There are going to be some big travel trends for 2020 – solo travel, bespoke experiences and people becoming more conscious about the environmental footprint when they take a holiday.
But another big trend on the horizon is fly-cruise.
Singapore, the home of Singapore Airlines is the gateway for us to head to places like Europe, Asia and even America. But it’s also fast becoming a popular destination for Aussies to cruise from.
And, thanks to Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore, the island republic comes with its own cruise options as Princess, Carnival and Royal Caribbean all offer journeys to the exotic cities of the east.
The recent opening of Jewel at Changi Airport, an architecturally incredible terminal with gardens, shopping food and fun, has heightened Singapore’s appeal.
Cruise passengers have never felt more pampered, with a special lounge for them to rest, recuperate, shower and prepare for their next onward journey and a luggage system that offers one seamless service taking from lounge to ship and from the ship to plane.
Here’s the second part of our pocket guide to Australia’s favourite fly cruise destinations – all serviced by Singapore Airlines.
Asia is a continent full of intrigue and spirituality that has captivated travellers from time immemorial. Ancient wonders abound including the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar and frenetic village life by the majestic Mekong River.
Food is the very essence of life in Asia. From spicy fish head curries in Singapore, Vietnam’s steaming bowls of pho noodles to Thailand’s aromatic pad Thai noodles, eating is a passion enjoyed with gusto by locals and visitors alike. The region is also fast becoming a popular cruise gateway with Singapore leading the way.
Capitalising on the growing popularity of holidays at sea, Singapore has positioned itself as a vibrant cruise hub. With two cruise terminals, Marina Bay Cruise Centre and Singapore Cruise Centre, the “Lion City” has increased the number of homeported ships and itineraries. Locals and most Asian visitors prefer going on short cruises of four to six nights to Phuket, Vietnam or Shanghai. But the lure of adventure cruises to the ice is gaining popularity. Singapore is also a major cruise hub for visitors looking for longer trips around Asia and Europe. Singaporeans have two favourite past-times – eating and shopping. Food, in particular, is taken very seriously from cheap and cheerful hawker fare to Michelin-starred fine dining.
Flights: Singapore Airlines flies from Australia to Singapore 130 times a week operating from Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Almost the same size as Singapore, Phuket is the largest island of Thailand. During the high season from November to April, most cruise ships anchor near Patong Bay – the island’s main beach and tourist strip. Passengers are then tendered to shore. During the rainy season from May to October, cruise ships dock at Ao Makarm port located about 8kms from Phuket Town. Passengers are then tendered to Patong Bay and back. Large cruise ships dock at Phuket Port, about 20-minutes drive to Phuket Town. The island has some gorgeous beaches and is a day-trip away from Ko Phi Phi’s popular dive sites and the snorkelling spots of beautiful Similan Islands.
Flights: Singapore Airlines, along with its regional wing, SilkAir fly to Phuket five times a day from Singapore
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam’s capital city is a melting pot of French and Asian cultures which is reflected in its food, architecture and cobbled streets in the French quarter. Like most Asians, the locals take their food seriously and great pride in producing steaming bowls of pho noodles and pork baguettes. When darkness falls, the city morphs into a lively scene with teeming roof bars, buzzy cafes and cool wine clubs. HCMC is a popular port of call for both ocean and river cruises, particularly on the mighty Mekong River to Cambodia.
River lines: Avalon Waterways, APT, Scenic, Viking River Cruises and Uniworld
Flights: Singapore Airlines flies to Ho Chi Minh City 19 times a week from Singapore
More than 20 million travellers visit bustling Bangkok a year. The city’s frenetic side lanes are home to some of the best street food and pumping bars. The city is also a shopping paradise with super malls round every corner. The bustling metropolis is also home to 250-year-old temples and floating weekend markets. Bangkok is a popular cruise port. Many international lines using it as a gateway to other Asian destinations.
Flights: Singapore Airlines flies to Bangkok six times daily from Singapore.
The west coast is home to gorgeous wine country, rugged coasts and Hollywood. Here cruise lines sail to popular destinations like Alaska and Hawaii. Fly six-hours across the country and you will be in New York where you can cruise to New England and Novo Scotia in the north and Miami and the Caribbean to the south. The world’s most talked-about cruise is the transatlantic crossing which departs from New York bound for Southampton in the UK.
Seattle is an effortlessly cool city. The defining symbol of the city is the modern before-its-time tower, the Space Needle which anchors the Seattle Centre complex. Its flying saucer-like observation tower attracts more than a million visitors a year. It is also blessed with lush forests and parklands perfect for walking, hiking, biking and camping. Seattle is a major cruise hub and embarkation point for cruises to Alaska, one of the popular cruise destinations among Australians. With its bountiful wildlife, amazing landscape and unique features, more than 37,000 Australians took a cruise to Alaska last year.
Ocean lines: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Azamara, Holland America, Hurtigruten, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises.
Flights: A newly added route to the network, Singapore Airlines flies to Seattle four times a week from Singapore.