For the first time in two years, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has docked in a Southeast Asian port outside of Singapore and Hong Kong. Port Klang, gateway to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, had the honor on Friday.
The call by Specter of the Seas is a prelude to a further expansion of cruises in the region. Genting Dream, the ship chartered by Resorts World Cruises, called at Bintan and Batam in Indonesia.
Both ships depart from Singapore, which has been the center of Asia’s cruise industry as the only constantly open cruise homeport.
Specter of the Seas arrives in Malaysia.
A cruise ship has arrived in Port Klang, Malaysia for the first time in more than two years. Spectrum of the Seas arrived at the gates of Kuala Lumpur early Friday, July 1.
The call marks a milestone for the cruise industry, which has resumed business at near-normal levels around the world, except in Asia. The region is only slowly reopening, although major players such as Thailand and China, traditionally popular cruise destinations, remain closed.
Angie Stephen, Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean International: “The return of cruises to destinations comes at a good time, as countries in the region reopen to welcome visitors, revitalize their tourism sectors and embrace the new normal… We look forward to developing more exciting itineraries for our customers in this region.
According to the Singapore Tourism Board, the resumption of international cruises is essential for Singapore and the entire region. Since December 2020, Singapore has hosted several cruise ships, although these only offered so-called Seacations, where ships stayed at sea for 2-4 night cruises.
The 168,670 gross tons Specter of the Seas sails on a series of three- and four-night cruises from Singapore, calling at Port Klang for three-night cruises, with the addition of Penang for four-night cruises. It is only from October 21 that Royal Caribbean will add a third port, Phuket, in Thailand.
Genting Dream makes its first call to Indonesia
After Specter of the Seas had the honor of the first call in Malaysia, the 151,300 gross tons Dream of Genting had the privilege of being the first ship in two years to call at Indonesia.
The vessel is chartered by Genting Hong Kong to Resorts World Cruises, the company operated by former Genting Hong Kong CEO Lim Kok Thay, who is still Chairman of the Genting Group.
“We are committed to Singapore’s vision of being a leading cruise hub in Asia. Together with STB, we look forward to developing the cruise industry, including the air cruise segment; and making Singapore and Southeast Asia one of the world’s greatest year-round cruise destinations,” said Mr. Michael Goh, President of Resorts World Cruises.
The ship made two stops in Indonesia, both relatively close to Singapore. Bintan is a small island in Indonesia located 48 km southeast of Singapore and east of Sumatra; Batam is its neighbor.
Singapore at center of Asian cruise restart
Growth in Asia was one of the most critical factors behind the positivity that prevailed in the cruise industry before the pandemic. However, since then, this attitude has changed considerably. The region remains mostly closed, with the exception of the country which is now the leader, Singapore.
Singapore Tourism Board Chief Executive, Keith Tan: “Cruise is a key tourism driver, and as ASEAN’s lead coordinator for cruise development, Singapore will continue to work with our counterparts to enhance the region’s attractiveness as a cruise destination and source market. “
Before the pandemic, more than 1.8 million passengers sailed or stopped over in Singapore in 2019. This includes 400 cruise ships from 30 cruise brands.
Singapore now aims to steadily increase cruises from the city-state, with Specter of the Seas and Dream of Genting playing an important role. Later this year, ships from Oceania Cruises, Silversea and Cunard will depart from Singapore.