Sunday, 15 March 2015

5 New Features I want aboard Star Cruises 2016 New Ship

Star Cruise recently announced that it will be launching the massive new 150,000 ton cruise ship in 2016. Although no name has been officially announced, publicity material usually refers this ship as Genting World (Don't you think something like Superstar Taurus sounds better?). Anyway, here are some features I hope to see in Star Cruises' new Genting World.

star cruise logo second drop

Before we continue, please be informed that these are entirely my suggestions and Star Cruises has yet to announce what features they are including in Genting World as of March 2015

1) Improved Ventilation at the Casino Area

Being owned by the Genting Group, a major casino resort company, the casino will be a major attraction at any Star Cruises Ship. However, where there is a casino, there is also a smoking zone.

Unfortunately, some new cruise ships forgot to provide good buffer zones between the casino smoking zone and the rest of the ship, leading to guest and crew discomfort. Major culprits includes the Norwegian Epic and Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas, with smoke surging into the main Atrium and Music Hall respectively.

Casinos are standard feature aboard cruise ships but unfortunately so is the smoke.

I am quite sensitive to cigarette smoke, so good airflow control and sufficient buffer zones at smoking areas is a must before I commit to board a ship.

2) Indoor Sports Court

In order to attract the younger crowd, a sports zone is almost a mandatory feature on any large cruise ship. Unfortunately, an outdoor court exposes people to the scorching tropical sun, and Asians are not as fond of getting a tan as our American counterparts. In fact, at Southeast Asian latitudes, the sun is so hot that it is DANGEROUS to have outdoor activities between 10am to 3pm - that's half the day! So the solution? An indoor sports court, similar to Royal Caribbean's SeaPlex. 

Look at how hot an outdoor sports court is during the afternoon. It is so bad that was never more than 6 people at any time in the court throughout my voyage on Mariner of the Seas.

In addition, an indoor court can also be used when it rains, or at night. It can also be used for other purposes like mass birthday parties, dance floor or tournaments. Just 2 other details: Firstly, if Star Cruises can make the roof retractable, that's even better. Secondly, don't follow Norwegian Epic's epic mistake of having a synthetic ice skating rink on a sports court (see Undercover Boss - Norwegian Cruise Line)

3) 3Gen Family Suites

If there is one thing that separates Asians from Americans, it is the family structure. Many Asians are close to their extended families and some may want to vacation together. While many cruise lines have family suites (up to 14 guests), a 3 Generation Family will have some specialised needs that I hope Asia centric Star Cruises can accommodate. For example,
  • 1 of the bathrooms should have elderly friendly grab bars and slip resistant surfaces to make it safer for older guests. Lowered bed is also advisable to allow seniors to get on easily
  • Larger bunk/sofa beds may be needed due to the larger proportion of adults (and seniors) travelling in the group. The Disney and Royal Caribbean sofa/bunk beds, honestly speaking, can only comfortably sleep teens and not adults. 
  • Split bathrooms should be standard feature in such a suite due to the large group size
I know this market is quite specialised, so the 3Gen Family Suite on Genting World can be a series of connected staterooms, just like on Quantum of the Seas. In this way, even seniors travelling by themselves or 2GEN families can take full advantage of these Universal Design features.

The Family Connected Suite on Quantum of the Seas is a good launch point for a full fledged 3Gen suite on Star Cruise's new Genting World.

4) Motion Simulator Attraction

A motion simulator is ideal for cruise ships: adaptable, compact and exciting, and there is a plus - no other cruise line has done it yet, excluding the small ones in ship arcades. You see, a motion simulator on Star Cruises Genting World can be used for many completely different experiences. In fact, it is even possible to provide multiple types of simulators, from hang gliding (Epcot's Soarin) to conventional sit-downs (The Simpsons Ride) in 1 compact theater. 

Star Cruise new ship 2016 - motion simulator
A single simulator can accommodate multiple experiences from standard adventure rides through shooting to 3D experiences
In fact, since the Genting Group is already partnering with 20th Century Fox to build a new theme park at Genting Highlands Resort in Malaysia, why not feature the 20th Century Fox stories and experiences for this motion simulator?

5) Fireworks at Sea

I saved the best for the last! A nice fireworks show on the last night of the cruise provides a great finale to the Star Cruise experience. It can even be combined together with a farewell deck party. The thing is, Norwegian Cruise Line, which is owned by Star Cruises (surprise?) already offers fireworks shows on the Breakaway Class Ships, so the foundation already exists. As a bonus, no cruise ship in Asia offers routine fireworks shows as of 2015!

Star Cruises new ship 2016 - fireworks
Currently, only Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line offers fireworks at sea, and none of their ships are operating in Asia

I know that Asians love fireworks. I seen my countrymates wait up to 4 hours for fairly mediocre fireworks shows during Singapore's national events. If star cruises can pull off a good one at sea, I am sure people will flock onboard to experience it.

So, here are 5 innovative features that I hope to see on Star Cruises Genting World. If there are any other features you want to see on Star Cruises Genting World or any other new cruise ship, please share in the comments. For more exciting Second Drop updates, don't forget to like the Second Drop Facebook Page.