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'In addition to design and dining, the development of Asian ports and destinations is also important,' says Odell.

Steve Odell talks luxury cruise in Asia and Seven Seas Splendor upcoming debut

Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings (NCLH) is setting its sights on Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore as the largest source markets in Asia Pacific for its luxury cruise brands, according to Steve Odell, svp and md of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) APAC.

The company will also pursue fringe markets in The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand through its distribution channels in those places, he said.

Sydney-based Odell was in Singapore to share Oceania Cruises and RSSC plans to develop products and experiences to meet the growing expectations of the luxury cruise market.

Seven Seas Splendor, the newest and most opulent ship in the Regent Seven Seas fleet, debuts in February 2020, featuring over an acre of Italian marble throughout, including in the bathrooms of all 375 guest suites, nearly 52,000sq ft of balcony space on the all-balcony vessel, and a 4,443-sq ft Regent Suite. Highlighting the importance of cuisine to luxury travelers, the ship will host 16 Culinary Arts Cooking Classes, in addition to five specialty restaurants on board.

Ship details were revealed at a luncheon hosted by Odell at yì by Jereme Leung in Singapore’s celebrated Raffles Hotel.

Developing experiences for luxury guests

In addition to design and dining, the development of Asian ports and destinations is also important, says Odell, particularly for luxury travelers who are looking for boutique experiences in places that are inaccessible to larger ships with greater passenger numbers, citing Indonesia and The Philippines as good examples where such developments are happening in Southeast Asia.

Sustainability is always a consideration, he asserts: ‘We’re very conscious that the things we do in these more remote destinations are environmentally friendly.’

Asia’s growing share of the cruise market

Odell is looking forward to a booming Asia Pacific cruise market.

‘Globally, there will be 120 new cruise ships and the market size is going to go from 27m to 40m,’ he says, adding that, ‘Asia will keep its percentage of the total, if not exceed it.’

As head of NCLH’s two luxury brands in APAC, Odell is focused on ‘getting the right distribution in the right places’ to reach the region’s high-end cruisers.

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