Archives for category: Travel

Singapore, 19 September 2011 – Singapore Cruise Centre Pte Ltd (SCC) has teamed up with partners with specialist maritime expertise to launch Cruise 360, a coordinated, cost-effective platform to supply and support cruise ships that berth in Singapore.

Cruise 360 will ensure that the resources and services that cruise lines require, ranging from crew personnel, food and beverage and marine chandelling, shore excursions, bunkering, ship repair and maintenance, are provided for in a structured and seamless manner. SCC’s Cruise 360 partners comprise an initial group of five companies reputed for best-in-class standards and practices. They are HMS, Intercruises, Magsaysay, Shell and Sembawang Shipyard.

SCC’s CEO, Christina Siaw, said: “We are very excited about Cruise 360 which aggregates best-in-class services so that international and regional cruise lines that call at our terminal at HarbourFront can make quick and easy procurement, saving time and effort especially for those new to Singapore.
“The idea has been in the works for a while and we believe the time has come for us to make it work for the advancement of common goals, most notably, our shared vision of promoting Singapore as the cruise hub of Asia.”

Ms Siaw said that SCC partnered those whom it has worked with for many years and which have received strong customer endorsements for high standards of excellence.  Under Cruise 360, they are committed to offering enhanced services to the cruise lines.

Ms Siaw added that Cruise 360 partnership is non-exclusive and SCC is open to proposals from qualified service providers that bring unique solutions and meet best-in-class criteria.

Cruise 360 vendors and partners are well established maritime specialists that provide services for cruise ships including crew, catering supplies, repair, refurbishment and upgrading, provisioning, bunkering, port and ground handling, wholesale distribution and warehousing.

Intercruises is an experienced global business offering first class ground handling and port agency services to the ocean and river cruise industry, delivering port agency, full turnaround, shore excursions and hotel reservation services to cruise lines worldwide. Intercruises operates in over 50 countries, encompassing over 300 ports. In Asia, it delivers services in over 30 ports, spread across 13 countries.

Magsaysay is a leading provider of quality crew and crewing services for the world’s maritime, cruise and offshore industries.

HMS provides ships with catering supplies, repairs, engineering and coatings, logistics solutions (handling, forwarding, storage and distribution including owners’ goods), and other value-added services on demand. HMS have ISO 9001 and 14001, OHSAS 18001 certification in Singapore.

Sembawang Shipyard, a subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine, is Asia’s premier shipyard for cruise ships refits, refurbishment and conversion.  It has built up extensive technical, logistics planning and project management expertise, critical in ensuring high quality work to meet the requirements of the cruise liners.  Its major customers include Star Cruise, Hapag Lloyd, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Silverseas Cruises and has a long-term refit agreement with Carnival Corporation & Plc for its portfolio of leading brands such as Costa Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Carnival UK and Carnival Australia.

Shell Marine Products offers bunkering services for cruise ships, as well as an extensive range of Shell marine lubrications, and technical support services to the marine industry.

The Cruise 360 partners will each offer value added benefits only available through the Cruise 360 programme. For example, HMS will waive the usual minimum two-day advance order and offer cruise lines same-day order and delivery of food and beverages.

Intercruises will set up “concierge-style” counter services at the pier for the cruise lines, offer onboard lectures from experienced local guides and tailor made hands on tour experiences, with mementos of each tour.

Magsaysay will introduce new facilities and crew handling processes. If a cruise operator wishes, their crew will be allowed to embark and disembark at their convenience, without the need for an accompanying personnel manager or purser to come ashore.

Sembawang Shipyard will be able to respond to the maintenance / repair needs of the cruise lines berthed at SCC’s terminals for both routine and emergency repairs. The shipyard is also able to carry out on-voyage repairs to meet the cruise ships tight schedule.

Shell, on the other hand, will provide access to scientific and engineering consultation expertise through technical services like Shell Rapid Lubricants Analysis service, designed to give ship managers and operators vital information and advice on the condition of their lubricants and machinery – quickly, efficiently and reliably.

The Cruise 360 initiative is a first for Singapore and comes at a time when the cruise industry in Asia is on the cusp of a boom with regional countries adding on new berth capacity to meet rising demand. Singapore is set to double its berth capacity next year when the new ICT terminal is opened.

