Asians are cruising for longer periods to destinations further afield, booking farther out, and are more willing to splurge on F&B, discover luxury cruise lines.
Silversea Cruises’ managing director Asia-Pacific, Adam Radwanski, told TTG Asia in an interview during ILTM Asia Pacific: “Expedition cruises to remote locations, like those to Antarctica, Arctic and Galapagos, are setting sales records. Guests from Asia are also booking longer cruises than ever before – around 25 per cent longer than pre-Covid – and those cruises tend to be to faraway destinations to escape Asia. Singaporeans, in particular, like fly-cruise products.”
In response to Asia’s strong business potential, the company has scheduled its newest ship, Silver Nova, to sail to Singapore come October 2024.
In an earlier interview with TTG Asia, Radwanski underlined Asia’s importance to Silversea’s deployment. For the 2024/25 season, the cruise line will have its biggest deployment ever in the region – 21 turnarounds in Singapore, with four of them on Silver Nova, four of them on Silver Dawn, and the rest on various ships including Silver Moon and Silver Muse.
Previously in 2022, Silversea also signed a three-year partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board to grow the luxury cruise industry both in Singapore and regionally, and strengthen the region’s attractiveness as a cruising destination and source market.
Jason Worth, vice president sales & general manager, Asia Pacific of Oceania Cruises, concurred that the Asian cruising market has rebounded strongly, with Singapore leading the way and followed by Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Thailand.
“We’ve seen really strong growth out of all our Asian markets, including Japan, even though they had a bit of a slower start,” Worth said.
He added that these travellers are booking farther out, with far-flung destinations like the Mediterranean doing well – and because the destinations are faraway, it would naturally result in much longer holidays as well.
Worth said: “Just last week, I received a booking from Asia for our Around the World Cruise 2025 (Oceania’s annual world cruise). This is unusual for Asia because most Asian guests don’t sail for that long. It’s great to see that there is opportunity there!”
The 1,200-guest Oceania Vista, the brand’s latest and newest ship, also has “a number of guests from Asia sailing on it this season”.
Aboard the Oceania Vista are a number of new restaurant concepts, which Worth believes will appeal to customers. These include New York bistro-style Ember serving up dishes such as braised short rib on polenta, and the Aquamar Kitchen for healthier smoothies and avocado toasts. A bakery onboard also churns out fresh pastries, quiches, and croissants daily.
F&B is a very important aspect for Silversea too, which has crafted the S.A.L.T. Bar and Kitchen experience to showcase the culinary cultures of destinations the ship calls at. This will tie in with shore excursions, where guests can spend the day with one of Norway’s most famous chefs and learn their techniques, or work on an organic farm in Paros, Greece.
Radwanski told TTG Asia that business looks increasingly promising, especially as Asia-Pacific travel agents that did not traditionally sell cruises are now approaching Silversea for sales training.
“As societies across Asia continue to age and become more and more wealthy and affluent, cruising, especially luxury cruising, is becoming a very attractive way to travel,” opined Radwanski.