Monday, July 30, 2007

Royal Caribbean anchors in Asia

2007-07-30 14:20:47 Source : Moneycontrol.com

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), one of the world's largest cruise companies operating 35 cruise ships, announced the opening in Singapore of their Asia-Pacific headquarters – Royal Caribbean Cruises (Asia) Pte. Ltd.

The regional headquarters, which is located in Singapore’s central business district, will support the marketing efforts in Asia-Pacific for three of the company’s cruise brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises. Headed by Rama Rebbapragada, Managing Director for Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the office also will provide sales and trade support in the region.

“Our expansion to the Asia-Pacific region is an integral part of our international business development and growth strategy, and it is an increasingly exciting time to be here,” said Rebbapragada. “We will have Royal Caribbean International’s Rhapsody of the Seas, the largest ship plying the region, homeported here starting the end of this year and we are committed to another Asia homeporting season in 2008-09, offering holiday-makers here our unique and award-winning active cruising experience.”

“I am delighted that the Rhapsody of the Seas is set to make its Asian debut in December 2007. The Rhapsody of the Seas will give an opportunity to those who have already been on a Royal Caribbean cruise, as well as first time cruise vacation seekers - to experience a dream vacation of their choice”, adds Gautam Chadha, Chief Executive, Tirun Travel Marketing who have represented Royal Caribbean International in India since 1993. He added, “The opening of the Singapore regional office is a definitive sign of Royal Caribbean’s belief and enthusiasm of the potential of the Asia-Pacific region and within the region, India will be a major source market”.

With the number of cruise passengers in the Asia-Pacific region projected to grow by more than 40 per cent, from 1.07 million in 2005 to 1.5 million by 2010, the opening of RCCL’s Asia- Pacific regional office is strategically timed. Fuelled by the twin engines of rapid economic growth and a renewed interest in cruising from key source markets in the region, Royal Caribbean International’s range of cruise offerings is well-placed to take advantage of a tremendous upswing in cruising.

Royal Caribbean Anchors in Asia:

Building on RCCL’s success and expertise in the North American and European markets, the Asia-Pacific office will spearhead the company’s expansion plans in the region. In addition to the regional headquarters in Singapore, the company has also established a representative office in Shanghai to support growing demand for itineraries in the Asia-Pacific region.

“This region shows great growth potential in terms of providing new destinations for international cruise passengers from North America and Europe given the varied and exciting cultures throughout the region, and their accessibility along the coastline. This, coupled with the prospect of Asian markets being substantial source markets for new cruise passengers, gives us tremendous opportunity for growth in the region,” said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International.

The establishment of the Royal Caribbean Asia-Pacific office also complements recent efforts that have been made to grow the cruise industry in Singapore. In 2005, the Singapore Cruise Centre underwent a $5 million facelift that aimed to strengthen its position as the nerve centre for the cruise industry in Asia. The Cruise Centre is expected to attract 1.2 million cruise passengers to Singapore by 2010. The Singapore Tourism Board also administers a $10 million fund set up jointly with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Cruise Centre to boost the local cruise industry and encourage major international cruise companies to partner with Singapore in product development and marketing initiatives.

In December 2007, Royal Caribbean International’s Rhapsody of the Seas will debut in Singapore. The Rhapsody will be the largest ship to cruise in Asia and will offer travellers a selection of six short cruises that will range from two to five nights and call at the tropical ports of Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) and Penang, Malaysia, as well as the exotic sun-soaked islands of Langkawi, Malaysia; and Phuket, Thailand.

Rhapsody of the Seas also will offer three spectacular 12-night voyages between Singapore and Hong Kong, each featuring two-day calls in Bangkok (Laemchabang), Thailand and Hanoi Haiphong, Vietnam. The extended itinerary includes calls at Sihanoukville, Cambodia; and Saigon Vung Tau, Nha Trang and Hue Danang, Vietnam.

The ship’s Asia tour continues on from Hong Kong, where she will arrive in time for the Chinese New Year holiday season, offering a series of itineraries calling at the ports of Okinawa, Japan; Taipei Keelung and Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Sanya, China. Then moving to Shanghai, China, Rhapsody will call on ports in Japan and Korea.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Cruises and Pullmantur.The company has a combined total of 35 ships in service and six under construction. It also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Europe and Latin America. Royal Caribbean Cruises is represented in India by TIRUN Travel Marketing.