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Published in: Cruise News

When the Explorer Dream debuts for Dream Cruises next April, it will become the company’s pathfinder vessel, according to Thatcher Brown, president of the brand.

“We’ve learned there has been value in creating a pathfinder strategy,” said Brown, in an interview with Cruise Industry News in Shenzhen at China Cruise Shipping. “As we look to bring bigger ships into the market, we are also bringing a pathfinder ship in. Between now and getting the first Global-class vessel in 2021, we need to have a presence in North China. We need to start building our awareness and getting folks to really understand who we are and why they should cruise with us.”

The Explorer Dream will be converted from the SuperStar Virgo, introducing a number of Dream Cruises features, including the brand’s ship-within-a-ship luxury suite area, the Palace.

Next summer, the vessel will sail short cruises from Shanghai and Tianjin to Japan and Russia, utilizing the ship’s technical abilities which include a high service speed, enabling it to call on Russia on a five-day itinerary.

“We want to start inviting that market to cruise with Dream,” said Brown. The company’s two other ships are currently deployed out of South China and Singapore. “We need a ship up there to prime the market for the Global class.”

For winter 2019-2020, the vessel will move to Australia and New Zealand, with the company targeting Chinese and Asian guests in a fly-cruise market move.

“We are interested in expanding our footprint globally,” Brown said.

Beyond Australia, Brown said Alaska was “still on the horizon” for Dream Cruises, but the company would need to have the right timing, weighing the deployment move against revenue and demand.

Fly-cruise products will play an important role for Brown’s brand as well as the evolution of the Chinese market.

Fly cruises will demand an earlier booking curve, according to Brown, helping incentivize travel agents with the benefits of booking early in China, which is notorious for being a close-in booking market.

“Pricing has a lot to do with how we move the booking curve out. If we can create more pricing transparency and integrity, we won’t have people waiting for the price to drop,” said Brown.

The Explorer Dream will join the larger Genting and World Dream vessels. The company gets new, 5,000-guest Global-class ships next, which are expected to enter service in early 2021 and 2022, respectively.

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