Princess Cruises embarked on its first season of sailings from Singapore today (27 November 2014).
The Sapphire Princess cruise ship will homeport at the city’s Marina Bay Cruise Centre for the winter 2014-15 season, offering a series of voyages to nine countries and 21 ports across Southeast Asia.
The vessel’s inaugural cruise will set sail this evening – an 11-day voyage calling at Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, before returning to Singapore.
As well as being its inaugural season in Singapore, this deployment also marks Princess Cruises’ first ever homeport in Southeast Asia.
“We are thrilled to launch our inaugural homeporting season in Southeast Asia, bringing a new premium cruise travel experience to both local and international guests.” said Farriek Tawfik, director of Southeast Asia for Princess Cruises.
“Approximately 40,000 guests are expected to be carried during this first season of cruising from Singapore. With our diverse ports of call and itineraries, Princess Cruises will offer them a unique and unparalleled vacation experience.”
Princess will offer 25 Southeast Asian itineraries this winter, ranging from three to 16 days. The 116,000-ton Sapphire Princess will be able to carry up to 2,670 passengers per voyage.
The Singapore deployment is estimated to generate nearly SG$50 million (US$38.5m) in economic benefits to the region, including passenger and crew spending in each port, plus travel agent commissions and marketing costs.
And the company has already announced plans to return to Southeast Asia next year, for its second homeporting season in Singapore.
Singapore is becoming a key hub for Asia’s cruise industry, handling almost 21m passengers in 2013, up 13% year-on-year. Cruise passenger traffic at the new Marina Bay Cruise Centre doubled to 416,000 between April 2013 and March this year, with the facility handling close to 110 ship calls.