Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) saw double-digit growth in the Malaysian market across all three of its brands last year, while also observing a shift towards longer cruises.
According to Felix Chan, vice president of sales Asia, NCLH, bookings from Malaysia were in part boosted by a dip in the US currency.
Cruise destinations popular with Malaysians are the Mediterranean, Baltics and Northern Europe. “Hotel rates, transport and dining in these places are expensive, which is why cruising is a popular alternative and seen as value for money,” he shared.
More Malaysians were also opting for longer cruises of up to 14 days, up from seven to 10 days previously. Chan remarked that the availability of Wi-Fi onboard, which allowed guests to stay connected while cruising, was the key reason driving this trend.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises tend to attract couples whereas Norwegian Cruise Line attracts multi-generational travellers from Malaysia. “We also see more families with children taking cruises during the school holidays,” said Chan.
Malaysian cruise travellers are also booking their cruises earlier last year, at least six months in advance, from two to three months previously.
For 2018, Chan expects continued growth in Malaysia. “Forward bookings look positive and I am sure we will see another double-digit growth this year (over 2017),” he said.