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cruise to penang itinerary

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Known as "The Pearl of the Orient," this island's rainforest and waterfall-clad mountains form the backdrop to its beautiful, sandy beaches. The capital's George Town Historic District, a wonderful mix of elaborate colonial homes, Chinese heritage buildings and temples, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sprawling Kek Lok Si Temple, with a 100-foot pagoda and gardens, overlooks George Town, and is a great spot for photos. Penang's abundant street eats will tempt foodies.

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  • Dragon sculpture on temple roof
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Dragon sculpture on temple roof on Penang Cruises


cruise to penang itinerary


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cruise to penang itinerary

Explore Penang


Genting Dream sails from Singapore with stops at Kuala Lumpur, Penang in Malaysia and Phuket in Thailand.

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  • November 7, 2023

cruise to penang itinerary

Singapore ports are some of the busiest in the world thanks to its strategic location, with ships zipping through its seawaters from China and India as well as beyond. Among some of the popular travel cruise ships that call Singapore’s port is the Genting Dream cruise.  

Genting Dream is one of two luxury cruise ships operated by Resorts World Cruises, a company currently based in Singapore and led by Malaysian entrepreneur Lim Kok Thay, who also owns Genting Group – the company that manages the only casino in Malaysia.  

Genting Dream offers regular sails to nowhere on every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, departing from homeport Singapore. The cruise also has itineraries that travel to popular destinations such as Malaysia and Thailand. Passengers can choose to embark from either Singapore or Malaysia at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre or Port Klang respectively.  

International passengers of nationalities outside of the two countries will need to have travel insurance and valid visa to board the Genting Dream cruise.  

Read Also: Cost Guide To Travelling To Genting Highlands: Hotels, Attractions And Food      

Cabin Categories: Nine Types Of Staterooms To Choose From  

The Genting Dream cruise has a total of 18 decks and can serve up to 3,352 passengers. There are a total of nine types of rooms on the cruise ranging from rooms with a balcony facing the open ocean to penthouses and villas.  

The Interior Staterooms with no windows are the most affordable rooms on the Genting Dream cruise at S$566. For an additional S$100, you will get Oceanview Staterooms that are fitted with a medium-sized window.   

cruise to penang itinerary

Meanwhile, the Balcony Staterooms, priced from S$766, provide sea views through a floor-to-ceiling glass door that opens to a spacious balcony overlooking the waters with sea breeze. The Palace Suites are fitted with more luxurious furnishings at a starting price of S$1,466.  

cruise to penang itinerary

Activities: From Waterslide Park To 35-Metre Zipline  

There are myriad facilities on the Genting Dream cruise that spans 335 metres in length. The ship is fitted with spas, pools, a jacuzzi, casino, studio, bar with live bands, salon, barber, jogging track, gymnasium, fitness room, arcade center and shopping boutiques.  

In addition, passengers can partake in exciting experiences at the Waterslide Park that has six twisting and turning slides. Otherwise, pick up new skills at the rock-climbing wall, mini golf area and zipline and rope course. These activities are all free of charge.  

Some of the activities may require extra fees such as bowling, billiards and karaoke. Parents can also send their children of ages two to 12 to kids play area Little Dreamers Club for a fee.  

For nighttime activities, there are live performances showcasing acrobatics at the Zodiac Theatre for free. There will also be dance parties at the Zouk and Zouk Beach Club with free entrance, where you can show off your moves along with the DJ’s beats. The Genting Dream cruise is known for its lively foam parties where the entire outdoor beach club will be filled with bubble foam as passengers dance and revel.  

Many activities onboard the cruise are complimentary to passengers. In fact, some of the best experiences on the cruise require no extra pay such as ziplining and sliding down water slides above open waters or just admiring the sea and feeling the breeze within the comforts of your room.  

There is Wi-Fi available on the cruise for an extra fee. The standard package costs from S$9 to S$45 for a period of one to five nights for one device. The packages that support up to five devices are priced from S$27 to S$135.  

