Asia fastest growing cruising market in the world

Scandinavians are used to relax on short cruises and being spoiled on huge state-of-the-art ferries that cross the Baltic and North seas.      And when Star Cruises introduced a similar concept in South East Asia ten years ago, they started by purchasing a couple of Swedish ferries and hired Swedish officers.      It went just fine.      Today Star Cruises group is the third largest cruising company in the world.      Its operations are run by Nils Nordh, a Swedish national with over 30 years naval experience beginning as navy cadet in the late 1960’s, who joined the group in 1997.      What Scandinavian and Swedish links are there to Star Cruises then?      “It was set up 1993 after buying two Swedish ferries from the Myrsten company, with a full complement of Swedish Officers technical/nautical management. They also created a new building department in Stockholm together with a recruitment office for Scandinavian Officers that today have become Star Cruises AB, the leading manning company in Sweden,” says Nils Nordh.      Together with Norwegian Cruises Line the group now has some 800 Scandinavian Officers employed. The Star Cruise group is owned/controlled by the Tan Sri Lim family through Genting and Resorts World (visit http://www.genting.com for more about that group).      Nils came on board 1997 after an exciting time in Miami where he first coordinated the Marine Operation functions for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Admiral Cruises, which were to be under joint management, and worked as the Senior Vice President of Royal Caribbean Cruises for almost seven years.      During this period the fleet expanded from 6 to 14 ships.      While in Miami, Nils also became interested in the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, became chairman of the Florida chapter, and a member of the board at the national level. In Malaysia he has taken on the chairmanship of Masba, the Malaysian-Swedish Business Association.      After he moved to Kuala Lumpur and joined Star Cruises, the company started to grow rapidly.      Star Cruises purchased his former competitors in Miami, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Orient Line, and the group now have some 20 ships and more on order.      Total employees are around 16000.      How has the cruise business in Asia been since 2000?      “The cruise industry in Asia has been experiencing steady growth since 2000 and is the fastest growing in a global context. In this respect Star Cruises is also actively promoting its cruise packages as well as continuously developing new destinations and routes with its fleet of ships positioned in key locations in the region like Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Korea and Taiwan.”      What future prospects are there for the cruise business in Asia?      “The prospects are bright with an increase in affluence levels in the region and a growing acceptance by Asians to cruise as a holiday option.”      Who is the typical Asian cruise traveler?      “The profile generally transcends persons of all age groups, singles, couples and families who are looking for fun and activity-filled short cruise itineraries similar to the 4-day 3-night and 3-day 2-night cruises offered by Star Cruises.”

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