SPECIAL EDITION FOR TR AVEL AGENTS IN ASIA
HOW TO RIDE THE WAVE
DIRECTORY 2019 SHIPS & LINES PORTS DESTINATIONS
Dozens of great ideas to boost your earnings from Asia's cruise boom
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How to raise the value of your cruise business
elcome to the 2019 edition of the Asia Cruise Directory – everything the industry needs to inspire new passengers and increase the popularity of holidays on the water. At the start of the year, another set of stellar figures indicated what a huge opportunity cruise represents. More Asians than ever before have fallen in love with the sector. The 2018 prediction is for capacity to rise to 4.26 million, with Asia up 20 per cent. There are 2,041 cruises on offer aboard 78 ships – more than ever before. But that’s not the entire story. New ships with even more exciting experiences on board, fresh destinations and investment in port infrastructure across the region will continue to power cruise growth. For anyone selling travel, cruise is one of the most dynamic growth sectors around. But Asian cruisers are different. They are younger – 40 per cent are under 40, and many cruise as families with children. And 90 per cent cruise within Asia. That’s both a blessing and a curse. Asia still loves short cruises. Last year, 47 per cent went on journeys of 4-6 nights, and 32 per cent 2-3 nights. For cruise lines, this is a frustration, because it limits the destinations they can offer. For travel agents, too, it’s bad for business. Margins are less, though the work involved is the same. And given the limited itineraries on offer – it’s hard, for instance, to take in exciting destinations like Japan in 4-6 nights – repeat sales are harder.
We can’t blame the passengers. Asians have less holiday than most, and cruising is a relatively new option. Cruise hubs like Singapore have generated extraordinary growth by focusing strongly on the flycruise market, bringing in thousands from the region, India and Australia. But while growth figures are strong, there is an important task ahead: convincing potential passengers to take longer journeys, whether in our region or beyond. Australian and European agents have seen world cruises of 40 days and more selling out in days, while seven to 14 days are among the most popular. Thankfully, Asia is now investing in training agents in cruise products in our own region and beyond. And now new initiatives have been announced from Cruise Lines International Association and Singapore as the lead nation in ASEAN to raise capabilities among the travel trade. As well as continuing to spread the word to those who have never been on a cruise, the next frontier is to lift the length of cruising days spent on board. The region’s burgeoning retirees are a prime market to do this. With new ships, more investment and a better understanding of the possibilities among the ASEAN governments and across Asia, cruise is set for another bumper year. We hope this guide helps increase your knowledge of the depth and breadth of cruise, so you can ride the wave. Publisher and managing director Peter Lynch
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ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019 Publisher Peter Lynch Editor Bernadette Chua Executive Editor Teresa Ooi Art Director Catherine Martin Sub Editor Claire Waddell Digital Manager Rupert Orchard Writers Bernadette Chua, Peter Lynch, Teresa Ooi, Hannah Warren, Rebecca Rachel Wong (Singapore), Vanessa Wu With thanks to the following Peter Kollar, Head of International Training and Development, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA); Farriek Tawfik, Director of Southeast Asia for Princess Cruises; Annie Chang, Director, Cruise, Singapore Tourism Board; Lionel Wong, CEO, Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore; Jiali Wong, Regional Manager, Asia, CLIA; Angie Stephen, MD Asia Pacific Operations Royal Caribbean; Josh Wen, Head of Sales, Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean; Tan Bee Heim, Manager, Worldwide Cruise Division, Dynasty Travel; Ricky Leong, Deputy Head, Chan Brothers Worldwide Cruise Centre; Kim Wee, Cruise consultant at Cruise Connexions Singapore.
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Contents ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
ASIA CRUISE ROUND-UP 06 08 12 14 18 20 24
Cruise stats News in Asia Farriek Tawfik on what lies ahead for Princess Cruises in Southeast Asia The ASEAN advantage according to Peter Kollar Agent tips The best UNESCO World Heritage sites Ask the experts
ASEAN COUNTRIES 28 Brunei Splendid sites attract cruisers 30 Cambodia Vibrant view of history 32 Indonesia Beautiful beaches beckon 34 Lao PDR Pandaw leads the way 36 Malaysia Big push bears fruit 38 Myanmar The allure of the Irrawaddy 40 Philippines Gathering momentum 42 Singapore Record passenger numbers 44 Thailand Becoming a high-end stop 46 Vietnam Cruising contines to swell
All figures from latest available reports
THE SHIPS 50 Princess Cruises 52 Cunard 54 Dream Cruises 55 Regent Seven Seas Cruises 56 Crystal Cruises, Seabourn 57 Silversea 58 Oceania Cruises 59 Viking Ocean Cruises 60 Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line 61 Azamara Club Cruises 62 Royal Caribbean International 64 Celebrity Cruises 65 APT, Travelmarvel 66 Avalon Waterways, Pandaw 67 Scenic, Heritage Line 68 Uniworld, Aqua Expeditions ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
Cruise by numbers
More ships, more destinations and more choice â€“ cruising in Southeast Asia is bigger and better than ever.
4.06m 4.26m passengers will cruise within Asia
cruise ships scheduled port in Asia calls in Asian markets
Data Extracted from CLIA Asia Cruise Trends 2018. Report commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and produced by Chart Management Consultants.
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
TOP 10 PORTS IN ASIA
Asia to Asia cruises offered
• Baoshan (Shanghai), China • Singapore • Keelung (Taipei), Taiwan • Hong Kong • Hakata (Fukuoka), Japan • Naha (Okinawa), Japan
• Patong Bay (Phuket), Thailand • Nagasaki, Japan • Miyakojima, Japan
• Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
Asia’s largest ship in the region Heritage Line to launch new vessel in Halong Bay
Heritage Line, a luxury cruise line sailing in Southeast Asia, will be launching a new ship, the Ylang in Lan Ha Bay in North Vietnam. The cruise line will be offering a number of distinctive itineraries like wellness themed voyages that visit the remote and less visited areas of the bay. The vessel’s interior emanates the ancient flair of Indochina with a delicate floral leitmotif inspired by local poetry and related to the four seasons of the year. Local artisans contributed to Ylang’s decoration with hand-crafted paintings and artwork. All this creates an inimitable sense of bliss and an exceptional abode at sea.
Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Spectrum of the Seas, able to accommodate 5,622 guests and with some amazing new features, will be in Singapore in May. Built at the famous Meyer Werft shipyard in Papaenburg, Germany, she’ll have the VR bungeetrampoline experience as well as a two-level Ultimate Family Suite with an in-room slide. Spectrum of the Seas will be sailing from Singapore on three special itineraries before heading to her homeport of Shanghai. See our review on aseancruising.com in May.
Princess Cruises fleet expansions sparks passenger calls
Princess Cruises’s fleet is set for a growth surge, with the Sky Princess recently floated out, Enchanted Princess and the sixth and final Royal-class ship under construction in Italy. The three Royal-class ships, all equipped with the revolutionary OceanMedallion high-tech environment for improved service, will be joined by two additional LNG-powered hybrid ships on order for delivery in 2023 and 2025. The additions will bring the fleet of the world’s largest Premium Class to 22, increasing its capacity by 32 per cent over the next six years. Mr Farriek Tawfik, Princess Cruises Director Southeast Asia, said regional partners were looking forward to the fleet renewal and the strong interest this will bring. 8
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
The Scandinavians head to Asia
Luxury cruise line Viking Ocean Cruises will be sending its fifth and newest ship, Viking Spirit, to Asia. The ship will be cruising Asia from March 2019 to destinations like Bangkok, Hong Kong, Bali and Tokyo. The cruise line will also offer a North Pacific Passage itinerary that sails from Tokyo to Vancouver on May 5 before moving Viking Spirit to Alaska in the Northern Hemisphere for the 2019 summer season. Passengers will be able to book a 93-day repositioning cruise from Auckland to Vancouver. “In the old days people used to call this a Circle Pacific cruise. Many of our guests like long cruises and to get away from bad weather, particularly in the Northeast, is not a bad thing,” said company chairman Mr Torstein Hagen. See our review at: cruisepassenger.com. au/viking-orion-sets-a-new-standard-for-value/
The largest suite at sea
Royal Caribbean reveals sixth ship
Royal Caribbean Cruises announced it will be building its sixth Oasis-class ship, set to be delivered by 2023. The ship will be built by shipbuilder Chantiers de L’Atlantique and will have many of the same features as her sister ships. “It is such a pleasure to announce the order of another Oasis-class ship,” said Mr Richard D Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises. “This order is a reflection of the exceptional performance of this vessel class and the extraordinary partnership between Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.” General Manager of Chantiers de l’Atlantique Mr Laurent Castaing said, “This is the twenty-third cruise ship that RCL will be building at our shipyard, and we are especially proud of it. The order reflects the confidence our customer puts on us, based on the quality of our long-term co-operation between the two companies.”
S E E
M O R E
When Regent Seven Seas Splendor launches next year, her top accommodation will be the super spacious 412-square-metre Regent Suite (pictured, bottom) with two bedrooms, separate living and dining rooms, two-anda-half marble bathrooms, two separate balconies with a custom-made Tresse Minipool Spa overlooking the bow of the ship and a glass-enclosed sun room. The in-suite spa retreat has a sauna, steam room and jetted tub where you can sip a glass of Veuve Clicquot. A Steinway Grand piano by Dakota Jackson sits on the lounge, two rare original lithographs by Picasso are on the walls, there’s hand-blown Lalique vases and a personal butler. Bathrooms offer a choice of Guerlain, Bottega Veneta and L’Occitane toiletries.
A S E A N C R U I S I N G . C O M ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
”It’s the mix of soft adventure, wildlife and dramatic sights that is powering the rise of Alaska”
Amazing Alaska Alaska hots up as fly-cruise destination for Asians writes Teresa Ooi.
laska is shaping up as the popular destination of 2019 for Asians, with 11 per cent of the Asian market visiting the Last Frontier last year, third in line behind the Western Mediterranean and the Caribbean. It’s expected to attract more than 1.3 million passengers in 2019. That’s 175,000 more visitors than last year. What’s powering the rise and rise of the land of adventure? Not only are there more ships going to Alaska, but they are getting bigger. Three new cruise vessels arriving at Alaska include the Norwegian Joy, Royal Princess and Ovation of the Seas, each carrying more than 3,600 passengers. They now join the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Bliss in Alaskan waters, according to the latest report by CLIA.
S E E 10
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
M O R E
According to a Cruise Lines International Association report, families are liking the big ships in Alaska with Norwegian Bliss and Joy delivering strong yields. “We are a popular cruise destination,” said Sarah Leonard, CEO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association. It’s the mix of soft adventure, wildlife and dramatic sights that is powering the rise of Alaska. Most cruise lines call at ports such as Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, Seward and Valdez. In Juneau, there is at least one cruise ship docked there every day from the end of April to the beginning of October. This has prompted Juneau port authorities to improve its dock infrastructure to meet the demands of cruise ships. “We try to build infrastructure that’s smart with the idea that we’re going to have … people who come to Juneau, they want to go out to (Mendenhall) glacier, they want to go whale watching. We try to build a bus staging area to improve efficiency. We try to increase
the flow out to the glacier area,” said Carl Uchytil, port administrator for the City and Borough of Juneau. Cruise tourism is now the number one private sector employer in Juneau. On a heavy ship day, 15,000 visitors will disembark in Juneau, a town of 32,000 people. This may well increase to 20,000 visitors soon, Mr Uchytil said. Cruise lines are also working closely with the local community to mitigate the impact of increased tourism numbers. Cruise passengers who arrive in port eat at restaurants, buy souvenirs and go on guided tours which contribute to the regional economies said Kirby Day, manager of port operations for Holland America in Juneau. “It’s a great economic benefit, you can’t ignore that, but with that comes some other things you have to work on … sometimes we find a new issue each year. It doesn’t solve everything, but it sure goes a long way,” Mr Day said.
A S E A N C R U I S I N G . C O M
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Queens Grill Suite, Queen Mary 2
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Princess is booming in Asia Farriek Tawfik, Director of Southeast Asia for Princess Cruises, discusses the brand’s growth in Asia and what to expect this year.
Q. Princess is a premium brand in the cruise travel market. How are Southeast Asians responding to it? A. Things have worked very well for us here. We get lots of loyal repeat customers. Our past passengers are called Captain Circle members − we have almost 20,000 of them here. They come whenever we hold events and want to know about new ships. These experienced cruisers will also bring first-timers. Q. What is the profile of a typical Princess cruiser? And who does Princess Cruises intend to target in 2019? A. The general age for Asian cruisers is 45 years based on Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) figures. Ours is around there but with a growing number of millennials. We’re also targeting cruisers from other brands and more first-timers. We’ve got new ships such as the Sky and Enchanted Princess, another Royal Princess ship in 2022 and two LNG-class ships in 2023 and 2025. All this exciting stuff will be promoted in the region. 12
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
Q. Speaking of new ships, how will this grow the market for Princess? A. Those familiar with the Princess experience will want to go onboard a new ship, but with Princess’ quintessential service and new hardware. Our customers demand innovation, so the new ships will create a lot of demand. Q. What can you tell us about the new Sky Princess and its features? A. The Sky Suites are great. They have the largest balconies on any cruise line, and the cabins face the ship’s Movies under the Stars screen. There’s also a new jazz bar and more Jacuzzis. Q. The OCEAN Medallion has now launched on Caribbean Princess. What do cruisers have to look forward to with this new wearable device? And when will it arrive in our region? A. It’s like a key card. You can sync it with your phone, order food or use it for fitness. And it’s free for you to take home. Regal (which was fitted with the device last year) will be heading to Australia in 2020 and passing
through here, so the first OCEAN Medallion ship will be here in 2020.
Himeji Castle in cherry blossom season
Q. Any new Asia itineraries and ports lined up? And which routes are proving most popular? A. Japan is popular − Diamond is there the whole year. The international market is supporting it a lot. Another popular route is Shanghai to Japan on Majestic, especially for fly-cruisers. We’re also looking at new ports in Taiwan and talking to the Malaysian government about opening up the east coast (Terengganu and Pahang).
Q. Which countries are providing the most growth? A. Malaysia is growing well because of Taiwan and Japan cruises. Malaysians don’t need a visa for those countries now. Singapore always provides stable growth, with more experienced cruisers who know what they want. Q. If you were talking to a travel agent, what would your message be about Princess in 2019? A. To sell a cruise, you must know your customer. Agents should know what kind of service each cruise
”To sell a cruise, you must know your customer … The worst thing is to put your passengers on the wrong ship“ offers, and match customers accordingly. The worst thing is to put your passengers on the wrong ship, then they’ll say they never want to cruise again. For Princess, agents should know about our new ships and new itineraries. For example, we have the Solar Eclipse cruise coming up
in December. These cruises have unique, longer itineraries which agents can push and get more commissions from. We send info directly to customers via EDM blasts, so they expect agents to be updated. Q. Can you tell us about agent incentives? Anything new for 2019. A. What I can say is there’s more yield if they sell a fly-cruise package. They make commissions not only from us, but from airline tickets and travel insurance. We also do trainings, co-ops and joint road shows to help our agents. ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
The ASEAN advantage
Cruising in Southeast Asia is big business and growing, explains CLIA Head of International Training Peter Kollar.
ver the past few years, fly-cruise offerings in Asia have expanded, and selling this exceptional experience is fast becoming a business strategy that leads to success with many happy new customers. This statement isn’t just hype. The latest cruise industry statistics prove the point, with more than 90 per cent of Asian passengers cruising within Asia in 2018.
Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore (left); a Pandaw river cruise (above right)
ASEAN’s advantage What this region has that others didn’t when they went through their first boom period of cruising is established niche markets, such as river and expedition cruising which were both in their infancy during the years ocean cruising grew strongly elsewhere. Asia has both river and expedition, so this boom comes at a great time as all indicators show consumers are looking for more adventure and off-the-beaten path experiences, with greater immersion in culture and nature. Research says
they are willing to pay for it as well. This is great news for Asian travel agents who can sell the best of all worlds!
Why expedition cruising has changed so much Ten years ago, expedition cruising was the type of holiday that would not incite envy when you bragged about it on your return. Sure, friends might wish they had visited the places they’ve only seen on Attenborough documentaries, but after hearing what you had to go through to do it, only the diehard explorers would get the jealous streak. Seasickness, small quarters, cafeteria food and communal bathrooms – it was not exactly the poster child of niche cruising, nor was there much appeal in the large steel freight or science ship converted to host a few humans. ASEAN and expedition The region already has luxury expedition options, and is quickly growing soft expedition products to ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
”Many clients are only starting to learn about Asian cruise and they want to know more, which is great.” tempt younger, more affluent Asians. Whether it be diving in the Philippines, island sailing on a Star Clipper in Thailand or meeting the orangutans of Borneo, the region has enormous scope for adventure.
The demand for luxury Asia’s offerings in the luxury sector are strong and the coming year will see visits from Regent Seven Seas, Oceania, Silversea and Seabourn, as well as Cunard and Crystal Cruises. The region has even launched its own luxury line. Dream Cruises, which is owned by the same company that purchased Crystal Cruises in 2015 and launched Star Cruises many years ago, now has two ships – one homeported in Singapore. Genting Dream carries over 3,000 passengers and has a “ship within a ship”, the Palace Suites with butlers, private pools and restaurants. It is also the only cruise ship in Asia to be granted Halal certification by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM). 16
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
The change in river cruising River cruising is a relatively new segment of the cruise market, although it’s now referred to as its own market. The waterways of Asia have always been the social and commercial highways of civilisations of the past, but tourism has only just caught on over the past 20 years. Lines expand into Asia’s rivers As Europe is mature (and growing), the same companies are now able to invest in new rivers. The Mekong and the Irrawaddy sport ultra-luxury ships from well-known lines: APT, Scenic, Avalon and a host of local brands sail to Asian destinations. Pandaw has developed its own fleet of river ships, favouring traditional Asian designs with ultra-shallow drafts allowing them to reach areas where villages and towns are untouched. These lines offer unique experiences in food, culture and even voluntourism from the safety of brands that your clients will recognise and feel comfortable sailing. Future opportunities in India I spoke at the January 2019 SATTE in New Delhi and there was much discussion about the increase in the
The stunning Royal Clipper; a couple in the Genting Dream Deluxe Suite (above); Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam (below)
popularity of river cruising and the myriad of inland waterways that now have the commercial interest of the government. Currently river cruising in India has been popularised by international markets finding new holiday options on the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. Senior consultant for the Inland Waterways Authority of India Mr RP Khare explained planning is taking place to open up more waterways to commercial traffic
and to bring these new routes to life. Key to the strategy is ensuring that they appeal to the domestic market as well as the growing international numbers.
What this all means for you Asian travel agents are in the right place at the right time. Many clients are only starting to learn about Asian cruise and they want to know more, which is great. The accessibility and spread of Asian itineraries can help you capture the interest of young families and even hard-to-please millennials. You should be filling your offices, websites and promotional material with images of people enjoying all forms of cruising. This neuromarketing essential is paramount for all sales. Unlike other markets a decade ago, you can put any of your clients on a cruise. Those who want to enjoy the extravaganza of large, fun-loving ocean ships; luxury clients who want to be pampered on boutique ships; or adventurers who want to explore destinations, culture and nature on river or expedition cruising. If you havenâ€™t started educating yourself about Asian cruise yet, make sure you visit us at cliaasia.org. ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
Ask the experts
Selling cruises to the Asian market? Rebecca Rachel Wong asks those in the know for their insider tips.
TAN BEE HEIM MANAGER, WORLDWIDE CRUISE DIVISION DYNASTY TRAVEL, SINGAPORE
RICKY LEONG DEPUTY HEAD CHAN BROTHERS WORLDWIDE CRUISE CENTRE
ailing into a new era of ultimate getaways, cruising has never been more on the pulse of what vacationers want: adventure, relaxation and Instagram-worthy food. Huge changes have been made over the past decade – cruising has seen advancements in the comfort and style of ships. Most Asian cruise travellers look for cruises’ family bonding facilities, theme tours, food variety, ports of interests, periods of travel (public holidays and school breaks are more popular) and special promotions such as early-bird bonuses. Asian travellers opting for cruise holidays are primarily young families and threegenerational families (60%), millennials (20%), and couples (20%). Their hot picks for cruise destinations are mainly within the region (Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunei), Japan and Australia. Popular long-haul destinations are Alaska and the Mediterranean. On a personal level, I love cruising around Japan. I enjoy exploring the different prefectures, experiencing their culture and history, meeting 18
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
local people within the region and savouring authentic Japanese cuisine. When converting first-time cruisers, I emphasise the attractiveness of taking a cruise. Cruises can be great value. All-inclusive by design, they offer savings by bundling trip expenses into one rate. Great food is available with celebrity chefs revamping tired dining traditions. The entertainment has evolved as well. Acrobatic wonders, full-scale Broadway musicals and comedians straight from TV deliver quality entertainment on board nightly. There is always a cruise line that will fit each traveller’s requirements. Smaller ships tend to offer personalised and relaxed sailing experiences, while the larger ocean liners echo Vegas-style extravagance. For first-time cruisers, it’s important to share the categories of cabins that will suit their budget and needs. It’s also essential to discuss embarkation times, punctuality (best to arrive a day before the cruise) and returning to the ship promptly after shore excursions.
he Asian cruise traveller has varied holiday wants and needs. There are busy professionals looking for short but satisfying getaways that require little planning; retired couples who may not be keen on changing accommodation or long journeys on the road. Many itineraries are popular with Asian cruisers − from Asia to Alaska. Aside from general factors such as pricing and port-of-call destinations, I observe that Asian consumers place extra emphasis on dining options, on-board facilities and all-inclusive entertainment. Chan Brothers Worldwide Cruise Centre collaborates with different cruise liners on thematic or festive sailing campaigns, such as Mother’s Day cruises and Christmas escapades. Such campaigns have proven popular amongst multi-generational families looking for convenient and smooth-sailing (pun intended) vacations without having to worry about cumbersome logistics for the children and seniors in their party. Also, our cruise consultants possess excellent product knowledge of both on-board
and offshore components of a cruise holiday. We know the USPs of different cruise liners and even the highlights of each ship within the same cruise liner. Matching the right type of cruise to the right consumer is our service ethos in converting first-time cruisers and retaining repeat cruisers. Upgrading through constant training and real-life cruise experiences keeps our cruise specialists at the top of their game too. And going on cruises provides real-life experience and deepens our familiarity of the product service. To ease any likely trip anxiety, we always advise first-time cruisers to maintain a relaxed mindset while cruising. They should not to be overly ambitious in covering all facilities, dining options and activities on board. We also give advice on visa requirements and insurance, and suggest various port-ofcall and offshore activities. If there are on-board services, activities and facilities that need to be booked in advance, we advise customers so no one misses out.
How Princess Cruises’ online training program helps agents sell cruises One of Princess Academy’s top graduates talks about how training has benefited her career.
ith 17 ships and 360 itineraries, it’s tough for travel agents to know everything about Princess Cruises. However, the brand has made it easier for agents to enrich their sales skills and knowledge of the cruise liner with its Princess Academy online training program. Launched in 2006, the program aims to equip agents with the skillset to market suitable itineraries for different consumers. It also helps agents raise the value proposition of cruising to the consumer and address common misconceptions about cruising. To date, Princess Academy has enrolled more than 90,000 consultants, with more than 1.9 million courses completed. Around 40 product and sales training courses are available, with agents moving up four ranks − First Officer, Staff Captain, Captain and Commodore − as they successfully complete coursework. Agents who reach the highest level of Commodore earn a free graduation cruise, a certificate and a cruise pin. We speak to one of Princess Academy’s Commodores in Southeast Asia on their experience with the program.
KIM WEE CRUISE CONSULTANT CRUISE CONNEXIONS (SINGAPORE)
’ve been working in the travel industry for eight years, and my travel agency currently specialises in cruise products. I joined Princess’s agent training program as it provides more in-depth information that you might not be able to get on the brand’s website. I can now handle experienced cruisers better.
What stood out for me about the training process was how easy and time-saving it was. I can do it anywhere and anytime. Most importantly, I can sell cruises on Princess with more confidence now. The chances that I get to close the deal are much higher than before. For more info about Princess Academy, visit book.princess.com.
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
Sailing through history
One of the greatest ways to explore the ASEAN region is by ticking off the UNESCO sites. Hannah Warren picks 10 of the best.
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
nly a few places in the world bear the coveted UNESCO badge of honour, but between themselves, the diverse and culturally rich ASEAN countries count 38 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and they are rightfully proud of them. These fascinating sites are world treasures, a mixture of magnificent ancient and traditional art and architecture, present-day towns and marvellous examples of the natural world. They represent meeting points of cultures, developments in science and design, relics of long-lost religions, and the force and majesty of Mother Nature. But these destinations arenâ€™t just a source of pride for the citizens of the ASEAN
nations, they are also popular and muchenjoyed destinations for visitors seeking unique, in-depth cultural experiences in the countries they visit. After all, what better way to truly understand a country than by visiting sites that so vividly tell the stories of its past, society and values? UNESCO is working closely with ASEAN leaders to identify, protect and future-proof the precious World Heritage sites, but they are at risk of the ravages of time, development, poaching, pollution and the elements. The Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra is even on the UNESCO watchlist of sites in danger. If you wish to explore and understand these world treasures, right now is the time to go.
UNESCO IN ASEAN CAMBODIA ANGKOR /1992
• Angkor is one of the most
important archaeological sites in ASEAN, and while most people think only of the iconic Angkor Wat temple, the UNESCO site actually encompasses far more. Angkor covers about 400 square kilometres and contains the magnificent artistic and architectural remains of the capitals of the Khmer Empire,
which reigned in Cambodia from the 9th to the 15th century, as well as dense jungle and water features.
INDONESIA KOMODO NATIONAL PARK /1991
• The volcanic islands of Komodo
National Park are inhabited by about 5,000 giant lizards – the famous Komodo Dragons, so named for their fierce appearance and behaviour. This national park,
Pader Island, Komodo National Park (above); Komodo dragon on the beach (left) ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
UNESCO SITES which consists of three main islands and several smaller ones, is the only place in the world these fascinating creatures can be found. The rugged terrain ranges from open savannah to monsoon forest, alongside white sandy beaches and blue waters.
the 15th-century Malay sultanate and the Portuguese and Dutch, while George Town represents the era of British occupation from the end of the 18th century. Both have amazing unique food cultures that are not to be missed.
LAOS LUANG PRABANG /1995
MYANMAR PYU ANCIENT CITIES / 2014
best-preserved city in Southeast Asia, and it is certainly one of the prettiest. It was once the seat of kings, and it is said that Buddha himself prophesied it would one day be a rich and powerful city. Today, the streets are a beautiful mix of traditional Lao architecture, temples and colonial French buildings. Luang Prabang is surrounded by mountains, rivers and jungle, and it is rich with art, delicious food and friendly locals.
the remains of three walled and moated cities – Halin, Beikthano and Sri Ksetra – built of brick in the dry zone of the Irrawaddy river basin. The Pyu Kingdoms flourished between 200 BC and 900 AD and the cities now include the excavated remains of palace citadels, burial grounds, stupas, still-standing walls and water systems – some of which are still in use. These cities are the earliest evidence of the introduction of Buddhism into Southeast Asia around 2,000 years ago.
• Luang Prabang is often called the • The Pyu Ancient Cities include
MALAYSIA MELAKA AND GEORGE TOWN / 2008
• While they are considered to be
one UNESCO site, Melaka and George Town are two separate cities, some 500 kilometres apart but both sitting pretty on the coast of Malaysia on the Straits of Malacca. They represent 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between Europe and Asia: Melaka shows the meeting of
Clockwise from main picture: Kek Lok Si temple in George Town; monks at Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang; Pyu Ancient City; Masjid Selat, Melaka 22
THE PHILIPPINES PUERTO PRINCESA SUBTERRANEAN RIVER NATIONAL PARK / 1999
• This incredible national park on
the island of Palawan includes one of the world’s most impressive cave systems, spectacular limestone formations, old-growth forests, white-sand beaches and unique and diverse wildlife such as
bats, monkeys, crabs and birds. The highlight of the park, which covers an area of about 22,202 hectares, is an 8.2 kilometre-long underground river that flows directly into the sea. Visitors can venture into the caves to experience the full diverse mountain-to-sea ecosystem.
SINGAPORE SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS / 2015
• The Singapore Botanic Gardens
have evolved from colonial British tropical gardens into a world-class scientific institution while retaining their role as a site for recreation and relaxation. The Gardens were established in 1859, when Singapore was a British colony, and they were later used as Singapore’s first zoo. During World War II, the Japanese recognised their cultural and scientific importance, and maintained them with prisoner-ofwar labour – a staircase built by Australian POWs still stands today.
While they are considered to be one UNESCO site, Melaka and George Town are two separate cities, some 500 kilometres apart on the coast of Malaysia.
THAILAND HISTORIC CITY OF AYUTTHAYA / 1991
• Founded around the year
1350, Ayutthaya was the second Siamese capital, and from the 13th to the 18th century it was one of the world’s largest urban areas and a key centre of global commerce. It was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767 and was never rebuilt, but what remains is a fascinating archaeological site in a key position in the middle of three rivers. Still standing are the monumental Buddhist monasteries and the unique hydraulic system.
VIETNAM HOI AN / 1999
• The picturesque old town
of Hoi An is a beautifully preserved former trading port, featuring elements of Chinese, Japanese and European influence from centuries of international trading. The cobbled pedestrian-only streets of the Ancient Town are laid out in a grid and lined with traditional wooden shopfronts, residences, religious sites and riverside markets. At night, coloured lanterns hang in the trees lining the riverbanks and bridges, and children float candles down the river. ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess at Marina Bay Cruise Centre
Ask the experts
Asian agents have tremendous opportunities as cruise takes off.
LIONEL WONG CEO – MARINA BAY CRUISE CENTRE SINGAPORE
ubbed “The Caribbean of the East”, the Southeast Asia region is expected to see potentially up to 4.5 million cruise passengers by 2035. The year-round deployment of vessels and the introduction of new and larger homeporting ships such as Quantum of the Seas and Mein Schiff 6 are testament to the rapid growth of the cruise industry in Singapore. We are also expecting ship calls from Spectrum of the 24
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Seas, MSC Magnifica, Costa Venezia, Carnival Splendor, Crystal Serenity, Norwegian Jade and Aegean Odyssey. Asians and Singaporeans are discovering the joys of cruising and the rich experience which cruise vacations have to offer. The region is rich in culture, diversity and heritage, with good weather all year round − making it an attractive destination for tourism. In particular, Singapore has a lot to offer as a preferred destination for cruise passengers. More cruise lines are choosing Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore (MBCCS) as their homeport, as a result of the seamless experience passengers enjoy. Singapore is one of the largest air hubs in the world. This creates opportunities for seamless fly-cruise or cruise-fly connectivity for passengers. For international cruisers, it is a convenient destination with plenty of hotels and attractions for a pre- or post-stay.