Food Options: Asian And Western Cuisines   For All-Day Dining  

Given that there are a total of 17 restaurants on board the ship, passengers of the Genting Dream cruise are spoiled with choices when it comes to variety of food and cuisines. Typically, the standard cruise package comes with several complimentary meals per day.  

Dining at halal buffet restaurant The Lido and the two-tiered Dream Dining, which serves Chinese and Western dishes is free.  

However, if you choose to dine at specialty restaurants like Silk Road Chinese Restaurant, Hot Pot and Japanese restaurant Umi Uma, you will have to pay for your meals just as you do when dining out. Passengers can also refresh during coffee or teatime at the Lobby Café.  

Destinations: Kuala Lumpur, Penang Or Phuket  

From October 2023 to April 2024, there are two- to three-night cruises that have stopovers at Port Klang, Penang in Malaysia and Phuket in Thailand.  

For instance, the Port Klang – Penang itinerary has passengers aboard the Genting Dream cruise from Singapore at 7pm on a Sunday for a three-night journey. The cruise will then stop at Port Klang in Kuala Lumpur on the following Monday morning at 8am till 4pm. You can disembark here and spend a day at Kuala Lumpur city and return to the ship before 4pm.  

On the next Tuesday morning, the ship will arrive in Penang at 7am till 4pm. You can once again get off the cruise to explore the city of Penang.  

The Phuket three-night cruise takes passengers to Phuket similarly, whereby passengers can drop off the cruise for a few hours and visit places in Phuket island.  

Day Trip Land Tour Packages During The Cruise  

Travellers will have the option to sign up for short-and-sweet tour packages with Genting Dream cruise for your travels in Penang and Phuket. Otherwise, you could also travel free and easy by yourself.  

If you’re travelling in a bigger group with elderlies and young children, it might make more sense to sign up for a land tour package with the cruise ship. This way, you don’t have to do too much pre-planning when it comes to arranging transportation and itinerary in a place you might not be familiar with. Plus, some tours come with transfer vans that are more comfortable for larger groups with elderly and you get to have your privacy.  

Alternatively, if you’re traveling solo, as a couple or in a smaller group, you can be more impromptu with your planning. It also depends on how familiar you’re with the destination. If you feel confident about going around the city and you want to have more flexibility in planning your trip, you may use e-hailing apps to book a ride to the place you want to visit. As the itinerary would be entirely up to you, you can have more control on the place to visit, things to do and the costs.    

Read Also: Complete Guide To Multi-Currency Accounts And Wallets In Singapore [YouTrip, Revolut, Wise, DBS My Account, UOB Mighty FX And More]  

  Featured Image Credit: Resorts World Cruises  

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Penang Day Trip Guide: Exploring Georgetown During a Cruise Stopover

cruise to penang itinerary

cruise to penang itinerary

Exclusive to TTI readers: From now till 30th September 2018, book a 4-night Port Klang & Phuket Cruise at only S$399*. Applicable sailing dates: Nov 5 , Nov 12 , and Nov 19 . Promo code and other details below!

Penang to me is a nostalgic safe haven where I look forward to rediscovering again and again. Officially inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, Penang’s capital Georgetown holds more than just history to her lands. The ever-changing scapes of Georgetown prove that there’s always space for creativity and new ideas within the old and static.

A state that celebrates ethnic diversity, Penang’s vibrant colours reflect the multiculturalism of her people that’s not only evident in her streets but also the food. Also, its proximity makes it the perfect short getaway if you do not have much time to spare.

cruise to penang itinerary

Here, we’ve compiled a list of Must-Sees and Must-Eats of Penang’s Georgetown. If like us, you find yourself in Penang from a short stopover from the cruise, we’ve included our exact itinerary at the end of this post!

Travel Essentials for Penang

Getting around: Georgetown is discoverable by foot, or you can rent a bicycle and explore on two-wheels ! Taking a Grab Car around is cheap too.

