Star Cruises was founded in 1993 to realize the Far East's potential as an international cruising destination. Its mission was not only to encourage Asian travelers to take to the seas but also to attract North American, Australian, European and British cruisers eager to explore the dazzling variety of cultures, cuisines and holiday experiences the Asia Pacific region has to offer.
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Top Star Cruises Ships
The company's SuperStar ships were the first to offer the widest range of restaurants afloat, an innovation that later passed on to Norwegian Cruise Line, a sister company that's widely known for its "freestyle dining." SuperStars Leo and Virgo offer Chinese, Italian, Asian and Japanese restaurants, and Virgo has the only Indian restaurant afloat. The ships also have the usual casual buffets, poolside grills and one formal dining room apiece
All restaurants offer open seating for maximum flexibility. The "Asia afloat" feel extends to onboard entertainment; card rooms are filled with fans of Mah Jong, onboard shows feature spectacularly flexible Chinese acrobats and the ships have extensive karaoke facilities, including private rooms for parties.
Service, too, is Asian-style -- discreet, friendly and impeccable. Star Cruises, which operates a no-tipping policy, has one of the highest crew-to-passenger ratios in the industry, with one staff member for every two passengers.
Star Cruises Fleet
Then the newbuildings began.
SuperStar Leo was the first 76,800-ton megaship to be custom-built for operation in Asia; incorporating Asian decor and cuisine, it entered service in 1998 and was shortly followed by SuperStar Virgo, its sister ship.
Two new 91,200-ton, 2,244-passenger sister ships originally ordered for Star's fleet were switched to NCL and became Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn in 2001 and 2002. The 75,338-ton, 1,966-passenger SuperStar Leo moved across to become Norwegian Spirit.
SuperStar Aquarius was deployed in spring 2011, after undergoing a month-long, $1.6 million refurbishment in Hong Kong. SuperStar Libra debuted in winter 2011. This leaves Star with four own-brand ships (SuperStar Aries and SuperStar Capricorn have been sold). Currently, the fleet consists of SuperStar Aquarius, SuperStar Libra, Star Pisces, SuperStar Gemini and SuperStar Virgo.
On the horizon: Star announced in October 2013 that it had commissioned its largest ever newbuild. The as-yet unnamed 150,000 ton, 3,200 passenger vessel, to be built at Germany's Meyer Werft, will debut in late 2016. The 18-deck ship will have 33 food and beverage options, a modern theater, a kids' waterpark, 1,000 square meters of retail space and meeting rooms.
SuperStar Virgo operates a range of five-night Straits of Malacca cruises round-trip from Singapore, sailing on Sundays and calling at Penang, Phuket, Malacca (as a drop-off for excursions) and Port Klang, with a day at sea.
Passengers can also embark or disembark in Phuket and enjoy a beach break: Phuket-based sailings depart on Tuesdays, then offer a day at sea and a call at Malacca/Kuala Lumpur. Passengers then disembark to spend the weekend at a Singapore hotel, rejoining the ship on the Sunday to sail back to Phuket via Penang.
Alternatively, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket itineraries sail from Singapore for a brief call at Kuala Lumpur, then offer passengers a two-day call at Phuket and a chance to go exploring on a second KL call (from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.) en route back to Singapore.
Also available are Singapore-based, five-night Bangkok and Ko Samui cruises, which depart on Sundays and make a two-day call at Bangkok after a day at sea. On Wednesday mornings they sail from Bangkok to Ko Samui, where passengers get nine hours ashore before returning to Singapore.