New partnership to grow Singapore's fly-cruise market launched

Asia's largest cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, docked at the Port of Brisbane, Australia.
Asia's largest cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, docked at the Port of Brisbane, Australia.PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - A marketing partnership to grow Singapore's fly-cruise segment and bring in over $26 million in tourism dollars was announced by cruise operator Royal Caribbean International on Monday (March 6).

The partnership between Royal Caribbean, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Changi Airport Group will promote cruising out of Singapore on Royal Caribbean's ships Ovation of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas. The ships can accommodate 4,905 guests and 4,269 guests respectively, and are among the largest in Asia.

About 45,000 tourists will be flying in to Singapore to sail on the two ships between March and June 2017, the cruise operator said. This is in addition to the 65,000 overseas guests projected to sail on another of the cruise line's ships, Mariner of the Seas, between Oct 2016 and March 2017.

This is the second partnership among the three.

The first partnership has been in place since Aug 2015 to market Mariner of the Seas. It is projected to bring over 170,000 fly-cruise visitors to Singapore over three years. The number of visitors the partnership attracted in its first year surpassed the annual visitor target by over 40 per cent, Royal Caribbean said.

Royal Caribbean will have its longest deployment yet in Singapore between 2017 and 2019, with 72 sailings lined up for its 2017/2018 season, the cruise operator added.

On Monday, Ovation of the Seas, Asia's largest cruise ship, docked at Marina Bay Cruise Centre for its first season in Singapore, which will comprise 10 sailings to destinations such as Bangkok and the Chinese port city of Tianjin. The ship will be based here for the season.

Features aboard the 18-deck ship include an observation capsule that rises more than 90m over the ocean and indoor skydiving.

Said STB's cruise director Annie Chang on the latest partnership: "This second collaboration with Royal Caribbean International and Changi Airport Group reiterates our commitment to grow Singapore's cruise industry and position Singapore as the fly-cruise hub of Asia. That Royal Caribbean is increasing its homeported sailings in Singapore also signals the success of our partnership in driving cruise tourism for Asia - a long-standing relationship we've had for the past 10 years."

Cruise passenger throughput grew 16 per cent to about 1.2 million in 2016, according to figures by the STB.