Royal Caribbean to focus on young cruisers and tap Asia market

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Angie Stephen, Royal Caribbean’s Managing Director, Asia Pacific, has outlined the line’s efforts to entice millennial cruisers as a key focus.

These efforts include a US$120 million investment to refurbish the 15-year-old Mariner of the Seas (pictured). The refurbished ship was official revealed in June 2018, and previously spent 5 years docked in Asia.

It now boasts several new facilities targeted at younger adults and adrenaline seekers, including a wider range of water and dry slides, a surf simulator and an escape room.

But that’s not all. Royal Caribbean will be offering 71 sailings on three ships out of Singapore in 2019 – the Voyager, Quantum and Spectrum of the Seas.

“It is our biggest year ever with 78 sailings,” says Ms Stephen.

One of the most celebrated arrivals will be Spectrum of the Seas.

“When the Spectrum comes here next May, we will have some more exciting news to share about the rest of 2020 and 2021,” Stephen said.

Business is going well, with demand from Southeast Asia and China. Malaysia, Indonesia and India are providing holiday boosts.

“We are trying to change the way cruising is viewed, trying to break the mould and push the boundaries on what millennial travellers can expect on cruise ships through new innovations to provide the best holiday experience for all of our guests,” Stephen told Business Times in Singapore.

Millennials might be drawn to Royal Caribbean’s four-night cruises (starting from S$299 per person), given their preference for shorter, entertainment-filled holidays.

Additionally, Royal Caribbean has spearheaded an initiative to understand this new cruise demographic. A two-month ship design competition involving tertiary students was held earlier this year, allowing youths to reimagine the future of cruising.

On 23 October, 24-year old student Clifford Goh was announced as the grand-prize winner with his “SEASTADIUM” design, and walked away with a cruise on the upcoming Spectrum of the Seas and S$5,000 cash.

Royal Caribbean's Future of the Seas contest

Clifford Goh was announced as the grand-prize winner with his “SEASTADIUM” design

Besides targeting the millennial market, Royal Caribbean has also tapped on Asia’s exponential cruise growth.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)’s 2018 Asia Cruise Trends report reflected that cruise ship deployment in Asia has grown 81 per cent since 2013. Cruise passengers figures also hit a high of 4.052 million last year.

As Stephen notes, the bulk of this growth (around 60 per cent) is led by China, currently Royal Caribbean’s fastest-growing market. The biggest markets in Southeast Asia are Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

To meet demand, the cruise liner has continually deployed larger ships to the region, such as voyager and quantum-class vessels. Passengers can also expect the 5,622-guest Spectrum of the Seas in May 2019, with itineraries to Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai.

Another initiative aimed at tapping cruise growth is infrastructure development. “We have constant dialogue with the relevant authorities in countries in Asia, such as on improving port infrastructure and destination experience so we can bring larger ships in,” said Stephens.

The line plans on carrying out ship enhancement works in Singapore next year, and announced a joint venture to conduct pier extension dredging works in Penang.