P&O Cruises in Australia will launch its largest ship to date from Sydney in June – the 999-cabin Pacific Explorer (main picture).
“Pacific Explorer will be a great addition to the fleet, offering two large venues which can accommodate up to 540 guests, as well as state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment,” says corporate group sales manager Rebecca Mutanen.
In addition to the referenced venues – the 540-seat Marquee Theatre and 320-seat Black Circus – the vessel houses two function rooms: The Blue Room (above), accommodating 120 standing and 40 seated; and Explorer Hotel, with a capacity for 160 standing and 100 seated.
A scenic alternative, the upper deck can host 200 for an open-air cocktail event.
Beyond meetings, planners can enrich itineraries with over 60 onboard activities to chose from – ranging from dance classes and game shows to health seminars and laser light shows – and more than 600 shore tours available. Vast waterslides, a waterpark with larger-than-life structures and a barefoot bowls lawn are among the ship’s most innovative offerings.
Building up to the launch, the cruise line has seen a surge in interest from meetings and incentive groups, with corporate group bookings up 54 per cent in 2016. Mutanen says many of these are scheduled to return this year.
“Repeat guests are our biggest compliment and confirm that our meetings product is really hitting the mark.”
Pacific Explorer joins a fleet of five, porting from six different destinations around Australia.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest and most advanced vessel, Norwegian Joy (above), is set to debut in China this July.
Manufactured in Germany, the 1,925-cabin ship is geared towards the Chinese market with select dining and entertainment offerings and Putonghua the official onboard language. Home porting in Shanghai and Tianjin, the vessel will also be based in and around China.
Director of sales Felix Chan says the ship is NCL’s “most innovative product to date”, with a two-level go-kart track – the first on the high seas – and virtual-reality experiences in the Galaxy Pavilion among the novel offerings.
Beyond the advanced facilities, one of the most distinctive characteristics of the ship is her patterned hull, designed by Chinese artist Tan Ping.
Dream Cruises’ primary ship, Genting Dream (above), set sail for the first time last November. The 1,674-room vessel currently voyages from Hong Kong or Guangzhou, but will be home-ported in Singapore from December 2017.
For meetings, the ship offers a 400-seat theatre, with live translation equipment fitted to every seat; a 210-seat indoor/outdoor space (environment controlled); and two smaller meeting rooms, seating eight to ten. For more social affairs, delegates can ascend to the upper deck for a private event at Zouk Beach Club (below), with cabana seating, pool dance floor and giant LED screens.
Extending the LED theme, Genting Dream is fitted with a sophisticated balcony-lighting system, allowing the hull to deliver a diversity of colourful visual effects. Dream Cruises president, Thatcher Brown, says this “represents something new to the cruise industry”.
Beyond its lighting, one of the ship’s many selling points is its total of 35 restaurants and bars. As well as housing the largest beauty and wellness centre at sea, the ship uniquely offers a theatrical mock up of reality TV show China’s Got Talent and a Johnnie Walker House.
Towards the end of 2017, Dream Cruises is set to launch its second vessel, World Dream.