What I learnt from my nine-year journey in cruise tourism with SATS Creuers
Mastura Lubis is a huge fan of travel and the memorable experiences it brings. Her first workplace was amidst the whirl of Universal Studios Singapore, where she was a ride operator.
It was in 2014 when she stumbled upon an opportunity with SATS Creuers Cruise Services, the terminal operator of Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore. And just like that, her adventure into the world of cruise tourism set sail.
Mastura Lubis, Business Development and Marketing Manager, SATS Creuers Cruise Services
For Mastura, working in cruise tourism is not just a job but a calling. If you ever get a chance to chat with her, you will feel the genuine joy in her voice as she shares stories about creating special experiences at Singapore’s cruise terminal.
“I handle paperwork, and that’s satisfying in its own way. But I also deal with passengers and connect with people – and that is a different kind of satisfaction,” she shares with infectious enthusiasm.
Yet, Mastura’s journey hasn't always been a smooth ride. Throughout her more than nine years in cruise tourism, she has ridden it with grace and an adaptable spirit.
Enduring need for adaptation
To expect the unexpected – this is what Mastura has learnt about approaching the challenges in her professional journey.
After three years in terminal operations as a duty manager, Mastura took on a new role in the marketing department in 2017. Her responsibilities shifted from ensuring smooth cruise turnaround calls to managing secondary revenue, overseeing retail tenants, and leading advertising efforts.
The switch from operations to marketing wasn’t a walk in the park. “I felt like learning a new language,” Mastura admits, highlighting the stark differences between the two domains.
Mastura has embraced distinct roles from operations to corporate in SATS Creuers
Now a Business Development and Marketing Manager, Mastura is the go-to person for operations insights, branding strategies, and even billing matters. Her colleagues at Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore rely on her for work matters.
“Mastura, can you lend me a hand?” echoes through the terminal corridors when we visited. It's an obvious proof of the adaptability Mastura has demonstrated and eventually what made her an indispensable asset in the cruise centre.
Cruise tourism during Covid-19
The year 2020 threw a curveball at Mastura. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, cruises came to a stop, so Mastura had to be temporarily deployed to the apron.
Despite her innate love for travel, Mastura confronted a new reality. “It’s not about enjoying, it’s about adapting,” she notes. She had to dive into the world of on-ground operations for aeroplanes at Changi Airport, a far cry from the cruise operations she was accustomed to.
When she finally returned to Marina Bay Cruise Centre, the terminal was gearing up for the cruise-to-nowhere programme – an initiative by the Singapore Tourism Board, offering travel-starved Singaporeans a cruise holiday without any stops.
Mastura’s team had just a month to set up swab testing facilities and make other necessary arrangements. “The challenge was monumental. We were clueless about how to make it happen,” Mas recalls. Despite the uncertainties, the project set sail successfully, making history as the first cruise terminal to kickstart such an initiative during the pandemic.
Hope for what’s to come
SATS Creuers works to provide cruise passengers with a smooth travel experience
Mastura’s typical day at work revolves around engaging with various stakeholders at the cruise terminal – from cruise line representatives and ground staff to security and immigration officers, making sure passengers have a smooth ride from the terminal to their ships and back in Singapore.
Interesting fact: Mastura, along with the majority of the SATS Creuers Team, is trained in first aid, and prepared to handle emergencies. This dedication reflects their belief that Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore is “more than just a destination, but an experience.”
Looking ahead, Mastura expresses optimism about the future of the cruise tourism industry in Singapore. She sees it as an adventure, embracing the thrill of the unknown and anticipating the big projects to come.
Grow with SATS