The cruise industry is booming in Asia-Pacific…
..and MICE planners in the region are taking notice.
Special report from Joyce Landry, CEO, Landry & Kling
Neeti Ayare, our new Global Sales Manager Asia Pacific and I are in Malaysia this week. Landry & Kling is exhibiting with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings at the MICE Asia Pacific Exhibition in Singapore, where I also offered a workshop on “MICE at Sea”.
We’re meeting with MICE planners who are anxious to learn about planning meetings and events on cruise ships – and we’re more than happy to share our passion and expertise with our new friends across the globe!
Why are we excited about the MICE cruise market in Asia Pacific?
According to a recent CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) report, 2015 will be a record-breaking year in Asia, with more travelers and more ships cruising in the region than ever before. Cruise lines are introducing larger and newer ships with experiences tailored to Asian guests, including more onboard activities aimed at multi-generational groups, high-end shopping, and new menus with familiar and regional cuisine.
New experiences plus better budget control on all-inclusive ships make cruising an outstanding choice for Asia Pacific MICE planners. In addition, Asian port cities are building more impressive cruise facilities and cruise lines are adding shorter itineraries – terrific news for planners!
Here are a few cruise industry updates for Asia:
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
The company will have ships from all three of its brands (Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises) sailing in Asia beginning next year. Norwegian is also exploring the possibility of introducing dedicated ships for the Chinese market.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean will launch its fifth ship in the region in Spring 2016 – the new Quantum-class marvel Ovation of the Seas. Her sister ship, Quantum of the Seas, arrived in China in 2015. With the addition of Ovation of the Seas, Royal Caribbean will have the largest fleet deployment in China, home porting in Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Xiamen. Royal Caribbean also plans to increase the number of Singapore departures on Mariner of the Seas from 30 per year to more than 40 until 2018.
Carnival Corp. recently announced it will add two more China-based ships in 2016, increasing its fleet of Costa and Princess-branded ships that homeport in China to six. The company is also exploring potential joint ventures in China to launch a Chinese domestic cruise brand and to build new ships in China.
A yet-to-be named ship will be customized to appeal to the China market when it debuts in summer 2017. The new Royal Class ship will feature a dramatic multi-story atrium, an over-the-ocean SeaWalk, a special Chef’s Table private dining experience, “Movies Under the Stars”, and balconies on all outside staterooms. In addition, the new ship will offer unique cultural, culinary, and entertainment programs geared to Asian cruisers.
MSC Cruises is considering building new ships for the Chinese market. In the meantime, MSC Lirica is moving to China in early 2016. The ship is currently being refurbished and lengthened to increase its capacity from 1,445 passengers to 2,600 passengers. It will have a host of features specifically for the Chinese market including upmarket shops, signage in Mandarin, a different color scheme, Chinese food and Chinese entertainment.
In January 2016, river cruise company Scenic Cruises will launch the Scenic Spirit in Asia. The luxury vessel will have 34 one-bedroom balcony suites and an almost 1 to 1 staff-to-guest ratio. Other amenities include a pool, bar, and open-air cinema. The all-inclusive Mekong River voyage includes complimentary wine and spirits, private butler for all guests, choice of 4 dining options, complimentary Wi-Fi, all gratuities onboard and ashore, plus all shore excursions.