By V.  Sivaji 

The Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) is set to receive a fleet of high-end cruise ships before the end of this year and also in the first quarter of next year. 

The “quantum leap” of cruise ships’ arrival will only serve to boost the tourism industry and also boost the state’s economy in a positive way.

Among the big names are by the Virgin Voyages, Aegean Paradise, AIDAbella, Celebrity Millennium,  Marella Discovery 2, World Odyssey, Amusement World, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Costa Serena,  Sejahtera 2, Express Bahagia 88, Kenangan 3, Kenangan 2, Amazon 2, Coral Island 3 among others.

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 2050, Aegean Paradise has a capacity of 650 passengers, Celebrity Millennium is 2138 passengers, Marella Discovery 2 has a capacity of 2076 passengers, World Odyssey has a capacity of 636 passengers and  Amusement World has a capacity of 1,300 passengers.

Some 100,000 tourists are expected to come to Georgetown, Penang. By the end of this month, around 10 cruise ships will stop at SPCT.

Penang is one of the few countries in the world where the harbour or the  SPCT is located  in the heart of the city.

Thus, offering the convenience for travelers to move around and take in the sights and sceneries in the heart of the UNESCO world heritage site.

According to Penang Port Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Sasedharan Vasudevan, the arrival of these cruise ships will surely help to boost the tourism and economy of the state.

File pics of World Odyssey cruise ship

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA Penang Chapter) chairman, Ms Carolyn Leong welcomed the move as it will provide more opportunities for their members.

MATTA Penang chairman Ms Carolyn Leong

“First of all, I would like to congratulate and thank the state tourism office led by YB Wong Hon Wai and his team along with their subsidaries like PGT and PCEB for supporting the industry leading to the arrival of the new cruise¬†ships.

“On our part, we have already aligned our members to start training members to sell packages for these cruise ship packages.  This new avenue offers more opportunities for MATTA members in Penang,” she added.

Meanwhile, Ms May Ang, Head of Communications for Entopia here added that their park is among the favourite stopovers for these cruise ship passengers. 

“This month’s arrival of cruise ship passengers to Entopia has already surpassed the numbers for last year.

“We are expecting the passenger count to double from what we received last year in December. Until yesterday, the cruise passengers made up 30% of our international visitors’ arrival,” she added.

File pics of Celebrity Millennium cruise ship