Southeast Asia welcomes first port call since Covid hiatus 

Southeast Asia welcomes first port call since Covid hiatus 

Southeast Asia marked its first cruise ship port call in more than two years as Spectrum of the Seas visited Malaysia

Royal Caribbean International’s Spectrum of the Seas was the first cruise ship to make a port call in Southeast Asia in more than two years when it called at Malaysia’s Port Klang on Friday (July 1). 

It will be followed by Resorts World Cruises’ Genting Dream, which will call at Indonesia’s Batam and Bintan on July 2. Both cruise ships are homeported in Singapore.

Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are the first Southeast Asian countries to resume port calls since the global pandemic saw cruising halted in the region in March 2020. Singapore has offered ‘cruises to nowhere’ sailings since November 2020, however the sailings didn’t make any port calls.

Prior to the pandemic 70 per cent of Singapore’s cruise passengers were international visitors who travelled to Singapore to take a cruise to explore Southeast Asia. 

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) now expects the cruise industry in Singapore to return to pre-pandemic levels between 2023 and 2024. Before Covid-19 shuttered the sector, Singapore’s cruise industry enjoyed robust growth with more than 400 cruise ships across 30 cruise brands calling at its ports in 2019. That year the destination saw year-on-year growth in passenger throughput of more than 1.8 million. 

Angie Stephen, vice president and managing director, Asia-Pacific for Royal Caribbean International, said: “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. Our cruises already have so much to offer with technologically-advanced ships and an ever-expanding range of first-at-sea onboard activities. We look forward to developing more exciting itineraries for our guests in this region.”

Michael Goh, president of Resorts World Cruises added: “We are committed to Singapore’s vision to be a premier cruise hub in Asia. Together with 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.”

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