Kuala Lumpur, 29 January 2015 – Princess Cruises, a leading cruise line brand under Carnival Corporation & Plc., the world’s largest cruise company, affirms Malaysia’s importance to its Southeast Asia expansion plans, announcing an extended homeporting season that features Malaysia-focused itineraries in eight out of 16 sailings.
Asia is the world’s fastest growing cruise market and Malaysia is primed to benefit from this and expand its cruise industry further. The year-on-year growth in the number of cruise passenger arrivals is a testament to the abundant potential of Malaysia’s cruise industry.
In 2013, the country received 512,400 cruise passengers compared to 475,990 passengers in the previous year, reflecting an increase of 7.6%. As larger cruise ships such as the Sapphire Princess begin to call at Malaysian ports, this number is set to grow in the year ahead. Princess Cruises, a leading cruise line brand under Carnival Corporation & Plc., the world’s largest cruise company, affirms Malaysia’s importance to its Southeast Asia
“These are exciting times for us as we witness cruise destinations such as Malaysia live up to its full potential. Malaysia continues to be one of our key markets in Southeast Asia. Its captivating cultural and natural attractions, level of infrastructure and strong government support anchors its position as a cruise hub in Southeast Asia”, said Mr Farriek Tawfik, Director of Southeast Asia, Princess Cruises.
Princess Cruises’ Inaugural Homeporting Season in Southeast Asia
Princess Cruises’ homeporting season is now in full swing and on its way to fulfilling its commitment of bringing 40,000 passengers to the region since it commenced sailing in the region in November 2014. The Sapphire Princess is currently on a four-day roundtrip voyage around Malaysia, carrying about 2,500 guests. The ship called at Penang and Langkawi and is docked today at Port Klang, before returning to Singapore on 30 January 2015.
The largest deployment ever by a premium cruise line in Southeast Asia, Princess Cruises’ current homeporting season covers nine countries and 21 ports over a wide range of cruise lengths ranging from three to 16 days, offering more destinations from Singapore than on any other cruise line. This program has been designed specifically for the diverse travel market in Southeast Asia and to provide passengers with an extensive variety of vacation experiences.
Extension of Second Homeporting Season in Southeast Asia
Based on the overwhelming response to its inaugural homeporting season, Princess Cruises will launch its second homeporting season in the region next year. The extended season will feature eight cruise sailings with Malaysia-focused itineraries, calling at Penang, Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) and Langkawi.
The economic impact from the extended deployment will be substantial, including passenger and crew spending in each port, travel agent commissions and marketing costs. This is aligned with the Malaysia government’s vision to create a Straits Riveria Cruise Playground, in which cruise tourism is expected to bring in RM$1.75 billion in gross national income and create 10,000 jobs by 2020.
Collaborating with key stakeholders such as travel agencies, tourism authorities, and cruise associations, Princess Cruises aims to expand the regional cruise market and boost tourism by carrying local and international passengers to Southeast Asia destinations. This is in line with Malaysia’s plans to welcome 29.4 million tourists in 2015.
Princess Cruises has a full-fledged on-going travel agent outreach program in Malaysia of which the highlight is an online training program called Princess Academy that enables travel agents in Malaysia and the region to become experts on cruise sales, the Princess fleet, destinations and programs.
Over 20 travel agents in Malaysia have graduated successfully from various levels of online courses on Princess Academy. This includes seven travel agents who have graduated as ‘Commodores’, the highest level attainable for Princess Academy, who will be rewarded with a ‘Graduation Cruise’ trip, sailing on board Sapphire Princess for a four-day Malaysian trip from 9 to 13 February 2015.
In order to tap further into the potential of Malaysia’s cruise market, Princess Cruises will be launching marketing programs and initiatives in Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei, working closely with travel agents to promote cruising as a vacation of choice amongst Malaysian consumers.
Malaysia’s cruise market offers many opportunities for growth. Princess Cruises is witnessing an emerging demographic of cruise travelers from the Malaysian and Southeast Asian market as more first-timers and young adults express a desire to go on a cruise. Compared to other markets in Europe and North America, cruise travel is less highly regarded for older travelers in Malaysia and the region.
“We are witnessing an increase in the number of young families and professionals travelling on board with us, and we are confident of a double-digit growth in Malaysian travelers opting for cruise vacations in the year ahead”, said Mr Tawfik.
Sapphire Princess Onboard Experience
The cruise experience onboard Sapphire Princess is the same as the classic Princess Cruises experience offered around the world. Guests get to enjoy an 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.
Princess Cruises is catering to the local consumers with customized offerings such as multi-lingual crew members in key guest-facing positions. Dining room menus include additional offerings that cater to local tastes such as Nasi Goreng and Chicken Rice. Specially designed enrichment programs are featured and other amenities such as the shopping selection are tailored to local preferences.
The 116,000-ton Sapphire Princess carries 2,670 passengers and features a high number of staterooms with private balconies, Lotus Spa, Italian specialty restaurant Sabatini’s, Sterling steakhouse, wine bar, patisserie, pizzeria, boutiques, and Internet café among other amenities.
Princess Cruises 50th Anniversary and New Onboard Offerings
The second homeporting season in Southeast Asia will also coincide with Princess Cruises’ 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2015. Princess Cruises’ guests will be able to enjoy fleet-wide festivities on board which include a commemorative food menu and celebratory keepsakes.
Princess Cruises will also be offering ‘Chocolate Journeys’, a new onboard chocolate experience. Guests on board Sapphire Princess will enjoy an array of chocolate offerings including custom-crafted desserts, chocolate and wine pairings created by internationally-acclaimed master chocolatier and pastry designer Norman Love.
During the second homeporting season, Princess Cruises will be partnering with Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications to create Discovery At Sea, a program with interactive onboard activities and shore excursions to entertain and delight families aboard Princess ships. The new Discovery At Sea cruise vacations will feature themed tours, science activities, hands-on programs and games catering to guests of all ages.
Further information about Princess Cruises’ roundtrip Singapore cruises is available by calling (65) 6922 6788, or toll- free for Malaysia at 1 800 806656, or by visiting www.princess.com.