Cruisers looking to sail in Asia can expect new itineraries and a raft of new ships, as lines like MSC Cruises and Celebrity Cruises head to the region.

But lines like Princess will be reducing their capacity in Asia and redirecting ships to the Northern Hemisphere.

“Asia remains an important destination and source market for Princess, and we remain optimistic about sailing in the region in the next year.”

“In the meantime we are shifting our focus in other markets to work closely with our local travel agent partners to grow our sourcing for longer haul fly-cruising. Princess is working with its employees, partners and local stakeholders in Asia affected by the reorganisation.”

The line said it hopes to restart operations in Japan in March 2023.

“We have continued to work closely with local authorities in the region to secure a safe resumption of cruises since our operation paused at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. We remain optimistic that our continued discussions with authorities in Japan will allow us to return there in March 2023.”

Sailings to Malaysia and Indonesia began July 1 this year, with Thailand added as a destination since end October.  Royal Caribbean International’s Spectrum of the Seas, Resorts World Cruises’ Genting Dream and Silversea Cruises’ Silver Muse made their debut call in Phuket last month.

Genting Dream currently operates dual homeports in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (via Port Klang). The line will introduce new five-night cruise itineraries for selected dates from both homeports in November 2022 and March 2023, adding Phuket as a destination.

On December 18, Genting Dream will also sail a special five-night cruise from Singapore to Surabaya and North Bali. From May 2023, three-night cruises to Phuket will commence.

“We are optimistic that the weekly two-night and three-night cruises from both homeports to Singapore, Penang and Kuala Lumpur (via Port Klang) will continue to be popular among vacationers,” added Michael Goh, President, Resorts World Cruises. “Demand has been very positive for these short cruises, with the December sailings already almost sold out.”

When asked about the fate of Explorer Dream and World Dream, and whether RWC plans to build any new ships, Mr Goh said, “We will strive to strengthen our presence across Asia, gradually exploring new opportunities to expand our fleet of ‘Resorts Cruising at Sea’ in the region.”

The brand also aims to innovate and reimagine its cruise offerings to elevate its guests’ cruise experience, with the inclusion of unique thematic cruises as well as enrichment programs onboard.

Mr Goh also noted that response from the Australian fly-cruise market is gradually picking up. Demand is expected to be stronger in 2023, as travel options and accessibility increases.

He added, “As Resorts World Cruises is a newly launched brand operating in the market for over 4 months, the response has been very encouraging from the international fly-cruise market, especially from source markets like India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan.”

Royal Caribbean has also seen healthy demand for Southeast Asia from the fly-cruise market, despite soaring airfares. According to Angie Stephen, managing director, Asia- Pacific, Royal Caribbean International, fastest growth is coming from within the region with India, Malaysia, and Indonesia leading the pack.

“We are also pleasantly surprised with the volume coming from long haul markets like the US and Europe,” Ms Stephen added. “We are heading in the right direction and as flight capacity increases and flight prices stabilise, we expect international demand to continue to rise.”

With the recent launch of Icon of the Seas, the line is also hoping to eventually bring Icon and Oasis-class ships to the region.

“We’d love to explore bringing bigger ships to Singapore in the future,” said Ms Stephen. “Singapore has upgraded its cruise terminal to accept Oasis-class ships, further cementing its position as the region’s gateway cruise hub. Penang can also accept Oasis-class ships, which is fantastic.”

She added, “Continued infrastructure development to accept larger ships and provide destination experiences for guests will remain important in attracting larger ships to the region.”

At present, the line offers three to five-night itineraries on Spectrum of the Seas, visiting Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Phuket. At each destination, guests have the option to try out one of the many shore excursions Royal Caribbean offers, ranging from land tours infused with rich culture and history, to adrenaline-amping outdoor thrills and off-the-grid exploration.

This includes a trip to Southeast Asia’s oldest Anglican church, St. George’s Church; an adventure to the Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur, where colourful displays of Hindu deities adorn limestone cave walls; and a tour with panoramic coastal views of Nai Harn Beach in Phuket.

The ship’s All Access Tour has also been brought back. The tour gives guests a behind-the-scenes peek into how the Royal Caribbean experience is brought to life. Conducted by the most senior officers onboard, participants will be able to learn more about the technological side of cruising along with exciting fun facts, facilitated by exclusive tours of various onboard facilities. This includes the Bridge − the navigational center of the ship.

For the 2023 to 2024 season, travellers can look forward to new itineraries to Vietnam, Hong Kong and Japan. The line’s upcoming deployment features two exclusive 12-night itineraries, which allow guests to visit up to seven destinations across three countries all within one sailing. The itineraries can also be done back-to-back, which would cover ten unique destinations across 24 nights at sea, including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka and Mt Fuji in Japan, as well as Nha Trang and Hue/ Danang in Vietnam.

“We expect these sailings to be especially popular amongst guests from outside the region, with a focus on Australian, US and UK guests who are seeking to explore the different cultures and highlights of Asia,” said Ms Stephen. “Guests can embark on their revenge travel to explore the region’s energetic cities, traditional architecture and exotic landscapes, sailing from one destination to the next onboard the action-packed Spectrum of the Seas.”

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is also rebuilding a strong pipeline of cruise ship deployments for Singapore. STB recently announced a milestone collaboration with ultra-

luxury and expedition cruise line, Silversea Cruises. The three-year partnership will see Silversea Cruises’ ships homeporting in Singapore from the 2023 season.

TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 5 will also return to Southeast Asia between December 2022 and May 2023, homeporting from Singapore.  The line will take passengers to ports in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Besides homeported ships, Singapore is also welcoming the return of transit and turn-around sailings from other cruise lines such as Cunard, Princess Cruises, Viking Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

“STB will continue our discussions with other cruise lines to operate sailings from Singapore, and we look forward to welcoming more cruise lines in due course,” said Jacqueline Ng, Director, Cruise, STB.