Royal Caribbean last night launched its largest, most technologically advanced and expensive ship into Asia, christening Spectrum of the Seas in Shanghai before an audience of trade, government officials and senior line executives.
In a heady mix of entertainment and tradition, the new Quantum Ultra Class was sent on her way for her first cruise after a launch presided over by godmother, Chinese actress Angelbaby, Dr Zinan Liu, chair of Royal Caribbean China and North Asia and international president and CEO Michael Bayley.
The ship represents a billion-dollar investment in a market where Royal Caribbean sees enormous potential.
Some lines have recently pulled back from China, moving their megaliners to areas where they feel they can earn bigger returns.
Royal Caribbean is doing the opposite, after a decade of experience in the Asian market.
Dr Liu spoke of a “historic moment”, strong demand for Spectrum of the Seas and a new “more diversified distribution model’ which Royal Caribbean had allowed his Asia team to create. He pointed out one per cent of Chinese people had taken a cruise.
“It’s our job to develop the market”, he said.
Mr Bayley said the ship “broke the mould in a sea of sameness”. He said it was the largest, most expensive ship Asia had seen and contributed to innovation in the market with new food offerings, digital and mobile apps, augmented reality and a private suite-class enclave.
With 4,000 guests and 1,600 crew, Spectrum of the Seas will sail new and longer itineraries to Japan and around Asia.
She will be marketed both in Asia and Australia and New Zealand as a “cultural experience” – aimed at adventurous cruisers who want to experience something new alongside the new Chinese cruise community.
The ship features new specialty restaurants, including Sichuan Red, Wonderland DaDong and a new tepanyaki restaurant.
She also features new shows including The Effectors, a super-heroes take-off, and Showgirls, a dance spectacular.
The vessel also headlines Sky Pad, an innovative virtual reality bungee jumping experience, laser tag and even fencing.
Popular exclusives from Royal Caribbean, like viewing platform North Star, RipCord by iFly and FlowRider are also on board.