It was the launch of Asia’s first luxury cruise line – so hardly surprising the glam was out, the buffet was groaning with Asian delicacies and there was even a smattering of media stars.
Hosted by former MTV Asia VJ Denise Keller, the launch event for travel agents for Dream Cruises carried the theme of the day: “Asian at heart, international in spirit”.
“It’s all about having fun, and making your dreams come true,” said Dream Cruises senior vice president of Entertainment Colin Kerr, in his introduction to the activities available onboard.
Admitting that cruise has long been saturated with discounts and complimentary upgrades, the Dream Cruises team maintained education is crucial in the launch of this new luxury line.
And agent training has already begun.
Dream Cruises president Thatcher Brown said that the launch event was only the first phase of an ongoing process to promote and market the brand.
“We’ll soon be having modules specific to the products and services, and then we’ll start to roll them out.
“We’ve actually started training on the reservation systems and implemented Seaware, which is the system we’ve chosen to use, and began working with the travel agent community,” he said.
The feedback, so far from agents has been positive. Eveline Chua from American Lloyd said, “It’s a new idea and new concept, and I think Singaporeans will like it.
“Those who go on cruises usually already know what they want before they come to us, and those who go for high end cruises, they are willing to pay for a good experience.
“This cruise is not as high end as Silversea, where every room is a suite, but even those sell well. So this will definitely sell.
“Cruises is something where the dates are fixed, unlike flying, so it’s a different kind of commitment that we have to explain to new cruisers. “
Advantage for the Singapore market
Star Cruises senior vice president of Sales Michael Goh said that in terms of business opportunities, agents in Singapore are in a good position to market Genting Dream simply because of its location.
“The cruise routes pass by Singapore, so the agencies can easily latch on and promote the range of products available,” he said.
Goh added that the Genting Dream is the only ship to home port in Guangzhou, China, which provides an advantage as distance between Singapore and Guangzhou is only four hours of flight time, within the range of a short-haul flight.
“The air passage is great, with various flight options to and forth Guangzhou that allows passengers to choose to stay a night or two in Guangzhou to explore the area, before embarking on the cruise.”
Furthermore, he said that there are many gateways to the port in Guangzhou, as passengers can either fly direct, or of they prefer, do a layover in Macau or Hong Kong before taking a ferry service over to port.
The cruise line has also been advertising with business partners, providing support where needed.
Goh said the next step from here is to continue partnering with the agencies for publicity, and get them to entice their business partners like MICE and corporate groups to come onboard.”
“Unlike other cruise lines, who always talk about having to tailor to specific markets, we don’t need to tailor – because we are already Asian,” said Mr Goh.
Words by Alycia Lim