ICF International’s Annie Chua explains to Sean Dudley what seperates the company from the competition

“We are committed to providing quality products and services at all times”

In a highly competitive space, cruise ship operators are constantly looking for effective ways to offer great experiences to passengers.

One important area is retail, with on-board shopping experiences becoming an increasingly important area of focus for cruise lines aiming to differentiate themselves from the competition.

ICF International is a leading marine interior refurbishment company with more than 25 years of experience in the cruise and ferry industry, as well as the oil and gas, offshore, new build and super yacht sectors.

The company offers full turnkey solutions that cover design, planning, engineering, construction and delivery.

These solutions bring a host of benefits to customers – something ICF International’s executive director Annie Chua believes is of vital importance.

“Time is of the essence in the cruise industry, so being able to offer a full turnkey solution that helps save time is key,” Chua explains. “We also help companies save money and our solutions ease co-ordination efforts across various sectors.”

Chua says that the onboard retail market for cruise ships which has been prevalent in recent times shows no signs of stopping. ICF International has been capitalising on this trend and carrying out a number of refurbishment projects across a range of cruise lines.

“We just completed a conversion project on the SkySea Golden Era in May 2015,” she explains. “In just 17 days, we helped convert what was formerly a cinema, library, sales office and conference room into more than 600sq m of luxury retail space. The planning and execution for this job had to be meticulous, and our team carried out truly incredible work.”

ICF International works closely with retail brands to ensure their products are presented in the best possible way within the store.

“Working with different brands with totally different standards and requirements has never been easy,” Chua explains. “Drawing from experience and close communication are key factors. We have regular conference calls, e-mail correspondence, factory acceptance test meetings and inspections with these brands. At ICF International, we are committed to providing quality products and services at all times.”

With a number of new projects in the pipeline, what does Chua put the ICF International’s ongoing success down to?

“I would say we’re a hardworking, committed and trusted partner in the service industry,” she explains. “The cruise industry is a small and unique industry. Almost everyone knows everyone, so it’s good to have a good working relationship with our partners.”Chua adds that the company’s Asia base can play into its favour when it comes to securing business.“I believe our geographical location helps us stand out from the competition, as there are not many industry players in the Far East,” she says. “With many cruise lines expressing their interest in China and other countries in the region, the future looks bright for ICF International.”