Five-year partnership to draw 623,000 fly-cruise tourists

Passengers on board Quantum Of The Seas taking in views of the Singapore skyline from North Star, an observational capsule that offers 360-degree views.
Passengers on board Quantum Of The Seas taking in views of the Singapore skyline from North Star, an observational capsule that offers 360-degree views.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

They are expected to fly into Singapore from elsewhere to start their cruise holidays from here

More Quantum-class ships, the second-largest class in cruise operator Royal Caribbean's fleet, will be based in Singapore over the next five years under a new partnership that will help bring more visitors to the Republic.

The partnership, involving Royal Caribbean International, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Changi Airport Group (CAG), is expected to bring in 623,000 fly-cruise guests from this year to 2024 and looks to generate more than $430 million in tourist dollars.

Visitors signed on these cruises are expected to fly into Singapore from both the region and places such as Australia, Britain and the United States, to begin their cruise holidays from here.

"I'm excited by what the future holds for the cruise sector here," said Royal Caribbean's managing director for Asia-Pacific, Ms Angie Stephen, at an event to announce the initiative on Thursday.

Royal Caribbean did not say how many more of its Quantum-class ships will be based here over the five-year period, but the first such ship kicking off the partnership will be based in Singapore for six months - longer than previous deployments.

Quantum Of The Seas, South-east Asia's largest cruise ship, will be based here from this month until April next year and do 34 trips to destinations such as Penang, Phuket and Ho Chi Minh City.

Previous Quantum-class deployments lasted just one to two months, such as Ovation Of The Seas' 2017 season from March to April, which comprised 10 trips.

The latest initiative is the third such partnership among STB, CAG and Royal Caribbean, and it is the longest so far.

The first ran from 2015 to last year to market Mariner Of The Seas, while the second ran from 2017 to 2019 to promote Ovation Of The Seas and Voyager Of The Seas.

Quantum Of The Seas, which completed a facelift this month, can accommodate 4,905 guests and is expected to add 150,000 cruise passengers to Singapore's cruise industry.

It features new amenities such as an escape room and glow-in-the-dark laser tag arena, on top of existing attractions such as skydiving and surf simulators, bumper cars and a bionic bar manned by robot bartenders.

Ms Stephen said: "We look forward to introducing more guests, including millennials and Gen Z cruisers, to our world-class and innovative ships."

Meanwhile, CAG will make it more convenient for fly-cruise passengers who can now check in their baggage in their home country and receive it in their cruise cabin. The service was launched in May this year and is believed to be the world's first fly-cruise seamless transfer service.

These offerings look set to cement Singapore's status as an Asian cruise hub.

STB figures show that 1.87 million people cruised either to or from Singapore last year, up from 1.18 million in 2016.

STB chief executive officer Keith Tan said: "We look forward to more continued partnerships in growing the vibrancy of the cruise landscape in South-east Asia and we hope to see larger Royal Caribbean deployments in the years to come."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2019, with the headline 'Five-year partnership to draw 623,000 fly-cruise tourists'. Print Edition | Subscribe