Staying connected:   Or the lack thereof. Many cafes in Georgetown has free wifi, so it’s not really necessary to purchase a SIM card for Malaysia. For us, we downloaded Google Maps offline onto our phones (do it before you leave Singapore!) to navigate our way around Georgetown. No problems at all!

Essentials: Bring around ~RM 150 (~S$50) in cash. Also, pack along your shades, sunscreen, and fans (paper fans, portable USB fans, etc.), as the sun and heat in Penang can be unforgiving.

Things to do in Penang

1) visit the old chinese clan entities of penang, i) clan jetties.

The Chew Jetty -

While most of the residents no longer depend on fishing as a livelihood, there are still six clans residing permanently by the waters. Visitors are allowed to explore the clan jetties at any time but do keep in mind to take only pictures and leave only footprints .

ii) Majestic Clan Houses and Mansions

Khoo Kongsi - Penang Food Guide

Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi:  A significant piece of heritage, the Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi (or just “Khoo Kongsi” ) is the largest clan house in Malaysia. Many have also dubbed it the most extravagant clan house in the whole of Southeast Asia with the intricate wood carvings and gilded gold leaves.

Entrance Fee: RM10/pax Address:  18, Cannon Square, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Opening Hours: 9AM – 5PM daily

Blue mansion Penang - Penang Day Trip Guide

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (Blue Mansion):  If there’s a colour I could paint my entire house in, it’d be blue. In Fengshui, blue represents water, and water brings growth and wealth. That’s probably what 19th-century Chinese businessman and politician, Cheong Fatt Tze, had in mind when he had his house, the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion , built.

This historical landmark is also a boutique hotel now, and there are guided tours conducted thrice per day for curious visitors. Be ready to feast your eyes on the once-lavish life of Cheong Fatt Tze and his many wives.

Blue Mansion Penang - Penang Cruise day trip

Entrance Fee:  RM17/pax Address:  14, Leith Street 10200 Penang, Malaysia Guided Tour Timings:  11AM, 2PM, and 3:30PM daily  

2) Exploring Iconic Old-School Streets

art installation Love Lane Penang - Penang Day trip guide

Love Lane:  Besides being a food paradise, Georgetown of Penang is also known to many for her quirky street art and mushrooming hipster cafes. Love Lane is of the most visited lanes of Georgetown where many of the rustic old shophouses have been turned into trendy cafes and cheap backpackers’ hostels.

Love Lane street in Penang - Penang Day trip guide

Location:  Love Ln, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

3) Street Arts in Georgetown

Penang-5D4N Voyager of the Seas Guide

There are a lot of murals (more than 50!) around Georgetown, and some of the more notable ones* are actually located within walking distance of each other. Hunt for some of them at back alleys and forgotten streets while on your way to the next cafe.

Girl on turtle mural - Penang Day trip guide

If you’re tight on time, you’ll really only need to visit two streets —  Ah Quee Street  and  Lebuh Armenian .

Street Art Ah Quee Street Cigarette - Cruise Penang Day Trip Guide

*The murals come and go! Some of which we saw on our previous trips have either faded over time or have been repainted over!

Read also: Guide to Georgetown’s Street Art

4) Wonderfood Museum

Wonderfood Museum - Penang Day trip guide

Penang is known as a food haven, and there’s a place that amplifies this fact. At Wonderfood Museum , you can find Penang street food of all kinds made into the giant versions of themselves. The whimsical museum celebrates local cultures and tastes of the food people consume in their everyday lives.

Entrance Fee: RM 25/pax Address: 49, Lebuh Pantai, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Opening Hours: 9AM – 6PM daily

What to Eat & Drink

1) moh teng pheow nyonya koay & canteen.

Moh Teng Pheow Nonya Koay Penang

Hidden in a quiet back alley is one of Penang’s oldest confectionery shop — Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay & Canteen , a household name that many go to for childhood delights.

This canteen serves a colourful array of traditional kuehs handmade from scratch, a taste that is hard to find now in today’s world.

