The cruise industry is experiencing a robust resurgence following the pandemic, with the US leading the way in its recovery. Although the return of the Asian cruise market has been slower, significant growth in the region is expected over the coming years.
This expectation was shared in a keynote message by Crystal Campbell, corporate & incentive sales manager of Worldwide Cruise Associates, during CruiseXchange on September 26.
To support her observations, Campbell pointed to international ocean liners already operating from Singapore, with more ships to return to Hong Kong and mainland China over the next two years. Globally, 19 new ships have been introduced this year, and this is set to increase to 56 new ships over the next five years.
The panel discussion – entitled A New Way to Meet – that ensued after the keynote also highlighted why cruising is a compelling way to craft enduring experiences for their delegates.
For instance, Thomas D Hinton, president & CEO of CRI Global, revealed that choosing cruises can yield substantial cost savings, ranging from 25 to 35 per cent compared to land-based programmes at resorts. He added that clients who have previously embarked on cruises reported overwhelmingly positive experiences, and expressed a strong desire to relive those moments.
This is because cruise lines are able to customise and personalise experiences both onboard and offshore, helping to create unforgettable memories, Hinton elaborated.
Frankie Lie, director of Tri Wisata Andalan, observed that Asian meeting planners usually gravitate towards four- or five-day cruises due to a shortage of time, and that a cruise’s ports-of-call are critical considerations.
Mona Foo, head of retail & corporate sales – Singapore & Asia Pacific at Royal Caribbean International (RCI), shared that the company has witnessed strong demand for Asian sailings post-lockdown.
In a sign of confidence in Asia’s cruise industry, Foo revealed that RCI’s Anthem of the Seas will be homeported in Singapore from November 2024, and feature a new eight-night Bali itinerary. Other voyages include a 10-night Vietnam and Thailand itinerary, as well as its regular three- to five-night sailings stopping in Penang and Phuket.
Another exciting development for RCI is the launch of the new Icon of the Seas in January 2024, the first of the company’s Icon Class cruise ships.
In addition to an anticipated growth in Asia’s cruising scene, there will also be a strong focus on sustainability. Campbell highlighted that new ships under construction have been designed to be more environmentally friendly, helping to reduce carbon emissions.
Furthermore, as part of their commitment to achieving net-zero carbon cruising by 2050, all cruise ships that are members of the Cruise Lines International Association are expected to be equipped to use shore power by 2035.