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SPOTLIGHT

Wednesday, 16 December, 2015, 14 : 00 PM [IST]

India is an important source market & contributor to our overall revenue

During the sojourn, Michael Goh, Senior Vice President, Sales, Star Cruises, spoke to Akansha Pandey about the unique features of ‘Dream Cruises’, which is set to start sailing from November 2016. Goh also threw light on deployment of Star Cruises’ SuperStar Virgo at Guangzhou’s Nansha Terminal from January 3
Michael GohQ. When will the premium cruise line brand – Dream Cruises start sailing?
A.
The USD 1 billion state-of-the-art ship of Dream Cruises will cater to the premium cruise market in Asia as the most spacious ship in the Asia-Pacific region beginning November 2016. We haven’t decided on the exact date of sailing, but the product would be available for booking from and its pricing will be revealed by January.
 
Q. What are the unique features of Dream Cruises?
A.
The German-built ship – Dream Cruises will carry 4,000 guests, featuring the highest crew-to-guest ratio of any ship in Asia Pacific. It will be the most spacious cruise ship in Asia Pacific boasting of 2 exclusive floors of ‘Dream Suites’, measuring from 32 to 183 sq mts, and offering European butler service and special privileges. The accommodations on Dream Cruises will reflect both size and choice for travellers, with 70% of staterooms offering private balconies, and more than 100 connecting rooms that will cater to larger extended families.

The major highlights are the 2 submarine experiences which will take guests under water and add an unforgettable experience to their life. This needs expertise and we will be roping in experts to hand hold our guests.

An integrated resort at sea – Dream Cruises will embark from some of China’s most accessible cities with all-inclusive packages accommodating extended families, groups and VIP travellers. Thirty-five restaurants and bars will encapsulate the best flavours from around the world. With Indian clients preferring more of vegetarian cuisine, we have ample of options for the travellers from the region.

Exceptional entertainment facilities will feature interactive live shows and breathtaking performances. From ancient Chinese techniques to contemporary European treatments, the spa at Dream Cruises will offer a unique world of wellness.

The Indian travel agents could promote a wellness programme itinerary on the ship from the Lavish spa menu. We are also in discussions with our business partners to woo the guests with exceptional duty-free shopping experience.

Dream Cruises will also comprise Genting Club, an onboard boutique hotel. A guest will need a key card to enter the space which will include suites and garden villas, club, lounge, swimming pool and spa. It would be an ideal space for HNI clients looking for a private experience.



Q. How important is the Indian market for Dream Cruises and how do you plan to promote the product in Asia?
A.
India is one of our very important source markets and an important contributor to the overall revenue of Star Cruises. I am pretty much confident that Dream Cruises will suit the demands and preferences of the Indian travellers looking forward to cruising. There is a big segment of high-profile travellers in India. Thus, we believe that the high-end product of Dream Cruises will be readily accepted by the luxury Indian clientele. A lot of research has gone in to its making and we firmly hope that it will attract eyeballs and be a huge success in times to come.

We would like to showcase the ship in the Indian market and are planning to adopt on an aggressive promotional and marketing campaign in our potential source markets. We are very confident about the Indian market for a long-term growth. I look forward to come down to promote the ship in the Indian market sometime next year. I also assure our loyal Indian business partners of a great opportunity with Dream Cruises.

Q. Do you think that pricing will be the deciding factor for Dream Cruises?
A.
We don’t aim to compete on the pricing front as we are already selling current itineraries higher than our competitors. We believe that pricing isn’t the deciding factor. It’s the quality product that attracts and retains a customer.



SUPERSTAR VIRGO

Q. What are the special features of SuperStar Virgo and the facilities available on board?
A.
SuperStar Virgo is the largest cruise ship in the Star Cruises fleet. The 13-storey high SuperStar Virgo offers 935 cabins with 1,870 lower berths. The full range of facilities include 14 restaurants and bars offering various cuisines and beverages, a performing arts theatre, karaoke, cigar lounge, swimming pool, water fun pool and Jacuzzi, beauty salon, rock climbing facilities, gym and meeting rooms. The endless entertainment programme onboard guarantees a spectacular cruising experience for cruisers of all ages.

Q. What do you think is the major highlight around the deployment of SuperStar Virgo at Guangzhou’s Nansha Terminal?
A.
The deployment of Star Cruises’ SuperStar Virgo at Guangzhou’s Nansha Terminal will commence from January 3. Drawing on Genting Hong Kong’s long history and experience in the cruise industry in the Asia Pacific, SuperStar Virgo’s triple homeport strategy will help stimulate the fly cruise market into the 5 main airports in the Pearl Delta – Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Macau and Hong Kong, along with Sanya, in attracting tourists from not only other parts of China, but also passengers from India, South East Asia, Australia and beyond. It is anticipated that the influx of tourists will bring a significant increase in hotel occupancy from passengers wishing a pre- or post-cruise stay as well as providing a boost to tour excursions, restaurants, retail and transportation.



Q. How do you aim to promote the same in the Indian market?
A.
The Nansha Port is at a distance of even less than an hour’s drive from Macau, which is a well-known destination in India and flocked by a number of Indian travellers.

Moreover, during her deployment, SuperStar Virgo’s itineraries from Guangzhou (Nansha Port) will offer a year-round 2-night weekend cruise departing Fridays calling at Hong Kong, and a 5-night weekday cruise on Sundays, calling at Halong Bay, Danang and Sanya which could be a great option for Indian travellers as well.

Q. Please elaborate on the 2 MoUs signed by Genting Hong Kong to boost facilities of Nansha Port.
A.
Representatives from Genting Hong Kong, Guangzhou Port Group and China Communication and Construction recently formalised partnership plans for Nansha, Guangzhou. This is aimed at further developing the Pearl River Delta as a major cruise hub in the Asia Pacific, including an MoU with the Guangzhou Port Group to help renovate the existing port in Guangzhou Nansha and upgrade and install new facilities for the comfort and convenience of passengers. Genting Hong Kong’s vast experience and knowledge in cruise terminal management will leverage to manage the operation of the port and terminal for the planned new Guangzhou Nansha International Cruise Port Terminal
 
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