Moh Teng Pheow Nonya Kueh - Cruise Penang Day Trip guide

Price:  RM0.60–RM1.50/piece Address:  off 10200, Chulia Street Night Hawker Stalls, Lorong Chulia, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Opening Hours:  10:30AM – 5:30PM (Closed on Mondays)

2) China House

Cake table at china house - trendy places in Georgetown_

We’ve introduced them to you before, and really don’t mind mentioning them again just because their cakes are dope. Get lost  your creative juices flowing in the  longest cafe in Penang  —  China House .  

Cakes and drinks at china house - Penang Cruise Day trip guide

Provided with a cup of loose crayons, patrons are encouraged to draw on the mahjong papers lined on the tables. The best ones get displayed around the cafe! If you think this is just another novelty cafe, you’re wrong. China House’s specialty coffees and the wide selection of cakes are the highlights one must not miss. The signature Tiramisu cake (RM18) got me hooked.

Costs: RM 10.80-20.80/piece Address: 153, Lebuh Pantai, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Opening Hours: 9AM – 1AM daily

3) 888 Hokkien Mee

888 Hokkien mee stall - Reasons to go on a cruise

This makan place is slightly out of the way from the heart of Georgetown but is one I’ll gladly travel to just to satisfy my cravings for prawn noodles. It is here where you can get more than what you pay for. A basic bowl of prawn noddles cost RM 4.50 (that’s S$1.50), and every additional item such as eggs and pork ribs cost from RM1-2/pc (S$0.30-0.70).

888 Hokkien mee penang - Reasons to go on a cruise

Located approx. 15 mins’ walk away from China House, 888 Hokkien Mee sees mostly locals who crave for the local Malaysian Chinese taste, a generous bowl of hot savoury prawn noodles. For food we can walk, alternatively, a Grab ride should cost less than RM10 for that distance.

Cost: RM4.50/bowl; add-ons at RM1-2/ea Address:  67-A, Lebuh Presgrave, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Opening Hours: 5PM – 11:45PM daily

Penang is a food haven you’ll never get enough of, here are 6 authentic Penang street foods not to be missed !

Our Penang Day Trip Itinerary — Ideal for Cruise-goers

4pm: moh teng pheow nyonya koay & canteen.

Moh Teng Pheow Nonya Koay & Canteen

Upon disembarkation, take the free shuttle bus towards the heart of Georgetown (Red Line from Cruise stop marked “10”). We alighted at Leith Street and headed to Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay & Canteen. This old-school confectionary is hidden in a small backstreet, and it takes more than just keen eyes to find it! Though it’s our second time to this place, we’re sure we’ll be back for more!

4:30PM: Exploring Love Lane

Composite pic of TTI at Love Lane Penang - Reasons to go on a cruise

Having a romantic name does come with its perks, like how Love Lane became to be one of the most visited streets of Georgetown. There’s no exact answer to this lane’s alluring name, but one thing we’re sure is that it’s here to stay. While we were there, we couldn’t help but pose in front of the old shophouses’ doors for some OOTD shots. Lovely!

5PM: More sweets at China House

China House Cakes- trendy places in Georgetown_

There’s always room for desserts, so we went all out with desserts when we’re in Penang. After having tasted traditional Chinese kuehs at Moh Teng Pheow, we treated our tastebuds with western delights such as tiramisu and carrot cake.

china house cafe bookshelves - Reasons to go on a cruise

6PM: Hunting-down Street Arts Around Georgetown

Boy on a bike street art penang - Cruise Penang Day Trip

While we definitely would like to pose with every single mural we saw on the streets of Georgetown, time constraint meant that we only had time to see some of them. We were lucky though, as the area we were at is exactly where the more iconic murals are at.

7PM: Catch the sunset at Clan Jetties of Penang

Lin Jetty penang clan jetty - Reasons to go on a cruise

Getting ourselves back to the vicinity of the port, we realised we still have some time on hand before we needed to embark on the cruise. Chasing that golden glow that’s soon to merge into the horizon, we made our way to one of the clan jetties of Penang — Lim Jetty.

