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Singapore becomes the first Asian home port for Disney Cruise Line.

SINGAPORE - From 2025, a new cruise ship featuring Disney princesses and Marvel superheroes will call Singapore home, as part of a five-year collaboration between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Disney Cruise Line.

The 208,000-gross-tonne vessel is expected to be the largest cruise ship calling here, as well as the largest ship in Disney’s fleet, said Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran, who announced the collaboration on Wednesday.

Mr Josh D’Amaro, the chairsingapore-becomes-the-first-asian-home-port-for-disney-cruise-lineman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said: “We are incredibly excited to make Singapore the home port to our seventh-launched ship, which will sail from here year-round starting in 2025.”

The ship, which is yet to be named, is estimated to be able to carry 6,000 passengers and 2,300 crew members.

When launched, it is expected to feature attractions such as themed restaurants and interactive theatre shows.

It has the potential to add “millions of local and foreign cruise passengers” over the five-year period, including fly-cruise passengers arriving in Singapore by air, Disney and STB said in a media release.

Transport Minister S Iswaran (fourth right) with Disney Parks, Experiences and Products chairman Josh D'Amaro (3rd from left) at the launch. With them is , Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan (third right) and STB CEO Keith Tan (right).(ST PHOTO)

As part of sustainability efforts, the vessel will run on green methanol, a low-emission fuel.

More details regarding the vessel’s maiden voyage and itineraries will be released at a later date.

The ship is expected to call at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre, which is one of Asia’s largest cruise terminals.

A subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, Disney Cruise Line currently operates fives ships to destinations including the Caribbean, Europe and Australia, with three more ships planned.

Disney Signature Experiences president Thomas Mazloum said the ship was acquired partially completed in 2022 from Dream Cruises, a brand under Genting Hong Kong, which was liquidated in October.

Construction will be completed at the MV Werften shipyard in Wismar, Germany, under Meyer Werft, which also built three other Disney cruise ships.

At a news conference at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Mr Iswaran said Disney’s decision to base its first ship in South-east Asia here “speaks volumes of our region’s significant potential for cruise tourism”.

Singapore can serve as a gateway to the rest of South-east Asia, he said, noting that the region has been described as the “Caribbean of the East”.

Singapore’s cruise industry is recovering after Covid-19. In 2022, 1.2 million passengers passed through Singapore’s ports.

That was about two-thirds of the numbers seen in 2019, when there were about 1.8 million cruise passengers, Mr Iswaran noted.

That year, the industry contributed $630 million to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), $350 million of which was spent by cruise lines on repairs, bunkering and other port-related services, said Mr Iswaran, who is also Transport Minister.

In 2022, STB said it expected Singapore’s cruise industry to return to pre-pandemic levels between 2023 and 2024.

Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Josh D'Amaro (left) and Singapore Tourism Board chief executive Keith Tan at the launch of a new partnership between Disney Cruise Line and the Singapore Tourism Board. (ST PHOTO)

While Disney and STB had been in talks for many years on possible collaborations, discussions to bring Disney Cruise Line to Singapore kicked into high gear in 2022, said STB chief executive Keith Tan.

The partnership with Disney Cruise Line is expected to provide a sizeable boost to the cruise sector’s contribution to tourism receipts and the country’s GDP, he said, without providing a figure.

In 2017, STB signed a three-year partnership with The Walt Disney Company South-east Asia to bring themed events and activities here.

Article credit: ST SPH Media Limited

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