Star Cruises first cruise line to restart operations in Malaysia, introducing safe cruises with Star Pisces in Penang from 22 December 2021
Fuelling domestic tourism growth with the launch of exciting ‘Super Seacation’ itineraries for the festive year-end holidays; also paving the way for the re-opening of international cruising
THE VOICE OF CHANDIGARH NEWS| TRAVEL TRADE REPORTER
Genting Cruise Lines, together with Penang Port Commission (PPC) and Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) are pleased to announce that the Malaysian government has granted approval for Star Cruises to restart operations in Malaysia on 22 December 2021 with Star Pisces offering safe cruises from Penang. As the first international cruise line to homeport and resume commercial operations in Malaysia, Star Pisces will have five departures every week, offering a series of roundtrip itineraries from Penang, including a 2-Night ‘Langkawi Escape’ and a 1-Night ‘Straits of Malacca’ cruise itinerary, providing a timely and seasonal vacation option for Malaysians to celebrate a joyful Christmas and New Year during the school holidays.
Since July 2020, Genting Cruise Lines was the first international cruise company in the world to pioneer and successfully restart operations with Dream Cruises, starting in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. With its valuable experience and expertise in implementing safe cruises, Genting Cruise Lines also plans to launch more ships under the Star Cruises fleet, beginning with Star Pisces in Penang, Malaysia.
Star Pisces will initially operate at a reduced passenger capacity of 50% with strict enhanced safety and preventive measures that are in accordance with the local requirements and international standards. To provide peace of mind for cruising guests and crew, all individuals on board must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. In addition, all embarking guests are required to present a negative test result after completing the mandatory pre-boarding Antigen Rapid Test (ART), which will be conducted at the cruise terminal on the day of the departure.
“As part of Genting Cruise Lines, Star Cruises is excited to pioneer safe cruises in Malaysia and to work hand-in-hand with the ministries under the Malaysian government, together with PPC and PPSB to support the country’s National Recovery Plan (NRP), including Langkawi’s international tourism travel bubble pilot program. We hope to call on to more Malaysian destinations and to expand our itineraries with the inclusion of regional destinations like Phuket in the near future to spur the cruise tourism industry. We are also actively pursuing with the various port authorities to create a ‘Harmonize Cruising Standards’ for the region in the hope of gradually re-opening international cruising in a controlled and safe manner, which will also bring inbound tourists to Malaysia, especially from our ship in Singapore,” said Mr Kent Zhu, President of Genting Cruise Lines.
“With the approval from the National Security Council (NCS) to restart domestic cruise operations, the cruise industry was given a new lease of life to operate once again. PPC, Genting Cruise Lines, PPSB and the respective Government agencies worked very closely to ensure domestic cruises could resume as soon as possible. PPC believes the cruise packages offered by Star Cruises under Genting Cruise Lines will provide Malaysians with a long-awaited holiday alternative, as traveling abroad is presently restricted. We believe the restart of the domestic cruise operations in a safe manner will further boost the tourism sector, as well as the other supporting sectors. It is PPC’s hope that the domestic cruise operations will run smoothly in accordance with the prevailing SOPs and that international cruises will be allowed to operate in the near future,” said Datuk Tan Teik Cheng, Chairman of PPC.
Star Pisces bookings will be open in mid-December and available to all Malaysian citizens, foreigners with valid Malaysian long-term visit passes, as well as international tourists that had completed and passed the quarantine and home surveillance order by the Malaysian authorities. Vacationers can now look forward to a brand-new vacation option beyond the regular land-based ‘stay-cation’ concept and instead, experience a refreshing ‘Super Seacation’ cruise adventure with Star Pisces from RM199 onwards per person based on twin sharing. While cruising at sea, guests can enjoy the invigorating sea breeze and sunshine, as well as a multitude of leisure activities and recreational facilities on board Star Pisces, such as the pool, Jacuzzi, jogging track, hair and beauty services, massage, foot reflexology and gymnasium, high-tech VR games, duty free shopping, live entertainment stage shows and music performances, as well as inclusive meals, serving international and local favourite cuisine.
With safety being a priority for many vacationers these days, Star Cruises has completely re-examined and enhanced all of its health, hygiene and operating protocols to ensure the safest environment for everyone on board including social distancing measures, safe food and beverage handling procedures, as well as thorough cleaning and disinfection protocols.
Star Pisces also allows for 100% external fresh air to be filtered and supplied throughout the ship, including to each guest stateroom, ensuring a constant and healthy flow of fresh air with no-recirculation of air between staterooms. Star Pisces has also received the ‘Certification in Infection Prevention for the Marine industry (CIP-M)’ from the world’s leading and international global healthcare expert, DNV. The ship has also certified nurses and doctors, including an Infection Control Officer (ICO), a well-equipped Medical Centre with a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine for on board COVID-19 testing, as well as designated negative pressure Isolation Cabins.
“Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) is delighted to announce that the cruise industry in Malaysia will be staging a comeback on 22 December 2021. This is truly a joyful occasion as we are looking forward to jump-start the cruise services through the government’s Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan. PPSB will work closely with Star Cruises under Genting Cruise Lines to ensure safe and comfortable cruise trips for everyone. Now more than ever, tourists should no longer be concerned as the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) has been thoroughly inspected for the passengers’ safety through strict SOP and guidelines to curb COVID-19. By working with Genting Cruise Lines, we intend to revitalise the domestic tourism sector and help it reach new heights in the coming years,” remarked Dato’ Sasedharan Vasudevan, CEO, Penang Port Sdn Bhd.
“Just like many parts of the world that are experiencing pandemic fatigue, residents in Malaysia also deserve a well-earned break. As such, we look forward to welcoming travellers from Malaysia on Star Pisces and to provide them with a safe and ultimately a memorable ‘Super Seacation’ cruise holiday,” added Mr Kent Zhu.