Penang will welcome 17,000 passengers from five cruise ships on March 14 at the Swettenham Pier. Cruise ships SuperStar Gemini, SuperStar Libra, Diamond Princess, Star Clipper and Mein Schiff 1 are scheduled to call at Penang Port.
A spokesperson told theSun that cruise operators will be using a ‘tandem-boat’ method so passengers can disembark. These ships will be anchored in the middle of the Penang channel while the smaller vessels will use tender boats.
It will be a momentous occasion but Danny Law Heng Kiang, the tourism development and culture committee chairman said that there is a need for a larger terminal as around 190 international cruise liners were expected to call at Penang resulting in more than 200,000 passengers disembarking.
“On March 13, there will be five cruise ships bringing some 17,000 passengers to the terminal which can only cater to two cruise ships to berth at any one time,” he told The Malay Mail Online.
He also said that Penang is becoming increasingly popular among international tourists because they can disembark in the heart of the city. The city if famous for its pristine colonial buildings and delicious local cuisine.
“This is unique when compared to other tourist locations where the port is far away from the city and scenic places,” he said.
“We hope the federal government can expand the cruise ship terminal so that three cruise ships can berth each time. At present, after the two passengers of two ships go on shore, the vessels will move out so that two other can berth.”
Currently, Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas and the Aida Bella were docked at the terminal.
“Cruise ship passengers benefit tour operators, trishaw riders and taxi drivers and places of interest such as the World heritage Site, museums and even Penang Hill,” he said.
“We also hold a fiesta at Fort Cornwallis to host the passengers to cultural shows, food fare, music and souvenir stalls on March 13. Penang is next only to Port Klang as a top cruise ship destination and we hope to take the industry to even greater heights.”