MBCCS has been growing at a tremendous rate as well − at 20-30 per cent every year since its launch. Currently, we can handle three ship calls in the same day when the need arises. We have also implemented terminal enhancements to increase our internal capacity. MBCCS plays an integral role in offering the CruiseFly service too. In terms of our plans for 2019, we will be focusing on the implementation of our Smart Terminal System. The system architecture is customised and will be the first of its kind in Asia. Augmenting our processes with technology will help us manage the increased volume more efficiently and provide a pleasant, seamless travel experience for our passengers. Better analytics will also enable MBCCS to provide information to the cruise lines and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority to facilitate resource planning and coordination.
ANNIE CHANG DIRECTOR, CRUISE – SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD
ruise tourism in Asia taps into the appeal of various destinations in the region, stringing together varied itineraries in one sailing. Visitors need to pack and unpack only once. It is an ideal vacation. Strong interest from key cruise source markets, such as India and Indonesia, are driving the growth in this industry. Singapore has also benefited from this growth as it is the natural starting point for visitors to explore other destinations in Southeast Asia by sea. We have worked with cruise industry partners to secure a vibrant pipeline of cruise ships and new
cruise offerings. This includes the yearround deployment of Genting Dream from 2017 to 2020, which is expected to bring in 600,000 overseas visitors and more than S$250 million in tourism receipts. Cruising has also grown due to its regional appeal. Southeast Asia possesses natural attributes such as warm weather, calm waters, more than 25,000 islands (compared to the Caribbean’s 7,000), and nearly 40 UNESCO World Heritage sites. As lead coordinator for ASEAN cruise development, Singapore has been working together with fellow ASEAN states to raise our value proposition as a cruise destination. We have developed the Cruise Southeast Asia Brand to further entrench us as a cruising region of choice. For instance, at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019, the regional ministers reiterated their commitment to the Joint Declaration on Cruise Tourism to develop Southeast Asia into a vibrant cruising destination. The region’s collective efforts have continued at the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference and Exhibition in April
2019, where five countries representing Southeast Asia co-located their exhibition booths under the Cruise Southeast Asia brand for the fifth time. We have sought to raise travel trade capabilities to drive economic yield. STB announced a three-year strategic partnership with CLIA to continue growing cruising efforts in Southeast Asia. One of its key thrusts is reaching out to regional travel agents and training them to sell cruises in Southeast Asia. This is important as the bulk of cruise sales continue to be made through travel agents. 2018 was a strong year for cruise in Singapore − passenger throughput rose 35 per cent year-on-year to about 1.87 million. We will continue to ensure sustainable growth in 2019, through partnering cruise agents and local industry stakeholders in developing compelling pre/ post cruise offerings. With a strong growth trajectory, STB also regularly monitors the evolving cruise landscape to ensure that our cruise infrastructure is adequate to support the growing pipeline of ships.
Training regional travel agents to sell cruises in Southeast Asia is important as the bulk of cruise sales continue to be made through travel agents.
JIALI WONG REGIONAL MANAGER – ASIA CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION
sia again showed impressive results in 2017 with a record high of 4.052 million cruise passengers reported in the latest figures released by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). At 20.6 per cent, the 2017 year-on-year growth is more than three times the global growth (6.3 per cent), way ahead of markets such as North America (5 per cent) and Australia (4.4 per cent).
Asia is now the third-largest cruise region in the world, accounting for about 15 per cent of total global ocean passenger volume in 2017. Where are the Asia passengers coming from? Mainland China maintained its top position as the key source market, accounting for almost 60 per cent of all Asian passengers, followed by Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. Most registered impressive double-digit year-on-year increase with markets such as Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia all having more than 20 per cent growth. This continued upward trend in growth from most Asian markets confirms that Asia holds immense potential as a source of passengers for cruise lines and destinations. And this favourable outlook spells opportunities for businesses. While the 2018 figures have not been announced, it is projected to see similar
performance as 2017 with the planned cruise calls on par with 2017. Singapore reported a 35 per cent year-on-year increase in their total passenger throughput in 2018, buoyed by the year-round deployment of Genting Dream and extended sailings from Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas. These figures present a favourable view for Asia and the positive impact to the economy in Asia is evident. The outlook for Asia remains upbeat, as many cruise lines continue to deploy significant capacity in the region, including new cruise ships purpose-built for Asian consumers. Asian travellers also increasingly recognise that cruising is an effortless, relaxing and excellent value for money holiday. With the comparatively low population penetration rate, the opportunities for travel agents and destinations to leverage in this region are tremendous. ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
Ahead of the announcement of Josh Wen’s expanded role overseeing trade sales in Singapore, Wen and his boss, Managing Director for Asia Pacific operations Angie Stephen, talk about Royal Caribbean’s direction for 2019.
en currently heads 15 markets in Asia, and has been with Royal Caribbean for the past three and a half years. He was previously in trade strategy and management with the Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry. Q. Josh, you will be expanding your role to cover the Singapore market, what new responsibilities will this entail? A. Josh: This role itself is not just taking on one more country, but creating synergy amongst the markets that I manage. Every market’s culture is different, so each will have different good practices that can be shared across. I’m particularly excited to work with Singapore’s trade partners. Singapore is a very important regional hub for cruising. That means trade partners selling our cruises are also very important. Q. How do you think the Southeast Asian cruise market has evolved so far, and what’s the future of cruise sales like? A. Josh: The cruise market here is growing at a very fast rate − that’s why we also see many other brands coming in. We are also investing more resources and creating synergy for further growth. A. Angie: In Singapore, we’ve been known for short cruises, but with Quantum we are growing the market and bringing in bigger ships. That’s going to grab the attention of a new audience, and give the travel partners something new to talk about. 26
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Q + A
ROYAL CARIBBEAN’S JOSH WEN & ANGIE STEPHEN
We’re also expanding the length of cruises. As the market matures, people want to go on longer cruises, and not have to board an airplane to see exciting destinations in Europe or the Caribbean. With Quantum, we have the opportunity to do a longer itinerary. We’re even introducing nine-night cruises going from Singapore to Hong Kong. I think that’s how the market is maturing. Q. Where are the big markets for Royal Caribbean currently? A. Josh: Singapore is our top market this year. Other big markets are India, Indonesia and Malaysia. We’ve done lots in terms of collaboration, investment and expanding distribution. Q. What will Royal Caribbean be doing to help agents sell cruises? A. Angie: That’s part of Josh’s new role. In addition to expanding to Singapore and creating a unified focus on travel agents, we are adding training to the portfolio. In order to grow, we need to link up with travel partners and train agents in evolving their selling skills. A. Josh: There’s no one single formula. The key is a customised experience − working with travel partners individually. Travel partner training is pivotal. We are engaging sales trainers that will help our partners. Travel partners (across many industries) tend to sit in our comfort zone and just sell what’s popular. But training is not just about selling, but qualifying potential guests and giving them what they want. Q. Lastly, what is the brand doing to target young millennials and Asian families? A. Angie: We’re launching a new campaign in late spring that will have a fun social aspect. In terms of family, we have the ultimate family suite in Spectrum. With Quantum, we have the loft suites and great activities like iFly. Your five-year-old can do it and your 90-year-old grandma can do it (yes, we do have grandmas!)
Singaporeâ€™s iconic statue, the Merlion
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B R U N E I The ornate Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan
Brilliant bling, fantastic fare and splendid sites attract cruisers
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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
M A L AY S I B R U N E I
M A L AY S I A
Viking Ocean Cruises, Seabourn, and Princess Cruises. Some of the shore excursions offered to guests include visits to the Royal Regalia Museum; Kampong Ayer, an historical settlement built on stilts over the water; and the heavily rainforested A Temburong District. Over the next three years, the AIDAvita, Star Legend, Seven Seas Mariner, Star Clipper, Seven Seas Voyager, Silver Spirit, Viking Sun, Sapphire Princess, Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity and Diamond Princess are expected to make calls to Bandar Seri Begawan. According to projections from the Brunei Darussalam Maritime and Ports Authority, a 66 per cent total increase in
IN DO NE SI A
ruising is growing in one of the world’s richest nations, with more luxury and bespoke lines visiting Brunei’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan than ever before. Brunei is expecting more tourists to visit on cruise ships this year. In terms of air tourist arrivals, Brunei set its sights on 278,000 arrivals in 2018 compared to 259,000 in 2017 (which itself was an 18 per cent rise on 2016 numbers). Tourism in Brunei is growing by seven per cent annually and the cruise industry is a contributor to the increase. The country’s rich history, beautiful sites and delicious cuisine have been drawcards for passengers aboard lines such as Silversea, Oceania Cruises,
BRUNEI passenger and crew numbers was expected in 2018, compared to figures from 2017. Brunei Tourism projected that they were expecting a total of 13 cruise calls and 18,058 passengers and crew to visit.
/ The next 12 months There are big plans to increase Brunei’s cruise tourism and capitalise on the luxury lines visiting this beautiful country. Brunei hopes that cruising will play a more important role in boosting its tourism industry and is implementing a number of initiatives to promote the country to the international market. Tourist arrivals into Brunei are also expected to further increase with the implementation of visa facilities, such as issuing visas on arrival, multiple-entry visas for Chinese-passport holders and visa waivers for Turkish and Russian nationals.
/ Things to do and see
MAJOR PORTS 1 BUSIEST PORT Muara NUMBER OF PORT CALLS 15 It is believed that about 15 liners will visit this year. The Brunei Darussalam ports authority said in a statement that it will be welcoming cruise lines that visit Brunei in the next few years. “The department will also continue negotiations with cruise owners and shipping agents to attract more arrivals at Muara Port, without losing sight of maritime safety and other aspects of security.”
The tiny nation on the north coast of the island of Borneo is one of the wealthiest in the world and is home to picture-perfect beaches as well as a biodiverse rainforest. When arriving in Brunei by ship, visit the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, an ornate, gold-domed structure in a lagoon, which is considered one of the most beautiful in the Asia Pacific region. If you visit Brunei during Hari Raya Aidilfitri – the celebration of the end of Ramadan – visit the stunning Istana Nurul Iman, the Sultan of Brunei’s royal palace. The local fare includes dishes such as nasi katok, a popular meal consisting of rice, fried chicken and sambal. Nature-lovers should visit Ulu Temburong National Park. Known as the Green Jewel of Brunei, it contains the lovely Ulu Ulu Resort, and lucky visitors may spot the Muller’s Bornean gibbon.
BRUNEI: PORTS BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (MUARA) Who goes there: Ponant, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Viking Cruises and Windstar Cruises. Don’t miss: Taking a fast motorboat to a water village across the bay from the city centre. Locals have lived in villages here for generations in houses built on stilts and connected by timber walkways. Schools, mosques, police and fire stations are part of each village and some homes welcome tour groups with cakes and drinks, giving guests an opportunity to experience the locals’ traditional way of life.
Cruisers like: Brunei is a sovereign state governed by the Sultan of Brunei. Visit the Royal Regalia Museum where the Sultan displays some of the lavish gifts he has received from official international visitors in galleries overlooking his massive coronation chariot on permanent display below. Not far from the Sultan’s palace and set in beautiful gardens, the Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque is the largest mosque in Brunei, yet the interior is elegant and understated – with the exception of the Swarovski crystal chandelier weighing three tonnes. There are several museums and shopping centres as wejll as numerous parks and gardens. Best for: Families, shoppers and bling-lovers.
Getting around: Water taxis can be hailed from docking ports along the banks of the Brunei River. Most popular are organised tours with a guide, although frequent daytime public buses begin and terminate at the bus terminal at Jalan Cator. Metered taxis are available at most hotels and shopping centres. Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque (top left); proboscis monkey (above); local school children (left) ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
C A M B O D I A Decorated barges sailing on the rivers of Cambodia
Aussies cruise Cambodia for a vibrant view of history
LA O PD R SIEM REAP
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sia is the fastest-growing region for river cruises, and Cambodia’s popular Mekong itineraries are a major contributor to the increasingly strong figures. Cambodia, in 2017, saw passenger numbers increase from 150,000 the year before to 290,000. The increase in river cruise lines launching ships, has encouraged international and local passengers to look outside Europe and sail in this beautiful region. The Mekong River is still one of the country’s biggest attractions. But there are also plans to increase the country’s ocean terminal. CEO and Chairman of Sihanoukville Autonomous Port Mr Lou Kim Chhun told the Khmer Times that the authority is also studying
PHNOM PENH SIHANOUKVILLE SIHANOUKVILLE
the feasibility of a freeport status for its 60-hectare Sihanoukville Port Special Economic Zone to hopefully attract investors, and build up its ocean cruise terminal. He said the country had seen a 14 per cent rise in passenger arrivals from January to October 2018. A number of river cruise lines sail the fascinating Mekong, including Pandaw, Scenic, Avalon Waterways, Aqua Expeditions, Travelmarvel, APT and Viking River Cruises. Cambodia’s ocean cruise industry is also holding strong, with 23 port calls made in 2017. Lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Coral Expeditions, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas, among others, are visiting the country.
CAMBODIA / The next 12 months Angkor Wat near Siem Reap remains the major drawcard for river and ocean cruisers and international visitors continue to flock to this UNESCO World Heritage site. River cruising is one of the best ways to get to Angkor Wat. Asian river cruise line Pandaw will be putting a cruise ship on the Mekong River sailing from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh. The 30-cabin ship, RV Indochina Pandaw, will start service in September and she’ll have an enclosed dining room, deck bar, gym, library, boutique and spa. Luxury river line Uniworld will be sailing the new Mekong Jewel from 2020. The 13-day itinerary takes guests from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and more. Other river cruise lines such as APT, Uniworld, Scenic and Viking River Cruises have announced their itineraries for the next 12 months, featuring a number of trips that include Vietnam and Cambodia ranging from 13 to 34 days. In terms of ocean ships, luxury line Regent Seven Seas offers an 18-night Bali (Benoa) to Hong Kong cruise on Seven
MAJOR PORTS 1 BUSIEST PORT Sihanoukville NUMBER OF PORT CALLS 35 Seas Voyager which visits Semarang, Ko Samui and more. New Scandinavian line Viking Ocean Cruises will also make its inaugural cruise to Cambodia. Norwegian Cruise Line also visits Sihanoukville on a number of itineraries, including local cruises from Singapore. Princess Cruises’ Asian itineraries on Sapphire Princess and Sun Princess sail around the region and visit Sihanoukville.
/ Things to do and see While the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat are still a major attraction for cruisers, there
are plenty of other archaeological sites, such as Banteay Srei, which are well worth a visit. The 10th-century Cambodian temple is dedicated to Hindu god Shiva and is the only major temple in the Angkor complex not built by a monarch. If you’re looking to soak up some sun, Otres Beach is a picturesque strip of whitesand beach lined with tamarisk and casuarina trees. Sihanoukville offers access to smaller, less-developed islands for a spot of relaxation.
/ Top places to stay Phnom Penh, the capital city, offers a good range of luxury hotels as well as more affordable options. Raffles Hotel, with its pool, beautiful gardens and grand lobby, is the city’s most famous address. Sofitel has similar amenities, while for a more boutique experience, the stately White Mansion Hotel is another top choice. Siem Reap, the base for Angkor Wat visits, also offers a good range of luxury hotels, including Sofitel and the Park Hyatt, plus a good choice of mid-range hotels and stylish guest houses.
