Responding to the growing interest for cruising in Southeast Asia, Carnival Corporation & plc is introducing the largest deployment ever by a premium cruise line in the region when it brings Sapphire Princess to Singapore for a four-month fall 2014 to spring 2015 season.
Carnival Corporation & plc is launching a program with one of the world’s leading cruise line brands, Princess Cruises, featuring 15 roundtrip departures that can be combined for 25 distinct itineraries. The unique itineraries have been custom-designed for the broad and diverse Asia vacation market, and will offer more destinations from Singapore on Princess Cruises than on any other cruise line, calling at seven countries and 16 ports. The wide range of cruise lengths will run three, four, five, seven, 10 and 11 days, providing passengers with a wide array of vacation experiences.
The itineraries will combine the region’s major metropolises such as Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur, with smaller, off-the-beaten path resort destinations, considered “jewels” of the area including Penang, Ko Samui and Langkawi. One unique itinerary of note is a 10-day Indonesia sailing that visits Jakarta, Bali, Komodo Island and Lombok. An extensive array of shore excursions will be available to complement the itineraries so that Sapphire Princess passengers can experience all the ports have to offer.
“Princess Cruises will be the first premium cruise line to have ships based in Singapore for an extended period,” said Alan Buckelew, the line’s president and CEO. “Our new Singapore-based deployment features superior itineraries specifically designed for the regional market which we believe will prove extremely popular and will help to introduce cruise vacations to a growing number of Southeast Asia vacationers.”
Buckelew added that the local economic impact from the Singapore-based deployment will be notable, with a total contribution estimated to be nearly $50 million SGD. This includes passenger and crew spending in each port, port and other local costs Carnival Corporation & plc will pay to bring Princess ships to Singapore, travel agent commissions and marketing costs.
Approximately 40,000 passengers are expected to be carried during this first season of cruising from Singapore. Passengers will be sourced from Singapore and throughout Asia, in addition to other international markets including North America, the United Kingdom and Australia.
The 2014/2015 program features the following 15 cruises sailing roundtrip from Singapore:
• 11-day Southeast Asia: Departs November 27 and December 18, 2014 with calls at Bandar Seri Begawan (Muara), Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Sihanoukville, Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and Ko Samui.
• 10-day Malaysian Peninsula & Indonesia: Departs December 8 and 29, 2014, and February 28, 2015, visiting Bali (Benoa), Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Penang and Phuket.
• 5-day Thailand & Malaysia: Departs February 23, 2015 with calls at Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Penang and Phuket.
• 5-day Thailand: Departs January 8, 2015 with visits to Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and Ko Samui.
• 10-day Indonesia: Departs January 13, 2015 calling at Jakarta, Bali (Benoa, with an overnight), Komodo Island and Lombok.
• 3-day Strait of Malacca: Departs January 23, February 6 and 13, 2015 with calls to Penang and Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang).
• 4-day Malaysia: Departs January 26 and February 9, 2015 calling at Penang, Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang).
• 7-day Vietnam & Thailand: Departs January 30 and February 16, 2015 visiting Ko Samui, Bangkok (Laem Chabang) and Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My).
These itineraries have also been designed with the option of being combined to offer passengers a choice of 25 cruises of up to 21 days in length, with a rich array of ports in one seamless experience. For example, the four-day January 26 Malaysia cruise can be combined with the seven-day January 30 Vietnam & Thailand cruise for an 11-day itinerary with six ports.
The cruise experience onboard Sapphire Princess will be substantially the same as the Princess Cruises product offered around the world, providing an impressive array of dining and entertainment options in addition to the line’s signature innovations such as its popular Movies Under the Stars poolside theater and The Sanctuary, an exclusive top-deck retreat. However some changes and enhancements will be made to appeal to the local market including multi-lingual crew members in key passengers-facing positions. Dining room menus will offer the line’s international cuisine while additional offerings will cater to local tastes. Specially designed enrichment programs will be featured and other amenities such as the shopping selection and spa treatments will also be tailored to local preferences.
In conjunction with this new program, Carnival Corporation & plc will also launch a version of the on- demand, on-line training program called Princess Academy, which will enable travel agents in Singapore to become experts on cruise sales, the Princess fleet, destinations and programs. Globally, over 50,000 travel agents are active participants in Princess Academy, making it one of the largest online travel universities in the world.