Sun, sea and senses

Cruise lines are no exception to the battle of rolling out more immersive, multisensory products. Here’s a look at some of the most exciting features that is transforming the cruise experience for a new generation of experiential travellers

Bionic bar on board a Royal Caribbean ship

Princess Cruises

Stuart Allison

The big development for us will come at the end of 2020 when we bring our first Medallion Class ship to Asia, the Grand Princess. I like to think these are smart ships, like the smartphones that have changed the way we live. The smartphone does everything and takes a lot of the friction points out of our life.

We apply the same principle behind the OceanMedallion. We want our customers to get on the ship and start enjoying themselves as quickly as possible. The technology expedites the embarkation process, allows hands-free purchases, and acts as a beacon to show where mum and dad are, and how to get to them.

When we bring it into Asia, we may discover how it can help tour leaders manage their group more effectively onboard. As we roll out the technology on some of our ships in Alaska and the Caribbean, we learn something new about its capability every day. – Karen Yue

Norwegian Cruise Line

Felix Chan

The refurbished Norwegian Spirit, which marks the biggest investment for a single Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ship and is scheduled to be ready by April 2020, will be based in Japan next June and July to coincide with the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Travellers can take a cruise before or after the event, as hotel prices are expected to increase due to limited capacity.

Planning cruise itineraries around such special events is a good value proposition for Asian travellers. Asians are more pragmatic and price-sensitive, and are likely to convert to taking cruise vacations if they can find better value and experiences.
With the doubling of Asian guests on NCL ships over the past three years, we have observed that they are looking for more exotic and authentic experiences beyond visiting malls and capital cities while travelling in groups. As such, we are developing more itineraries that will cater to their curiosity and desire for new experiences. – Kenneth Goh

Dream Cruises

Michael Goh

With the growing trend in experiential travel, Dream Cruises is geared towards redefining the future of cruising with the 208,000GRT Global Dream – the first Global Class ship scheduled to arrive in Asia 2Q2021. On board the Global class ships, guests’ journeys are elevated to new heights with a seamless experience featuring a high degree of innovations, driven by state-of-the art robotics, artificial intelligence, new technology and digital systems such as facial, voice recognition, smart sensors, and more.

In addition, new experiential excitement awaits guests with a series of firsts, including the first-ever Dream Park at the Pier theme park, featuring the world’s longest roller coaster at sea; the largest cinema at sea with eight theatres convertible for MICE meetings; the largest variety of Asian and international cuisine at sea; the industry’s most spacious staterooms; and The Palace, Asia’s largest “ship-within-a-ship” luxury enclave. – Xinyi Liang-Pholsena

Royal Caribbean Cruises

Bionic bar on board a Royal Caribbean ship

Royal Caribbean is enhancing the cruise experience with bold offerings on its Oasis and Quantum Class ships. The Quantum Class Spectrum of the Seas most recently welcomed the VR bungee trampoline and AR games, on top of a skydiving simulator, bumper cars, and a Bionic Bar among other onboard highlights. The Oasis Class ships offer the tallest slide at sea and high-tech entertainment showcasing high divers against a backdrop of stunning projections and a cast of drones for ice shows. – Pamela Chow

P&O Cruises
P&O Cruises Australia has responded to a growing demand from Australian holidaymakers for short breaks with the launch of two niche themed cruises in 2020. A 1980s Tribute Cruise, running for three nights on the two cruises which depart Brisbane and Sydney in early 2020, celebrates the MTV-generation’s music from pop, hip-hop, metal and rock. The Country Music Festival at Sea cruise, which departs Brisbane in December 2019, celebrates Australians’ growing interest in new styles of country music including rockabilly, country rock, folk and bluegrass. – Adelaine Ng

Burma Boating
Burma Boating recently launched exclusive monthly cruises that combine yachting and scuba diving in around Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago – which only recently started welcoming visitors. The 8D7N sailing adventures take place between November and April, and are the first in the region to combine the two water activities. Guests sail aboard the luxurious Dallinghoo, a 30m classic gaff-rigged schooner, and can also embark on a range of experiential activities that include meeting the Moken (sea gypsies), fishing with locals and feasting on fresh food cooked by a personal chef. – Marissa Carruthers

Emperor Cruises
Emperor Cruises recently rolled out a new expedition exploring the untouched islands in off-the-beaten-track Bai Tu Long Bay and Van Don. This avoids increasingly-popular nearby Halong Bay. The three- or four-night cruises also champion environmental sustainability through highly-regulated waste storage, eco-friendly engines, and supporting community and socially responsible initiatives, such as beach cleanups. – Marissa Carruthers


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