CAMBODIA: PORTS Getting around: Ships dock close to the Victoria Beach area. Take a bus or tuk tuk into town.
SIHANOUKVILLE Who goes there: Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea and Viking Cruises. Cruisers like: Laid-back with tranquil beaches it’s hard to believe this was the site of the last official battle of the US Army in the American-Vietnam war. From here you can explore more than
a dozen islands, although many visitors choose to stay at the beach, swimming, sunning, scuba diving, fishing and snorkelling. Don’t miss: The coastal towns of Kampot and Kep, as well as Bokor Mountain, are just two hours’ drive away. There are two shipwrecks off one of the islands that beckon keen divers. Best for: All ages, especially photographers, water-lovers and couples.
Who goes there: AmaWaterways, Aqua Expeditions, Avalon Waterways, G Adventures, Mekong River Cruises, Pandaw and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection. Cruisers like: Phnom Penh offers elegant French colonial architecture, the magnificent Royal Palace, dripping with gold, silver and precious stones, the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. More pleasant is the hilltop Wat Phnom, complete with monkeys. Or a stroll along the parklike riverside boulevard opposite the Royal Palace, flanked by cafes, shops and smart bars. Take a tuk tuk ride by day or return in the cool of the evening when the pace quickens. Don’t miss: Tour the city by private cyclo and visit the National
Museum, the Royal Palace and the stunning Silver Pagoda. Otherwise join a walking tour through the rural villages of Prek Bang Kong and Angkor. Best for: All ages. Getting around: Motorcycle taxis are cheap and plentiful. Royal Palace in Phnom Penh (left); a traditional Cambodian dancer at Angkor Wat (below)
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I N D O N E S I A The Hindu temple, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan in Bali
Beautiful beaches and a warm welcome beckon cruisers
he Indonesian government has made a significant push to increase its cruise tourism over the last two years. The country has a five-year goal to double its tourist numbers by 2020 to 20 million, and in 2018 reached an all-time high of 15.8 million people. In 2018, it is estimated 465 cruises visited Indonesian ports carrying 276,681 passengers, an increase of 31 per cent. The government hopes to reach a total of 500 cruise calls to the country this year. Bali’s new cruise terminal is about halfway to completion and set to be opened in 2020. The new facility, which is being built at Port Benoa, will help boost Indonesia’s tourism figures and the dredging of the 32
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SOUTH CHINA SEA SABANG
port will mean much larger cruise ships will soon be able to visit Bali. It’s expected the Port of Benoa will become a world-class port that will not only be able to accommodate super luxury yachts, but also larger cruise ships. There are hopes that it will also become a homeport in the future. Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board, Mr Ida Bagus Agung Partha, said the terminal was vital due to Denpasar’s current shortage of capacity for tourism arrivals. “We hope Benoa Port will open soon [as it has been delayed several times], as Bali is a hub to Indonesia and also the centre of tourism activity,” he said. Genting Dream, which has been homeported in Singapore since the end
INDONESIA of 2017, has new itineraries which visit North Bali and Surabaya.
/ The next 12 months Mr Indroyono Soesilo, Special Advisor to the Minister on Marine Tourism development, said Bali’s new cruise ship terminal will be a massive game changer for the country, attracting more cruise lines to Indonesia. “The Cruise Ship Terminal will be able to accommodate 5,000 passengers and 1,500 crew members, equal to 44 Boeing 737 planes,” he said. He also said there are plans to develop a second port in North Bali, which will be able to accommodate seven 1,000-passenger ships at a time, as well as larger ships such as the 3,350-passenger Genting Dream. “Celukan Bawang Port already has the sea level that fits the standard, so no further dredging is needed. The huge area of the port provides easy access for vehicles to transport arriving tourists to attractions,” he said.
MAJOR PORTS 9 BUSIEST PORT Benoa, Bali NUMBER OF PORT CALLS 61 The government also hopes to develop five other ports in Indonesia including Belawan in North Sumatra, Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, Tanjung Perak in Surabaya and Soekarno-Hatta in Makassar.
/ Things to do and see The iconic historic temple of Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and a must-see. It’s a ninth-century Mahayana temple in Central Java that is believed to have been abandoned following the 14th-century decline of
Hindu kingdoms in Java and Javanese conversion to Islam. Another stand-out destination is the Gili Islands – three tiny islands near the larger Lombok Island. They’re known for their sandy beaches fringed with palm trees as well as their coral reefs and sunken ships, perfect for divers. If you’re in the bustling capital city of Jakarta, try Namaaz Dining for modern twists on Indonesian classics. It’s the first restaurant in Indonesia to showcase molecular gastronomy cooking techniques.
/ Top places to stay Bali has long been a playground for international visitors and it offers worldclass accommodation. Nusa Dua, less than 20 minutes drive along a sweeping new highway from the cruise port at Benoa, is an enclave of five-star resorts. Options include Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa, Grand Hyatt Bali and Ayodya Resort Bali. In Jakarta, Hotel Mulia Senayan is an excellent choice, as it offers both luxury accommodation and fine dining.
INDONESIA: PORTS BALI (BENOA) Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Ponant, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea, Viking, Windstar Cruises. Cruisers like: With an extra day sometimes available here, guests may have time to visit the numerous temples and beaches in Southern Bali. Alternatively, visit the Balinese capital, Denpasar, with its “Gold Street” and bustling
four-storey market, or concentrate on the beaches and bars, cafes and restaurants of buzzy Kuta. Don’t miss: Ubud’s town centre with its artists’ galleries and quirky cafes, the maze-like central market and across the road, a palace which is still home to members of the local royalty. Not far away is the Holy Spring temple. Best for: All ages, romantic couples, surfers, shoppers and art-lovers. Getting around: Benoa is about 10 kilometres or a 30-minute drive from Denpasar and the airport. Taxis are available from outside the port terminal, and minivans cost about US$65 for a tour. Check your driver speaks English and agree firmly on the fare.
Cruises, Ponant, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea, Viking Cruises, Windstar Cruises. Cruisers like: Part of the Komodo National Park, this island is famous for the Komodo dragon, found only here and on some of the neighbouring islands. Don’t miss: Visiting some of the nearby islands such as Rinca and Flores for hiking and photography,
or boat trips around the islands. Best for: Nature-lovers and active people. Getting around: Ships cannot dock, so transfers are by tender. It’s two hours to Labuan Bajo airport via local boat. The luscious fruit at a Lombok market (left); the famous ninth century temple of Borobodur (below)
KOMODO ISLAND Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
L A O P D R The golden pagoda Wat Phra That Luang in Vientiane
Pandaw leads the way in exploring Lao PDR
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Pandaw, which is the main player in Lao PDR, has custom designed its vessels A to deal with the problems created by the shallower waters. The line will add a third VIETNAM river ship to its line-up, catering to the increased interest in the remote LUANG stretches of the upper Mekong. PRABANG PDR “There can be no waterborne VIENTIANE experience to match sailing through Laos: the fast river with its continual spate of white water, the jungle clad peaks, the gorges,” said Mr Paul AND Strachan, the founder of Pandaw. “Then there is the friendly welcome in every village, the ethnic diversity and the cultural riches. Traversing the CAMBODIA remotest parts of four very different countries, you see all of Southeast Asia, the lost and timeless.” V I E T N A M
hile cruising in Lao PDR is still considered quite niche, it is believed that tourism numbers in the landlocked country will continue to increase in the coming years. Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar have mastered their river cruise offerings, but Lao PDR is still developing its cruise strategy. Certainly, there is growing interest in Lao PDR, and more boutique cruise lines are seeing the potential and investing in the country with more ships and itineraries. While the Laotian government hoped to crack the five million tourist figure, by the end of September 2018, the country had welcomed only 2.9 million visitors.
LAO PDR / The next 12 months There’s lots happening in Lao PDR. Pandaw’s third ship will be deployed between Luang Prabang and sail to Jinghong in China. The itinerary includes visits to sites in Lao PDR, Thailand, Myanmar and China. The line has designed the ship, christened Sabeidee, in such a way that it can navigate the rapids that run through the Laotian gorges, as well as having a shallow enough draft to enable yearround voyages to China. The doubledecked vessel will have wraparound balconies, with an open-plan saloon and 14 staterooms, all finished in brass and teak. The company has said the itinerary tends to attract younger cruisers. In addition to Pandaw increasing its capacity in the region, the Minor Hotels group is launching a selection of river cruises along the Mekong River with their new line Mekong Kingdoms. Its flagship, the 42-metre, 13-cabin luxury barge Bohème, starts in Thailand’s Golden Triangle and ends in Lao PDR’s
MAJOR PORTS 2 BUSIEST PORT Luang Prabang/Vientiane NUMBER OF PORT CALLS Unknown Luang Prabang, while its other four vessels offer private, tailored excursions.
/ Things to see and do Vientiane, the capital of Lao PDR, has a splendid mix of French-colonial architecture and Buddhist temples such as the golden 16th-century Pha That Luang, which is a national symbol. Stroll along the boulevards and tree-lined streets to see shrines such as the Wat Si Saket which houses thousands of images of Buddha, as well as the Hindu shrine Wat Si Muang.
Many of the city’s landmarks are along the banks of the Mekong, so as visitors cruise the river between Lao PDR ports they’ll be treated to more sites such as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Vientiane also has some of the best bakeries in Southeast Asia – visit Common Grounds Cafe & Bakery for cookies and mango cheesecake. The Kuang Si Falls, a bucket list destination, is a three-levelled waterfall just 29 kilometres south of Luang Prabang.
/ Top places to stay Lao PDR is home to a number of smaller, boutique properties, such as Satri House in Luang Prabang, a mansion-style hotel with spacious rooms and air-conditioning, a restaurant, bar, full-service spa, two outdoor pools and a health club. The hotel is located close to the Royal Palace Museum and the night market. Also recommended is the intimate Sofitel Luang Prabang, which has 23 guest rooms, a restaurant, bar, full-service spa, outdoor pool and four spa tubs.
LAO PDR: PORTS LUANG PRABANG Who goes there: APT, Avalon Waterways, Azamara Club Cruises, Mekong River Cruises, Pandaw and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection. Cruisers like: Formerly the royal capital of Lao PDR, the old town centre is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The splendid Royal Palace Museum (Haw Kham) and the Wat Xieng Thong are among the best-known historical sites,
but the main street is dotted with many smaller wats (temples) such as Wat Hosian Voravihane which are well worth seeing. Come to town early to witness hundreds of monks walking the streets collecting alms from locals and visitors. Wat Chom Si is reached by 190 steps and worth the climb for the 360-degree views of the Mekong and farmlands. Don’t miss: The night market is a fascinating place to shop, with
stalls selling clothing, crafts and local street food. Take a 15-minute boat ride from town on the Mekong River to Ban Chan, a fascinating pottery village. Best for: Shoppers, adventurers. Getting around: The city is small enough to explore by foot or bike, but tuk tuks are widely available.
VIENTIANE Who goes there: APT, Mekong River Cruises and Pandaw. Cruisers like: Visitors are spoiled for choice with the many temples and Buddhist monuments. The golden stupa of the 16th-century Pha That Luang is 45 metres tall and said to contain a relic of the Lord Buddha. Also see Wat Si Muang, built on the ruins of a Khmer Hindu shrine, the Lao PDR National Museum, the Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan Buddhist monastery and the impressive stupa of That Dam. For a taste of French colonial charm, pop in to the elegant Settha Palace Hotel for a drink and old-world atmosphere.
Don’t miss: Buddha Park, 25 kilometres from the city at the edge of the Mekong River, was built in 1958 and contains a collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, scattered among the gardens and trees. The city also has plenty of street markets, selling silks, silver, Hmong bags and clothing. Best for: Everyone. Getting around: Taxis, tuk tuks and hire motorbikes are the most popular modes of transport. The Kuang Si three-tiered waterfall near Luang Prabang (left); Buddha Park in Vientiane (above) ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
M A L AY S I A
Big push for more ships bears fruit
alaysia is one of the region’s more mature cruise destinations, with an SOUTH increasing number of cruise lines CHINA SEA LANGKAWI SANDAKAN sending ships to freshly developed ports. With fantastic destinations such as PENANG KOTA Melaka, Kuala Lumpur and Penang, KINABALU Malaysia is attracting cruise lines such A as Celebrity Cruises, Regent Seven SI M A L A Y S I A KUANTAN KUCHING Y Seas, Princess Cruises, Viking Ocean LA KUALA Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Star Cruises, A LUMPUR M Norwegian Cruise Line, Genting IA ES PORT KLANG Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean. N MELAKA O CRUISE Over the past few years, Malaysia TERMINAL ND I has seen an encouraging number of cruise ships visit – between January and December 2017, a total of 599 international cruise ships with 924,885 passengers called at the country’s 11 ports, an increase of 27.3 per cent on the same period last year. 36
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The government has made a strong push to develop the country’s industry, with cruise tourism being a focus area for development over the next eight years. Late last year, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents proposed that Penang be turned into a homeport for cruise ships to cater for the growing cruise market in the region. President Datuk Tan Kok Liang said that Penang would create a better option for larger cruise ships, rather than docking in Singapore or Hong Kong. Last year, Royal Caribbean Cruises formed a joint venture with Swettenham Port Cruise Terminal in Penang to extend its berths to accommodate two mega cruise ships at the same time. The pier
MALAYSIA will be lengthened from the present 400 metres to 620 metres at a cost of about US$35 million. Oasis Class ships, the largest in the world, will be able to berth at the terminal by the end of 2019. Royal Caribbean’s Sean Treacy said Malaysia is now the fastest-growing market for Southeast Asia.
/ The next 12 months Plenty of major cruise lines are heading to Malaysia in 2019 as part of their Asian and World Voyages expeditions. Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, which will be homeported in Singapore from late 2019 to April 2020, has itineraries that include port calls in Malaysia. Princess Cruises’ new 2019 Asian itineraries will include an Annular Solar Eclipse cruise off the coast of Malaysia on 26 December 2019. Asia-Pacific cruise line Star Cruises will be deploying SuperStar Gemini to homeport in Port Klang, Penang and Langkawi, to sail the Straits of Malacca in 2019 till April 2020.
MAJOR PORTS 5 BUSIEST PORT Port Klang Cruise Terminal/ Kuala Lumpur
NUMBER OF PORT CALLS 435
Visitors can also find fabulous food on Jalan Alor, a stretch of road within Bukit Bintang boasting Chinese seafood restaurants and hawker stalls where you’ll feast on curry, roti prata and the famous fried noodle dish, char kway teow. Nature lovers should venture to the Cameron Highlands, which was developed in the 1930s as a major tourist destination. You’ll see vast tea estates and there are fantastic hiking trails in this cooler part of the country.
/ To see and do
/ Top places to stay
Known for its beaches and rainforests, as well as being a fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences, there’s much to do and see here. In Kuala Lumpur, the iconic Petronas Towers are impressive 88-storey skyscrapers boasting a visitors’ skybridge. If you’re after a spot of shopping, Bukit Bintang is known as the trendy district to pick up items from high-end European retailers as well as local fashion designers.
Kuala Lumpur has a wide range of major-brand hotels, such as the Mandarin Oriental, Le Meridien and Ritz-Carlton. Penang has a diverse accommodation mix. Travellers can choose from heritage properties such as the luxurious Seven Terraces, a former mansion, and Suffolk House, the former home of the British founder of Penang, Sir Francis Light, while the Eastern & Oriental Hotel offers a glimpse of colonial luxury.
