Travellers may drift to cruising

At CruiseWorld India 2021 organised by the Singapore Tourism Board and Northstar Travel, industry stakeholders concurred that people may opt for cruising as a means to travel and holiday. ‘Seacations’ are already trending among Singaporeans, making stakeholders realise the growing importance of a consumer-centric approach in the new normal.

Customer is king – GB Srithar, Regional Director, India, Middle East and South Asia: Singapore Tourism Board

Customer-centricity has been the focus as Singapore restarted cruises for domestic audiences, and the cruise lines have continually refreshed onboard programming to appeal to passengers. Ensuring stringent hygiene and safety measures under our CruiseSafe certification programme and enabling seamless visitor experiences are critical in enticing cruise travellers back, when the time is right.

Learning from domestic – Naresh Rawal, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Genting Cruise Lines

The domestic customers in Singapore are taking ‘seacations’, which is encouraging for a cruise line because for 2-3 nights, one can keep guests engaged with various activities and services. We have not had issues with customer experience since cruising started in Singapore. Feedback has been strong and a major difference in booking trend is for The Palace. So if people can pay for luxury, they will buy luxury.

Opportunity to future-proof – Varun Chadha, CEO, TIRUN Travel Marketing, India representative for Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean’s ocean gateways for the domestic market in Singapore have been successful. There are new customers and segments in the offering and we are eager to tap these in the Fly Cruise format, too. Cruise lines have shown resilience and innovation and the opportunity in this crises, is to re-align/re-energise efforts in cruising, which would continue to be one of the fastest growing segments in travel.

1st choice is Singapore – Pradeep Saboo, MD, Guideline Travels

When Indians start travelling, most of them will be vaccinated and hence, travel safety will be one part of it. More important is the experience that we will have to focus on along with affordability. Most suppliers are going to offer special deals to customers. When borders open, owing to its proximity, affordability and hygiene & safety standards, Singapore will be the first choice for cruising. We are looking at the value we can offer.

Corporates are eager – Sanjay Kothari, Founder and Managing Director, Just Holidays

The corporates are waiting for borders to open. When that happens, they would be the first movers in small incentive groups and conference groups to Singapore for cruises, because Indian travellers trust Singapore and their cruises. There will also be special interest movement, maybe in small sizes. I think, cruising will be the first choice for Indians after borders open. I am sure we will have a lot of selling to do.

Safety remains key – Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India)

Itineraries will range from 2-5 days and people travelling with family and friends would stay as a group. Many safety measures have been taken up by leading cruise companies and that’s going to help us in inducing people to travel on cruises. Apart from that, the Cruise Development Fund support scheme for the industry will now be used for persuading the customer to travel instead of for promotion.

Inputs by Nisha Verma




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