The week in cruise – what’s happening in Asia


Chinese actress Fan Bingbing the Godmother Ovation of the Seas

The breathtaking Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has been announced as Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas godmother, making her the first Chinese celebrity to ever be selected. One of China’s most popular actresses, Ms Bingbing has starred in Chinese and Western blockbusters like Lady of the Dynasty, The Empress of China and X-Men: Days of Future Past. She is the godmother of the region’s most technologically advanced ship, which will be homeported in Tianjin before making her way to Singapore, then spending a season in Australia. It will be officially christened in Tianjin on June 24.

Meanwhile,  Ovation of the Seas will be homeported in Hong Kong to meet the growing demand from the Chinese market. Ovation of the Seas, will dock at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in November 2016. The ship, which can accommodate 4,180 guests, will be sailing five routes from Hong Kong to Taiwan to Japan. The itineraries will range from four to eight nights. The ship will collaborate with China’s Forbidden City Imperial Palace Museum to display ancient artwork. Royal Caribbean has also partnered with Xin Dau Ji, a Cantonese restaurant chain in Hong Kong to offer 20 free dishes on each sailing from the city.


Fifth Costa Cruises ship heading to Asia

Costa Cruises will be homeporting another ship in Asia starting in April 2017. The Costa neoRomantica will be based in Asia all year-round and will be the fifth from the line to sail the region. She will be sailing from Europe to Shanghai where she will go into dry dock to be refurbished for the Asian market. The Costa neoRomantica has 28 suites with private balconies as well as 46 cabins with private balconies. Onboard, there are four restaurants including the Samsara Restaurant which has an a la carte menu and offers traditional Italian cuisine. Sporting the Italian-style of cruising, there is also a pizzeria and grill area. There are also five bars including and Wine and Cheese Bar for an after dinner appertivo. For entertainment, the Costa neoRomantica has the Casino Excelsior, Grand Bar Piazza Italia, Tango Disco, Show Lounge Bar and duty-free shopping. There are three Costa ships already cruising in Asia, while a fourth, the Costa Fortuna, will arrive in Shanghai 22 April 22, 2016.


Refurbished Azamara Quest leaves Singapore drydock

Azamara Cruises Azamara Quest has finished a stint in drydock in Singapore and is ready for her season in Asian waters. The line has done an extensive remodel of the ship with redesigned staterooms and suites, new spa suites, overhauling the dining rooms and redecorating the forward observation lounge and renaming it The Living Room. The line will also be holding new shore excursions called Overnight Adventures. Guests can stay on dry land and experience the cultures of the destinations they are visiting. One of the excursions include a tour of the ancient temples of Bagan, Yangon and Myanmar. On this two-day journey, guests can explore the archaeological site of Bagan and its 3,000 pagodas, temples and monuments. Highlights include visits to the Sunset Temple, a local market and the ruins.