GEORGE TOWN: The government has allowed the resumption of domestic cruises, beginning with Genting Cruise Lines at Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) here, beginning Dec 22, Penang Port Commission (PPC) chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng (pix) said.
“We are happy to announce the resumption of cruises, which will stimulate the growth of domestic tourism and the local economy by generating jobs for ship crews.
“The PPC will assist Genting Cruise Lines in ensuring the services provided are safe and comfortable, so passengers need not worry as the SPCT is strictly controlled for their safety, with tight standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“In 2019, we received 1.5 million cruise passengers from around 20 companies operating in the SPCT, but we had to disentangle operations in March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said at a press conference about the resumption of domestic cruise lines. Genting Cruise Lines sales division deputy president Cynthia Lee was also present at the press conference.
Cynthia said they would use the international cruise ship Star Pisces to offer five trips every week, including a to-and-from trip from Penang, a two-night package to Langkawi, Kedah and a one-night trip along the Melaka Straits, adding that the packages start from RM199.
“Star Pisces will operate with a passenger limit of 50 per cent, with around 850 passengers and around 400 to 500 crew members. We have taken various upgraded preventive measures in accordance to the local needs and international standards.
“Every individual on the cruise must have completed their vaccinations and passengers have to take an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) at the SPCT before boarding to ensure the safety of other passengers and crew members onboard,” she said.
The resumption of cruises would bring much needed relief to the industry and the public, she said, adding that international tourists who have completed their quarantines and observation orders can make reservations in mid-December.
“Star Cruises also filters and channels 100 per cent fresh air throughout the ship, including our cabins and we have doctors and nurses onboard, including infectious disease officers, a medical centre with a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine to conduct Covid-19 tests onboard, as well as isolation cabins,” she added.