SINGAPORE: The Genting Dream luxury cruise ship will make Singapore its home port from Dec 3, in a year-long deployment.
This was announced on Thursday (Jan 19) by Genting Hong Kong's premium cruise line brand Dream Cruises. The 18-deck, 151,300-tonne luxury liner can accommodate 3,400 guests. It currently calls the ports of Guangzhou and Hong Kong home.
With the move to Singapore, it is expected to attract about 200,000 foreign cruise passengers and generate about S$80 million in tourism receipts, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
STB chief Lionel Yeo said the Asian cruise market has become increasingly vibrant, with the development of dedicated cruise terminals across Southeast Asia opening destinations such as Port Klang and Langkawi in Malaysia, as well as Thailand’s Laem Chabang.
He added that Singapore, too, has seen strong sales growth, with double-digit figures recorded at the last travel fair organised by the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS).
“We attract cruise visitors from many places, from countries in close proximity like Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines to longer-haul markets like Australia, China and India,” said Mr Yeo. “In 2015, more than half of our international visitors to Singapore were from the middle and affluent classes, offering Genting Dream a ready market that they can tap on immediately.”
Dream Cruises said the move to Singapore and other destinations in Southeast Asia is “in complete isolation” to the Chinese market. The brand has a second cruise ship being constructed named World Dream.
TARGETING UPMARKET CLIENTELE IN THE REGION
For Genting Dream, it will offer several itineraries to Southeast Asian destinations such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Phuket and North Bali from Dec 3 to the end of March 2018.
President of Dream Cruises Thatcher Brown said the growth of a “burgeoning middle to affluent class” has allowed more in the region to begin taking vacations, with word of mouth through digital and social media fuelling demand.
Unlike its sister line Star Cruises, Dream Cruises targets more upmarket clientele with Genting Dream. Guests will be given an “integrated resort” experience at sea with exclusive dining options, entertainment and a round-the-clock butler service among other premium amenities.
(Photo: Dream Cruises Singapore's Facebook page)
However, Mr Brown agreed that some destinations in the region need more development and investment into infrastructure to further develop the industry in ASEAN.
He said: “It’s up to us to demonstrate the positive impact of cruising and if it means tendering in the beginning so that we prove to a destination that it’s worth building a port, then we need to do that.
“We have to work with what we have, we have to demonstrate the positive impact of cruising, and then we have to work with our partners to build that capacity up and the infrastructure up.”
STB’s director of cruise, Annie Chang, agreed that developing Southeast Asia as a cruise destination was not something that Singapore could do alone.
“As Southeast Asia receives bigger and newer ships, there is a need for more ports and itineraries to open up,” said Ms Chang. “In that regard, what STB is doing together with our ASEAN member states is to look at enhancing or upgrading port infrastructure and ancillary services to cater to the bigger ships that are coming to this region.”
This was something discussed at an inaugural cruise dialogue that was held on Thursday afternoon at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Singapore, which brought together representatives from the 10 member states, industry stakeholders and potential investors.