CruiseBeyond thrilled is how Asia's cruise line chiefs laud the return of regional ports of calls in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Ship, ship, hooray! Destination cruises are back in Southeast Asia

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On 5 July 2022, Malaysia's Penang Port welcomed both Resorts World Cruises' Genting Dream and Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas.
On 5 July 2022, Malaysia's Penang Port welcomed both Resorts World Cruises' Genting Dream and Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas. Photo Credit: Penang Port

Last weekend marked the moment the cruise industry in Southeast Asia had been waiting for: It was the first time in more than two years that cruises are sailing to regional ports of call again.

Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas arrived at Malaysia's Port Klang on 1 July, while in Indonesian waters Resorts World Cruises' Genting Dream called at her first destination at Indonesia's Bintan and Batam Islands on the same day. Both ships departed from their homeports in Singapore.

Naturally, cruise industry executives expressed their excitement to resume regional sailings again.

It was amazing and memorable to have the Genting Dream call onto her first destination at the Bintan and Batam Islands on 1 July, after a long hiatus due to the global pandemic. Calling onto new destinations has always been a magical moment and we are delighted to provide these moments for our guests and crew for the rest of the year.
It was amazing and memorable to have the Genting Dream call onto her first destination at the Bintan and Batam Islands on 1 July, after a long hiatus due to the global pandemic. Calling onto new destinations has always been a magical moment and we are delighted to provide these moments for our guests and crew for the rest of the year. Photo Credit: Michael Goh, Resorts World Cruises

The return of regional ports of call is especially meaningful for the newly launched Resorts World Cruises. President Michael Goh said: "Having launched a few weeks ago, the start of our deployment was timely, and we have the local and regional governments and authorities to thank for the comeback of destination cruises, together with the hard work of our shore and ship team."

It is our privilege to mark the long-awaited return of ports-of-call cruising within the region, with Spectrum of the Seas being able to call at Malaysian ports once again after more than two years. The excitement from our guests, both locals and fly-cruisers, is undeniable!
It is our privilege to mark the long-awaited return of ports-of-call cruising within the region, with Spectrum of the Seas being able to call at Malaysian ports once again after more than two years. The excitement from our guests, both locals and fly-cruisers, is undeniable! Photo Credit: Angie Stephen, Royal Caribbean International

For Royal Caribbean International, Angie Stephen, vice president, Asia Pacific said: "The return of cruising to destinations is timely, with countries around the region reopening to welcome visitors, and looking to revitalise their tourism sectors, and embrace the new normal. Coastal and maritime tourism are important economic drivers underpinning our Southeast Asian economies, and we’re excited to breathe new life into the region’s travel and tourism sectors."

The resumption of port calls marks an important milestone for Singapore and the region, according to Keith Tan, chief executive at Singapore Tourism Board.

"Cruising is a key tourism driver, and as ASEAN's lead coordinator for cruise development, Singapore will continue to work with our counterparts to strengthen the region's attractiveness as a cruising destination and source market," he was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.

Both cruise lines are opening up more destination cruises in the coming months.

Having launched new destination cruises from 1 July to Bintan and Batam Islands, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Malacca, Resorts World Cruises will from October onwards offer more cruises to Phuket, Surabaya and North Bali.

Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean will start its first ports of call to Thailand in October 2022, with Thailand itineraries already open for sale.

Fly-cruise market takes off again

With borders opened and destination sailings back on cruise itineraries, the second half of 2022 is looking positive for both cruise lines amid swiftly growing international demand.

"The fastest growth is coming from within the region, with India, Malaysia, and Indonesia leading the pack," said Stephen. "We are also pleasantly surprised with the volume coming from long haul markets like the US and Europe."

Similarly, Resorts World Cruises is seeing "very encouraging" demand from both the domestic and regional markets, especially during the upcoming holiday periods, with an increasing trend for inbound travellers via the Fly-Cruise segment from SEA and South Asia.

"Having just opened our bookings less than two months ago, we had secured over 20,000 cabins for the Genting Dream in Singapore from India, Malaysia, Indonesia and more. Recently on 4 July, we also had a special deployment with over 750 guests embarking from Port Klang in Malaysia," Goh told Travel Weekly Asia.

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