The 75,338gt, 1,870 passenger cruise ship will join the fleet in spring 2019 in the role of pathfinder for the brand’s aspirations to expand outside of Asia.
SuperStar Virgo to undergo $30m makeover before switch
Ahead of the move the vessel will undergo a $30m transformation in March 2019 that will incorporate new facilities including The Palace, Dream Cruises’ signature, luxury private enclave featuring 50 suites and butler service.
Additionally, guests will be able to enjoy all new food and beverage options combining the best of ‘East meets West’ and a new Crystal Life Spa.
Australia and New Zealand itineraries
‘Dream Cruises will be extending its brand recognition to 300m Chinese in Shanghai and Tianjin/Beijing next summer as well as offering cruises in Australia and New Zealand to its Asian-sourced passengers during winter 2019 – the first time Dream Cruises will be sailing outside Asia,’ said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, executive chairman of Genting Hong Kong, who attended the keel-laying ceremony for Dream Cruises' 204,000gt Global-class ship at MV Werften's Rostock facility on Tuesday.
‘Explorer Dream will offer another option for our Asia based guests to expand their travel horizons with new rail/cruise and fly/cruise opportunities to see the world,’ he added.
Shanghai and Tianjin homeports also
Explorer Dream will strengthen the Dream Cruises’ brand in North China with homeports in Shanghai and Tianjin during spring/summer 2019 with a selection of voyages of various durations from Shanghai or Tianjin to Japan, Russia, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
In autumn/winter of 2019, Explorer Dream will homeport in Sydney and Auckland where she will embark on 21 seven-night weekly itineraries, including:
• Six one week Queensland and the Barrier Reef Cruises, starting October 27 2019, calling at Mooloolaba/Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Newcastle and Gladstone;
• Eight one week Tasmania Island and Melbourne Cruises, starting February 9 2020, calling at Port Arthur, Hobart, Burnie,Melbourne andPhillip Island and Eden
• Seven one week North and South New Zealand Cruises starting mid December calling at Wellington, Milford Sound/ Doubtful Sound, Dunedin, Napier, Bay of Islands, Akaroa, Picton, and Gisborne.
‘We will be accelerating this vision to develop Dream Cruises into Asia’s global cruise line by utilizing one of Asia’s favourite ships, SuperStar Virgo, and converting her into a brand new sibling alongside Genting Dream and World Dream,’ commented Tan Sri Lim.
'With her strong heritage in the Asian cruise landscape and history in the region along with her world-renowned German engineering, SuperStar Virgo’s transformation into Explorer Dream will combine the best-in-class design and construction of her sister ships with acclaimed service that is Asian at heart and international in spirit,’ he concluded.
Around 13m tourists currently visit Australia and New Zealand annually with about 5m of this number from Asia.
Pre and post cruise stays part of the offer
Pre and post cruise stays available in Sydney and Auckland will be an important cornerstone for Asian travelers who typically enjoy 9 to 14 day vacations when visiting Down Under.
Thatcher Brown, president of Dream Cruises talked about the two-year old brand’s journey so far: ‘We have received very positive feedback from the Chinese travel community to bring the Dream Cruises brand to the more populous North China market with the repositioning of Explorer Dream and we have also experienced overwhelming support from the Asian travel community with news of the ship’s homeport in Australia and New Zealand this winter.’