Cruise services startup ropes in European veteran to develop Asia’s cruise industry

Singapore-based cruise services startup NaviAsia is partnering with European Cruise Service (ECS) to drive the development of Asia as a cruise and leisure destination.

Started in January this year, NaviAsia specialises in offering cruise services such as shore excursions, ship agency, ground handling, destination management and in-house training programmes.

Yee: ECS partnership enables NaviAsia to adopt best practices in preparation for Asia cruise resumption

The organisation is helmed by two industry veterans with more than 40 years of management-level experience – managing director, Julieanne Yee and general manager, Adrian Wong.

ECS has been the main provider of cruise services for foreign cruise ships calling at Norwegian ports and fjords for over 160 years and is the market leader in shore excursion operations and ships agency services rendered to cruise ships calling upon ports in Northern Europe.

The collaboration will see NaviAsia drive the partnership’s business throughout Asia, with ECS providing support with their experience, expertise, best practices, contacts and systems for accelerating growth.

Speaking to TTG Asia, Yee said that NaviAsia is currently working on preparation for cruise resumption based on the potential requirements from each of the cruise brands and exploring potential new islets declared as “Green Zone”, which can be of interest to cruise clients in the event that borders remain closed for the key destinations.

According to Yee, cruise clients are finding it difficult to grapple with the varying protocols required in the different countries. “With the cruise resumption already started in Europe, the partnership enables us to adapt best practices across continents and prepares us for cruise journeying to Asian waters,” she said.

However, another hurdle looms – as the source markets for most international cruise brands comprise of mainly non-Asians, recovery may take longer than expected as it is challenging for them to travel longhaul to Asia to join the cruises.

Despite the concerns, Yee remains optimistic about the industry in Asia. “Singapore has been, and will continue to be, an important cruise hub for cruise liners deploying in South-east Asia. Apart from Singapore, the opening of borders within the neighbouring countries is equally important for a successful Asia cruise deployment.”

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