CruiseTo tempt prospective passengers, cruise lines are continually upping the ante with new itineraries and exciting products and facilities. Nowhere is this happening with more purpose than in Asia.

Onboard innovation propels cruises

Viking to build more river ships
Viking to build more river ships

Windstar brings small-ship cruising back to Asia
New destinations and longer cruise itineraries will feature for Windstar Cruises’ 212-passenger Star Legend second season after the ship completes its inaugural Alaska season this summer. 

Four new cruises will be added to its existing lineup of four from its 2017/18 season.

The new Asia itineraries include a comprehensive exploration of greater China; an Asian “pop culture” journey from Tokyo to South Korea and Beijing; a Thailand and Malaysia cruise big on beaches and big cities; and a new itinerary discovering Indonesia that includes Bali.

Windstar Cruises’ 212-passenger Star Legend returns to Asia for its 2018-19 season.
Windstar Cruises’ 212-passenger Star Legend returns to Asia for its 2018-19 season.

A total of 27 sailings will be offered, with increased departures for Japan cruises timed with its famous cherry blossom season and fall foliage.

“Windstar is able to do so many things in Asia that only small ships can do,” said Windstar president John Delaney. 

“We can sail up rivers and dock in the central areas of Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bangkok. We can anchor off Patong Bay in Phuket, Thailand and small islands in Indonesia like Pulau Bawean on the Java Sea,” explained Delaney.

Cruise travellers will be able to visit smaller ports in the Philippines and dock at iconic beach destinations such as Palawan and Boracay.

The new 2018/19 Asia cruises, which feature longer sailings from 11-days to 26-days, are now available for bookings.

Viking River Cruises plots another major expansion
Viking River Cruises will be adding 24 more river cruise vessels to its fleet, Viking chairman Torstein Hagen announced at the christening of the company’s newest ocean ship the Viking Sun in Shanghai.

Hagen displayed a slide during his presentation indicating that in addition to the 65 vessels already in the Viking river fleet, the company has plans for 24 more.

Viking will be launching six of its Longship class of vessels on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers next year. It will launch a smaller Longship-style vessel, the Viking Helgrim, on Portugal’s Douro River.

“Our business started on the rivers, and we also have aspirations on the rivers,” Hagen said in October.
Viking introduced its Longship class of river cruise vessels in 2012. The 190-passenger ships have a sleek Scandinavian design, a variety of cabin configurations, staterooms with balconies and the Aquavit Terrace indoor/outdoor dining and lounge venue.

Majestic Princess heads for Keelung
After concluding her Grand Asia voyage from Singapore to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Busan, and finally, Shanghai on March 25, Majestic Princess will start her homeporting season in Keelung, Taipei in Taiwan till July 2018.

From Taiwan, Majestic Princess will offer three- to seven-night sailings to Japanese ports including Okinawa, Ishigaki, Nagasaki, Sakaiminato, Osaka, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Busan in South Korea.

Onboard offerings will include the quintessentially Taiwanese ‘night markets’ featuring local knick-knacks and souvenirs. 

On the take-up for these sailings, Farriek Tawfik, director South-east Asia, Princess Cruises, said, “We recently introduced these new sailings in Taiwan to travel agent partners in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia who have shown keen interest in these new cruises.” 

Oceania making waves with high-speed Internet

Oceania Cruises is adding high-speed Internet to all its ships.
Oceania Cruises is adding high-speed Internet to all its ships.

Oceania Cruises will introduce its new Wavenet high-speed Internet fleet-wide. With Wavenet, travellers will be able to upload and download large files, enjoy favourite shows on Netflix, stream their favourite playlist on Spotify and instantly share their Oceania Cruises’ memories on Facebook and Instagram.

They can also live stream Facetime, and Skype with friends and family back home. 

“With our new Wavenet high-speed internet, our guests and crew can continue to surf, post, and stream aboard our ships from anywhere around the globe, just as they would at home,” said Bob Binder, president and CEO of Oceania Cruises.

Free and unlimited Wavenet service will be included for all stateroom and suite categories on all sailings. 

A streaming upgrade, Wavenet Prime, is available for US$9.99 per day for guests who wish to stream movies, music, or videos.

Wavenet and Wavenet Prime will be available on all vessels by the end of April.

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