Dream Cruises, Asia’s first luxury line with two ships operating out of Singapore and Hong Kong, is planning a major assault on the Australian market from next year.
The line, which also owns ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises and contemporary Star Cruises, has announced the Superstar Virgo will be converted to the Explorer Dream in a $30 million German shipyard refit.
She will then sail from Sydney and New Zealand for a period of about five months during the wave season at the end of 2019 and early 2020, which coincides with China’s chilly winter.
The Superstar Virgo sailed Australia waters some 15 years ago, and “won the hearts of many Australians,” according to the line’s Australian Associate Vice President Brigitta Devries.
She will be transformed into a premium luxury vessel during the refit and be named Explorer Dream, complete with the line’s famed hull art work, specialty food offerings and European butlers in the Palace – a “ship-within-a-ship-“ concept which offers increased luxury and privacy.
She will also have a Crystal Life spa and “East meets West” food offerings.
The 2,500 guest vessel will be well-priced to tackle the Australia/New Zealand market – though the cost of itineraries to locations like the Gold Coast, the Barrie Reef and across to New Zealand is yet to be announced.
Explorer Dream will carry recognised Australian brands like Penfolds, and is expected to have a western restaurant featuring WA-chef Mark Best’s signature dishes.
The move was announced shortly after a keel laying ceremony for the first of the line’s new global class ships, which will be launched in 2020.
The first 5000-passenger ship is also expected to tackle the Australian and New Zealand markets during the Chinese winter months.
Global class ships will feature waterslides and even a rollercoaster for the family market, as well as Palace suites for those seeking luxury offering.
Ms Devries said interest in Dream Cruises has increased significantly recently. “The trajectory is up, up up” she told Cruise Passenger.
Word of mouth from Australians sailing the Genting Dream and special offers with up to 50% off or 60% off with 3rd and 4th cruiser going free were fuelling demand, she said.