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Singapoure, Marina Bay and Downtown

Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas was among the ship to boost Singapore’s cruising figures in 2013. Image: Royal Caribbean

Singapore experienced a surge in cruise passenger numbers last year after three mass–market ships made their debut in the city.

According to Singapore Tourism Board [STB] statistics, passenger arrivals exceeded one million last year to 1.03 million. This was a 13 percent growth from 910,000 in 2012 and the highest it has been since reaching a peak of 1.14 million in 2009.

In total, 390 ships made calls in the city last year, 56 more than the 334 in 2012.

Among the new ship arrivals were large vessels Costa Atlantica, Sea Princess and Mariner of the Seas. Each ship holding up to 3,000 passengers per sailing.

At a press conference in India last week, STB India and Sri Lanka area director Bridget Goh said there has been a steady rise in cruise passengers, which is expected to continue growing, The Hindu Business Line reported.

“Cruise continues to be a major attraction to visit Singapore,” she explained.

The city’s cruising sector has attracted new ships since the official opening of the Marina Bay Cruise Centre in October 2012.

Spanning across 120 metres, the S$500 million is able to berth ships of 220,000 GRT and was designed to help Singapore cruise passengers numbers grow to 1.5 million over the next three to four years.

Overall, the city’s international tourism arrivals reached 15.5 million last year. An increase of 7.2 percent on the 14.5 million in 2012.

Indonesia was the largest tourism market with 2.28 million visitors, however, the biggest growth was from Taiwan with 29 percent more visitors than the previous year.

Visitors from Australia grew 10 percent to 842,000, while German arrivals declined by two percent.