WITH the cruise ship Superstar Libra is being deployed in Valletta, Malta, all this summer, it is yet another opportunity for holiday makers from the Middle East to take advantage of the growing trend for cruises, according to Chong Chee-Tut, Star Cruises’ chief operating officer.
“SuperStar Libra is truly a destination in herself, presenting her passengers endless options to be entertained and served. As one of the popular Star Cruises liners offering first-class facilities on board SuperStar Libra has attracted a large number of holiday-makers this season,” he said.
This inaugural season in the Eastern Mediterranean means Middle Eastern vacationers can now opt for a range of seven to 13 night cruises to a host of interesting destinations along the east and west coasts of Italy, the islands of Greece and to Egypt and Istanbul or a choice of exciting itineraries in Asia on SuperStar Virgo and SuperStar Gemini.
Chong added, “Holiday-makers on SuperStar Libra will also have the flexibility of embarking the ship in Rome, Venice, Istanbul or Valletta, Malta via a choice of fly-cruise options from the Middle East.”
The ship, which called in Dubai and Bahrain recently, is 216m long, 28m wide with a gross tonnage of 42,000 and a capacity of 1,900 passengers, as well as a host of host of health, sports and recreational facilities.
Star Cruises has been actively promoting cruises in the Middle Eastern markets and has plans to continue to do so in the region which is ideally situated between Europe and Asia. The company’s ships are specially designed to cater to the vacation needs for leisure and enjoyment providing a memorable holiday for those who sail on them, but are also ideal for the MICE market.
Star Cruises Group is the third largest cruise line in the world and the leading cruise line in Asia-Pacific. It posted losses of $35 million for the first quarter of this year but Chong told TTN he expected the costs to stablise significantly. “Fuel is one factor contributing to the loss in the first quarter. The start up in the US market has contributed to this loss as well as the US requires crew to be US citizens or green-card holders which demand higher salaries. We also had a large turn over due to various factors such as crew realising that cruising was not really what they wanted,” said Chong.
“We also started with one ship two years again with a second and third ship quite rapidly after that and cost are in cured even before the ship sales as you have to employ the crew and train them and so on. Now these systems are in place, these cost will come down rapidly,” he added.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.