Hot sticky nights, the yelling of hawkers and the aromas of fried noodles, exotic fruits and incense are all part of the charm of Asia.
Between snorkeling and swimming in the Andaman Sea, exploring the colonial history of Penang or dining at one of Hong Kong’s Michelin-starred restaurants, there is so much diversity in Asia. The region is fast becoming a cruise powerhouse, with major hubs like Singapore boasting an array of homeported ships and new itineraries.
The Lion City is also home to Changi Airport, one of the most popular long-haul stopovers In the world. The recent opening of the Jewel of Changi, with new restaurants, a 40-foot waterfall and gardens, will make stopovers and fly-cruise transfers even more appealing.
This city state is ideally placed to be a key cruising hub so it’s no surprise there are two cruise terminals. Claims to fame include the National Gallery, with the biggest collection of Southeast Asian art in the world; Raffles Hotel, home of the Singapore Sling; and the first-ever Michelin-starred hawker stall, Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle.
Itineraries: The most popular cruises are short trips around Asia, but Singapore is also a major fly-cruise hub for longer trips around Asia or to Europe.
Flights: Singapore Airlines flies to Singapore 137 times a week from Australia.
Bustling Bangkok has long been popular with travellers thanks to its frenetic energy, myriad shopping options and abundance of street food. The two large international airports make the Thai capital a popular starting point for Asian cruises, and it also offers easy access to islands and beaches in the rest of the country.
Itineraries: Sailings from Bangkok include calls to domestic ports, and around Asia.
Flights: Singapore Airlines flies to Bangkok 42 times a week through Singapore.
The island of Hong Kong is a fascinating blend of Chinese and English cultures, a major global financial hub with towering skyscrapers, maze-like streets, endless markets and a bustling harbour. One of the best things about Hong Kong is its vibrant food scene; from a throng of high-end restaurants to street vendors selling stinky tofu, curried fish balls and rice cakes.
Itineraries: From Hong Kong, lines most often either head north towards China, or west to Vietnam. Hong Kong is another major hub for world cruises.
Flights: Singapore Airlines flies
to Hong Kong 47 times a week through Singapore.
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam’s capital best shows its chequered French and Asian influence in the food, with fresh pork baguettes and beef noodle soup served in equal quantities on the streets. By day, visit Independence Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum, and by night, seat yourself at a streetside bia stall or in a swanky rooftop bar.
Itineraries: HCMC is a departure point for ocean and river cruises, most often domestic or down the Mekong Delta to Cambodia.
Flights: Singapore Airlines flies to Ho Chi Minh City 29 times a week through Singapore.
This city juxtaposes past and present like nowhere else in the world. Women in kimono stroll the neon-lit streets of Shinjuku, traditional food is served by robots, and shrines are as much an attraction as the high-rise shopping district of Ginza. This megalopolis was one of the most-visited cities by Australians in 2018 and it has a booming cruise industry.
Itineraries: From Yokohama, 40 minutes from Tokyo, ships sail around Japan or to South Korea, with a few longer Asian itineraries, and even Alaska or Russia.
Flights: Singapore Airlines flies to Tokyo 42 times a week through Singapore.
In 1947, when Singapore Airlines first began operating as Malayan Airways, services ran from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang with three flights per week. They now operate more that 900 flights a week to more than 60 destinations across Asia. Singapore Airlines was the first airline to operate the Airbus A380, with the initial service leaving Singapore for Sydney on 25 October 2007.
Cruise Passenger, in association with Singapore Airlines, is pleased to bring you Take Off – our special fly cruise magazine.
Australia has held the global record for the highest numbers of cruisers per capita for several years now and increasing numbers of us are venturing further afield to explore the world by sea. Last year, more than 300,000 of us took to the skies to cruise, up three per cent on 2017.
In this special edition on Fly Cruise, find the top destinations for Aussie cruisers as well as cabin crew secrets to make your journey a joy.
And on page 12, we’re giving readers the opportunity to win two tickets to Singapore with Singapore Airlines. Don’t miss out!