SCC anticipates a significant number of maiden calls will be made in the next year and believe that these cruise lines will enjoy a smooth passage in and out of its terminal through Cruise 360.

7 September 2011, SINGAPORE – Leading travel search company Skyscanner Ltd, which is headquartered in Edinburgh, UK, has opened its Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Singapore this week.

Led by Ewan Gray, the newly appointed Director for Asia Pacific, Skyscanner expects to match the rapid growth trajectory achieved in Europe over the last two years, aiming to build the number of visitors to the site from Asia Pacific countries to 13 million per month within the same timeframe – generating downstream revenues for its airline partners of some US$2 billion per annum.

Gray says that Asia is already contributing to Skyscanner’s fast growth trajectory, which is currently 75% year on year. “To date our growth in Asia Pacific has been largely organic, but we are seeing exceptionally strong growth rates from Asia, with yearly increases in traffic of up to 90%. This growth has mainly been from Singapore, China, Indonesia, Japan, India and Malaysia. We expect that growth to accelerate considerably now we will have a presence in each of those markets.”

Skyscanner plans to enter 10 markets in Asia Pacific, and has already appointed market managers for China, Indonesia, the Philippines and India. Active recruitment for market leaders in Korea, Australia and New Zealand is underway. The other markets include Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. is currently available in Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages. Over the next few weeks, the website will be rolled out in five new languages, namely Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Vietnamese and Thai.

Skyscanner is presently the only resource in Asia Pacific where a user can compare flights from all low cost carriers in the region, as well as flagship carriers including Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Air China, and fares from online travel agents such as Zuji and Asia Travel.

He added, “The relationships we have with airlines and OTAs are incredibly important to us and are founded on sending them highly qualified referrals from customers who are happy they have found the very best flight deal available on Skyscanner. We’re looking forward to providing this region with dedicated support to capitalise on the massive potential it presents, building our position as one of the world’s leading travel search sites.”

– ENDS –

About Skyscanner
Skyscanner is a world leading travel search site providing instant online comparisons on millions of flight prices for over 600 airlines, as well car hire deals and holidays. Founded in 2001 by three IT professionals, Gareth Williams, Barry Smith and Bonamy Grimes, Skyscanner is based in the UK with a second office in Singapore. Traffic to the site comes from 244 countries and territories worldwide. With more than 15 million users per month, Skyscanner generates downstream revenues of nearly two billion dollars every year.

Notes to Editors:
1.    The CEO and Co-founder of Skyscanner Ltd is available in Singapore this week for interview. Please contact Illka Gobius to arrange an interview.

Experience La Barca and make a review

To dine at La Barca with the purpose of reviewing the restaurant for your publication, please contact Illka Gobius or call 9769 8370.

Goodman Arts Centre, 90 Goodman Road Blk C, Singapore, Singapore

Mon – Fri: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Parking Lot

Public Transit
Mountbatten MRT

Tel: 6346 5813

La Barca Website


Media Invitation to experience La Barca


Michele Sorrentino, Chef and Owner of one of Italy’s Top Ten Restaurants Antica Trattoria Botteganova has moved to Singapore to open La Barca.

La Barca is owned and operated by chef Michele Sorrentino and Christopher Tung. Christopher left a corporate career in New York in 2001 to pursue his passion for food and wine. He moved to Siena, Italy and soon began an apprenticeship in chef Michele’s Michelin-star restaurant Antica Trattoria Botteganova. The two have remained good friends ever since.

Michele and Christopher

About the Chef, Michele Sorrentino

Michele Sorrentino, 49, was the chef and owner of Antica Trattoria Botteganova in Siena, Italy until he sold it in 2009. Chef Michele received his Michelin star in 1999 and maintained it throughout the lifetime of his restaurant. Over the years he has received innumerous awards and favorable reviews in the international press and has regularly appeared on Italian TV. Antica Trattoria Botteganova was on Frommer’s guide’s “Top Ten Restaurants of Italy” form 2000 to 2008.

Michele graduated from hotel school in 1979 and has worked as a professional chef ever since. Originally from Calabria, he first came to Tuscany in 1985 as chef-de-cuisine of the newly established Relais & Châteaux Borgo San Felice in Chianti. In 1992 he opened Antica Trattoria Botteganova.

