelers’ need will be a great advantage for us to create the new brand,” said Brown.
Dream Cruises, which Brown said is the first-ever Asian luxury cruise line, will inaugurate its maiden ship, the Genting Dream, in November this year.
The maiden ship is set to sail from its homeport in Nansha of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, offering two- to five-night cruises to Hong Kong, Da Nang and Halong Bay in Vietnam, as well as Sanya inHainan province.
Its sister ship, the World Dream, will begin operations inNovember2017, according to a company source.
Both ships are currently undergoing fit-outs at Genting HongKong’s newly established LloydWerft Group, which was an integration of Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven and Nordic Yard’s three shipyards inGermany.
According to Genting Hong Kong, the shipyards will capitalize on the growing demand for newcruise shipsandrealize the company’s global expansion plans for its three cruise brands.
According to company sources, two mega cruise ships for Star Cruises and eight vessels for Crystal Cruises will be built additionally in the shipyards in the near future, with the first two ships being designed with “Chinese characteristics”, which will be the first purposebuilt cruise ships to be deployed for the Chinese market.
“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 said.
According to him, the company’s expansion plans in the Chinese mainland include further moves into Xiamen, Fujian province, and a base in Sanya, offering services geared specifically to appeal to Chinese travelers.
Brown said 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 fewyears.
“Genting Hong Kong has a history of over 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 told China Daily.
The ship of Genting Dream, 335 meters in length and 40 meters in width, will feature Chinese arts, cuisine and other onboard entertainment facilities, according to Brown.
The ship will include the largest piece of “floating artwork” by eminent Chinese pop artist Jackie Tsai, who is famous for his work with international fashion designer labels AlexanderMcQueen and Shanghai Tang.
“The majority 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,” he said.
The cruise ticket is priced from 999 yuan ($152.3) to 4,999 yuan per night, according to the company.
In an earlier interview with China Daily, Edie Rodriguez, president of Crystal Cruises, said wealthy travelers from China have emerged as the dominant force in the travel industry.
“We see great opportunities to deliver luxury cruise services to them,” Rodriguez said.
According to Rodriguez, Crystal Cruises’ share of Chinese travelers will double from 2 percent in 2015 to 4 percent this year.
Genting Hong Kong, which is listed in bothHongKongand Singapore, bought Crystal Cruises in May last year. The latter is regarded as the world’s most-awarded luxury cruise line.
“We will launch new classes of vessels, including yachts and river boats, and offer ocean and flight travel-like experience,” she said.
According to Ctrip, one of China’s leading online travel agencies, more than 2 million Chinese passengers will travel overseasbycruises in2017, with destinations covering Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Europe and theUnited States.
The Asian cruise market, especially in China, is rapidly growing.”