The Penang State Exco for Tourism and Creative Economy, YB Wong Hon Wai has hailed the performance of the cruise industry as a robust resurgence post pandemic. 

He shared the outstanding performance of the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) in a press statement. 

“In 2023, Penang welcomed 573,178 international passengers to its shores, marking a remarkable increase of 30.56% compared to 439,012 passengers in 2022 and 39.82% compared to 409,943 passengers in 2019. 

“This significant recovery indicates that Penang’s cruise tourism has not only returned to pre-pandemic levels but has also exceeded its previous performance.

“In 2022, the Penang Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) received 84 international ships.
This number experienced a substantial growth of 85.71% in 2023, reaching 156 ships. 

“The increase in both cruise ship arrivals and international tourists by cruise not only reflects the flourishing cruise tourism industry in Penang but also underscores Penang’s growing status as a premier cruise destination. This has contributed to the growth of the economy in Penang and Malaysia.

“The expansion of the Penang Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal is specifically designed to accommodate larger cruise ships, with the capability of hosting up to 12,000 passengers simultaneously. 

“The terminal has successfully achieved the simultaneous berthing of two ultra-large ships, totaling approximately 700 meters in length, marking a historic milestone. This strategic expansion not only enhances the terminal’s throughput capacity but also positions Penang as an ideal and welcoming stopover for international cruise lines. 

“The commitment to world-class facilities reflects Penang’s dedication to providing a seamless
and enjoyable experience for both cruise operators and passengers.

“The top ten nationalities of cruise passengers arriving in Penang in 2023 showcase the
diversity of travelers from around the world. Singapore leads the list, followed by India and
Indonesia, underscoring the growing interest in cruise holidays among Asian countries.

“The Philippines ranks fourth, emphasizing the increasing popularity of cruises in Southeast Asian countries. China and the United States occupy the fifth and sixth positions, respectively. 

“South Korea holds the seventh position, demonstrating the strong presence of East Asian tourists in the cruise industry. Categories for Thailand, Australia, and other non-Commonwealth countries complete the list, highlighting the international appeal of cruise holidays across different continents.

“In summary, these data highlight the significant growth of the Penang Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal, showcasing its strong post-pandemic recovery, increased international ship traffic, and a surge in passenger numbers. Penang eagerly anticipates welcoming an unprecedented number of cruise tourists in 2024, further solidifying its position as a key destination in the global cruise tourism industry,” said Wong.

Meanwhile, among the big cruise ship names are Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Cruises, Aegean Paradise, AIDAbella, Celebrity Millennium,  Marella Discovery 2, World Odyssey, Amusement World, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Costa Serena, TUI Cruises (Marella Discovery 2) 

The regular cruise ships like Spectrum of the Seas by Royal Caribbean and Genting Dream by Resort World Cruises will still ply the Penang route for holiday makers.

Meanwhile, AIDAbella has a passenger capacity of 2,050, Aegean Paradise has a capacity of 650 passengers, Celebrity Millennium is 2,138 passengers, Marella Discovery 2 has a capacity of 2,076 passengers, World Odyssey has a capacity of 636 passengers and  Amusement World has a capacity of 1,300 passengers.