MALAYSIA: PORTS PENANG Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, Silversea, Windstar Cruises. Cruisers like: Always popular for its beaches and food, there are also shopping malls and heaps of history. Wander the UNESCO World Heritage-listed area of George Town (Penang’s capital) with its old
shop fronts. Closer to the waterfront, a trendy cafe and bar scene is growing. Scattered throughout the city are the famous graffiti, murals ranging from life-sized to two storeys high. Don’t miss: Colourful and noisy Little India with its parrot fortune tellers and flower garlands. Best for: Food-lovers, families, almost anyone! Getting around: Cruise passengers can walk or be tendered to the city centre. A taxi will cost about US$14 an hour. Buses are infrequent.
KLANG, KUALA LUMPUR Who goes there: Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea, Windstar Cruises. Cruisers like: Port Klang Cruise Terminal is some distance from Kuala Lumpur, often simply called KL, but the city centre’s sleek modernism and cosmopolitan air make it well worth the trip. Take the lift to the observation deck
of the Petronas Towers. Thirty minutes out of town, visit the Batu Caves, with steep steps to the caverns and Hindu shrines, and plenty of cheeky monkeys. Don’t miss: If you like food, visit the wet and dry Pudu market, Little India or Chinatown. Shopping’s your thing? There’s everything from high-end malls to ethnic markets and stalls. Best for: Families, food lovers, shoppers.
Getting around: Port Klang Cruise Terminal is located about 50 kilometres from the city centre and about 75 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Taxis are available from the terminal, but there are a limited number. There is no public transport from the port. The 88-storey Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur (left); the famous Batu Caves in Selangor (above) ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
M YA N M A R Trainee monks in Myanmar
More Aussies enticed by the allure of the Irrawaddy
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yanmar has experienced steady cruise growth, especially with lines such as Pandaw and APT. The beautiful country, famous for its ancient pagodas and temples, untouched villages and spectacular countryside, is a growing ocean and river cruise MYANMA destination. Myanmar’s tourism figures grew from 300,000 visitors in 2010 BAGAN to a staggering 4.7 million in just five years. By the end of November 2018, 23 cruise ships visited the country, NAYPYIDAW carrying 21,700 visitors, an increase YANGON of more than 10,000 compared to the same period in 2017, said U Khin Maung Soe, Director of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
The ministry is discussing allowing cruise ships to dock in Mawlamyine township in Mon State and at Ngapali beach in Thandwe township, Rakhine State. The problem is there are no port services for the ships in these places. “Mawlamyine and Ngapali have no services for cruise ships. We are negotiating for anchorage with the townships,” said U Khin Maung Soe. Pandaw River Cruises, which specialises in Asian rivers, has itineraries to the Irrawaddy River and Irrawaddy Delta. Luxury lines such as APT and Scenic and boutique hotel brand The Strand, who has custom built ships to navigate the shallow Irrawaddy, also have regular sailings in Myanmar, between Yangon and Mandalay.
/ The next 12 months There are big plans for Myanmar over the next year. The Myanmar Andaman Resort has been refreshed and rebranded as part of an agreement between owner Tint Tint Myanmar group and Genting Cruise Lines to develop cruise facilities at Macleod Island. Cruisers who are looking for overnight or short stays can now visit the family-friendly destination. Macleod Island hosted day-trippers from Star and Genting Cruises in February this year and is looking forward to receiving cruisers from Seabourn, Silversea, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania in 2019. Luxury line Silversea’s new collection of land programs, also includes tours in Myanmar that encourage guests to experience local sights and culture.
/ Things to do and see If you’re visiting the pagodas and stupas of Bagan, check out the stunning Ananda
MAJOR PORTS 1 BUSIEST PORT Yangon NUMBER OF PORT CALLS 12 Temple, which was built in 1105 during the reign of King Kyanzittha of the Bagan Dynasty and is only one of four surviving temples in the city. Mandalay also has lovely temples, including the Golden Palace Monastery and the Maha Myat Muni Pagoda. Visit the Jade Market for dozens of stalls selling everything from the precious stone, gold and jewellery to local street food. If you enjoy the great outdoors, climb
Mount Popa, a volcano 1,518 metres above sea level. It’s best known as a Buddhist pilgrimage site with a number of Nat temples and relic sites atop the mountain. Take a stroll through the National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens, located in the Alpine town of Pyin Oo Lwin and modelled after the Kew Gardens of England. Bhamo is another must-visit destination, especially for river cruisers. Highlights include the Shwekyinar Pagoda and the Bamboo Bridge, which is rebuilt every year after heavy rains during the wet season. Be sure to try the traditional Burmese cuisine!
/ Top places to stay Five-star The Strand Hotel in Yangon is set in a British colonial building and the all-suite hotel dates back to 1901. The ritzy suites have high ceilings and lovely hand-carved wooden beds. The hotel is also just a short walk from the river, where you can step aboard your Strand cruise.
MYANMAR: PORTS Best for: Adventurers, photographers and couples. Getting around: Taxis are the best option – genuine ones have red licence plates and driver identification on the dashboard.
YANGON Who goes there: APT, Avalon Waterways, Azamara Club Cruises, Coral Expeditions, Holland America Line, Noble Caledonia, Oceania Cruises, Pandaw, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Scenic, Seabourn, Silversea. Cruisers like: Called the Garden City of the East, Yangon’s downtown area features a web of historic streets and British colonial architecture. The golden stupa Shwedagon Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in the world, can be sighted from almost anywhere in town.
Visit the Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha, carved from a single block of marble, and Taukkyan War Cemetery, where victims of the Burma (Death) Railway are buried. Don’t miss: The Myanmar Gems Museum is home to priceless rubies, sapphires and jade, as well as the world’s largest pearl. There are more gems at the Cultural Museum including the regalia of the last Myanmar King and his imperial throne. For affordable shopping head to Strand or Pansodan Street.
BAGAN Who goes there: APT, Avalon Waterways, Belmond, Noble Caledonia, Pandaw, Sanctuary and Scenic. Cruisers like: Bagan once had more than 10,000 Buddhist pagodas and stupas, of which 2,200 survive, dotted ethereally on the plains. Ananda is one of
the most famous temples, built in the 12th century with four gilded Buddhas. The three-storey Bagan Archaeological Museum houses rare objects including the original Myazedi inscriptions. Don’t miss: The Bagan Archaeological Zone and museum, the main drawcard for the country’s growing tourism industry, said to equal Angkor Wat for a culture hit. Best for: Adventurers, photographers and couples. The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon (left) the sun setting over Mandalay (below)
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T H E P H I L I P P I N E S The beautiful clear waters of Palawan
Plans to attract more cruise lines gather momentum
he cruise industry in the Philippines has attracted many cruise companies, with visitors flocking to visit the country’s beautiful islands. MANILA There was a 7.7 per cent growth in 2018 arrivals, reaching 7.1 million visitors. Contributing to this growth SOUTH was an increase in cruise passenger CHINA SEA arrivals from 117,000 to 142,000. With Royal Caribbean cruise ships BORACAY doing more calls in Subic, Manila, EL NIDO Ilocs and Boracay in 2019, “we’ve doubled the amount of business that we’ve seen in the last few years in the Philippines and we hope that growth T H E continues”, said Royal Caribbean managing director for Asia Pacific Ms Angie Stephen. There are also plans for a new international cruise terminal after a 40
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Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Philippine Reclamation Authority and the UAA Kinming Group Development Corp last year, which will attract many more cruise lines. The project comes under the National Tourism Development Plan, with targets to increase cruise visitors to 456,164 via 402 ship calls by 2022. Popular and iconic destination Boracay reopened in October last year after a six-month closure for a clean-up and review of environmental compliance. Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Star Cruises and Celebrity Cruises were among those that lined up for its reopening. Mr Jose Tuaño, President of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association, is optimistic that
THE PHILIPPINES the destination, which used to attract 2.2 million visitors, will recover its tourism market within 12 months or shorter . Asian luxury cruise line Dream Cruises last year announced it would be homeporting its newest ship, World Dream, in Manila after its sister company Star Cruises homeported SuperStar Virgo in Manila for sailings to Japan and Taiwan.
/ The next 12 months More cruise lines have announced they will be visiting the Philippines. Currently, lines such as Princess Cruises and Holland America Line are regular visitors. A Royal Caribbean cruise ship is set to make a maiden call to Ilocos Norte in 2019. To prepare for the arrival of the cruise ship, the Department of Tourism recently conducted a seminar on cruise tourism to prepare stakeholders and maximise the benefits of cruise shipping. Subic Pier is also gearing up for a busy year ahead, with six vessels arriving in January alone. From late 2018, cruisers at
MAJOR PORTS 3 BUSIEST PORT Manila NUMBER OF PORT CALLS 72 Subic Pier need only present their marine vessel tickets and passports to be eligible for a 14-day visa-free stay. “Right now we’re experiencing a phenomenal influx of cruise ships, and this is really a strong start for Subic, which recorded 17 arrivals last year,” said Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in a statement.
/ Things to do and see The densely populated bayside capital city of Manila is filled with Spanish colonial
architecture, resorts, shopping centres, markets and great restaurants. Intramuros, a walled city from the colonial era, is the heart of Old Manila and well worth exploring. Tourists also enjoy sights such as the Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago and San Agustin Church. Divers should take a trip to Coron Island in northern Palawan. It’s famous for its cave-diving and extensive wreck dives – one of which is considered to be in the top 10 wreck dives in the world. A popular sight are the rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras which are built into the natural contours of the hills.
/ Top places to stay For high-end accommodation in Manila, the five-star Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila boasts bay views, three dining options and a lagoon-style pool. If you’d rather stay outside the capital city, visit the private island resort of Amanpulo, which is all about off-grid luxury in beautifully appointed villas.
THE PHILIPPINES: PORTS Don’t miss: Notable landmarks include the Cultural Centre of the Philippines, the historic Manila Hotel lobby and the Manila Zoo. Best for: All ages, nature-lovers and bargain hunters. Getting around: The cruise terminal is located within walking distance of Old Manila. Taxis are the best way to get around. MANILA Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn and Silversea. Cruisers like: Manila still has something for everyone. History spans centuries from the walled Spanish settlement of Intramuros and the World Heritage 16thcentury San Augustin church, to the tranquil and touching Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. Keen shoppers should head to the many malls or the indoor-outdoor Greenbelt haven of Bonifacio.
Cruisers like: Visitors may choose to simply relax and drink in the beauty of the many beaches or try something more challenging such as cliff-diving, windsurfing, kiteboarding, sailing, snorkelling or scuba driving. Don’t miss: The Motag Living Museum for an understanding of Philippine history and culture.
Best for: Couples, active people. Getting around: Caticlan is Boracay’s main entry. It is a 30-minute boat ride from the jetty to the island of Boracay. There are plentiful taxis at the wharf. The old city of Intramuros (left); a parade in the capital (below left); the famous terraced rice paddies (below)
BORACAY Who goes there: Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, Silversea.
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S I N G A P O R E
A spectacular aerial view of Singapore’s harbour
Record cruise numbers for the City in a Garden
ingapore’s cruise industry has gone from strength to strength over the past 12 months with more cruise lines visiting and homeporting more ships for longer periods of time. Other initiatives such as the tripartite partnership between cruise lines, Changi Airport and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) through the Cruise Development Fund to promote fly-cruise; and Cruise Line International Association’s (CLIA) three-year partnership with STB to grow the Southeast Asian cruise industry, are clear indicators of the country’s commitment to cruise growth. The cruise sector in Singapore charted a record high passenger throughput in 2018 with 1.87 million arrivals, a 35% increase 42
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S I N G A P O R E MARINA BAY CRUISE CENTRE SINGAPORE SINGAPORE STRAIT SINGAPORE CRUISE CENTRE
from 2017. The highest increase in cruise visitor arrivals was from countries in the region, China (75.6%) and Bangladesh (50.7%). Cruise passengers on short breaks from close neighbours, such as Malaysia, have also increased 46.8%. ‘Our partnership with Singapore Tourism Board and the Changi Airport Group to promote Genting Dream’s Singapore sailings has borne fruit. Genting Dream has had a successful inaugural year-round homeport season and we have seen strong demand from cruise passengers in the region,’ said Genting Cruise Lines President Mr Kent Zhu. The island state has retained its title as the main cruising hub within Southeast Asia with Marina Bay Cruise Centre
SINGAPORE Singapore and Singapore Cruise Centre attracting a number of big cruise lines such as Princess Cruises, Dream Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Cunard, Silversea, Seabourn and Azamara Club Cruises. Royal Caribbean is set to send one of the largest ships in its fleet, Quantum of the Seas, to homeport in Singapore from November 2019 to April 2020, increasing its Singapore capacity by 30 per cent. Princess Cruises has increased its cruises around Asia including itineraries on Sapphire Princess from Singapore to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Its newest ship, Majestic, will be returning to Singapore in April 2019 on another Grand Asia voyage from Sydney to Hong Kong.
/ The next 12 months Singapore continues to target the South Asian market with STB in partnerships with popular music channel VH1 India, Indian mobile payments giant Paytm and even ride-hailing company Ola to run campaigns that will reach young families and digitally savvy young Indians. In 2019, Jewel Changi Airport will also
MAJOR PORTS 2 BUSIEST PORT Singapore NUMBER OF PORT CALLS 421
be launched. Located in front of Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal One, Jewel will offer a range of facilities including indoor gardens, retail and dining options, and a hotel. Jewel will also have a Multi-Model Transport Lounge offering services such as issuance of boarding passes and baggage transfer services for fly-cruise and fly-ferry passengers, making travelling via Singapore even more convenient.
/ Things to see and do The city state, with its fusion of cultures, is known for its wonderful food, especially
the local fare at hawker centres. The Maxwell Food Centre is famous for its Tian Tian chicken rice. For Michelinstarred quality dining, bustling Orchard Road boasts the French Les Amis, or Tsuta for amazing shoyu ramen. Singapore has a lovely cultural hub combining historical museums, temples and art galleries. The Peranakan Museum houses the world’s finest artefacts from the Straits-born people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage, or visit the Sultan Mosque in the historic Kampong Glam, which is the focal point for Singapore’s Muslim community. Nestled within Kampong Glam are boutiques such as Supermama, which doubles as an artists’ residency studio.
/ Top places to stay The modern and sleek Warehouse Hotel on the banks of the Singapore River won the 2018 Singapore Tourism Award for Best Hotel Experience. Five-star experiences include The Fullerton Bay Hotel and the famous Raffles Hotel. Find out more at VisitSingapore.com.
SINGAPORE: PORTS Getting around: Taxis are plentiful and well priced. The MRT subway system is also affordable and the fastest way to zip around the city.
SINGAPORE CRUISE CENTRE
MARINA BAY CRUISE CENTRE SINGAPORE Who goes there: Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Dream Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Silversea, Seabourn. Cruisers like: The terminal’s proximity to the CBD, shopping
boulevard Orchard Road, hawker centres and tourist attractions. The purpose-built, US$370-million twoberth cruise terminal opened in 2012 and is capable of hosting the world’s largest Oasis-class ships. Don’t miss: A stroll around Gardens by the Bay nature park. Best for: Family groups, business incentive tours, couples and baby boomers.
Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal Cruises, HapagLloyd, Ponant and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Cruisers like: The busy terminal, which is smaller than Marina Bay, has a lot of movement from ferries and more boutique ships. Nearby is the Sentosa HarbourFront Precinct, which has lots of shops, restaurants and cinemas. It is also a short distance from Sentosa Island, home to Universal Studios Singapore, as well as seven worldclass hotels. Don’t miss: Duty-free shopping with great discounts is available at the terminal. The lush Mount Faber tourist attraction with great views over Singapore is only a cable-car ride away.
