It will be followed by Resorts World Cruises’ Genting Dream calling at Indonesia’s Batam and Bintan on July 2, with both vessels homeporting in Singapore.
Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are the first Southeast Asian countries to resume port calls since cruising was halted in March 2020.
Cruise activity in the region
Remarked Angie Stephen, VP and MD, Asia-Pacific, Royal Caribbean International, ‘The return of cruising to destinations is timely, as countries around the region re-open to welcome visitors, revitalise their tourism sectors and embrace the new normal… We look forward to developing more exciting itineraries for our guests in this region.’
Since Singapore restarted cruising in November 2020, over half a million passengers have embarked on nearly 370 'cruises to nowhere.' COVID-19 rules have been relaxed within the country, allowing entry for fully vaccinated travellers.
Said Michael Goh, president of Resorts World Cruises, ‘We are committed to Singapore's vision to be a premier cruise hub in Asia. Together with Singapore Tourism Board (STB,) we look forward to growing the cruise sector, including the fly-cruise segment, and to making Singapore and Southeast Asia one of the largest year-round cruise destinations in the world.’
Prior to COVID-19, 70% of Singapore’s cruise passengers were international visitors who travelled to the country to sail Southeast Asia. To prepare for the return of fly-cruise travellers, STB is set to continue offering the Cruise Development Fund to encourage cruise lines to homeport in Singapore. Agents can also utilise the grant to develop and market cruise packages.
Over 400 cruise ships across 30 cruise brands called at ports in Singapore in 2019, with year-on-year growth in passenger throughput of more than 1.8m that year.
STB expects the cruise industry in Singapore to return to pre-pandemic levels between 2023 and 2024, resulting from ‘positive discussions to resume similar calls in more ports and the alignment of health protocols across the region.’
As well as rebuilding its pipeline of cruise ship deployments, the country is working with cruise lines to expand their customer base – from regional markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia, to mid and long-haul markets such as India, Australia, Germany, United Kingdom and the US.
‘The resumption of port calls is an important milestone for Singapore and the region,’ commented Keith Tan, chief executive, Singapore Tourism Board. 'It has been made possible by the strong partnership and collective commitment in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to grow the cruise industry. Cruising is a key tourism driver, and as ASEAN’s lead coordinator for cruise development, Singapore will continue to work with our counterparts to strengthen the region’s attractiveness as a cruising destination and source market.’