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HONG KONG, 14 April 2017:
While the common impression of cruise vacations is that of wealthy Caucasian retirees whiling away as they attended to hand and foot, Genting Cruises Lines has found over the last two decades that there is actually a much larger relatively untapped market for seabound holidays – younger travellers, who often have families in tow.
During a recent media briefing, Dream Cruises president Thatcher Brown said the cruise vacation potential for young travellers is huge – and in Asia alone, over 99% of the population here have yet to go on a cruise holiday.
“Only 0.5% of Asia Pacific travellers have taken a cruise holiday and this market size was over two million last year, with China accounting for about 1.1 million and the rest from Asia – with Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and India being the other main markets.”
Given this still largely untapped potential, Brown said it isn’t surprising how many cruise brands are now plying Asian waters – with 31 currently.
“There are many reasons why young travellers prefer Asian cruises and the first is usually being able to visit multiple destinations on one trip because Asian countries are geographically close and offering a wide variety of cultures and attractions.
“This makes cruise holidays to be seen as relatively affordable all-round vacation destinations, which in turn makes the concept of fly-cruise packages becoming increasingly popular.”
Brown also noted that booking trends recorded by Genting Cruises Lines pointed to around half preferring cruise trips of 4-6 nights – unlike much longer trips offered in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.
Given these factors, he said Genting Cruises Lines gives emphasis on packages that offer all these advantages – and now covers destinations from Japan to Indonesia, and Vietnam to the Philippines.
He said Genting Cruises Lines also chooses home ports which offer travellers the least restrictions in relation to visa requirements. “This makes it easier for our guests to fly in and board the cruise ships instead of going through multiple immigration hassles just to go on a holiday.”
Looking ahead, Brown said Genting Cruises Lines is adding more ships and refurbishing existing ones to cater for the increasing passenger bookings and rising expectations.
“Even for Muslim passengers, we have special needs being catered to. There was once a group booking where we arranged for all of them to have exclusive access to the open deck area for prayers. They said it was an experience like no other.”
Surprises galore on Genting Dream
Travelling on the Genting Dream – the latest flagship of Dream Cruises – is far more than the sum of its parts, of which there are many.
The common facilities on the lower and upper decks sandwich the cabins in between – making for easy access via lifts and staircases – even though the ship is a veritable expanse that can easily rival a skyscraper laid sideways.
But what really surprises is just how spacious the interior is once you get pass the pesky immigration checks – and where you may be aghast at just how crowded it can get with over 3,000 passengers and 2,000 crew members capacity of the ship.
Reason for why it hardly ever feels crowded on board the Genting Dream – even at meal times – is the wide choice of eateries and facilities on board, plus the clever pre-allocation of what is available for free with the cruise booking.
If a certain passenger or family had been allocated the Chinese restaurant that’s kid-friendly, access to another food outlet is discouraged as dining there has to be paid for separately. Also, there are clear minimum age and height limits for entry to some facilities to keep away children.
Being a big ship also means there are a wide range of entertainment available for all ages, without having to trip over one another. And the ship never really sleeps as it travels silently from one destination to another overnight – letting owls continue to enjoy themselves till dawn.
You also hardly feel the rocking as Genting Dream cruises the waves and it remains quite stable even in stormy weather due to its length and heft. It’s almost like going to sleep and waking up to waves every day while on board, but without the sand.