CruiseGrowth in cruise passengers numbers more than doubled from 2017 to 1.87 million.

Singapore cruise tourism notches double-digit growth again

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Quantum of the Seas 1902155
India continues to forge ahead as the largest source of cruise passengers to Singapore with 160,000 arrivals in 2018. Photo Credit: Jui-Chi Chan/Getty Images
Quantum of the Seas 1902155

The growth comes on the back of an overall strong tourism performance in 2018 that drew 18.5 million visitors, reflecting a 6.2% increase compared to the previous year, according to preliminary estimates by Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

Singapore’s cruise industry again surpassed itself when it attracted some 1.87 million passengers last year, notching 35% growth rate that doubled the growth of 2017 and continues more than three consecutive years of double digit growth.

The growth comes on the back of an overall strong tourism performance in 2018 that drew 18.5 million visitors, reflecting a 6.2% increase compared to the previous year, according to preliminary estimates by Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

India continues to forge ahead as the largest source of cruise passengers with 160,000 arrivals, notching a healthy 27% increase compared to 2017.

Singapore has also attracted a broad international profile of passengers.

Within the region, Malaysia and Indonesia were cited as strong sources of cruise passengers. Further afield, China, the UK, Italy and the US have also seen “strong growth”, commented Yap Chin Siang, assistant chief executive, policy and planning group, STB.

“The cruise markets in the US, Caribbean and Europe are much more mature, but Asia is the one that is the Johnny-come-lately. But growth momentum has been very strong and we’re beginning to see the shift in demand patterns from the West to Asia,” said Yap.

“We’ve seen ‘evolved travellers’ out of China who have cruised before in China and want a more international cruising experience by coming to Singapore,” said Annie Chang, director, cruise, policy and planning group.

Among the reasons cited for the strong cruise tourism performance were the deployment of larger-capacity cruise ships and lengthening cruise seasons by cruise lines. 

Genting Cruise Lines has a year-round homeport season of Genting Dream in Singapore, which has 20% more capacity than its previous SuperStar Gemini. 

“We have seen strong demand from cruise passengers in the region,” said Kent Zhu, president, Genting Cruise Lines. “With even bigger ships such as Dream Cruises’ Global-class vessels joining our fleet from 2021, we will continue to work with STB to grow the cruise industry in Singapore.”

Royal Caribbean has extended sailings on its two ships, Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas. 

While larger ships were deployed, there was a slight 5% dip in the number of ship calls to 401. Of the 11 maiden calls, Singapore received TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 3, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jewel and Silversea Cruises’ Silver Muse.

This year, while STB is “highly optimistic for the cruise market in the medium- to long-term”, it won’t be expecting to repeat a similar performance “in the immediate term” and may have to “absorb and digest excess capacity”.

“The penetration rate of Asia cruising, and in particular South-east Asia cruising, is still quite low, so there’s significant opportunity for us to drive more cruise growth going forward. We’re not quite there yet as a year-round homeport, but I think in years to come, we will be,” concluded Yap.


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