While the concept of “halal/Muslim-friendly cruises” has been around
for a few years, engaging with Muslim cruise enthusiasts only gained
And as the cruise industry emerges from a two-year hiatus, industry
experts speaking at CruiseWorld Asia 2022 agree that there is no better
time than now to engage with this niche segment of the cruise industry.
Fazal Bahardeen, founder and CEO of CrescentRating and Halaltrip,
says: “ASEAN is home to about 300 million Muslims, and in 2020 they
represented 21% of domestic travellers. If we want to re-look the cruise
market, I think now is the best time to do it.”
Speaking during the session “Insights on the unique needs and
preferences of Muslim cruise travellers and unlocking opportunities in
this rising segment”, Bahardeen also referenced Resorts World Cruises
that made headlines in June this year when it became the world’s first
cruise liner with an internationally halal-certified kitchen.
The Genting Dream cruise ship’s kitchen is the first to be certified
with the OIC/SMIIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation/ Standards and
Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries) standard and serves
farm-to-fork halal meals.
“The most important thing for a Muslim passenger is food,” he shared,
“because unlike staying at a hotel destination, the (Muslim) guest
cannot go anywhere while at sea.”
Bahardeen further shared ways in which the cruise industry can start developing Muslim-friendly cruises:
Food: Halal food is the primary consideration and
the only challenge facing Muslims cruise passengers who seek
experiential “seacations” as prayer can be performed in the privacy of
their cabins. Cruise companies that grasp this and make the effort to
understand halal have already won half the battle when it comes to
capturing the growing market of Muslim cruise travellers.
Water-friendly bathroom: Water is important to Muslims as this is how they clean themselves. To have a washing facility in the washroom is a big plus.
Recreational facilities that respect their values:
“One of the things the cruise industry can address is the negative
perception of cruises among Muslim passengers,” says Bahardeen.
While elements of gambling and alcohol consumption often deter
Muslims from joining a cruise, Bahardeen suggests overcoming this by
highlighting other aspects and services of the cruise such as family
entertainment, and segmenting the offerings to target the right consumer