Best for: Passengers sailing on smaller ships. Getting around: There are cabs at the centre, which will get you to the airport in 20 minutes, and the reliable MRT to take you to the CBD in about 15 minutes. It is also a ferry terminal that gives guests easy transfers to Indonesian islands such as Batam. Performers in Chinatown during Lunar New Year celebrations (left); the grand Sultan Mosque (below)
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T H A I L A N D
Boats in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand
Thailand has sights set on becoming a high-end cruise stop
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hailand has experienced one of the strongest cruise growths within the ASEAN nations. The country recorded tourism growth of 7.53 per cent by November 2018, despite experiencing poor weather conditions in the last year. The ports at Laem Chabang and Ko Samui continue to be well received by cruisers, prompting the Thai government to launch the Sattahip BANGKOK Commercial Port Development Project. The development includes KRABI the construction of ferry and deepwater cruise ship piers and terminals PHUKET as well as a high-speed train line. It is projected to be completed by 2022. The new port is set to revitalize tourism in Pattaya, making the coastal city the heart of tourism in the countryâ€™s east.
CAMBODIA LAEM CHABANG KO SAMUI
Passenger ferries are to connect Sattahip with three popular resort areas: Ko Samui, Hua Hin and the Trat Province islands. Royal Caribbeanâ€™s former regional head Mr Sean Treacy said Thailand is experiencing strong growth with ships such as Voyager of the Seas sailing to Phuket and Bangkok in 2019. Quantum of the Seas, one of the largest ships in the world, will port in Thailand in the early half of 2020. Malaysia charted the highest percentage growth, 15.52 per cent, in terms of tourist arrivals in Thailand. This reflects in the 2019 itineraries of Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Seabourn Cruises, which features calls in both Thailand and Malaysia in a sailing.
THAILAND / The next 12 months The Thai government is working hard to develop its port infrastructure, starting with the upgrade at Phuket. The Phuket Deep-Sea Port Company Limited received a 30-year concession from the Thai Treasury Department to manage four development phases over the next 18 months. The first phase includes building a 900-square-metre passenger terminal, which will include a port expansion to support cruise ships. The port, originally built for freight transport, will be lengthened from 360 metres to 420 metres to support two cruise ships at a time. Phase two includes restaurants and souvenir and duty-free shops, and phase three will add an exhibition hall. It then hopes to acquire land from the private sector to build luxury hotels around the port for pre- and post-cruise stays. Mandarin Oriental has announced it will
MAJOR PORTS 3 BUSIEST PORT Bangkok NUMBER OF PORT CALLS 291 be opening a new resort in Phuket in 2022, located on an undeveloped beachfront site on ‘Millionaire’s Mile’ on the west coast.
/ Things to see and do In Bangkok the Grand Palace is the opulent residence of the Thai royal family and a museum open to visitors. Stroll down frenetic Kao San Road, the buzziest street in the country, for roadside food and bright
lights. The capital has plenty of markets, including the enormous Chatuchak Weekend Market, and the Rod Fai, JJ Green and Asiatique night markets, which offer food, clothing, souvenir and craft stalls. There is an array of islands to visit when you cruise in Thailand. On the island of Ko Samui, visit the local fisherman village of Bo Phut where there are plenty of seafood restaurants and a Friday night market. If you’re docking in Phuket, there are plenty of beachside restaurants and bars, but you can also explore Phuket Old Town on foot or head to the Coqoon Spa.
/ Where to stay In Phuket, try The Naka Island Resort & Spa, Keemala Hotel or Amanpuri. In Ko Samui, you can check in at The Ritz Carlton, SALA Samui or Six Senses. In the capital, look at Ad Lib Bangkok Hotel, the Park Hyatt or 137 Pillars Suites and Residences.
THAILAND: PORTS BANGKOK Who goes there: Avalon Waterways, Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises, P&O, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, Silversea and Viking River Cruises. Cruisers like: The Chatuchak Weekend Market has more than 15,000 stalls. Elsewhere, there are temples such as the Temple of Dawn. Take a longtail motorboat along the Chao Phraya River and see how people live on the city’s waterways.
Don’t miss: The Grand Palace, perhaps the world’s most sumptuously decorated royal property. Best for: Everyone. Getting around: Most cruise ships dock at Laem Chabang, a two-hour drive from Bangkok. Taxis offer a fixed price to Bangkok and Pattaya.
KO SAMUI Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silversea. Cruisers like: Thailand’s thirdlargest island is an oasis ringed by pristine white sandy beaches. The brilliant corals are ideal for scuba
diving and snorkelling. Don’t miss: A trip to Mu Ko Ang Thong marine park. Best for: Everyone. Getting around: Cruise ships anchor off Nathon and take passengers ashore via tender. The city centre is a 15-minute walk. Bangkok’s Grand Palace (above left); Mu Ko Ang Thong marine park (above); Chatachuk Markets (left) ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
V I E T N A M The beautiful rivers of Vietnam
Vietnam wonâ€™t rest on its laurels as cruising continues to swell O
AN MA R
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surge of 66 per cent on the previous year. Da Nang Airport, which opened January VIETNAM 1 this year, will continue to bring plenty of travellers to the region, with direct flights from Bangkok and Hong Kong. HALONG The newly opened Halong HANOI International Cruise Port will also bring more cruisers to the region. DA NANG The new port allows for up to two large cruise ships to dock at the HO CHI ILAND same time, bringing more cruisers MINH CITY closer to the heart of Halong Bay. NHA Princess Cruises, which greatly TRANG CAMBODIA increased its capacity in Vietnam in 2018, remains strong for its 2019/2020 season. Majestic, Sun and Sapphire PHU Princess will be making calls to Phu My in QUOC 2019, while Diamond, Sapphire, Majestic and Sea Princess will visit in 2020.
ietnam was the sixth most-visited destination in Asia, according to figures from CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), and more Asians are travelling there than ever. The Mekong is a vital and growing artery for the Asian river cruise industry. Itâ€™s no wonder major cruise lines are investing in infrastructure, increasing port calls and sending more ocean and river ships. In 2018, there were 493 cruise calls in Vietnam, a 20 per cent increase on 2017. Chan May is the most-visited port in Vietnam with 159 calls in 2018, followed by Phu My, Ho Chi Minh City, with 139 calls. Da Nang also welcomed 100 arrivals of cruisers to Tien Sa port with 145,000 visitors in 2018, a
VIETNAM Vietnam is also a destination port for many world cruises including Seabourn Cruises, Viking Cruises, Cunard Line and Costa Cruises. Sean Treacy from Royal Caribbean said Vietnam is an increasingly important destination for the line and the port of Chan May, which services Hue and Da Nang, has been expanded to allow Quantum-class ships. The country’s most popular cruise ports include Tien Sa (Da Nang City), Chan May (Thua Thien Hue province), Phu My (Ba Ria Vung Tau province), Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa province), and Hon Gai (Ha Long).
/ The next 12 months Vietnam remains one of the most popular destinations for guests from Asia. The Mekong Jewel of the Uniword Boutique River Cruise Collection will debut on 3 January 2020, and sail 13-day itineraries on the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia, stopping in Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap and more.
MAJOR PORTS 4 BUSIEST PORT Chan May NUMBER OF PORT CALLS 493 The all-suite Super Ship is constructed with sustainable and eco-friendly materials, and will replace the Mekong Navigator. This year, new luxury line Paradise Vietnam has begun day sails of Halong Bay. Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas, designed and built for the Chinese market will debut in April 2019, and will be calling in Vietnam and the Philippines.
/ Things to see and do Vietnam has an array of landscapes – from modern bustling cities to nature, and
pagodas to fascinating modern history – so there is something for everyone. In Ho Chi Minh City, the Independence Palace is one of the most historic buildings, which houses artefacts from the Vietnam War. Visitors will see war rooms with amazing relics from the era. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Cúc Phuong National Park in the Ninh Binh Province has an excellent hiking and biking trail and was Vietnam’s first national park.
/ Where to stay If you’re looking for the ultimate luxury, the Park Hyatt Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City is a stunning hotel set in an historic French colonial building opposite the City Opera House. The elegant décor matches the classic exterior of the building. In Da Nang, check into the luxe Hyatt Regency Resort near the Museum of Cham Sculpture. For relaxation, Vinpearl in Nha Trang is a five-star resort that’s perfect for the entire family.
VIETNAM: PORTS HA LONG BAY Who goes there: Azamara Club Cruises, Avalon Waterways, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Ponant, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea Cruises, Uniworld, Viking River Cruises and Windstar Cruises. Cruisers like: Come here for the vibrantly painted houses, which echo French colonial times, and the local craft, such as silk, clothing, lacquer and other handicrafts. Take
a boat tour to caves and grottoes on the islands or take a ferry to Cat Ba National Park. Don’t miss: A cruise around the multitude of steep limestone karst islands in the bay. Best for: Everyone. Getting around: From the Bai Chay Tourist Wharf you can hire a taxi. Regular buses depart for Hanoi.
HO CHI MINH CITY Who goes there: APT, Avalon Waterways, Azamara Club
Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Ponant, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, Silversea, Uniworld, Viking River Cruises and Windstar Cruises. Cruisers like: Ho Chi Minh City is a huge city with remnants of the French colonial period. Highlights include the Jade Emperor Pagoda, Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum.
Don’t miss: The Cu Chi Tunnels used by the Viet Cong in the war. Best for: Families, food lovers, bargain hunters and shoppers. Getting around: There are various piers along the river. Trishaws and taxis are readily available. There are shuttle buses from the Phu My port. A sculpture of Ho Chi Minh in the city named after him (above); junks on beautiful Halong Bay (left) ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
The fleet in Asia As the popularity of cruising the region increases, so does the number of ships on offer.
outheast Asia is fast becoming one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world. And Asians are also becoming among the worldâ€™s most intrepid cruisers. While most take journeys in the region, increasing numbers are visiting favourite destinations like Europe, the Caribbean and even Alaska. Fascinating local itineraries are
being developed, with expedition and river cruise companies making a bid for rivers such as the Mekong, where you can now sail on some of the newest ships from Uniworld and Aqua Expeditions. You can explore the remote coast of Myanmar with Pandaw, and blue ocean lines are sending bigger and newer vessels to the region.
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
rincess Cruises is one of Asia’s favourite lines and many cruisers are repeat guests who sail with Princess again and again. A Princess cruise is an amazing experience – the perfect rejuvenation holiday, hence the catchcry “Come Back New”. Taking guests beyond their familiar home territory in comfort and style, a Princess cruise promises to be a relaxing holiday as well as an unforgettable adventure. These qualities and more have earned Princess Cruises the honour of being voted the top cruise line in Alaska 15 times by Travel Weekly. 50
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Young or old, guests feel revitalised on board whether they’re marvelling at the views from Tamatorizaki Observatory in the Japanese archipelago, or cruising from Singapore off-the-beaten track to Kotu Kinabalu. The delicious culinary offerings and attentive service are complemented by immersive shore excursions. Princess sails from ports in Singapore, Tokyo, Kobe, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Majestic Princess was built specifically for the Chinese market and tours Australasia, while Diamond Princess makes regular voyages around Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
/ DINING Princess Cruises take prides in serving every dish “designed for fresh” to satisfy the most discerning appetite. From hand-tossed pizza to gourmet dinners, you are spoilt for choice. Try Curtis Stone’s signature restaurant SHARE for a six-course fine-dining experience. Lovers of good Italian fare should try Sabatini’s Trattoria for handmade pasta dishes created from recipes by chef Angelo Auriana. If you fancy traditional pub grub, head to Salty Dog Gastropub for a savoury rib-eye burger and a range of beers to choose from. Suite guests have the option of Club Class Dining, and for a romantic dinner, the Ultimate Balcony Dining features a deluxe four-course meal in the privacy of your stateroom. / ACCOMMODATION Indulge in a relaxing night of sleep on the new Princess Luxury Bed, scientifically developed by sleep expert Dr Michael Breus. The bed comprises a plush pillow top, a medium-firm mattress for enhanced support, a European-inspired duvet and luxurious Jacquard-woven cotton linens. Guests can envelop themselves in blissful comfort worthy of royalty and wake up fully rejuvenated. / FACILITIES Guests who like to work out can head to the Lotus Spa fitness centre which offers exercise and spin classes. If you prefer to feel the wind in your face, there’s a jogging track. Get your heart pumping with Zumba classes by trained instructors or try yoga on deck. On select voyages, there are tai chi classes. On sea days, guests can visit the art gallery and boutiques for a bit of retail therapy. There is also a casino and library. / HIGHLIGHTS Providing guests with signature entertainment such as Movies Under the Stars and world-class wellbeing facilities including the Lotus Spa where you can choose from a detoxifying ocean wrap or an aroma stone therapy massage. You can chill out at The Sanctuary, a spainspired top-deck retreat for adults only. / WHAT’S NEW Across its entire fleet, Princess is rolling out the OceanMedallion, an interactive wearable personal concierge that lets you book restaurants and select food and beverages without moving from your lounge chair, and even unlock your cabin doors. Princess MedallionClass is on Caribbean and Regal, and coming to Royal, Crown and Sky Princess in 2019. Caribbean, Regal, Ruby and Royal Princess also offer the high-speed wi-fi MedallionNet which is capable of streaming music and video. It’s coming to Coral Princess in 2019. / FACT FILE Vessels: 18 Passengers: 672-3,560 Destinations: Worldwide, including Europe, Alaska, Japan and Asia. Inclusions: Accommodation; meals in selected restaurants;
entertainment; room service; onboard activities. / CONTACT Princess Cruises P: +65 6922 6788 (Singapore) W: princess.com
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
he sight of a Cunard ship gliding into port can take one’s breath away and it quickly becomes the centre of attention on the harbour. These iconic ships emulate old-world glamour: a luxurious setting to discover new destinations. The line has been sailing the historic transatlantic crossing, between New York and Southampton, for almost 180 years. You can experience the same glamour and style that Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn and Clark Gable enjoyed on board the luxury ocean liners of Cunard. The line’s newest ship built in 2010, Queen Elizabeth, along with Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, frequent Asia, visiting ports 52
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in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The Queen Mary 2 is also the only cruise shop that allows pets on board. The option is available on select transatlantic sailings where there are onboard kennels for cats and dogs. The kennels have a dedicated crew who will feed, clean and walk your pet. Gala balls with a live orchestra are held in the splendid Queens Room – the largest ballroom at sea. A highlight of a Cunard cruise is afternoon tea served in the Queens Room by white-gloved staff, accompanied by a string quartet. A small slice of heaven.
