Cruises dangle more exciting concepts to hook Asian travellers

To get more Asians on board cruising holidays, industry leaders are rolling out more immersive and pampering products that regular travel cannot offer, from free-and-easy concepts to expeditions and river cruises.

Industry players speaking at the Cruise Lines International Association’s recent cruise seminar in Singapore were especially keen to share with travel agents how today’s highly diverse vessels make cruises an attractive option for all traveller types.

CLIA’s Jiali Wong moderating the session with Norwegian Cruise Line’s Felix Chan and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection & U River Cruises’ Henry Yu discussing new cruise offerings at recent CLIA’s cruise seminar in Singapore

For instance, multi-generational families will enjoy larger ships offering a wide gamut of experiences afforded by companies such as Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line, while more modern and easy-going travellers may prefer more intimate river cruises by Uniworld or wellness concepts on board Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises.

Some companies have also reached out to partners and authorities to collaborate on enhancing the passenger experiences on and off the ship. For example, RCCL is working with the Singapore Tourism Board and Changi Airport Group to allow guests to purchase seamless transfers, relax in the Jewel Lounge, and have staff transport their luggage to the cabin.

“These custom opportunities for clients are especially great for groups with early arrivals into Singapore,” said Angie Stephen, managing director, Asia Pacific, RCCL.

In the case of Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises, both liners under Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) have collaborated with wellness brand Canyon Ranch to offer spa services, yoga classes on the beach, healthy-eating workshops and tailor-made diets onboard the ship for guests.

“Asians don’t just want to be pampered on board a ship,” said Felix Chan, vice president & general manager Asia, NCLH. “This segment is very curious – more than 90 per cent of our guests will go on shore excursion tours. They are really looking for exotic and unique destinations where very few tourists can go, but which the smaller ships can.”

The cruising experience has also been redefined by personalised engagement with guests, shared Henry Yu, director, Asia, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection & U River Cruises. For instance, the company organises pre-trip afternoon tea gatherings with guests to run through details and highlights of the cruise.

Post-trip, the crew gifts handwritten postcards to guests to create “a very good relationship between consumers and cruise liners”, elaborated Yu.

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