Felix Chan, Vice President for Sales – Asia of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., talks about the cruise experience on Norwegian Cruise Line ships. He also reveals how he has grown as a traveler and why cruising is one of the best ways to travel.
Norwegian Escape going to St. Tomas
WHICH PLACES ARE BEST SEEN VIA A CRUISE?
Travelers, particularly the younger generation, want to see the Northern Lights. You can expect a similar situation to Cuba in Iceland; small expensive hotels that are difficult to secure even if you’re willing to pay. So cruising is a very good way to travel to Iceland. Another popular destination is Alaska.
Travelers from hot countries in Southeast Asia want to go to colder places for trips. Norwegian Cruise Lines and Oceania Cruises both sail to Alaska in the summer. And next year, we have a new ship called Norwegian Blisssailing to Alaska.
WHICH PLACE WOULD YOU LIKE TO REVISIT?
I’m thinking of taking my parents on an Oceania cruise ship to Italy. They have visited major cities in Europe but they haven’t been to the small islands and cities. When you go on a land vacation, you always go to the big cities because these are the most convenient.
But on a cruise ship, you can go to smaller towns and boating villages. Small luxury cruise ships like Oceania Cruises can go to ports that large ships cannot access. And there are so many unheard-of islands in Italy.
My parents are already over 75 years old so cruising is perfect for them. They can take a rest or go out when they want. I see them every week, but the three of us haven’t traveled together alone in a long time. This trip will be something to look back to 10 or 30 years from now without regrets, because I spent a wonderful time with them.
Vice President for Sales – Asia of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
HOW DID YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH TRAVELING?
Traveling means three things to me. First, it’s about relationship-building – it’s an easy way to build a bond among families. Second, traveling is about inspiration. You interact with different people, learn different cultures, and hear new ideas that inspire you in work and personal life. Third, travel let’s us take a step back and experience the diversity of life, especially when the majority of our time is spent at the office, in a concrete building with a singular view.
Pincho Tapas Bar, Norwegian Escape
WHAT KIND OF TRAVELER ARE YOU?
I’m very strategic in planning my trips. For business, I need to be structured with
which agents to call and which meetings to attend. For my leisure travels, I also need
to be strategic because our time is limited. I make sure my family always treasures our
time together. The well-planned itineraries for our vacations are always decided by my
wife. She give a lot of effort to planning trips.
Norwegian Bliss going to Alaska
WHERE WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE TRIP?
My first cruise ship experience just two years ago on Norwegian Epic. I had never
cruised on a ship like Norwegian Cruise Lines before. When I was a kid, I went
to cruises with my family where the ships were more of a casino type, unlike the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings brands, which are more the resort types of cruise ships.
At that time, I didn’t know much about cruise products so I needed to make sure that
this was the right product for me before accepting the job at Norwegian Cruise
Line Holdings. So the company sent me and my wife on a trip on the Norwegian
Epic for seven days from Barcelona to the Mediterranean. After that cruise, my
perception on cruising changed totally.
Kids Water Park, Norwegian Escape
Our dining establishments can top five-star restaurants in Europe. Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas are well known for the best lamb restaurants that are comparable to establishments on land. Oceania Cruises’s master chef,Jacques Pépin, used to be the personal chef of the French president. He has been our executive chef since Oceania Cruises was founded.
Cagney’s Steakhouse, Norwegian Escape
WHAT’S THE PHILOSOPHY OF YOUR CRUISERS?
Asian travelers are particular about several things. They’re destination-driven, which means they care about visiting exotic and extraordinary destinations where they
can explore and learn. They are also value-driven.
CUBA AS A CRUISE DESTINATION
For example, Cuba is a popular cruise now because there are few good hotels on land, and most charge extremely high prices. A cruise ship is a better alternative in value because it means your entire “resort” brings you to Cuba and lets you experience the culture and history of Cuba. Then you can return to the ship and enjoy the dining establishments and entertainment experiences that come along with the
HAWAII AS A CRUISE DESTINATION
Another popular cruise destination for us is Hawaii. Travelers can island-hop to four islands in one week. On land, travelers need to take a plane to transfer from one island to another. The cost of the time and different hotels are expensive. But on a cruise ship, you get more value in terms of convenience, accommodations, and dining.
Cadillac Diner, Pride of America cruise ship
Asian travelers have strong family values. A lot of people treat cruising as an annual family reunion. That’s the beauty of the cruise ship: it caters to many generations. My parents can relax on the cruise ship or take a short excursion. My kids are always going to the children’s facilities on the cruise ship.
My wife and I always choose from the many short excursions offered on the cruise. During the day, everyone may do different things, but they come back together for dinner and to enjoy the shows on the cruise ship afterwards. So if you want a travel experience that caters to different generations, choose a cruise.
“Burn the Floor” performance, Norwegian Epic
PEACE & TRANQUILITY AT SEA
Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas offer different wellness programs. People
can choose from vegetarian options, apart from the typical dishes we offer in our daily
menus. We have shore excursions related to wellness, such as the chance to do yoga
or tai chi on one of the Canary Islands. Wellness and health are growing trends
because people are becoming more health conscious. And they want to make sure
that even when they’re traveling, they have wellness options.
HAPPINESS AT SEA
“Norwegian Joy was just launched last year. I attended the christening and sailed on the ship with my family. This ship has very exciting elements.”
FULL SPEED AHEAD
The Race Car Track is the first go-kart on a cruise ship. When you turn fast around the
corners, you get views of the sea since the racetrack is on the highest deck of the cruise ship.
WORLDS OF VIRTUAL REALITY
The Galaxy Pavilion has a lot of virtual worlds that the young and young at heart can play in. This is a must-go place to try the roller coaster and the virtual reality games.
UNLIMITED GASTRONOMIC FEASTS
On Norwegian Joy, we have 28 restaurants. So even if you have every meal on the ship every day, you still won’t be able to try all the restaurants. Guests have different cuisine choices, from French and Italian to Japanese and Korean.
WHAT AN EVENING
There is Broadway-quality entertainment on the cruise ship every night, including magic shows, live music, and comedy clubs. Two of the must-see performances include “Elements” with its amazing acrobats, and “Paradis,” which involves the 15-feet
revolving showgirl staircase.
FUN FOR WATER BABIES
Aqua Park is an exciting water adventure. The water slides extend outside the ship so it’s a very thrilling experience – like you’re being thrown into the sea.