/ DINING All ships feature the main dining restaurant, Britannia, where the stylish and sophisticated atmosphere for the ship is continued. They serve breakfast and traditional three-course meals for lunch and dinner, and there’s also a dedicated vegetarian menu. Cunard’s specialty venues include a new steakhouse at The Verandah, Asian cuisine at Bamboo and Indian dishes at Coriander. If you are after Italian fare, head to La Piazza, and enjoy Mexican flavours at Aztec. Grill Suite guests also have exclusive access to the Queens Grill or Princess Grill restaurants where there’s an expanded à la carte menu and table-side cooking. Grill Suite guests also share an outdoor terrace, which is popular for alfresco lunches. / ACCOMMODATION Options range from inside cabins at about 14 square metres to the Grand Duplex Suites at 209 square metres. Top of the range is the Queens Grill, which includes the exclusive Grills Lounge, a private deck and a butler. Get quality rest in a luxuriously furnished space and tailor your space with your choice from the pillow concierge menu. / FACILITIES For ultimate relaxation, visit the Canyon Ranch spa and thermal suite or update your fitness routine at the gym, which has a range of fitness classes and expert personal trainers. For the creative and curious minds, visit the art gallery to indulge or even take up watercolour classes. Talks and seminars by notable guest speakers are also available on board. The fleet is fitted out with a casino, cinema, boutiques (with brands such as Harrods), lounges, bars and clubs. Queen Mary 2, which hosts the World Space Week cruise, also has a 3D cinema and planetarium. / HIGHLIGHTS Cunard organises unique event cruises such as the Transatlantic Fashion Week with headline names such as Stephen Jones OBE and Stuart Weitzman. Also, look forward to a Big Band Ball and the QM2 Literature Festival at Sea. The line also has World Voyages which take you across multiple oceans and continents over about 100 nights. / WHAT’S NEW Cunard has launched a line-exclusive Canyon Ranch spa concept, Mareel Wellness & Beauty. Speaking to its name, which means ‘phosphorescence of the ocean’, the spa décor features hues of blue, green and pale coral and its new signature treatment features marine-based products. Available now on Queen Elizabeth and Victoria, and coming to QM2 in 2020.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 3 Passengers: 2,081-2,691 Destinations: Worldwide, including the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australasia. Inclusions: Accommodation; main meals at venues as per your accommodation class;
in-suite bar for Queens Grill guests; live music and theatre; guest speakers; daily activities such as dance or bridge lessons. / CONTACT Cunard W: cunard.com
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
enting Hong Kong’s Dream Cruises caters to the growing high-end market in Asia, with the highest level of guest service and comfort in the region. New for 2019 is Explorer Dream, a 1,856-passenger vessel visiting Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam, and for the first time Dream Cruises will sail outside Asian waters with Australia and New Zealand itineraries. The fleet’s inaugural ship Genting Dream is homeported in Singapore while her sister
ship World Dream is based in Nansha (Guangzhou). Genting Dream offers Singapore weekend getaways and cruises to Thailand, Indonesia, and Cambodia. World Dream has Okinawa, Vietnam and weekend Hong Kong itineraries. Genting Dream accommodates 3,360 guests and 2,030 crew – the best crew-to-guest ratio in Asia-based cruising – and features hull artwork by Chinese pop artist Jacky Tsai. World Dream accommodates 3,376 passengers.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 3 Passengers: 1,856-3,376 Destinations: China, Vietnam, Okinawa, Indonesia, North Bali, Malaysia, Thailand and Australasia.
/ DINING More than 35 cafes, restaurants and bars capture flavours of Asia and the world: from Mark Best’s Seafood Grill and Prime Steakhouse to Silk Road for fine Cantonese cuisine. There is also 24-hour dining at Blue Lagoon. / ACCOMMODATION More than 70 per cent of staterooms feature private balconies, and 100 connecting rooms make family 54
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and larger group vacations easy. The exclusive Dream Palace is two floors of lavish suites featuring Europeanstyle butler service and special guest privileges. / FACILITIES Guests can enjoy the Zouk Beach Club, a bowling alley, two submersibles, a water park, a climbing wall, Crystal Life spa and Johnnie Walker House, where guests can taste and buy rare whiskies.
/ CONTACT Dream Cruises P: +65 6808 2288 E: reservations@ dreamcruiseline.com W: dreamcruiseline.com
Regent Seven Seas Cruises / DINING The main dining room is the 570seat Compass Rose, and specialty restaurants include French spot Chartreuse, speciality steakhouse Prime 7, Pan-Asian eatery Pacific Rim and fine Italian food and wine venue Sette Mari At La Veranda.
he four-ship luxury line suits well-heeled and well-travelled couples aged over 50 who enjoy good food, great itineraries, excellent service and lively entertainment. A fifth ship, Seven Seas Splendor, is scheduled to debut in early 2020. Ships are stylish and comfortable with wide corridors, and open seating so guests can dine when and with whom they like. The passenger-space ratio is one of the highest in the cruise industry and all the top suites have butler service. Itineraries are all-inclusive with unlimited free shore excursions. Onboard activities include wine and cheese tastings and cooking classes at the Culinary Arts Kitchen.
/ ACCOMMODATION Spacious suites range from 28 to 411 square metres with walk-in wardrobe, balcony, twin-basin marble bathrooms and L’Occitane and Guerlain toiletries. There’s an in-suite coffee machine and the mini bar is replenished daily with complimentary beverages.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 4 Passengers: 490 -750 Destinations: Worldwide, including Alaska, Africa, Asia, Pacific, Bermuda, Cuba, North Europe, South America, Caribbean, Mediterranean. / CONTACT Regent Seven Seas Cruises W: rssc.com
/ FACILITIES Pool, hot tubs, library, casino, card room, boutiques, Canyon Ranch spa, fitness and wellness centre, and beauty parlour.
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Seabourn / DINING Ample seating invites guests to dine where, when and with whom they wish. Food is prepared to order and served in style. All dining, spirits, wines, champagne and caviar are complimentary.
eabourn’s five intimate ships, Seabourn Ovation, Encore, Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, comprise the newest, most modern and uniform fleet in the ultra-luxury segment and the vessels have been repeatedly named the best small ships in the world. Seabourn’s unique appeal is due to its intimate-sized ships and a crew numbering nearly as many as guests. Encore and its sister ship Ovation have the larger capacity with about 300 suites. Global itineraries visit must-see ports and hidden gems where larger ships cannot go. Seabourn’s ships offer high-end amenities and features, including the largest spa on any luxury ship.
/ ACCOMMODATION Suites measure 27.5 to 133 square metres with ocean views. Most have private verandas, and they feature a comfortable living area; queen or twin beds; fully-stocked bar and refrigerator; large TV; and spacious marble bathroom.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 5 Passengers: 450–604 Destinations: Worldwide, extensive itineraries in Southeast Asia including Phuket, Cambodia, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Long Bay and Benoa. / CONTACT Seabourn W: seabourn.com
/ FACILITIES Restaurants, 24-hour room service, library, computer centre, concierge and destination services, lounges and bars, outdoor pools, golf putting course, shuffleboard, card room, casino and duty-free shops.
Crystal Cruises / DINING Main dining room Waterside has open seating and no reservations; Marketplace does breakfast and lunch, and becomes a Brazilian steakhouse in the evenings; Silk is a Chinese al fresco venue; Prego serves Italian cuisine; and Umi Uma does Japanese/Peruvian fusion.
he most-awarded cruise line has two ocean-going ships – the newly refurbished Crystal Serenity, and Crystal Symphony, both firmly established in the five-star category. Crystal Cruises also has five river ships Crystal Bach, Debussy, Mahler, Mozart and Ravel, and one luxury yacht, Crystal Esprit. Its first exploration vessel, Crystal Endeavor, is due in 2020. The elegant line has a loyal clientele who are well travelled and wealthy, and expect good food, fine wine and excellent service. Suites come with a butler and the all-inclusive cruise means champagne on tap, chocolates, canapés, afternoon tea, fine wine and spirits. 56
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/ ACCOMMODATION Serenity’s 2018 refurbishment has added 36 new Seabreeze Penthouse Suites on Deck 10 ranging from 34 to 45.6 square metres. The suites come with a coffee machine, well-stocked mini-bar and marble bathrooms. / FACILITIES Two swimming pools, bars and lounges, fitness centre, spa, Computer University@Sea, library, theatre, boutiques, putting green.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 8 Passengers: 848–980 Destinations: Extensive itineraries to all seven continents. / CONTACT Crystal Cruises E: internationalsales@ crystalcruises.com W: crystalcruises.com
ith a total of nine ships in its global fleet, Silversea doesnâ€™t just cover the luxury cruise scene, it also offers expedition journeys on board Silver Galapagos, Silver Explorer, Silver Cloud and Silver Discoverer and calls at more than 800 destinations around the world. Within Asia, Silver Discoverer cruises Japan and Southeast Asia, while Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper sail from Singapore. The luxurious ships have been designed with spacious
/ DINING Expedition ships have one to three eateries featuring continental and regional specialties as well as cocktails at the outdoor terrace or piano bar. Other vessels include fine-dining French restaurant La Dame, Italian eatery La Terrazza, teppanyaki specialist Kaiseki, and the poolside Grill for casual dining.
accommodation boasting ocean-view suites and private balconies. It also prides itself on serving fine cuisine throughout its fleet. With all-inclusive fares, guests receive butler service, transport into town, beverages such as select wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees and soft drinks, and all gratuities are included. On the expedition ships, fares cover the use of adventure gear and tours, room service, butler service and onboard lectures.
/ ACCOMMODATION Suites from 14 square metres, flat-screen TV, wardrobe, radio/alarm with iPod dock. / FACILITIES Beauty salon, lounge, fitness centre, Jacuzzi, library, snorkel area, internet cafe, theatre, boutique shops.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 9 Passengers: 100â€“596 Destinations: Alaska, Antarctica, Arctic, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, New England, Caribbean and Central America, Galapagos, Mediterranean, Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia, Northern Europe and the British Isles, Russia, South America. / CONTACT Silversea W: silversea.com
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ceania Cruises is one of the world’s largest luxury ocean cruise line, with a fleet of six ships. Oceania is renowned for its gourmet culinary experience inspired by chef Jacques Pepin, and the line appeals to seasoned travellers who love their food, wine and exotic destinations. Oceania has a diverse cruise itinerary and calls at 400 ports across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and the Americas in
/ DINING The Grand Dining Room serves European cuisine and healthy dishes; Polo Grill offers prime steaks; Jacques does French country cuisine; Red Ginger is an Asian eatery; the Terrace Café does all-American dining; and 24-hour room service is available. / ACCOMMODATION There are nine cabin types, ranging from the 15 square58
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spacious and elegant ships which allow guests to travel in style and comfort. Oceania’s Insignia and Nautica call at a number of Asian ports including Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. Regatta, the flagship of the line’s fleet, makes regular calls to Sydney and Auckland during the cruise season. Regatta has four unique open-seating restaurants and 342 luxurious suites catering for 684 passengers.
metre Inside Stateroom to the luxurious 92 squaremetre Owner’s Suite. Mini-bar with free and unlimited soft drinks and bottled water are replenished daily. / FACILITIES Artist loft, Monte Carlo-style casino, pool, Canyon Ranch spa, library, bars, headline acts and shows at the Lounge and dancing at Horizons. Afternoon tea with a string quartet at Horizons is served on sea days.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 6 Passengers: 684–1,250 Destinations: Africa, Alaska, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Baltic, Scandinavia, Canada, New England, Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, the Mediterranean, South America and the South Pacific. / CONTACT Oceania Cruises W: oceaniacruises.com
Viking Ocean Cruises
iking has six small, deluxe ocean-going cruise ships catering for 930 guests each. This allows Viking to go where larger ships cannot reach and guests are able to get to know the destination and cultures at a more relaxed pace. There are no casinos, no kids, no umbrellas in drinks, no art auctions and no inside cabins onboard Viking cruise ships. Instead, Viking ocean cruise ships often spend two nights at destinations to allow guests time to
immerse themselves in the local culture. It is what the line calls the “Viking Difference” which sets it apart from other cruise ships. The line’s newest ship, Viking Orion, will cruise Southeast Asia in October 2019, sailing from Hong Kong and visiting Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Viking is an inclusive cruise with free wi-fi, complimentary wine and beer at lunch and dinner, ground transfers and one shore excursion at every port of call.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 6 Passengers: 930 Destinations: Scandinavia, Baltic, the Mediterranean, Americas, Caribbean, Asia, Australia and Africa.
/ DINING Main venue The Restaurant has open seating and al fresco options for good weather; The Chef’s Table has an inventive set menu with wine pairing; and Manfredi’s does Italian fare with a good atmosphere. For a small extra fee, a meal at The Kitchen Table includes an in-port, chef-guided market visit and a hands-on cooking experience. Afternoon tea is served daily.
/ ACCOMMODATION Staterooms range from 25 to 31 square metres, all with balconies, large bathrooms with heated floors, anti-fog mirrors, Freyja toiletries, plush robes and slippers, and complimentary movies on demand.
/ CONTACT Viking Ocean Cruises W: vikingcruises.com
/ FACILITIES Shuffleboard, golf putting, yoga, theatre for evening shows, bars, lounges, fitness stations with a view. ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
Holland America Line / DINING The Dining Room is the main restaurant, and the Lido does casual meals. Specialty restaurants include Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto for Italian cuisine, Tamarind for Asian fare and Rudi’s Sel de Mer for contemporary French. All specialty restaurants charge an additional fee.
AL has been cruising for nearly 145 years, offering more than 500 itineraries to 100 countries. The mid-sized ships – it has a global fleet of 15 – are classic and well appointed. Westerdam sails regularly to Asia calling at Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia before heading Down Under. In November 2019, the Westerdam sails the 28-Day Far East Discovery from Singapore to Hong Kong, and in 2020, there’s the 30-Day Far East Discovery, Taiwan & Japan Collector from Singapore to Shanghai.
/ ACCOMMODATION Neptune Suites range from 43 to 79 square metres and Spa Ocean View Suites range from 16 to 26 square metres. Many staterooms have verandas for al fresco dining or sunbathing in private.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 15 Passengers: 835–2,650 Destinations: Europe, Russia, China, India, Egypt, Vietnam and Cambodia. / CONTACT Holland America Line W: hollandamerica.com
/ FACILITIES Cooking classes, wine tasting, digital and book workshops, BB King’s Blues Club, theatre, fitness centre, spa and yoga.
Norwegian Cruise Line / DINING An array of eating areas include two complimentary dining rooms; a buffet; and fusion restaurants serving Japanese, Thai and Chinese cuisines. Specialty dining includes French cuisine at Le Bistro and Mexican at Los Lobos.
orwegian Cruise Lines visits a number of destinations in Canada, Alaska, USA, South America and Europe. Alaska is one of its most popular itineraries with its newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, sailing the region. With Norwegian Joy homeported in Shanghai and Tianjin to target the Chinese cruise market, there are plenty of itineraries in the region. Onboard, there is a range of entertainment for adults and children, from broadcasts of big sporting events to the largest race track at sea. There’s also the Galaxy Pavilion for simulator rides and virtual reality games. 60
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/ ACCOMMODATION Norwegian is one of the only lines to cater for singles, with singlesonly bar and single-occupancy studios. At the top of the scale, The Haven is an exclusive enclave of suites at the top of the ship with a private courtyard, private spa access and butler service. / FACILITIES Multiple pools and hot tubs, casino, spa and fitness centre and theatre.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 17 Passengers: 1,928–4,500 Destinations: Canada, USA, Alaska, South America, Asia and Europe. / CONTACT Norwegian Cruise Line W: ncl.com
Azamara Club Cruises
zamara’s almost-identical four-star ships, Azamara Quest, Azamara Pursuit and Azamara Journey, have been revitalised to exude modern elegance. They are best suited to mature couples who appreciate fine food and a country-club feel. Spirits, beer, wines and gratuities are included in itineraries. Suite guests are provided with an English butler service, four hours internet access per guest, one complimentary bag of laundry, dining in
specialty restaurants, complimentary in-room spirits and afternoon tea service, plus priority embarkation and debarkation for veranda guests. The line is famous for organising a complimentary AzAmazing Evening on most voyages at a special onshore venue. It is also known for spending more time in port with overnight stays so guests can explore and immerse themselves in local cultures.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 3 Passengers: 684–690 Destinations: Asia, Alaska, Mediterranean, northern and western Europe, Cuba, Australia, New Zealand, Panama Canal, Central and North America and South America. / DINING Main dining at Discoveries Restaurant and Bar; specialty restaurants Aqualina and steakhouse Prime C; casual meals and snacks at Windows amd Mosaic cafés; and the new Swirl & Top self-serve frozen-yoghurt station. / ACCOMMODATION Veranda staterooms are from 16.3 square metres with
flat-screen TV, air-conditioning, desk; suites from 24.8 square metres with veranda, daily fruit basket, fresh-cut flowers, shoe-shine service and a flat-screen TV.
