By V.  Sivaji 

Fresh from his trip to the Sea Trade Cruise Global 2024 in Miami, newly appointed chairman for the Penang Port Commission (PPC) Dato Yeoh Soon Hin held a press conference to provide the latest updates and developments in the cuisine industry here.

Sea Trade Cruise Global is the largest and most significant event in the cruise sector.

Also present at the press conference was board of director Dato Samarajoo Manikam, Mohd Nizam Ismail who is the head of division for technical services and cruise and ferry operations and Mior Saifulnizam Mior Jamal who is the head of department for cruise operations and commercial technical services (Penang Port Sdn Bhd).

Yeoh updated that as of April 2024, a total of 161 cruise ships have visited the SPCT.

“This figure is much higher compared to last year’s performance. We are also looking forward to many more cruise ships visiting Penang. 

“Among them will be the Anthem of the Seas which will replace the Spectrum of the Seas by the Royal Caribbean International (RCL).

“We also look forward to promoting cruise ships to “port stay” where the ships will dock over for a day or two,” said Yeoh. 

He added that Singaporeans make up the highest number of visitors by cruise ships to Penang followed by other nationals from Indonesia, Thailand, India and European guests too.

Overall, they have forecast for some 1.33 million cruise guests to visit Penang this year.

“We are also working hard on getting more cruise ships to make Penang their homeport which will serve to enhance the cruise tourism industry”, added Yeoh who hopes to utilize his experience as the former State Exco for Tourism and Creative Economy to good use.

Meanwhile, the Sea Trade Cruise Global 2024 conference was held in Miami, Florida in the United States of America from April 8 to 11, 2024.

The Malaysian delegation led by Transport Minister YB Anthony Loke accompanied by Penang Port Commission officials.

Among those accompanying the minister was Dr. Vijayaindiran R. Viswalingam as the General Manager from the Penang Port Commission and Penang Port Sdn Bhd chief executive officer, Dato V. Sasedharan.

To-date, among the cruise ships that have made stopovers or expected to make their stopovers at the SPCT are the Marella Discovery 2, Mein Schiff  5, Diamond Princess,  Norwegian Jewel, Aida Bella, World Odyssey, Costa Serena, SOTS, Crystal Symphony,  MV Viking Sky, Pacific World, Queen Mary,  Seven Seas Mariner, C Serenity, Nautica,  MV Europa 2, Viking Venus to name a few.

Media members were also taken on a walkabout at the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal where the Genting Dream had docked for the day.

Yeoh (centre) with Samarajoo and Mior. In the background is the Genting Dream