SINGAPORE - Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC) may have lost some 20-25 per cent of its cruise business to the new Marina Bay Cruise Centre (MBCC) that has the berthing room for large ships, but it is holding its own, comfortably courting medium and small-sized cruise ships, its CEO, Christina Siaw, told BT.
"We've lost a bit of business, but not disproportionately. MBCC, because it is a brand new facility and is capable of handling big ships, is good for the industry and Singapore. It's not that hard on us. There are new lines with mid-sized or smaller ships coming (to Singapore) because the West isn't faring well and they're drifting towards China," she said.
Ferry-passenger arrivals have cushioned the impact, registering "high single-digit" growth year on year, thanks to more Indonesia passengers, she said.
Then there is the revamped HarbourFront Terminal, officially opened yesterday by Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade & Industry. Ms Siaw also expects the US$14 million (S$17 million) new look to up SCC's appeal.
During the 13-month rejuvenation, HarbourFront Terminal cut back on retail space and merged the previously separated ferry and cruise-passenger halls, to add 26 per cent more operational space within the same 12,800 square metres.
SCC also looked into making passenger flow more intuitive, reworking the layout of immigration and baggage claim and doubling the number of service counters.
The mall has been updated and brightened by garden-themed wall and light installations.
It also has a better tenant mix, which includes ToastBox, BreadTalk and DFS.
Ms Siaw said the enhanced retail offering - along with HarbourFront Terminal's transportation connectivity - would appeal to passengers and crew, who can easily run to the bank or shop for snacks and souvenirs.
"Having transportation connection and retail is something that cannot be underestimated. The one disadvantage we have is we cannot take tall ships. But if you ask the passengers or crew if they'd rather be here, they'd say 'Of course,'" she said.