/ CONTACT Azamara Club Cruises W: azamaraclubcruises.com
/ FACILITIES Spa, acupuncturist, fitness centre, hair salon, sun deck, cabaret lounge, casino, jogging track, swimming pool and hot tubs. ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
Royal Caribbean International
oyal Caribbean International continues to grow its presence in Asia, with three ships calling in regional ports, including Asiaâ€™s largest and most revolutionary ship, Quantum of the Seas, the 18-deck, 168,666-tonne vessel which has redefined cruising with her many first-at-sea amenities. Quantum will homeport in Singapore for six months from November 2019 to April 2020 with 34 sailings bringing 150,000 guests to the region. The all-new Spectrum of the Seas, designed specifically for the Asian market and the first of the Quantum Ultra Class ships, will 62
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depart Shanghai from June 2019 on itineraries of four or five nights around Japan. From late 2019, Spectrum will reposition to Hong Kong to offer cruises to Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines. Voyager of the Seas will have her longest Southeast Asian cruise season ever when she calls Singapore home from April until June this year, offering about 90 sailings to regional destinations. Royal Caribbean has also partnered with Port of Penang authorities to expand the berth facilities at Swettenham Pier to accommodate two large cruise ships at the same time.
/ DINING Specialty dining venues include Chef’s Table, a private five-course culinary experience; 150 Central Park for food and wine pairing; and Hooked Seafood for a taste of New England-style seafood. There are also plenty of bars and lounges for a post-dinner drink or cocktail by the pool. Quantum Class: Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, Jamie’s Italian, Michael’s Genuine Pub, Izumi Japanese Cuisine. Voyager Class: Izumi, Chops Grille Steakhouse, Johnny Rockets diner and Giovanni’s Table. / ACCOMMODATION Four different classes – Interior Staterooms, Oceanview Staterooms, Balcony Staterooms and Suite Staterooms – give you options when it comes to accomodation. Quantum Class: Loft Suites; Virtual Balcony interior staterooms that come with real-time view of the ocean and destinations; FamilyConnected Staterooms; and Studio Staterooms for single travellers. Voyager Class: Family Suites and Staterooms; and Promenade Staterooms with windows overlooking the Promenade. / FACILITIES Royal Caribbean is known for its first-at-sea innovative features, notably the North Star elevated glass capsule, Two70 transformative venue and multimedia performance space, Zip Line, AquaTheatre, Central Park, surf and skydiving simulators, ice-skating rink and Royal Promenade. / HIGHLIGHTS Quantum Class: North Star, Two70, SeaPlex, Ripcord by iFly skydiving simulator and Bionic Bar. Voyager Class: Royal Promenade, DreamWorks Entertainment, full-sized sports Court and Studio B ice skating rink. / WHAT’S NEW Royal Caribbean will launch Spectrum of the Seas in 2019. The new ship will feature virtual-reality thrills in the Sky Pad and karaoke in your own private 3D cinema in the new Ultimate Family Suite. Throughout Voyager’s Southeast Asian cruise season she will offer about 90 sailings of three to nine nights from Singapore to a variety of popular regional destinations. Quantum will be the biggest ship in Asia when she is homeported in Singapore from November 2019 to April 2020, with 34 sailings during the period.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 27 Passengers: 2,000–6,400 Destinations: Worldwide, 272 ports in 77 countries across six continents. What’s included in the price: Accommodation; all meals in main dining and buffet restaurants; room service; most entertainment and
activities including all theatre and ice shows; Adventure Ocean activities for kids and teens; most DreamWorks Entertainment programs. / CONTACT Royal Caribbean International P: +65 6305 0033 W: royalcaribbean.com.sg
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hen the revolutionary Celebrity Edge debuted at the end of last year, premium line Celebrity Cruises expanded to have a global fleet of 13 cruise ships. Another three Edge-class ships are on the drawing board for the next four years. With the unmistakable X on its funnel, Celebrity cruise ships are renowned for food, fun activities and casual ambience, combining European hospitality with warm, engaging service.
There are two ships cruising in Asia: Celebrity Millennium, one of the lineâ€™s Millennium-class ships, frequently sails around Southeast Asia from Singapore visiting Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China and South Korea. Journeys range from 10 to 14 nights. Celebrity Eclipse, a Solstice-class cruise ship, will be sailing on a 16-night itinerary from Singapore calling at Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam in October 2020.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 13 Passengers: 2,138â€“3,046 Destinations: Alaska, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Canada, Europe, South America and South Pacific. / DINING Options include contemporary main restaurants; speciality venues Murano and Qsine; vibrant Italianinfluenced steakhouse Tuscan Grille; and Asian cuisine at Silk Harvest. Foodies can also attend food and wine pairings, take mixology classes and grill their own steak. / ACCOMMODATION All suites have European-style butler service with 64
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breakfast, lunch or dinner in-suite, afternoon tea and complimentary tea or coffee on your balcony. State rooms vary from standard cabins to the luxurious and spacious Penthouse Suite at 133 square metres. / FACILITIES Spa, fitness centres, duty-free shopping, casino bars, lounges and clubs, new rooftop cinema and the option for late checkout.
/ CONTACT Celebrity Cruises W: celebritycruises.com
APT / DINING Expect gourmet cuisine onboard any of APT’s river ships. The chefs use regional produce, and open-seated dining means guests can dine when they like, with whom they like. On some ships, there is an alfresco dining option. Complimentary beverages are also served throughout the cruise.
ne of the most-recognised cruise companies, APT specialises in river cruises around the world – from the historic cities and towns of Europe to the temples and jungles of Asia. In Europe, APT explores the Rhine, Main, Danube, Moselle, Seine, Douro, Rhône and Garonne rivers, plus Russia’s Volga, Svir and Neva rivers. In Vietnam, food-lovers can cruise the Mekong with world-renowned Australian-born Vietnamese chef Luke Nguyen, who will take guests out into the produce markets of Ho Chi Minh City. Alternatively, cruise the Irrawaddy in Myanmar, the Lower Ganges in India, the Yangtze in China, or the Nile in Egypt.
/ ACCOMMODATION Suites are spacious and most have outside views and elegant ensuites. Cabins range from about 16 square metres up to 28 square metres for a Royal Suite.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 18 Passengers: 14–200 Destinations: Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Europe, India, Africa and Russia. / CONTACT APT W: aptouring.com
/ FACILITIES Wi-fi, free bicycle use, library, lounge and bar, beauty salon and massage therapist.
Travelmarvel / DINING RV La Marguerite has the Mekong Restaurant, a lounge and bar. RV Princess Panhwar has the Mandalay Restaurant and a lounge. Both ships offer Western and Asian-inspired dishes. Local beer and spirits are included with lunch and dinner.
ravelmarvel operates two ships in Asia. RV La Marguerite sails the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia while RV Princess Panhwar cruises the Irrawaddy in Myanmar. RV La Marguerite has colonial elements with a contemporary edge while RV Princess Panhwar is a sleek modern ship with Asian-inspired decor. On Mekong river cruises, onboard experts teach guests about local traditions and culture. Irrawaddy cruises are 14-night journeys from Yangon to Mandalay. There is a two-to-one staff ratio on both ships.
/ ACCOMMODATION Each ship has a number of different suite categories. RV La Marguerite’s luxurious suites have French Colonial-inspired decor. RV Princess Panhwar’s suites start from 26 square metres.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 2 Passengers: 43–72 Destinations: Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. / CONTACT Travelmarvel W: travelmarvel.com.au
/ FACILITIES Bar, library, sundeck, spa, fitness centre and gift shop.
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Avalon Waterways / DINING Avalon has FlexDining and in 2019 is offering a complimentary picnic lunch for guests to take off the ship. Avalon’s cruises include full buffet breakfasts and lunches, four-course à la carte dinners and afternoon tea and snacks. For Asian river cruises local beer and spirits are available throughout the day and wine is included at lunch and dinner.
valon Waterways operates one of the most modern fleets in Europe and also cruises the Yangtze, Ganges, Irrawaddy and Mekong Rivers in Asia and Peru’s Amazon River. All ships offer luxury and style. Some of the highlights of the Yangtze River cruise include visits to the Forbidden City, Imperial Palace and Great Wall. On the Irrawaddy, guests can visit a monastery to present alms to the monks. You will also meet children at a village school. In Europe, guests have the option of cruising on the Rhine, Seine, Danube or do a multi-river cruise.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 21 Passengers: 36–392 Destinations: Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, China and India. / CONTACT Avalon Waterways W: avalonwaterways.com
/ ACCOMMODATION In Southeast Asia, suites are luxurious, about 22 square metres, and have floor-to-ceiling slidingglass doors and ensuites, Egyptian cotton linens and slippers. / FACILITIES Lounge, club and bars, fitness centre, library, hair salon, complimentary wi-fi, whirlpool.
Pandaw / DINING Dining on Pandaw’s ships focuses on local cuisine and exotic foods. Breakfast and lunch are buffets. Guests who do not enjoy spicy food are offered a European alternative. Dinner is table-service style and at least two nights are themed.
he 16 beautiful Pandaw ships that sail the rivers of Southeast Asia, India and China are finished in brass and teak, and designed to navigate shallow waters, so they can reach remote parts of Asia. Pandaw cruises the Irrawaddy and Chindwin in Myanmar and the Mekong between Ho Chi Minh City and Angkor Wat. Guests can take cooking classes which include exploring local markets. Pandaw is pioneering new programs on the Red River in Northern Vietnam, the Upper Mekong in Lao PDR and India’s Brahmaputra, Ganges and Hooghly rivers and Kerala backwaters. 66
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/ ACCOMMODATION A cabin onboard a Pandaw ship, is well sized – most are about 15 square metres – and has twin beds, air-conditioning and French windows. The bathrooms are equipped with kimono robes, slippers and mineral water. / FACILITIES Spa, painting, photography, pool table, talks and presentations.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 16 Passengers: 20–60 Destinations: Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. / CONTACT Pandaw E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: pandaw.com
Scenic / DINING Crystal Dining, the main restaurant, serves breakfast, lunch and fourcourse dinner, buffet and à la carte menus available. Specialty restaurants include Portobellos and L’Amour for Italian, French or Portuguese fine dining; River Café for light meals and snacks; and Table La Rive, a six-course degustation paired with wines for Diamond Deck guests.
cenic river cruise ships are like five-star floating hotels with all-encompassing facilities including a pool, sauna, mini-bar (which is restocked daily), wi-fi and butler service. The line launched Scenic Spirit on the Mekong and Scenic Aura on the Irrawaddy in 2016. Spirit has 34 suites, all with balconies, while Aura has the largest one-bedroom balcony suites, up to 70 square metres, on the river. Scenic Freechoice allows guests to tailormake their shore excursions: whether visiting Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, U-Bein Bridge in Amarapura or a vineyard in Mandalay.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 16 Passengers: 68-169 Destinations: France, Germany, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Ecuador, South America, North America, Europe, Russia. / CONTACT Scenic W: scenic.com.au
/ ACCOMMODATION Suites from 24 to 70 square metres, with balcony, separate lounge and dining area, and satellite television. / FACILITIES Sun deck, 24-hour room service, pool, sauna, hair salon, open-air cinema and wellness centre.
Heritage Line / DINING The chefs on board source local produce and local cuisine features prominently on the menu. / ACCOMMODATION Staterooms from 24 square metres; suites from 48 square metres, with floor-to-ceiling windows and balcony. There are a number of different suites – the top of the range is the Royal Suite which has a private Jacuzzi and terrace.
eritage Line offers Mekong cruises on two beautifully appointed river vessels – Jahan and Jayavarman. Both ships emulate the glories of a bygone era. The line’s signature vessel, Jahan, is considered its most romantic ship, evoking the opulent vessels of British India. The line also has three high-end boutique junks plying the waters of Halong Bay – the “three sisters” Jasmine, Violet and Ginger, named after native flowers. In Myanmar, Anawrahta, built to resemble a British-Colonial paddle-steamer, cruises the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 6 Passengers: 46–52 Destinations: Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. / CONTACT Heritage Line W: heritage-line.com
/ FACILITIES Sun deck, spa, gym, steam rooms, observatory and pool (Jahan only).
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Uniworld / DINING Le Salon Lounge with full-service bar, Le Marché Restaurant. / ACCOMMODATION Mekong Navigator has 34 suites, from 21.5 square metres, with ensuite, individual climate control, pillow menu and French doors to the exterior.
niworld operates 21 river ships across the world, but in 2019 only Mekong Navigator will ply the waters of Southeast Asia. This 68-passenger handcrafted, colonial-style ship was built in 2015 and sails on 13 to 15-night itineraries along the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers, between My Tho, Vietnam and Kampong Cham, Cambodia. From 2020, the Mekong Navigator will be replaced by the new all-suite Mekong Jewel. Shore excursions include visits to Phnom Penh, the fish farms and local markets in Chau Doc as well as visits to the Cheoung Ek Killing Fields.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 21 Passengers: 56–398 Destinations: Europe, Russia, China, India, Egypt, Vietnam and Cambodia. / CONTACT Uniworld W: uniworld.com
/ FACILITIES Le Salon Lounge, La Bibliothèque Library & Internet Lounge, Observation Lounge, La Vie Spa and Fitness Center.
Aqua Expeditions / DINING There is one dining room with meals designed by award-winning chefs. On the Mekong, Australian chef David Thompson uses local ingredients such as river prawns and betel leaves in his dishes. / ACCOMMODATION Aqua Mekong has 20 airconditioned suites, which are 30 square metres and styled with local materials. All suites have panoramic windows and eight have balconies.
ive-star luxury river cruise company Aqua Expeditions runs two ships – Aria Amazon on the Amazon and Aqua Mekong on the Mekong. Aqua Expeditions is renowned for its service, modern vessels and exhilarating shore excursions. On the Mekong, the line provides bicycles so guests can explore the riverbank on their own, while guides lead tours through the jungles of Cambodia and Vietnam to visit ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries. Cruise departures depend on the seasons, and itineraries are between three and seven nights. 68
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/ FACILITIES Gift shop, pool (only on Aqua Mekong), Jacuzzi, spa, games room, gym, library, indoor and outdoor bars, and an outdoor cinema.
/ FACT FILE Vessels: 2 Passengers: 32–40 Destinations: Peru, Cambodia and Vietnam. / CONTACT Aqua Expeditions W: aquaexpeditions.com
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY Where to find out more aseantourism.travel / cruiseandtravelasia.com / aseancruising.com
ASIA CRUISE DIRECTORY 2019
Welcome to the 2019 edition of the Asia Cruise Directory - everything the industry needs to inspire new passengers and increase the populari...
Published on Mar 7, 2019
Welcome to the 2019 edition of the Asia Cruise Directory - everything the industry needs to inspire new passengers and increase the populari...