GEORGE TOWN, Nov 18 — The RM155 million Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) expansion will start in three months, its project partner Royal Caribbean announced today.
Royal Caribbean’s Asia-Pacific managing director Angie Stephen said the expansion plans have been approved and construction partners identified.
“The concessionaire was also identified and now we are tying up loose strings so we can expect construction to start in two to three months,” she said during a press conference on board the Quantum of the Seas that made a one-day stop at SPCT here.
She said the construction work will take about 12 months to complete.
“Once completed, it will be able to handle two Oasis size ships on the outer berths and accommodate two more ships on the inner berths,” she said.
The expansion project is a joint venture between Penang Port Sdn Bhd (60 per cent) and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (40 per cent).
The expansion is to allow the terminal to cater to up to 1.7 million passengers a year and accommodate up to 12,000 passengers at any one time.
Stephen said Penang and Singapore were the two highly rated destinations by most of the cruise liners’ customers.
She said it is time for Penang to grow and improve its land experience to cater to visitors from cruise liners docking here.
“Penang needs to create experiences for visitors in the outskirts of the state rather than let all activities be concentrated in the city,” she said.
She said it is time for Penang to create new experiences and spread out the visitors to all around the state, outside the city, for different experiences, especially for those who have been to Penang before.
Royal Caribbean will be increasing its calls to Malaysia from 43 calls to 55 for the next season.
She said Malaysia is a destination of choice for the region’s growing cruise market.
“We will be bringing a total of 430,000 tourists to Malaysia in the next two years,” she said.
She said Royal Caribbean is committed to bringing in newer and better ships for longer deployments to Malaysia.