Travel expo draws in big crowd of cruisers


Any agent looking for pointers as to where consumers want to cruise this season would have gained valuable insights at the NATAS travel show in Singapore this weekend.

According to Royal Caribbean, who sere there in force with a large stand and even some of the mock dodgem cars from the Ovation of the Seas, potential cruisers were asking about Japan and Korea voyages from Shanghai this September and October on Celebrity Cruises.

Corporate Communications Manager of Singapore and Southeast Asia Chin Ying Duan said the line saw a mixture of repeat customers and first time cruisers.

“Royal Caribbean International offers Hong Kong cruises that call at a variety of Japanese ports such as Okinawa (Naha), Hiroshima and Beppu (on top of Taipei, Xiamen, Sanya and Ho Chi Minh City for instance) on Voyager of the Seas from August to October, which are similar to last year’s.  At this NATAS Fair, its fly-cruise packages (of 5 to 8 nights) offers convenience and coupled with attractive fares, are the key deciding factors for people to book,” she said.

“Celebrity Cruises’ 4 to 7-night cruises from Shanghai to exotic Japanese and Korean ports such as Sakaiminato, Kanazawa. Kyoto, Kagoshima, Jeju Island and Busan which are open for public sale for the first time, are also attracting a lot of interest and enquiries. With these attractive itineraries in Asia and with larger and more exciting ships with more onboard amenities to enjoy being deployed to Asia in the recent years, we are seeing more Asians appreciating longer cruise vacations as they seek a more in-depth experience at sea and on land.”

Farriek Tawkfik, Director of Southeast Asia, Princess Cruises said the line had an increase in interest and bookings, especially for the new Majestic Princess. 

 “The NATAS Travel Show was a success for us with a two-fold increase in bookings compared to the last two shows in August 2015 and March 2016. We received strong interest for our upcoming third Singapore homeporting season on Diamond Princess, Alaska cruises and sailings on our newest and largest ship, Majestic Princess, for 2017.

“Travellers are also booked cruises for the world cruise segment from Hong Kong to Singapore with our sister luxury cruise line, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth. This steady booking momentum is a positive sign of high demand for cruising in Singapore. We will continue to enhance our offerings to cater to the market demand here and will also launch a new online campaign to showcase the benefits of cruising with us.”

Year-end school holiday sailings on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas’ Singapore sailings were also in demand.

And Ovation of the Seas continues to spark interest, with enquirers and bookings coming in for next March’s and April’s season in Singapore.

“Ovation of the Seas, being the newest, largest and most revolutionary cruise ship in Asia, has created a lot of buzz in the market way before she arrived in Asia for the first time in June, being the second Quantum Class ship coming here,” said Ms Chin.

“Ever since our announcement in June on her new season in Singapore next March and April we are seeing a lot of interest from customers especially those who have missed out on Quantum of the Seas’ and Ovation of the Seas’ last Singapore sailings. Given the size of the ship (as Asia’s largest) and the wide array of amenities onboard, most of the customers prefer the longer itineraries of 4 nights and more to better experience the ship.”

Alaska cruises for next year also received plenty of enquires, according to the line, showing more and more Asian consumers know the benefits of booking ahead for the far flung cruises.

Those benefits include cheaper airfare, better cruise rates and cabin options.

More pointers will come from Travel Revolution, the rival show in Singapore this coming weekend.