While most Filipinos are often seen posting photos from “staycations”—vacations within the city’s hotels—or three-day sojourns to neighboring Asian countries, a new adventure for this travel-savvy citizenry is steadily growing via cruise ships.
“The business is growing,” Star Cruise Pte. Ltd’s assitant vice president for sales Andrea Solis Manzano confirmed with The Manila Times in an interview. “I’ve been in the industry for 14 years already so [I see] our market is growing. With the entry of our luxury brand, we see that the cruise industry for the Philippine market is slowly growing. We’re amazed to see that there’s a segment already for cruising.”
With her experience in the major cruise line that caters to the Asia Pacific region, Manzano explained that this new trend came about from the Filipinos’ innate penchant for assortment.
“For Filipinos, we always want variety. The travel segment is done already with the usual, contemporary, three-day, two-night Hong Kong or Singapore package, so travelers are taking it up another notch,” Manzano noted.
She also noted the stronger purchasing power of the Filipino working class.
“There’s a niche market, which has the purchasing power for luxury here in the Philippines. That’s why you will see a surge of luxury brands and establishments in the country, and that’s also why luxury cruise lines are coming in. [The] Philippines is ripe for luxury cruises,” Manzano said.
Identifying the market Star Cruises caters to in the country, she elaborated, “Our segment would be family, corporate and FITs or frequent individuals who travel in groups of two, three or fours—depending on the season,” the executive mentioned, adding that summer months like April and May usually see family travelers in bulk while the remaining months of the year usually welcome corporate travelers, sent by their companies for seminars and trainings on board.
Star Cruises is the third largest cruise line in the world after Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
To particularly introduce Dream Cruises to The Manila Times, Manzano described it as the first-ever Asian luxury cruise line. She said some 100 Filipinos have already tried out the luxury service during their inaugural cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong on November 6.
These Filipinos were among the first to go onboard the Genting Dream, Dream Cruise’s new ship that boasts “intangible luxury” from inside out.
First up is the eye-catching contemporary design of the ship’s hull, for which Chinese pop-artist Jacky Tsai created “Voyage of a Lover’s Dream,” which imagines an ethereal and fantastical journey of love between a mermaid and an astronaut.
In terms of service, Genting Dream proudly sets the bar for crew-to-guest ratio in Asia-based cruising—one crew member servicing 1.6 passengers.
On board, guests can choose to stay at staterooms with private balconies or over 100 connecting rooms for family and larger group vacations. Amenities are also ready to cater to different types of guests—there’s an overwhelming 35 restaurant and bar concepts for foodies, the world’s first Johnnie Walker House at sea for Scotch whisky fanatics, Zouk Beach Club, patterned after legendary Singaporean nightspot for party goers, and state-of-the-art submersibles for thrill-seekers.
These amenities, and more, provide entertainment for cruisers en route to their destinations. The maiden cruise itinerary beginning November is from Genting Dream’s homeport of Hong Kong and Guangzhou (Nansha), China to Vietnam.
Specifically, from November 13 to January 1, 2017, the cruise will provide an opportunity to explore Vietnam’s scenic Da Nang, calling at Hanoi (Ha Long Bay) on the return leg. Thereafter until March 31, the five and seven-night cruise itinerary offer the delights of the vibrant side of Vietnam, with calls at NhaTrang and Ho Chi Minh City.
Guests looking for a shorter break also have the choice of a two-night weekend cruise to the dynamic city of Hong Kong throughout the inaugural seasons of Genting Dream.
For Summer 2017 itinerary, Genting Dream sets sail from Hong Kong and Guangzhou to two idyllic destinations in Japan on a five- and seven-night cruise.
“What we offer is intangible luxury, a different travel experience. Yes, it’s a new trend but we are already foreseeing the demands of this travel segment that’s why another luxury ship is coming in next year,” Manzano said in conclusion.
The Dream Cruises website is accessible via www.dreamcruiseline.com.