Royal Caribbean eyes Vietnam as potential cruise market

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Discover the World Marketing, a global travel and marketing representation firm, has been chosen as a sales agent to sell cruise itineraries of Royal Caribbean International in and out of Asia in Vietnam as a potential market.

Bernard A. Keller, director of Discover the World Marketing in Vietnam, said the expatriate community in Vietnam was the target customer for the itineraries of Royal Caribbean cruises taking in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and China this year and next.

Keller introduced the upcoming cruise journeys in Asia to representatives of local travel companies when they inspected Royal Caribbean International’s 70,000-ton Legend of the Seas before the vessel left Phu My Port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province on Tuesday.

The ship arrived Monday morning, with less than 2,000 passengers on board, who disembarked to visit places of interest in the southern province and neighboring HCMC before leaving the port for Thailand and Singapore.

There will be at least six cruise journeys with Legend of the Seas in Asia in 2010 and next year, with five of them starting in Singapore and the rest in Hong Kong. From these departure points, passengers will go to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi of Malaysia, Phuket of Thailand, Danang, HCMC and Halong of Vietnam, and certain destinations in China.

Prices of the cruise tours started from US$381 per person and exclusive of taxes and surcharges. The price covering ship accommodation, most on-board services related to foods and drinks, entertainment, sport facilities varies depending on the length of the journey, the rooms guests want to stay and the itineraries they book.

Keller told the Daily that passengers in Vietnam would have to fly with their own budget to Singapore or Hong Kong to get aboard Legend of the Seas before it departed these starting points. Guests are responsible for all required travel documents, including visa.

Keller was pinning high hopes that Royal Caribbean International’s cruise trips would attract more guests in the Vietnamese market as the number of people with high disposable income was increasing.

“I see a huge potential in Vietnam,” Keller said. He added that Discover the World Marketing was completing legal procedures for the official launch of operations in the Vietnamese market.

Discover the World Marketing is working with local travel partners, including One Travel International to promote the upcoming cruise trips with Legend of the Seas within Asia and also other Royal Caribbean trips in Europe and America.

Royal Caribbean cruises offer itineraries to more than 190 ports in Alaska, Baja Mexico, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and Asia among others.

Travel demand up but prices unchanged

Travel companies reported domestic air tours to popular destinations during the Christmas and New Year holidays have sold out.

The demand is for Dalat, Phu Quoc, Con Dao, Binh Thuan, and Danang while preferred outbound tours are to Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.