The occasion also provided an opportunity to preview Dream Cruises’ new Global-class ship with the unveiling of a show cabin.
Guest of honour
Among the more than 500 guests representing government, travel agents and business partners, notable attendees included guest of honour Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Other notables included Bernard Chan, under secretary, commerce and economic development bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Y.K. Pang, chairman, Hong Kong Tourism Board; Liu Yu Mei, director general, Guangzhou Municipal Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism Bureau; and Chen Hong Xian, director general, Guangzhou Port Authority. They were joined by Genting Cruise Lines leaders including Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman and CEO, Genting Hong Kong; Hui Lim, deputy CEO and executive director, Genting HK, and Colin Au, group president of Genting HK.
Founded a quarter century ago as Star Cruises, Genting Cruise Lines has been an integral force in establishing the Greater Bay Area and China as an important cruise region. The company was also instrumental in introducing innovative ships with less rigid dining schedules designed for the more relaxed Asian cruise market.
25m passengers in Greater Bay Area
Over the past 25 years, the company has carried more than 25m passengers on its fleet just in the Greater Bay Area — Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Throughout 2018, Genting Cruise Lines' year-round deployment in the region generated 1.4m passengers, of which 30% were from outside the Greater Bay Area, helping the Pearl River Delta to attract international cruise passengers.
Beyond the Greater Bay Area, Genting Cruise Lines has supported the development of various ports and cities throughout China.
From as early as 1994, the company's ships began visiting Chinese ports including Haikou in 1994, Sanya in 1995, Xiamen in 1996, Zhanjiang in 1997 and Shantou and Behai in 1998.
In 2002, Star Cruises opened the eastern China market with SuperStar Leo’s inaugural call at Shanghai and, later in the year, SuperStar Gemini began homeporting in China with deployments in Qingdao, Dalian and Shenzhen (Shekou).
'We remain committed to the evolution of this region as it continues to grow in importance and stature in the global cruise market,' Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said. The company is building cruise ships at its own yards in Germany (MV Werften) and plans to launch the first Global-class ship in early 2021.
'These are heady times for Hong Kong's cruise business, and Genting's remarkable progress has been a central reason behind our cruise tourism development,' Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said. 'Last month, Genting launched a new "One Day Greater Bay Cruise," taking passengers between Hong Kong and Nansha aboard World Dream. Genting, of course, has long championed cruise destinations throughout the Greater Bay Area and surrounding region.'
Genting is building luxurious 20,000gt Endeavor-class expedition vessels for Crystal Cruises, with the first due in 2020, followed in succession by the first 200,000gt Global-class ship for Dream Cruises in 2021, the first 67,000gt Diamond-class ship Crystal 2022 and the first Contemporary-class ship for Star Cruises in 2023.
Global-class show cabin
During the Hong Kong event, guests previewed a balcony show cabin, built in Germany and shipped in for the occasion.
Featuring 20 square metres of space, the Global-class cabins are designed for two passengers but can also accommodate up to four, suitable for families and group travellers. A two bathroom design will allow for several people to get ready at once and the cabin’s sofa bed also easily unfolds to sleep an additional two guests. A privacy curtain that can be closed to divide the room into separate seating and sleeping areas.
Technology will include Bluetooth locks and a new smart system allowing passengers to control different functions such as the LED mood lighting and climate control with a smartphone app, voice recognition or through a touchscreen control panel. Smart sensors will also be able to detect occupants in the cabin to automatically adjust the lights and temperature for better energy efficiency, and triple vent air-conditioning outlets ensure even air distribution for maximum comfort.