What pulled us to Lim Jetty instead of the more famous Chew Jetty was precisely the void of a crowd. Also, there are many decorative lights and lanterns along the jetty planks.

Lin Jetty Sunset wefie - Reasons to go on a cruise

Lim Jetty is just a 10-min walk away from the Swettenham Pier, but do be there at least an hour before the stipulated boarding time.

Explore more places with Royal Caribbean

5D4N Cruise - Phuket Day Trip Guide- RCC Phuket Day Trip Guide

Penang’s Port Swettenham is one of the ports of calling cruise ships dock at during a voyage. Besides being a holiday itself, cruise-goers get to explore the surroundings of the various ports too! If you prefer a guided tour in Penang, there are  Shore Excursions  you can sign up for as well. Other ports of calls include Phuket and Port Klang.

For more cruise tailored land itineraries, check out our  Phuket itinerary and Port Klang itinerary !

Book Your Holiday Now With Royal Caribbean

Exclusive only to TTI readers, book a 4-Night Port Klang & Phuket Cruise at only $399*.

Between 1 – 25th Sep 2018, simply select from the following dates:  Nov 5 , Nov 12 , and Nov 19 , select ‘ Balcony ’, key in < RCTTI > under promo code and enjoy the discounted price of S$399*/pax on your ‘ Spacious Ocean View Balcony ’ rooms!

*Excluding taxes & fees

This post was brought to you by Royal Caribbean International .

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A post shared by The Travel Intern (@thetravelintern) on May 10, 2018 at 2:38am PDT


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Hi can i check the cruise that stop at Penang is at Swettenham Pier?

Hi Wing, yes Swettenham Pier.

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Home » Southeast Asia » Malaysia » Penang


Penang is the second smallest state in Malaysia and consists of two main parts. The Penang mainland, and Penang Island. The island is connected to the mainland by two road bridges, one of which is the longest oversea road bridge in Southeast Asia.

The province boasts great diversity in culture, ethnicity, language, and religion- which makes it a very interesting destination for travel. It also has an incredibly beautiful coastline and cities that seem to rise up along the ocean.

The area is perfect for sunset chasers, adventure lovers, nature enthusiasts and anyone fascinated by culture and diversity. It’s time to start planning your very own Penang itinerary for one incredible holiday!

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Best time to visit Penang

Where to stay in penang, penang itinerary, day 1 itinerary in penang, day 2 itinerary in penang, day 3 and beyond, staying safe in penang, day trips from penang, faq on penang itinerary.

While planning your itinerary, you need to know when to visit Penang.

Penang has a very stable climate with temperatures varying very little throughout the course of the year. This means planning your Penang trip will be an absolute breeze.

The only thing you really need to consider is the rain, humidity, and whether or not you’re willing to visit during monsoon season. These monsoons are not particularly dangerous most of the time, however, they certainly will interfere with your planned outdoor activities.

When to visit Penang

Monsoon season takes place in April and May, and should probably be avoided if you don’t enjoy a good deal of rain.

Penang’s busy season takes place between mid-November and February. The weather is warm (just like the rest of the year), but the lack of rain makes Penang travel a whole lot easier!

Every traveler has a different preference for their travel, so here’s what you can expect from Penang all year round!

Penang is a world-renowned exotic holiday destination, which means there’s an overwhelming amount of places and areas to stay in . Whether you’re into the hustle and bustle of city living or prefer to rough it in a small fishing village, Penang is sure to have something to suit your taste.

George Town is the capital city and our first recommendation for where to stay in Penang. It has been named one of the most interesting and colorful cities in all of Malaysia, it’s no wonder it made the top of our list.

Where to stay in Penang

The city has a charm like no other. Walking down the streets you’ll see an eclectic mix of colonial buildings, Chinese storefronts, and ornate mosques. You can indulge in top-class street food and delicious coffee while exploring its many landmarks.