Having been at the top of his game in Italy for over 25 years, Michele is looking forward to opening a new chapter in his life and the challenge of establishing himself as a renowned chef in Singapore. Michele has moved permanently to Singapore.

About the Restaurant

La Barca is situated in a stand-alone building within Goodman Arts Centre (formerly La Salle School of the Arts). Christopher came across the building late 2010 and was immediately attracted to the unique architecture of the building and the serene surroundings, and saw the potential for creating a one-of-a-kind restaurant.

The design of the restaurant is elegant and understated featuring original art works by Malaysian artist Yeoh Jin Leng and Filipino artist Alfredo Aquilizan (whose painting “Passage” hung at the Tate Liverpool before arriving at La Barca). Reminiscent of a chic restaurant in Milan or Turin, the tables and sofas are original designs for La Barca and the chairs are by the legendary Viennese furniture maker Michael Thonet.


Chef Michele Sorrentino earned his Michelin star by drawing inspiration from the rustic simplicity of Tuscan culinary tradition and re-inventing it for the modern palate with technical finesse and stunning visual presentation. All of Michele’s dishes are original creations deeply rooted in Italian culinary tradition. Michele will continue his innovation here in Singapore using only the finest produce, meats and fish and drawing on his extensive network of friends in Tuscany that produce rarefied delicacies such as prosciutto, cheese, olive oil, truffles and wine.


The restaurant’s wine list displays the depth, variety and knowledge associated with a Michelin-starred restaurant, emphasizing Italian and particularly Tuscan wines. Initially, the restaurant will rely largely on local wine merchants for stock, but will immediately begin its own import of wine with the goal of gradually and thoughtfully growing a collection.

The Name

La Barca means the boat in Italian and was conceived by Michele as the shape of the building (as seen on a drawing) reminded him of a boat and the irregularly shaped roofs covering the outdoor area resemble sails.
Opening Hours

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner 6 days a week (closed on Monday). The coffee bar and lounge is open from 11 am to 10 pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11 am to 1 am Friday and Saturday.

About Christopher Tung

Christopher Tung, 40, was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and a Chinese/Japanese father. He was educated in the US (Phillips Academy Andover 1990, Dartmouth College 1994) and worked for seven years on Wall Street in New York. In 2001, he moved to Siena, Tuscany, to indulge his passion for food and wine and soon began an apprenticeship in the kitchen of chef Michele Sorrentino. During that time, he also acquired a derelict medieval parsonage in the Tuscan countryside, which he turned into the successful b&b and cooking school Ankhura.

He moved to Singapore in July 2008 with his wife and three children, and has been teaching cooking classes in Italian cuisine and organizing gourmet tours to Tuscany.

Goodman Arts Centre

The main tenant of the Goodman Arts Centre is the National Arts Council, which moved its headquarters there at the beginning of 2011. The other spaces are occupied by businesses related to the arts such as dance and theatre companies. The centre also features gallery and performance spaces that are The restaurant looks forward to playing an active role in the centre’s arts eco-system, and hopes to collaborate on cultural events and work together to promote Goodman as a destination for creativity.

Reviews for the restaurant

by Geoffrey Eu

Review: “The culinary sophistication at La Barca is a pleasant change from the more rustic offerings found in the suburbs, and the food here wouldn’t be out of place in some swanky location in say, the CBD or Orchard Road. In a quiet corner of Katong, surrounded by the art galleries and dance studios at GAC and the residential buildings beyond its gates, La Barca has embarked on a bold journey to become a destination restaurant with a difference. With quality food, friendly prices and efficient service – and an environment to match – it deserves to succeed.”

Review: “Along the road that leads to Chianti is arguably the best restaurant in Siena. Chef Michele Sorrentino’s cooking is all about clean flavors, balanced combinations, and inviting presentation. Look for inspiring dishes such as spaghetti alla chitarra in salsa di astice piccante (with a spicy lobster sauce), or ravioli di ricotta con ragù d’agnello (with sheep’s-milk cheese and lamb sauce). The interior, with high vaulting, is relaxed yet elegant, and the service is first rate.”

Welcome to We are a newly re-opened strategic marketing and PR consultancy based in Singapore.

Look forward to interesting information about our client events, marketing and PR campaigns as well as what we are up to. We will also publish press releases here, so do follow us.