Jetsetting with Thatcher Brown, president of Dream Cruises
SINGAPORE, June 30 — Cruising is about to get more luxurious. First, there was the buzz surrounding the world’s largest cruise ship Harmony of the Seas. Now, Dream Cruises has announced its upcoming Genting Dream, which will be launched in November and based in China, and is “specifically catered to Asia’s luxury sector with a purpose built new ship for this market”, said president of Dream Cruises Thatcher Brown who was in town last month.
Genting Dream will have facilities from state-of-the-art submersibles to take guests underwater to a Zouk club on board (it’s no coincidence that Dream Cruises and Zouk are owned by Genting Hong Kong). “A cruise ship is like a floating resort — catering to the different needs of guests across a wide spectrum of experiences. And Dream Cruises aims to redefine vacation travel with a transformational journey at sea.”
Q: Being a new player in the cruise industry, how do you think Dream Cruises and its Genting Dream ship will stand out against the competition?
A: In the past, cruise brands deployed older vessels with minor modifications for the Chinese market. Initial attempts to repurpose food and service styles originally intended for Western clientele were criticised for not being authentic or appropriate for the new cultural context. What will differentiate Dream Cruises from the other cruise lines will be our commitment and ability to offer inspirational luxury, which is Asian at heart and international in spirit for all our guests. Of course, we encourage healthy competition as it is essential in driving innovation and to further grow the overall cruise industry.
Q: You once worked as a waiter and deck steward on a cruise ship. Could you tell us about the best, and the worst experience you had during those days?
A: When I was a teenager, I took a year off between high school and university to work on a five-star luxury cruise ship as a waiter and deck steward. I was absolutely inspired by the remarkable opportunity to work and travel to so many interesting places. Sailing around the world was a highlight. One of the most frustrating experiences was being a “food runner” for four weeks before the maitre’d deemed me ready to serve a guest. I travelled the world while learning the importance of delivering exceptional service. The experience ignited my passion for hospitality — I furthered my studies in the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University and have been in the hospitality and travel industry for more than 25 years.
Q: So what is it about cruising and hospitality that you have made it your lifelong passion?
A: I have always been attracted to what I consider a “noble profession” of service to others. I appreciate the complexity of the cruise industry, and the satisfaction of exceeding guest expectations while delivering a world class vacation experience at sea.
Q: Out of all the cities you have cruised to, which route is the most scenic and memorable to you?
A: Vietnam has some of my favourite ports of call. The country is steeped in history, rich in cultural experiences, with incredible food and unspoilt, picturesque bays and beaches. Da Nang offers visitors both the delights of a tranquil beach resort as well as a highly colourful cultural experience while Ha Long Bay is famed for its limestone pillars and tiny islets. There’s also Nha Trang, situated on Nha Trang Bay, considered one of the 29 most beautiful bays in the world. And lastly, Ho Chi Minh City, on the banks of the Saigon River, is rich in French colonial architecture. ― TODAY