Bayan Lepas is situated on Penang island, just an express route away from George Town. It’s a highly affordable option that still gives you easy access to Penang attractions. The area was started as an agricultural village and has now become the industrial hub of Penang.

However, it is more than just a charming village and is now home to some incredible Penang points of interest. So if you’re spending more than two days in Penang, consider adding this area to your Penang itinerary.

Best Hostel in Penang – House of Journey

Penang Itinerary

House of Journey is located in the heart of George Town’s historical zone, making it easy to access many of the best Penang landmarks. The cozy interior makes you feel right at home, and the buffet breakfast provided every morning doesn’t hurt either! They also offer free city maps and guidance for those planning on touring Penang.

Best Airbnb in Penang – Central apartment great for City- Breakers

Central apartment great for City- Breakers

Situated yourself right in the cultural heart of Penang ith this George Town apartment. This affordable and well-maintained place is the perfect jumping-off point to explore the eclectic mix of sights, sounds and aromas that abound in Penangs city centre.

Best Budget Hotel in Penang – Tune Hotel

Penang itinerary

Tune hotel, located in George Town, has a colorful exterior that hides the modern, stylish interior. The hotel offers free WiFi in all it’s rooms and is just a five-minute walk away from Penang’s famous skyscraper. The air-conditioned rooms also offer a much-needed break from the warm climate.

Best Luxury Hotel in Penang –  Eastern & Oriental Hotel

Penang itinerary

The Eastern & Oriental Hotel offers absolute luxury accommodation for travelers looking for just that little bit extra from their trip to Penang. An outdoor swimming pool is perfect to cool off from the heat, and their on-site restaurant and bar come in handy when spending a relaxing afternoon sunbathing by the pool.

  • Best Backpacker Hostels in Penang
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While you’re planning a trip to Penang, you’re going to need to find out the best ways to get around the province. If you’re traveling from Penang Island to the mainland, taking a bus or ferry is your best option.

If you’re traveling long distances across the province, or from town to town, taking a bus is a great option. Unfortunately, Penang’s public transport system is severely lacking, so buses are the main form of public transport.

Hailing a taxi is also an option, however, transport costs become exponentially more expensive when traveling via taxi.

Penang Itinerary

Hiring a scooter is a great way to get around Penang. It gives you a great amount of freedom and means you won’t have to plan your Penang itinerary around bus routes and times. You can also travel anywhere in the province on your scooter, which allows you to take a trip a little off-the-beaten-track.

Most of the cities and towns in Penang are easily walkable, in fact, we actually recommend that you walk. This allows you to find hidden gems apart from the main landmarks during your vacation in Penang.

Now that you know how to get around Penang, you can start putting together your very own Penang itinerary with the activities below!

Tropical Spice Gardens | Fort Cornwallis | Suffolk House | Khoo Kongsi | Little India | Batu Ferringhi Night Market

Spend the first day of your Penang trip itinerary exploring the many interesting cultural sites and landmarks that make up the wonderful Penang district. Take a Penang walking tour, or explore on your own, either way, you’re sure to stay well entertained!

Day 1 / Stop 1 – Stroll Through the Tropical Spice Gardens

  • Why it’s awesome: The tropical spice gardens were created to pay homage to all the beautiful herbs and spices found in this part of the world.
  • Cost: Entry – USD $4, Guided Tour – USD $6
  • Food nearby: Tree Monkey is a fantastic restaurant with outdoor seating in a beautiful and green setting. They serve absolutely delicious Thai food, and the presentation is exquisite. Be sure to order one of their many famous vegetable dishes, they’re sure to keep you coming back for more!

There’s no better way to spend your morning than walking around the aromatic and beautifully scented garden. The incredible Penang Tropical Spice Gardens cover an impressive six acres of land and are home to over 500 different plant species. As you walk through the gardens, you’ll be blown away by the myriad of smells and tastes that you encounter.

The Tropical Spice Gardens are ranked as one of the top attractions in Malaysia and are an absolute Penang must-do!

