SINGAPORE: Tucked away in the south-west of Singapore, at Sembcorp Marine’s Tuas shipyard, Royal Caribbean’s 15-deck Voyager of the Seas cruise ship is getting a US$97 million (S$134 million) facelift.
The 20-year-old ship is getting a complete 41-day overhaul, with almost 2,000 contractors working on reshaping the ship to include 72 new staterooms, as well as replacing items ranging from carpets and curtains to furniture.
Following research and guest feedback, the Voyager of the Seas will also see the introduction of a number of new features when it sets sail once again on Oct 21, aimed at appealing to a younger crowd.
And with multi-generational families typically making up more than half of Royal Carribean’s passengers, the Voyager of the Sea hopes to appeal to young parents with the introduction of a nursery, where infants and toddlers will be under the supervision of certified child-minders.
CRUISE INDUSTRY GROWING, CHANGING
This investment comes as the worldwide cruise industry continues to grow.
Asia is the industry’s third largest market after North America and Europe, with 4.24 million cruise passengers last year, up 4.6 per cent from the previous year, according to Cruise Line International Association.
This is especially attractive for more elderly travelers, or those with young children, she said.
While food and gaming have traditionally attracted older passengers, she said that cruise operators are now expanding their offerings with attractions for a younger crowd such as water slides and rock climbing, as well as unique events like music festivals on board ships.
“We see an increasing number of millennials and young families sailing with us in addition to first-time cruisers. This is very encouraging as these are new target groups for us to reach out to,” said Princess Cruises Southeast Asia director Farriek Tawfik.
While millennials are keen on bucket list destinations such as Alaska, Baltics Russia, the Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises, young families and first time cruisers tend to go for short sailings around Southeast Asia, he said.
These include the family-friendly “Justice League @ Sea” cruises, which feature activities and parties themed around the DC Comics superheroes, as well as the culinary-themed “Taste the Dream – Wine and Dine at Sea”, said Dream Cruises president Michael Goh.
“We also offer post fly-cruise packages with access to some of Singapore’s popular international events like the recent F1 Singapore Grand Prix and the upcoming UFC Fight Night to encourage travellers to cruise and extend their stay in Singapore,” he added.
It will also be introducing greener ships to appeal to environmentally conscious customers.
By 2025 Princess Cruises‘ fleet will also include two liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships – which will be the largest in its fleet – in line with the International Maritime Organisation’s tighter sulphur emission regulations which will come into effect next year.
“I think a lot of people will be in awe at what we’ve changed here. That will be fun.”