Hot! Up Close with Cyril Francis, Project Director, IT’S THE SHIP

Cyril Francis

CONTENT: Andrew Kho
IMAGES: Livescape Group

It’s The Ship, Asia’s largest festival at sea is back for its 5th year and we interviewed Cyril Francis, Project Director of It’s The Ship as he shares with us the beginnings and his future plans for this highly successful music festival at sea.

Luxe Society Asia: First of all, for those who don’t know you, can you give a brief introduction about yourself?

Hello! I’m Cyril Francis, Project Director of IT’S THE SHIP. I oversee all fundamental aspects of the event with regards to development and execution of Asia’s largest festival at sea – from production and operations, to marketing, sponsorship and consumer engagement.

Luxe Society Asia: I guess time flies when you’re having fun, and so much has happened since IT’S THE SHIP started four years ago, but a lot of people still don’t know how this project was incepted. Can you tell us more about it?

It was way back in 2014 when I was working with the Malaysia team, we went on a company retreat and had a brainstorm session. It was then when our CEO, Iqbal Ameer, had the idea of having a festival on a cruise. Iqbal even travelled to America to find a suitable voyage for this idea that he had. And in that same year, IT’S THE SHIP was born and set sail on its first edition in Nov 2014.

Luxe Society Asia: Success doesn’t usually happen overnight; can you share with us the difficulties you encountered during the first-year planning of this project?

There are an abundant of challenges and difficulties we faced as a team during the first-year of planning as it was a new territory for us. We had to understand and learn the marine requirements, ship charter and more. It’s a learning process every year as things will always be evolving/changing.

Luxe Society Asia: A follow up question to my earlier question, in this situation, how did you manage to pull it through?

Through lessons learnt and having a great time to work with!

Luxe Society Asia: IT’S THE SHIP has brought in quite a few popular DJs and personalities during the past four years, how do you or your team decide who to invite each year?

Every year, we look out for new and up-and-coming artists to bring onboard. We always try to invite artists who want to connect with their fans on a more personal level as they will be on the ship for a few days straight. In 2016, when we had Andrew Rayel onboard, during his meet and greet session – he did not want the 30-minute session to end and extended it specially for his fans who waited to have their moment with him.

Its The Ship 2018

Luxe Society Asia: Who are the other artists in your wishlist that you plan to invite onboard in the future editions of IT’S THE SHIP?

I would love to have Tiesto and Armin van Buuren onboard future editions of IT’S THE SHIP.

Luxe Society Asia: I realize people always miss something once they depart from every edition of IT’S THE SHIP, I was wondering which year of IT’S THE SHIP do you miss the most and why?

Definitely last year’s edition, 2017. It was so exciting to be on a new playground, new cruise – Genting Dream.

Luxe Society Asia: So far, what is the best highlights of IT’S THE SHIP?

The main highlight of IT’S THE SHIP is the team that I work with. In addition to that, I would have to say that the unforgettable moments in the previous editions of IT’S THE SHIP was in 2015 where the infamous pop-up parties were introduced and the most recent sailing in 2017 on Genting Dream cruise for the first time.

Luxe Society Asia: What are your future plans for IT’S THE SHIP?

We aim to become the biggest party at sea in the world!

Luxe Society Asia: What motivates you in your job?

My team motivates me to the best I can for IT’S THE SHIP. Even though we’re just a small team, we all work together towards a common goal, which is to make a difference in people’s lives.


Luxe Society Asia: If four years ago, there wasn’t IT’S THE SHIP, what would you be doing right now or what other events/parties would you have planned?

I would love to create/produce a music festival for the younger generation. I have my nieces and nephews who bug to go on IT’S THE SHIP with me as they enjoy the music.

Luxe Society Asia: Please tell the public why they should join IT’S THE SHIP this year.

When you think about a cruise, people tend to associate it with casinos or the older crowd. But IT’S THE SHIP provides a unique experience for all guests with a variety of themed pop up parties, exciting artist-led side activities, and a multitude of surprises onboard the floating city. It is truly the ultimate travel vacation and party cruise merged into one big shipcation.

For more details about It’s The Ship, please visit:

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