Singapore gets cruise boost

Singapore’s efforts to grow and cultivate its local cruise
industry has been bolstered this week with the announcement from
Costa Cruises that it is doubling
its presence in Asia from March 2009 with the introduction of a
second cruise ship in the region.


Costa Classica,  a 53,000 gross ton ship with accommodations for
1,680 guests and 590 crew, will be deployed from 27 March 2009 to
7 November 2009 on 33 cruises lasting between four and 14 days,
with departures out of Singapore as well as Shanghai, Tianjin and
Hong Kong.

The addition of a second cruise ship in the Asian market brings
Costa’s overall capacity in the region to 85,000 berths.

Singapore Tourism Board’s Area Director for Northern &  Western
Europe, Divya Panickar said: “It is encouraging to hear that Costa
is increasing its capacity in Asia.  The future of cruising in
Asia   has   never looked better,  especially from Singapore’s
strategic location in the heart of Asia. We are delighted that
international cruise operators are seizing the opportunity to make
Singapore their gateway into the region.”

Singapore’s excellent air and sea connectivity makes it an obvious
choice for holiday-makers to embark on their cruise adventure to
experience Asia’s diverse cultures, stunning landscapes and exotic
charms.

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Ms Panickar continued: “We also welcome passengers to discover the
many unique facets of Singapore on their shore excursions.”

By 2015,  Singapore aims to achieve a cruise throughput of 1.5
million passengers, contributing meaningfully to its target of
S$30 billion in tourism receipts and 17 million in visitor
arrivals.

More and more people are choosing Singapore as their preferred
destination for a cruise holiday. Singapore welcomed 35,448 cruise
visitors from Europe in 2006 representing an increase of 45%  over
24,386 visitors in 2005.  Since Costa began operations in the Far
East, more than 50,000 guests have sailed on the Costa Allegra on
a total of approximately 100 cruises.

Later next year (2008), Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas will
return to Asia for a second consecutive season to offer travellers
more cruises out of Singapore, ranging from two to 14 night
itineraries. Cunard’s elegant and stylish Queen Victoria is also
scheduled to visit Singapore when she goes on her maiden world
cruise in 2008.  Joining these international players is Star
Cruises,  which has been based in Singapore since 1993.  It
continues to create excitement in Asian cruising with   its
deployments and new market-focused products.

In 2006, Singapore launched a S$10 million Fly-Cruise Development
Fund to encourage cruise companies in Singapore to develop its
Asian   presence   and more importantly,  to anchor   strategic
deployments in Asia,  in Singapore.  Costa Cruises and Royal
Caribbean International were the first to tap the fund,  while
several other major cruise players have also expressed their
interest to collaborate on regional cruise marketing efforts.
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