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   Cruise Travel - Cruise Ships


Star Cruises

MS Mega Star Taurus

Rating:Four Stars
Submit your review hereSubmit your review
Operator:Star Cruises
Year Built / Last Refurbished: 1991 / 1996
Length / Tonnage: 270 / 3,300
Number of Cabins / Passengers: 36 / 72
Officers / Crew: International / International
Operating Area: Southeast Asia

Review by Christopher E. Smith, TravelPage.com, Associate Cruise Editor

Back in the early nineties, when Singapore and Malaysia's fortunate were making money hand over fist, a well known family from Malaysia, the Lims, major players in the gambling industry, decided to branch out into the cruise business. Studying the successes of some of the Miami lines....who for years have been making wads of cash running three and four day junkets from Florida....the Lims looked to Sweden for tonnage....and found two passenger ferry liners, the ATHENA and CALYPSO, that had but a couple of years under their belts operating between Sweden and Finland for AB Slite (Viking Line). These Wartsila built hulls were designed to carry vehicles and well over 2,000 overnight passengers....they were modern ferry liners and well suited to their intended trade.

Once these vessels had been moved east, refurbished and renamed STAR AQUARIUS and STAR PISCES, the Lims based the AQUARIUS out of Singapore and the PISCES at Hong Kong....they were slated to cover one of the three levels of service Star Cruises sought to introduce. These ships, known as "Star" class, would cater to first time cruisers who were looking to sample a short sea trip in a budget setting. To create the other two products....the "Superstar" and "Megastar" levels....the line looked for available cruise ships that were on the market. They found the EffJohn owned, Cunard operated CROWN JEWEL....they brought her into their new family as the SUPERSTAR GEMINI....and sent her into their medium priced service, catering to an international crowd of more experienced cruise travelers who would be uncomfortable on the "Star" side of the business. To inaugurate their luxury division, "Megastar",

The Lims found suitable vessels in AURORA I and AURORA II. These two SEA GODDESS type ships had been ordered for Greece's Navtol and were to be christened LADY DIANA and LADY SARAH. Unable to pay for these ships, Navtol was forced to cancel their plans to operate them.....and in 1992, New Frontier Cruise Line entered the picture and snatched up the pair. With an already over saturated luxury market in the Western Hemisphere, the AURORAs were considered redundant.....and in 1994, Star Cruises jumped at the chance to acquire them, renaming them MEGASTAR ARIES and MEGASTAR TAURUS, and making them available for charter when not operating scheduled short cruises from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. As early as one year ago, Star Cruises was planning to aggressively add tonnage, with the hopes of becoming a major player in the world wide cruise scene. They will be taking delivery of Germany's magnificent EUROPA in June....to be named MEGASTAR ASIA, they plan to add her into the upscale "Megastar" division....the only appropriate spot this ship could occupy. They are also anticipating next month's delivery of the 75,000 ton SUPERSTAR LEO and next year's introduction of her sister, the SUPERSTAR VIRGO. However, the recent economic upheaval in Asia may affect Star Cruises....we cannot account for the disposition of two of their ships, SUPERSTAR CAPRICORN (once the ROYAL VIKING SKY) and SUPERSTAR SAGITTARIUS (ex-SUN VIKING).

It has been a few years since we were last in Singapore.....or anywhere in Southeast Asia, for that matter. So we have not sailed with Star Cruises.....but we recognize the MEGASTAR TAURUS from her former life....as the AURORA I....and she hasn't changed since then. Sadly, there is very little information available on Star Cruises company in North America.....so we hope this information will be of assistance. A word about our star ratings with these ships.....we have based the number of stars on what we have gleaned from the available information....if you have sailed with Star Cruises, we'd love to hear from you....let us know how close we came to accurately rating them. One thing we can tell you with certainty is that most Americans and Canadians would not consider making the long air trip from their homes to Asia just to take a two or three day cruise! For now, though, if you are planning an independent visit to Singapore..and if you have tired of the service at Raffles and are looking for a brief ocean holiday....if the MEGASTAR TAURUS is not out on a charter, she'll be happy to welcome you aboard.

Public Areas
For only seventy two passengers, the MEGASTAR AIRES and MEGASTAR TAURUS have every requisite public room needed for a deluxe voyage. There is a charming lounge and adjacent bar next to the restaurant on Upper Deck....and a gym, a tiny pool, a beauty parlor, library and gift shop are on board. These vessels spend so little time at sea that you really don't need any other facilities. There is sufficient deck space for everyone, and with the crew outnumbering the passengers, you can be sure that fine service is available anywhere.....at any time.

We've not been on the "Megastar" ships.....but with such a small group of guests, it's a safe bet that the food is wonderful....and cooked to your specifications. There are deck buffets as well as sit down service in the restaurant....and there will be a wider variety of delicacies than what is offered on the "Superstar" class.

The vast majority of cabins on the "Megastar" ships are a generous 250 square feet in size....and all have lower beds, a sitting area, refrigerator, color TV/VCR, desk and large windows. The bathrooms, accented in marble, have full size tubs. The cabins on A Deck are a little smaller, with portholes and showers in the bathrooms.

Who Goes
Star Cruises' intended market for the MEGASTAR ARIES and MEGASTAR TAURUS is the wealthiest local customers....providing them a year round option to cruise in Southeast Asia.... they are people who will feel at home on Seabourn or a private yacht. These vessels are also aggressively offered for charter.

The MEGASTAR TAURUS, when available for her regular schedule, sails from Kuala Lumpur on three day cruises to a variety of off the beaten track destinations. As the ship is often rented out to private individuals, do not plan a trip to the Orient around cruises on this ship.

Let me repeat this... I cannot imagine anyone flying all the way to Singapore with the sole intent of making a voyage on the Star Cruise ships. But if you are there already, with a few days to kill, and a lot of money to spend, this is a great way to escape the bustling city. Everything that I have seen about Star Cruises makes me believe that they have a fine product....and I think that if you understand that this is not geared to the North American psyche, you'll have a good time on board.

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