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After $50m upgrade, SuperStar Gemini to sail from Penang, Shanghai, Sanya

Star Cruises
Resort-at-sea look - SuperStar Gemini lobby
Star Cruises plans a US$50m upgrade for SuperStar Gemini before deploying the former Norwegian Dream from Malaysia’s Penang and China’s Shanghai and Sanya.

The 50,764gt vessel will be completely overhauled with upgraded navigational systems, new hull art and on-board facilities including cabins, restaurants, entertainment and recreational venues, retail and body-care outlets. Star Cruises said the goal is a resort-at-sea environment with an edge—a shopping haven with a broad range of upmarket duty-free items.
During January, SuperStar Gemini will operate a series of 17 short cruises from Penang calling at Krabi and Phuket. On Jan. 24, the ship will operate a six-night cruise to Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and Hong Kong. Twenty-six sailings from Sanya follow, from February through March, with calls at Danang, Halong Bay and Hong Kong.  

From April to Oct 2013, SuperStar Gemini will be based in Shanghai and offer more than 30 cruises ranging from three nights to six nights, with destinations including Korea’s Cheju and Busan, Japan’s Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Naha and Ishigaki and Taiwan’s Keelung.

A number of special chartered cross-strait itineraries from Shanghai to Taiwan are also planned, subject to approval by the authorities. Star Cruises expects this program to be highly sought after, drawing on the up-and-coming markets in China and Taiwan.
After the Shanghai deployment, SuperStar Gemini will homeport in Sanya during the winter season, from mid-October, with cruises to Vietnam and other destinations.

‘SuperStar Gemini is a testament to our ongoing effort to expand our footprint in the region from our well-established key markets in Hong Kong, Penang, Sanya, Singapore and Taiwan,’ said William Ng, coo of Star Cruises. ‘With the strengthened fleet, we are well-positioned to further develop the Asia-Pacific cruise market by introducing world-class cruising experience as a holiday option to the growing North Asia holidaymakers.’
SuperStar Gemini will offer restaurants with Chinese, Asian and international cuisines, an open deck barbecue, show lounge, karaoke, spa and health club, beauty salon, children’s playroom and swimming pool.

The 766-cabin ship will have passenger capacity of 1,532, and accommodations ranging up to deluxe executive suites.
The shopping area will span more than 4,000sq ft and feature a number of luxury retailers with high-end merchandise including watches, jewellery, designer handbags, perfumes, sunglasses, accessories and fashion items.  
SuperStar Gemini’s refurbishment follows SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Aquarius and Star Pisces, which all underwent make-overs last year totaling more than US$38m.

SuperStar Libra is scheduled to undergo refurbishment in early 2013.

[Ng will participate in the Seatrade All Asia Cruise Convention State of the Industry panel.]