Singapore will introduce to the world its new International Cruise Terminal (ICT) in the second quarter of 2012 as it ramps up to meet the anticipated growth and increasing popularity of cruising in the region.  The ICT will enable Singapore to accommodate the largest of new generation cruise vessels and complement the existing Singapore Cruise Centre, which is itself undergoing rejuvenation and targeted for completion April 2012.

In 2011, Singapore welcomed 394 ship calls and 942,000 in passenger throughput, with more than half comprising visitors from foreign countries. From 2002 to 2011, the compounded annual growth rate for cruise passenger throughput was 3.6%. In 2012, the cruise landscape becomes even more exciting with major cruise lines either increasing their presence in Southeast Asia or deploying new vessels on maiden calls to Singapore. Notable maiden calls for 2012 include Costa Cruises’ Costa Deliziosa, which is one of the company’s newest ships, and Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas, the largest ship ever to call in Asia. These new deployments attest to an increasing recognition of Asia’s cruise potential, and herald the growing commitment of international cruise lines to tap the burgeoning Asian market with Singapore as the homeport of choice.

Singapore’s draw as a popular cruise destination is also greatly facilitated by its reputation as a major transportation hub with extensive air, sea and land connectivity. Singapore’s Changi Airport is currently served by 101 airlines with more than 5,500 weekly flights to 206 cities. 

The ICT will double Singapore’s berth capacity and accommodate the world’s largest cruise ships of up to 220,000 GRT and measuring over 1,000 feet - the size of Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. With the opening of the ICT, Singapore will be delivering on its commitment to develop cruising and solidifying its appeal as a homeport of choice. The new US$400-million ICT will feature a finger pier design and advanced technology capable of providing a 30-minute passenger turnaround. Facilities include a spacious arrival/departure hall, state-of-the-art bridges connecting ship to pier, a large ground transportation area, and designated areas for public transportation. Architecturally, the terminal’s waves and nautical inspired design represents a distinctive addition to the already mesmerising Marina South skyline.

SATS-Creuers Cruise Services Pte Ltd, a joint venture between SATS Ltd (SATS) and Creuers del Port de Barcelona S.A. (Creuers), has been appointed the operator for the ICT. SATS and Creuers will leverage their respective strengths and competencies in aviation gateway and cruise terminal operations to offer quality services to cruise lines, while enhancing the overall travel experience of cruise passengers at the ICT.

“The opening of the new International Cruise Terminal (ICT) will mark a milestone in our journey towards making Singapore one of the most desirable cruise hubs and homeports in the region. Not only will the ICT offer cruise passengers a smooth and seamless experience, we expect it to help heighten awareness of Singapore as an exciting cruise destination globally,” said Ms. Kah-Peng Aw, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board.

The ICT will complement the existing cruise terminal Singapore Cruise Centre at HarbourFront, which is itself undergoing a US$11 million rejuvenation programme targeted for completion by April 2012. Rejuvenation plans at the Singapore Cruise Centre include the optimisation of operational space, revamping of commercial and retail mix, upgrading of terminal hardware and software, as well as creating a holiday and garden themed atmosphere. Together, both terminals will offer an enhanced
passenger experience and usher in an exciting era of cruise travel to Singapore and the region.

As a region, Southeast Asia’s potential as a cruise destination and source market is gaining more attention than ever from industry players. Dr Liu Zinan, Managing Director, China & Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, opined, “The Southeast Asian region enjoys many innate favourable factors for cruise development such as a huge population base and growing affluence that will drive demand for travel. Together with more active developments in the cruise infrastructure here recently, the region’s cruise industry is now poised to grow beyond its infancy stage, and in the long run, become the next exotic cruise paradise of the East. Also, in view of the vast economic benefits that cruising can bring to the region in terms of tourist arrivals, job creation and infrastructure development, it is all the more essential for governments and the industry to work closely on growing and promoting the cruise sector.”

Indonesia, itself a key tourism destination and cruise market, is also forging ahead with robust cruise initiatives to boost industry growth. According to the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia will welcome 200 cruise calls in 2012, representing almost 118,800 passengers. Comparatively, in 2002, Indonesia had less than 100 cruise ship calls and just three cruise destinations. In terms of development, Indonesia is not only seeking to make Bali a major cruise hub by 2014 but is developing 66 other “marine ecotourism destinations” to attract more cruise lines and shipboard travellers

Last year, Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy hosted a seminar for some 200 international cruise executives, Indonesian tourism officials and regional leaders, local port agencies, ground handlers and other cruise industry players. The seminar focused on how Indonesia could enhance its attractiveness as a cruise destination and infrastructure improvements. This April, Indonesia will be hosting a cruise workshop for the region’s industry players to share best practices and strengthen collaboration in port infrastructure growth and development of regional itineraries. Besides promoting cruise development through workshops and seminars, a key development in Indonesia’s cruise infrastructure network is the enhancement of Benoa Port in Bali, which has made it possible for the port to accommodate bigger cruise ships.

With the region clearly committed to developing a strong cruise infrastructure and ecosystem, Southeast Asia is set to fulfill its immense potential as the next cruising playground.