Tropical Spice Garden

The tour is perfect for anyone interested in Malay flora and fauna, as your knowledgeable guide will teach you about the plant-life during the tour. You can even take a cooking class on the premises that will teach you how to use herbs and spices in your cooking to create fantastic Malay style dishes.

There are also plenty of audio tours that allow you to explore the gardens on your own, and experience the wonderful power of these aromatic plants.

Day 1 / Stop 2 – Visit Fort Cornwallis

  • Why it’s awesome: Fort Cornwallis was built in the 18th century, but never actually engaged in any combat.
  • Cost: USD $5
  • Food nearby: Hameediyah Restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside, but is an absolute gem! They serve a variety of really great seafood and meat dishes, as well as a variety of wonderful vegetarian meals. This restaurant truly has something for everyone’s taste.

Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia and was built by the British East India Company three centuries ago! The fort was named after the governing general of Bengal at the time, Charles Cornwallis.

The main building in the fort is the oldest roofed building still standing from the colonial times. This gives it a great history, which you will certainly learn about during your time at the fort.

Fort Cornwallis

There is also a small chapel on the premises, which has become a very popular place for weddings to take place in Penang.

You’ll discover a range of old canons that decorate the fort, the largest of which has been named Seri Rambai and was cast all the way back in 1603!

There is also a lighthouse at the fort that looks like a ship’s mast and serves absolutely no navigational purposes, but it makes the fort all the more interesting. Spending the mid-afternoon exploring the fort gives you great insight into the history of Malaysia, especially during the colonial period.

Day 1 / Stop 3 – Have Tea at Suffolk House

  • Why it’s awesome: Suffolk House is a prime example of colonial architecture in Malaysia and is located on a very scenic part of Penang Island, called Air Itam (meaning Black Water).
  • Cost: Entrance is free!
  • Food nearby: China House is a mixture between a bar, cafe, gallery and shop, and it serves all of these purposes so well! They serve a wonderful assortment of patisseries and cakes, as well as making delicious meals for their guests.

Just a 15-minute drive from Fort Cornwallis, Suffolk House is a colonial-style building in a very beautiful part of Penang Island. The house is also known to be the only surviving Georgian Mansion in Penang, making it all the more special!

Suffolk House

Suffolk House was home to a few of the British Governors that governed Penang, giving the place a great history to discover! The house has been wonderfully restored to its former glory, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the things to see in Penang that you simply must visit!

The house is furnished with original Anglo-Indian antiques giving it a very vintage feel and adding to the romantic atmosphere.

Be sure to stop by for high-tea or lunch at the Suffolk House Restaurant on the premises that offer an assortment of great meals. However, if you’re already full, then amble around the grounds while enjoying the many beautiful sights along the way!

Day 1 / Stop 4 – Explore Khoo Kongsi

  • Why it’s awesome: Khoo Kongsi is an iconic Penang attraction that was once a clan-house.
  • Cost: Free to enter!
  • Food nearby: Kebaya Dining Room is just a six-minute drive from Khoo Kongsi and serves an exquisite array of dishes. A fine-dining atmosphere paves the way perfectly for their well-presented meals! You’ll be able to order from their Chinese-style menu before tucking into a wonderful dessert.

If you’re wondering what to do in Penang, then visiting Khoo Kongsi simply must be on your Penang Itinerary. It was once a clan-house, but has now been turned into a museum that features many interesting stone carvings with heavy Chinese influences!

Khoo Kongsi

The temple was built in the 19th century and has a few astounding features that are likely to blow you away! The architecture in itself is amazing, and shows off a myriad of different colors! One of the temples’ signature features is it’s alter. It has been decorated with gold leaf, and inlaid with ancestral tablets!

Ornate decorations also hang from the ceilings, making this museum a whole lot of fun to explore! Be sure to take your camera along for this epic adventure into the interesting history of Malaysia’s past.

The ancient clan-house has managed to retain its historic setting, which can be seen in the association building, a traditional theater and the row-houses that were built for clan members in the 19th century.

