HAVING seen double-digit growth in MICE year-on-year, Star Cruises is on course to further grow the business with the delivery of its two 150,000-tonne mega cruise ships in 2016 and 2017.
Michael Goh, senior vice president, sales of Star Cruises and sister company Norwegian Cruise Line, said MICE now contributed between 20 and 30 per cent of total business.
“The mega ships will allow us to offer an even bigger ‘wow factor’ to events on board with their state-of-the art MICE facilities including dedicated MICE function rooms, larger spaces, simultaneous translation, Wi-Fi everywhere, etc,” Goh told TTGmice e-Weekly during the inaugural cruise of SuperStar Virgo, which is being homeported in Hong Kong until October 26.
The mega ships will have capacity for up to 4,500 passengers and their ongoing design planning includes some 33 F&B outlets, compared to the 75,338-tonne SuperStar Virgo which can accommodated up to 2,500 passengers and has 11 F&B outlets.
New MICE programmes introduced by Star Cruises include the launch of a cruise and cycling tour in Penang in 2013 for 60 members of a special interest group. Participation numbers are expected to double this year.
Star Cruises which inaugurated a Singapore SME top executives networking two-night cruise with 50 passengers 12 years ago, is targeting 700 passengers this year. The event features overseas speakers and is open to overseas business associates, Goh said. The Bosses Network Learning Cruise is aimed at Chinese SME chiefs in Singapore.
“When our cruise ships get bigger, our creative team will have the ability to cater to the changing needs of our corporate customers,” Goh noted.
Siemens, high-end houseware firm Grohe, cosmetics and multi-level marketing, pharmaceutical and insurance companies have held incentives and corporate events on board its ships.
“A China MICE buyer wanted something different and new to reward 600 of its top-end performers and we held a special event in front of SuperStar Virgo’s funnel, where 150 bottles of champagne were popped,” he said, adding that the space can be used for a function of up to 600 people.
Yu Yong Jie, director and general manager of Oriental International Travel Service, in Shenzhen, the first to offer cruising on Star Cruises in 1999, said the homeporting of SuperStar Virgo in Hong Kong would help grow its MICE-cruise business.
In August last year, Oriental organised a cruise incentive for 1,300 employees of one of China’s largest wine and liquor companies.
Yu, who was on the inaugural Hong Kong-Kaohsiung cruise, added: “Cruise incentives are still new but are growing among consumer product companies. We offer land tours to Taiwan, and the concept of combining a cruise to Taiwan with a cycling tour is an interesting idea.”