Penang Port Commission (PPC) chairman Tan Cheng Liang said the vessel with a passenger capacity for over 1,600 people would embark and disembark at the Penang Swettenham Pier International Cruise Terminal.
Tan said the initial plan for the cruise tourism was to allow tourists from all over the world to fly to Penang, stay in the state and take the short cruise that would have various activities and entertainment lined up.
“We need to get the market first, and once we have the numbers, long-term plans will be drawn up,” she said.
“This is our first breakthrough in cruise tourism, and we hope to come up with better offers once we have memorandums of understanding with Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia.
“This will indeed stimulate the state’s economy as well as create a spillover effect to the various industries involved,” she told a press conference after meeting with Star Cruise Travel Service Pte Ltd officials at the PPC office yesterday.
Tan said besides that, the Star Cruise Virgo from Singapore to Phuket would continue to use the terminal as a transit port every Monday.
Star Cruise Travel Service Pte Ltd senior vice-president (sales) Michael Goh said this was the first time its vessel was making Penang a home port.
He said the services were timely as Chinese New Year was just around the corner.
He said the 12-storey ship had among others over 600 cabins, 11 restaurants and bars, gymnasium, swimming pool and a show lounge, adding that there were about 700 crew members from 40 different nationalities.
Tan also said she had requested the state government to take the necessary steps to resolve congestion woes at Weld Quay following complaints from the public.
She said the road was congested especially on Monday, Wednesday and Friday when several cruise ships docked at the terminal.
“On those days, there are some 40 coaches, 60 taxis and 200 trishaws that would line the street to pick up passengers,” she added.
When contacted, state Traffic Management and Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the Penang Municipal Council had come up with a proposal to turn part of Weld Quay into a one-way street.
“The council has proposed that the entrance to the ferry right up to Ghaut Lebuh Chulia be turned into a one-way street to ease the traffic woes. So far, we have not received any objection from the business community there,” he added.
Source : STAR
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