As cruising grows as a preferred vacation type in Asia, the Muslim cruise market is showing impressive growth potential. Asia’s first halal-friendly cruise ship, World Dream, has plenty of dining options and amenities on board to offer Muslim travellers a wonderful and memorable vacation at sea.
Find out more about the specific preferences of the Muslim cruise market in Asia, and how you can overcome the common misconceptions to effectively sell cruising to this up-and-coming market segment.
Noormah Bte Salim, an avid cruiser with Dream Cruises, debunks the most common myths about a cruise vacation.
A mouth-watering selection of halal dishes are available on World Dream, Asia's first halal-friendly cruise ship.
Misconception #1: Halal food options are limited
“When it comes to dining, World Dream wins hands down in terms of its sheer variety of halal cuisine that is not limited to just one single corner or restaurant,” says Noormah. Not only is the selection of halal food options wide, many of these mouth-watering dishes also evoke the authentic ‘kampung’ taste. For Noormah, World Dream is simply a halal gastronomy haven, serving up her favourite dishes from ayam merah (chicken in spicy tomato sauce) to assam pedas (spicy tamarind fish) to gulai Nangka (jackfruit curry) and all kinds of sambal chilli.
Crystal Life Asian Spa offers gender-based therapies and alcohol-free skincare products.
Misconception #2: There are no dedicated facilities for Muslim guests
For Muslim passengers, World Dream has a dedicated prayer room that includes Qurans, prayer mats, prayer compass and prayer beads. “Besides, there’s also the comfort of one’s room to conduct prayers in,” says Noormah. Elsewhere on the ship, gender-based therapies, alcohol-free skincare products and modest swim wear are also available at the Crystal Life Spa, while the fully-equipped medical centre is staffed with doctors and special attention given to female patient’s requirements.
Wide selection of modest swim wear on board.
Misconception #3: Travel agents are not needed
For ease and convenience, Noormah always books her Dream Cruises seacations through her trusted travel agency, whether she’s travelling with her husband or with her extended family or friends. Her go-to agent will handle all the arrangements for the trip, from room types to requests for special occasions. “My agent has all my details, so I just have to give our preferred dates and everything else will be taken care of.”
Space and amenities are aplenty on World Dream.
Misconception #4: Cruise ships are crowded
On the contrary, it’s hard to feel crowded on World Dream, as there’s plenty of space for everyone on board the 18-deck ship. And with all the current restrictions on board, cruising feels like an even safer and exclusive experience as all passengers have to test negative for Covid-19 prior to embarkation, says Idris Bin Abdul Rashid, Noormah’s husband. “Cruising is safer than many other activities or holiday types. We have a peace of mind whenever we sail with Dream Cruises,” he adds.
Misconception #5: Cruising is pricey
Dollar for dollar, it’s hard to beat cruising as a value-for-money vacation, says Noormah. From the ease of access to halal food to the wide array of recreational amenities on board, a World Dream seacation often works out to be more affordable – and relaxing – than a hotel staycation.
Noormah and her husband, Idris Bin Abdul Rashid, enjoying the privacy and exclusive services that come along with a stay in the Palace Suite.
For special occasions such as birthdays and wedding anniversaries, Noormah and her husband make sure the Palace Suite is booked for a spot of indulgence. The ocean-loving couple love the ever-changing sea views from the balcony (they once spotted a rainbow at sea), as well as the dedicated butler service and sumptuous facilities – private pool and Jacuzzi, swish bathroom – that come along with the space.
Misconception #6: There’s nothing to do on a cruise ship
That is a common impression among many of Noormah’s friends and relatives, but they are surprised to see the myriad activity shots she shares on social media after each Dream Cruises holiday. “There are too many things to do on World Dream that I have to plan the activities I want to do when I’m on board,” says Noormah, who makes sure to tick out a new spot or activity on the ship whenever she cruises – nearly every quarter.
Cruising is an ideal multi-gen vacation for Noormah and her family.
Cruising is also ideal for multi-gen families, says the avid cruiser. Among Noormah and Idris’ favourite activities are morning jogs on the deck and swimming, while her trio of granddaughters – when they join the couple on cruise trips during their school holidays – find endless enjoyment in the water slides, rock walls and mini golf.
“There’s plenty of fun and bonding opportunities for the entire family on board World Dream,” says Noormah. “Boring? Never!”
This article is brought to you by Dream Cruises
All pictures are taken according to prevailing guidelines at point of embarkation.