Singaporeans catch cruise bug

Singaporeans catch cruise bug
A rock-climbing wall and sports court on board Royal Caribbean International’s Mariner of the Seas, the largest cruise ship based in Asia.

Christmas has come early for cruise-line operators.

Far-flung destinations such as New Zealand are now on the map.

At ASA Holidays, there was a 20 per cent increase in cruise sales during this year's year-end travel period, compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, CTC Travel sold about 1,500 cruise packages this holiday season, compared to 300 in last year's.

Other travel agencies such as Chan Brothers, Nam Ho Travel and Hong Thai Travel Services also reported a growth of up to 30 per cent in the sales of cruise holidays.

Travel agencies and industry watchers put the increase down to several reasons: More large ships are docking here, there is a hassle-free appeal of cruise holidays and Singaporeans are looking for different travel experiences.

National Association of Travel Agents Singapore chief operating officer Anita Tan pointed to "more cruise options opening up in Singapore, with a variety of cruise-line operators coming in".

For instance, Carnival Asia - part of Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company - opened its regional headquarters here in May.

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