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Starboard Looks To Brand Partnerships to Capitalize on the Growth of Cruise Tourism June 04, 2024 (0 comments)


Miami, FL--Starboard, the luxury retail cruise retailer, is banking on a growth in cruise tourism to push sales onboard the seafaring vessels where they operate.

“Cruise tourism has made a significant post-COVID return, achieving record economic contributions and surpassing historical levels. With a captive audience embarking on seven-day voyages, cruise ships offer an ideal setting for high-value purchases,” said Caryl Capeci, SVP of Fine Jewelry & Watches. “Guests are indulging in experiences, and there's never been a better time for jewelry and watch brands to partner with Starboard to expand their presence at sea.” 

[The Starboard TAG Heuer boutique aboard the Carnival Jubilee cruise ship]

Capeci cites an annual report from Cruise Lines International Association’s stating that 2023 passenger volume reached 31.7 million, a seven percent increase over 2019, with demand for cruise holidays at an all-time high of 82 percent intent to cruise. The resurgence of cruise tourism has resulted in boosted retail sales, particularly within the jewelry and watch category.

For luxury jewelry and watches, Starboard has curated renowned luxury brands such as Bulgari, Cartier, Omega, and Hublot, with each having their own boutiques on cruise ships. For Cartier and Hublot, these launches were among the first of their kind at sea, Capeci said. More recently, Starboard brought forward the launch of the largest TAG Heuer boutique at sea the aboard Carnival Jubilee cruise ship.

Capeci points to “immersive storytelling experiences for cruise ship patrons that include watch and scotch tastings or interactive gemstone trivia games.

In addition to the internationally renowned jewelry and watch brands, Starboard has formed partnerships with well-known jewelry designers and contemporary watch brands such as. Long standing brand partners such as John Hardy, Levian and Kallati, have combined with new jewelry brand partnerships with Messika, Monica Rich Kosann, and Sydney Evan, and Swiss watch brand, Norqain provide a diverse offering of watch and jewelry products, Capeci said.

One of its newest partnerships is with Hong Kong-based fine jewelry brand, Qeelin, owned by the French luxury conglomerate, Kering. Capeci says the brand’s contemporary take on traditional Asian-themed motifs will be an important part of the offerings on the return of Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas in mainland China.

With cruise travel flourishing and forecasts predicting a 10 percent increase in cruise capacity from 2024 through 2028, Capeci says “retailing at sea remains an enticing venture for brands to explore.”

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