Royal Caribbean to Send Major New Cruise Ship to Asia

Another big new cruise ship is headed to Asia. Royal Caribbean has announced that its first, yet-to-be-named Quantum Ultra-class ship will be based in the Asia-Pacific region when it launches in spring 2019, joining sibling ships Quantum of the  Seas and Ovation of the Seas. Billed as the “next evolution” of the cruise line’s Quantum class, Royal Caribbean made the announcement regarding the new ship as part of the unveiling of its lineup of 2018 – 2019 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries.

Royal Caribbean also announced that, for the 2018 – 2019 season, Mariner of the Seas will reposition to Miami before sailing a “Global Odyssey” from Asia with three long sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and Barcelona to Miami. The “Global Odyssey” opens for bookings May 2, 2017. Voyager of the Seas, meanwhile, will have its first full season in Singapore in 2018 – 2019, offering three- to seven-night itineraries in Southeast Asia with calls including ports in Thailand and Malaysia.

Other highlights of the 2018 -2019 season include expanded open-jaw itineraries, with new 10-night open-jaw itineraries between Auckland, New Zealand, and Melbourne or Sydney, Australia, on Radiance of the Seas. During the winter, Ovation of the Seas will reposition to Sydney for its longest season in Australia, making it the largest ship based in the region, Royal Caribbean said.

Royal Caribbean’s China 2018-19 itineraries for Quantum and Voyager will be available to book beginning April 26, 2017, followed by Ovation on April 27. Australia and Singapore sailings will be open as of May 16, 2017.

The announcement is the latest move by major cruise lines stepping up their investment in the growing cruise market in Asia. In its Asia Cruise Trends report released last summer, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) found that Asian source markets experienced the most growth for ocean cruise passengers in 2014 and 2015. Dr. Zinan Liu, chair of CLIA North Asia, predicted “record-breaking growth in cruise travel” in the region.

Other major cruise lines have been announcing plans to launch new cruise ships in Asia as well. This past week Norwegian Cruise Line announced that the Norwegian Joy, a cruise ship the line is purpose-building for the China cruise market, would sail with a two-level Ferrari-branded competitive racetrack that will allow guests to take a ride in electric go-carts. That ship is set to be officially delivered this year on April 27 in Bremerhaven, Germany, before setting sail for China.

Other itinerary details from Royal Caribbean released today include:

China and Singapore Cruises

Available to book April 26 and 27

  • Quantum of the Seas will continue to sail from Shanghai for the fourth consecutive season, offering 78 sailings to and from Japan, beginning January 2018. Highlights include:
    • 6-night Japan itinerary: Visits the historic city of Nagasaki and overnights in Okinawa, Japan
    • 8-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Includes stops in Kobe, Tokyo and Nagasaki, Japan 
  • Ovation of the Seas will return to Tianjin, China for its second season, offering cruises to Japan, including two new ports for the ship: Sasaebo and Shimonoseki. The season begins April 2018. Highlights include:
    • 5-night Japan itinerary: Sailing to Sasaebo and Shimonoseki, Japan, travelers will visit what many know as “The Gateway to Japan.”
    • 7-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Stops include Sakaiminato, Maizuru and Nagasaki, Japan
  • Voyager of the Seas will offer a combined total of 77 sailings from Singapore, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, offering itineraries Southeast Asia, beginning April 30, 2018. Highlights include:
    • 4-night Malaysia itinerary: Sailing from Singapore and visiting Penang and Phuket
    • 5-night Vietnam itinerary: From Hong Kong to destinations including Chan May and Nha Trang, Vietnam

Australia and South Pacific Cruises

Available to book May 16

  • Ovation of the Seas will sail from Sydney, Australia for its third and longest season in the country, offering 13 sailings beginning November 2018. Highlights include:
    • 10-night New Zealand itinerary: Departing Sydney, featuring the country’s wildlife and Maori heritage with stops in Milford Sound, Napier and Picton, New Zealand
    • 14-night Singapore to Sydney, open-jaw itinerary: Setting sail this fall to ports of call including Adelaide and Hobart, Tasmania
  • Radiance of the Seas will have an expanded open-jaw program with three new itineraries in Australia in 2019. Highlights include:
    • New - 10-night, open-jaw itinerary: Departing from Auckland, New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia, travelers will visit destinations throughout the Tasman Sea
  • Explorer of the Seas will join Ovation of the Seas for its fourth season based in Sydney with 23 sailings exploring the island destinations of the South Pacific and Fiji. The ship’s cruises range from 3- to 14-night itineraries, and will begin in October 2018. Highlights include:
    • 12-night South Pacific and Fiji itinerary: Visiting a lineup of destinations including Noumea, Caledonia; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Lautoka and Suva, Fiji.