Starboard CS keen ‘to continue push’ in Asia

By Luke Barras-hill |

Starboard Cruise Services has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with Dream Cruises. Pictured is World Dream.

Starboard Cruise Services plans to up its business activity in Asia with several important retail operations due to onboard through 2022, TRBusiness has learned.

In an exclusive interview within the April e-zine, released to coincide with the Virtual Summit of the Americas earlier this month, Starboard President and CEO Lisa Bauer said: “We are especially eager to continue momentum within the Asia market.

“Next year will follow with the launch of the first DFS T Galleria at sea onboard Dream Cruises’ new Global-class ship, Global Dream.”

The 208,000-ton ship is expected to be accompanied by a sister vessel at a later date, which is also expected to house a DFS T Galleria as part of a heavy retail mix.

Lisa Bauer, President and CEO, Starboard Cruise Services.

WAVE OF NEW VESSEL LAUNCHES

DFS Group and Starboard are part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s Selective Retailing Division.

Starboard’s partnership with Genting Cruise Lines – the parent of Dream Cruises – began onboard Genting Dream in 2016, World Dream in 2017 and Explorer Dream in 2019.

The cruise retailer launched the world’s first Dior boutique at sea and the first Tiffany & Co. boutique at sea in Asia.

This year, Starboard is preparing to unveil what Bauer calls ‘reimagined, immersive and personalised’ onboard shopping experiences as part of a number of new vessel launches, including Celebrity Apex; Costa’s Firenze and Toscana; Crystal Endeavour; and Silversea Moon and Dawn.

Keen to navigate the surf with an ultimate goal to reinvent retail, Starboard is homing in on new opportunities.

“Initial information about cruise itineraries as operations restart indicates that itineraries will include fewer stops,” observed Bauer.

“Guests will therefore have more time onboard, more opportunity to browse our shops, to develop relations with our retail staff and to bring home a tangible memory of their vacation.

“More time for guests to shop onboard with us will provide sales opportunities for moving through excess inventories as well as new concepts we’re launching.”

PRIVATE APPOINTMENTS PROVING A HIT

Evaluating how best to manage its inventory has been a key focus for the company during the operational pause.

“We’re keeping a pulse on what options consumers are being presented with across retailers, especially travel retail, in the areas of product and value,” continued Bauer.

Starboard points to its collaborations with strong, solution-orientated product and brand partners, with new concepts being introduced such as ‘Private Appointments’ – ideal for shoppers wishing to avoid the crowds.

Starboard is preparing ‘reimagined, immersive and personalised’ onboard shopping experiences for the likes of expedition vessel Crystal Endeavour (pictured), which is due to launch this Summer.

“We’ve piloted the strategy on our ships sailing out of Singapore, and guests love it,” confirmed Bauer. “This one-on-one shopping experience is ideal for high-end luxury items such as Swiss timepieces and fine jewellery, and we’re encouraged by the sales results thus far. We look forward to launching private appointments across all markets as operations restart.”

Another new concept that’s launching as part of the business recovery plan is ‘Limited Time Experiences’.

Due to float out this year, Dream Cruises’ Global Class vessel Global Dream will present the first DFS T Galleria at sea in a collaboration between Starboard Cruise Services, Genting Cruise Lines and DFS Group. Source: Dream Cruises.

It has been far from smooth sailing for those in the cruise business, which has been particularly badly hit by the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

The No-Sail Order affecting US waters was lifted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on 31 October 2020 but the cruise industry has been calling for the lifting of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order.

Earlier this month, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) called the CDC’s instructions to the industry ‘unduly burdensome and largely unworkable’.

The CLIA noted that almost 400,000 passengers have already sailed from Europe and parts of Asia since last summer, after the adoption of stringent, science-based protocols.

In recent days, docked cruise ships in the US have been told they could resume sailings by mid-summer based on updated guidelines from the CDC.

A letter to cruise leaders said that passenger voyages could proceed on the basis that 95% of crew and 95% of staff are fully vaccinated.

The decision was made following twice-weekly meetings with representatives from various cruise lines [To read the letter in full courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, click here].

To read the full interview with Lisa Bauer, CEO, Starboard Cruise Service click here.

Main image: Dream Cruises’ World Dream. Source: Dream Cruises.

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