Singapore’s efforts to grow and cultivate its local cruise industry has been bolstered 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.
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.