Royal Caribbean Reveals China-Bound Spectrum of the Seas

Spectrum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International has announced details of the China-bound Spectrum of the Seas.

It will be the first of the line’s ships to have a private suite area, as the Quantum-class ship will also get new features, dining concepts and more for its 4,246 guests. The ship debuts in Shanghai next June.

“When Quantum of the Seas made her debut in Shanghai three years ago, it changed the face of cruising in China. Fast forward to today, and we are revealing just how we’ll transform the cruise vacation market, yet again, with the debut of Spectrum of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The introduction of our highly anticipated Quantum Ultra Class will represent a quantum leap forward in ship design and experiences specifically tailored to Chinese guests.”

SkyPad

Custom built for the Chinese market, the Spectrum of the Seas will feature new experiences, including the iconic Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience located on the aft of the ship. Guests will strap in and don their VR headset to transport them to another time and planet.

The first Quantum Ultra ship will debut Royal Caribbean’s first exclusive suites-only area, which will feature the exquisite Golden and Silver suite accommodations in a private enclave at the forward end of the ship on decks 13 through 16, the company said.

Vacationers booked in these luxury suites will have special keycard access, a private elevator and a dedicated restaurant and lounge. In addition to a range of exclusive amenities, guests will have access to The Balcony – a private outdoor space.

The ship will get a three-level main dining room with 1,844 seats to serve a variety of Chinese and Western a la carte options rotating each day of the sailing. For guests looking for a more casual venue, the Windjammer Marketplace – 20 per cent larger than those on Quantum Class ships – will offer a wide buffet selection of Chinese and Western dishes, including noodles, pizza, Japanese teppanyaki and mini hot pot.

Other speciality venues include Wonderland’s Dadong, a new outpost of Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang, renowned for his much-coveted roast duck dish; Jamie’s Italian by British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver; Izumi Japanese cuisine; and Chops Grille will join the lineup as well. In addition, the new Leaf and Bean traditional tea room and café parlour will debut on the Royal Esplanade. The spot will offer a range of authentic Chinese teas, classic coffee drinks as well as freshly baked Chinese and Western desserts and pastries.

Also for the local market will be Star Moment, a lively and energetic karaoke, the company said.

The cruise line also will enhance SeaPlex – the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea where families can enjoy bumper cars, roller skating and basketball – with new augmented reality walls and floors.

When Spectrum of the Seas debuts in April 2019, she will sail a 51-night transit voyage from Barcelona, Spain to Shanghai.

Meanwhile, the iconic and widely popular Quantum of the Seas will sail her farewell season from Shanghai before moving to Tianjin in summer 2019. The Voyager of the Seas is set to return to Hong Kong and Shenzhen for the summer and will sail a variety of itineraries calling on Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines.

Norwegian’s ship in China to feature many firsts at sea

The top deck of Norwegian Joy will be the home of Serenity Park.

SHANGHAI — David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ China operations, revealed some of the features that will debut on the Norwegian Joy, a ship being built for the Chinese market.

Herrera made the announcement here during a keynote address at Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld China.

Although Joy is a sister ship to the Escape, it will offer several “first-at-sea” features related to activities, hotel, service and gaming.

Some attractions — a formal tea room and an upper-deck Serenity Park — are what one might expect on a ship built for Chinese guests.

Guests can ride hover craft bumper cars at the Galaxy Pavilion.
Guests can ride hover craft bumper cars at the Galaxy Pavilion.

But other features would seem to fit ships sailing the Caribbean equally well.  The Joy’s highest-profile attraction, literally, will be a two-level race track on the top decks in which 10 guests in electric carts will compete in a 5-6 minute race. (NCL is in discussion with possible partners whose logos would adorn the cars, Herrera said.)

Autos are also front-and-center in a Formula 1 attraction. Race cars have been converted into individual three-screen simulators displaying famous race tracks from around the world.

Deck 16 activities will include Oculus virtual reality technology in several variations, including walking a plank between buildings, hang gliding and a design-your-own roller coaster module.

Oculus technology will be installed on additional new ships going forward, Herrera said.

Motion simulation will be the attraction in a colorful fleet of Star Wars Battle Pods.

The Haven's observation deck will have views "as good as the captain's."
The Haven’s observation deck will have views “as good as the captain’s.”

Laser tag, a giant touch screen for young children, hovercraft bumper cars, wider-than-ever waterslides with transparent panels that go over the side of the ship and several karaoke rooms complete the new activities offerings.

On the hotel side, a new level called Concierge will be built above the Haven. It will not be as luxurious as the Haven but will have unique features, including a new suite class with two bedrooms and a simulated balcony.

Both the Haven and Concierge will have observation decks whose views, Herrera said, are “as good as the captain’s.”

The ship will feature many more family friendly suites and rooms with connecting doors than on any previous NCL ship, Herrera said. He added that the new room configurations reflect the  Chinese tendency to travel with multiple generations.

Studio cabins for singles, a feature of every NCL ship since the Epic, will not be on the Joy.

A bathroom in a Concierge suite.
A bathroom in a Concierge suite.

The ship will, however, feature the highest crew-to-passenger ratio of any contemporary-class ship, in part because it will carry 250 fewer passengers than the Escape. (Herrera said that additional staff was also hired.) The space occupied by some cabins that had been on the Escape has been given to the casino and shopping areas.

The 29 restaurants onboard will include one for Korean barbecue as well as a Japanese shabu-shabu restaurant. Herrera declined to say how many of the restaurants will be specialty dining requiring a surcharge.

“It’s about bringing best of east and west together,” Herrera said, summing up all the changes.

More details will be announced in the coming months, he added, including the names of luxury store brands.

A Concierge suite bedroom.
A Concierge suite bedroom.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ executive vice president for international development, Harry Sommer, said that the Chinese operation has renamed itself from “Norway Cruise Line,” as it was known in China, to three characters which phonetically sound like “Norwegian” but which translate to “promising, exclusive and authentic.”

The characters for the word “Joy” represent “Inner Joy,” Sommer said.

The Norwegian Joy is due to enter service in summer 2017.

Princess Cruises reveals new fleet livery

A new livery is to be introduced across the Princess Cruises fleet in a move which reflects UK-based sister line P&O Cruises.

The ‘ocean waves’ design will feature on the bow of the ships, with the first to feature on new vessel Majestic Princess which was floated out in its building dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy yesterday.

The design, featuring the company’s iconic logo, will be introduced across the fleet over the next few years. This follows P&O Cruises introducing the union flag to the front of its ships.

The 3,560-passenger Majestic Princess, designed specifically to sail from China, is due to enter service next year.

The line’s president, Jan Swartz, said: “For nearly half a century our Princess logo has represented the adventure of cruise travel around the globe.

“Now our ships sail to more than 360 ports of call worldwide and will be instantly recognised from afar.

“As the very first cruise ship built for China, we take great pride that Majestic Princess is our first ship to proudly display our new livery design.”

Majestic Princess will offer many of the same features as Royal Princess and Regal Princess but will include a number of new venues and experiences created for Chinese passengers. Details will be revealed in the coming months, according to the company.