GEORGE TOWN, May 5 — Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd will switch its 3,807-guest Mariner of the Seas ship to a larger capacity sister ship as demand for its South-east Asia sailings is expected to soar.
Royal Caribbean Singapore and South-east Asia managing director Sean Treacy said the company have seen a strong demand for its South-east Asia sailings.
“So, we have to put larger capacity ships here to meet the demand,” he said.
The 4,269-guest Voyager of the Seas will take over from Mariner of the Seas after the Mariner ends her 2017/2018 season in April 2018.
Mariner, which has been homeported year-round in Asia since 2013, will be deployed to Miami, Florida in the United States.
Treacy said they are expecting an average growth of about 40 per cent per annum in the years to come.
“We started out with Legend of the Seas in 2008 and only 11 port calls to Malaysia but this year, which marks our 10th anniversary, we made almost 90 port calls to Malaysia,” he said.
Based on this trend, he expected the port calls by their cruise ships to reach 10-fold the current port calls within the next 10 years.
The demand for the Penang route is also increasing in which port calls to Penang by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd’s cruise ships have more than doubled this year.
The cruise ships made 15 port calls to Penang out of 66 in Malaysia last year while this year, the port calls increased to 43 in Penang out of 87 in Malaysia.
The Mariner will start its final season in South-east Asia this year one month earlier, adding 10 roundtrip sailings from Singapore from September onwards.
“This will bring 30,000 extra visitors to Malaysia,” Treacy said.
Meanwhile, Voyager of the Seas kicked off its new season based in Singapore yesterday with 13 sailings to Phuket, Penang, Port Klang and Hong Kong.
Treacy said Voyager underwent a US$80 million (RM347.2 million) refurbishment in 2014 to increase its staterooms and to add new features and specialty restaurants.