Genting International has ordered two 75,000-ton, 2,000-passenger ships from Meyer Werft to be operated by Star Cruise which is wholly owned by Genting.

Construction of the two ships, to be named SuperStar Leo and SuperStar Virgo, are scheduled to begin in early 1997, according to a spokersperson for Meyer Werft. The ships, which will be built at a cost of $700 million, are slated to enter seven-day service in the Far East, starting in 1998.

Promising a cruise experience with a "touch of the Orient," Star Cruise said the new ships will have a crew of 1,000 to reflect the high standards of manning and hospitality in the Asian tourist industry.

Star Cruise, which already operates five ships, said that it also intends to charter modern existing tonnage in order to introduce one ship per year so that by the end of this decade, the company will have a fleet of 10 ships with some 15,000 berths.

The new Star Cruise ships will feature alternative Chinese and Japanese restaurants, in addition to the main dining room, and the Lido Cafe offering South East Asian cuisine.

The ships will have 1,000 cabins of which 400 will have private balconies and another 200 will also be outside. Other features include a public observation area of the bridge, with video explanations of the bridge and engine room operations; a six-deck glass-top atrium with glass elevators; state-of-the-art two-deck 1,000-seat showroom; a 450-seat observation lounge, night club and disco; and a helicopter landing pad.

The SuperStar Leo and SuperStar Virgo will be deployed on a year-round, seven-day program in the South East Asian region of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Burma and India (Andaman Islands). During the summer, one of the ships will be deployed on seven-day cruises between China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.

Star Cruise presently operates five ships: the 1,900-passenger Star Aquarius and 2,000-passenger Star Pisces for the regional Asian standard market; the 820-passenger Superstar Gemini for the international contemporary market; the 100-passenger MegaStar Aries and Megastar Taurus in the upscale market.

By the year 2000, Star Cruise intends to have become one of the five largest cruise lines in the world, with the youngest and most modern fleet, according to a prepared statement.

Star Cruise has operations headquaners in Port Klang, Malaysia with marketing offices in Singapore and sales offices in Hong Kong, Penang, Bangkok, Phuket and Jakarta.

This latest move could also make North American cruise operators re-think their presence in the Far East. Thus far, the vessels which are committed to the region are older ships such as the Sun Viking and the Marco Polo.

Next, Star Cruise may also move into the North American market, perhaps by affiliating with an existing cruise line or starting up independent operations.

Regency Update: The CIT Group and Kawasaki, which hold mortgages on two Regency ships, will petition the bankruptcy court to convert Regency Cruises' Chapter 11 status into Chapter 7. In this instance, proceedings could go forward for the sale of Regency's assets. Industry veteran Bruce Nierenberg has been retained by Regency as part of its reorganization effort.