Boom time for Marina Bay cruise hub

Boom time for Marina Bay cruise hub
The Marina Bay cruise centre has added more counters since October last year, cutting immigration time from 30 minutes to about 15 minutes. It has no height restriction, unlike the Singapore Cruise Centre, where ships taller than 52m cannot dock because of the cable cars nearby.

SINGAPORE- Singapore's newest cruise terminal is seeing a boom, with passenger numbers expected to exceed 530,000 this travel season - more than double last season's.

This surge is due to more large ships docking at the $500 million Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore (MBCCS), as well as ships moving over from the only other cruise terminal at HarbourFront.

MBCCS, which began operations in May last year, has lined up 110 ship calls between April 1 and the end of March next year, about 20 per cent more than in the same period last year.

These include the 18-deck Diamond Princess, run by American cruise line Princess Cruises, and the 63m-tall Voyager of the Seas operated by Norwegian-American firm Royal Caribbean International. Both are due to arrive on Thursday, with about 5,800 passengers between them.

"We see more, and larger, ships making Singapore their home port, which means that they start and end their cruises here," said Mr Melvin Vu, chief executive officer of Sats-Creuers Cruise Services, which runs MBCCS.

"Hopefully, over the next couple of years, we can grow 10 to 15 per cent per year."

More counters have been added to MBCCS since October last year, cutting immigration time from 30 minutes to an average of 15 minutes, he added. A consultant was also hired two months ago to improve signs and traffic flow in the carpark.

The number of cruise passengers visiting Singapore has been growing 6.5 per cent annually over the past decade, hitting 913,000 last year. It is expected to reach 1.5 million by 2016.

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