Day 1 / Stop 5 – Wonder Around Little India

  • Why it’s awesome: Small but vibrant area in Penang that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into a different country.
  • Cost: Free to explore!
  • Food nearby: There are plenty of street food options in Little India, but if you feel you want to sit and have a meal, then Indigo Restaurant is a great option! Here, you’ll be able to indulge in a delicious three-course meal and even enjoy their late-night dining option. They serve some of the most Instagrammable dishes in Penang, so be sure to snap a pic before you tuck into your meal!

Take the evening to stroll through the streets of Little India, a small area just outside of George Town that has a completely different feel to the rest of Penang. You may even think you took a wrong turn and landed up in the wrong country! (But that isn’t the case.)

Little India

Little India is where you’ll find a large collection of Tamil people who add a cultural vibrancy to the area. You’ll notice a wide selection of shops, selling everything from Sari’s to perfume and incense at great prices! Take this opportunity to do a little bargain hunting during your trip; brush up on your haggling skills , and you’re sure to buy some souvenirs at a steal.

Many of the shops blast Bollywood music into the streets, making the whole area come alive in the evenings. It’s also one of the best places to visit in Penang to sample Malaysian street food , so save your stomach for a taster or two.

Day 1 / Stop 6 – Go Shopping at Batu Ferringhi Night Market

  • Why it’s awesome: The fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun sets! Spend the night shopping for bargains at one of the best things to do in Penang at night.
  • Cost: Free to browse!
  • Food nearby: After all the eating you’ll be doing during your first day in Penang, you’re sure to be stuffed. However, if you’re still feeling peckish, there are plenty of snacking options at Batu Ferringhi Night Market.

Stroll around the Batu Ferringhi Night Market and browse the many interesting stores. You’ll find handmade jewelry, knock-off designer goods, and many other inexpensive souvenirs. Clothes, bags, watches, and DVDs are all things you can expect to find.

Batu Ferringhi Night Market

Soak up the lively atmosphere as you walk around the market, and don’t forget to try some of the tasty treats on display. It really doesn’t get better than freshly prepared Malaysian meals on the go!

Insider Tip: Keep in mind that it’s important to haggle with the stall owners, as you’ll more than likely end up paying more than you should!

cruise to penang itinerary

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Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque | Batu Ferringhi Beach | Peranakan Museum | Snake Temple | Penang Hill

If you’re spending a second day in Penang before traveling elsewhere in Malaysia , you’ll need a two-day itinerary. Here are a few of our favorite activities that are a must-do during your travels.

Day 2 / Stop 1 – Explore Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque

  • Why it’s awesome: This interesting architectural feature of the Penang skyline accommodates 1,500 worshippers at a time.
  • Cost: Entrance to the mosque is free, but if you’d like to take a guided tour then additional fees will apply.
  • Food nearby: The Hillside is just a few minutes’ drive from the floating mosque. They have various indoor and outdoor seating options that provide wonderful views. The restaurant is stylish and makes for the perfect breakfast spot for the second morning of your weekend in Penang! Their breakfast options are absolutely delicious and range from healthy fruit salads to breakfast pizzas.

Waking up early in the morning to take a stroll through the floating mosque is arguably one of the best ways to start your morning in Penang. The mosque was built on stilts over the water, which is why it’s referred to as ‘floating’.

Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque

The mosque is placed in a beautiful part of Penang. You’ll get the chance to appreciate the stunning views of serene beaches while you amble through the ornate building on the water.

The mosque has many Middle-Eastern elements that are sure to leave you awe-inspired. The essence of this building is sure to stay with you throughout your visit to Penang! The mosque is the first and only mosque to have the ‘floating’ element to it, so you’re guaranteed a unique experience.

Day 2 / Stop 2 – Bask in the Sun at Batu Ferringhi Beach

  • Why it’s awesome: Batu Ferringhi is known as one of the best beach areas on Penang Island!
  • Cost: Free!
  • Food nearby: The Ferringhi Garden Restaurant is a great place to stop for a bite to eat. Eat surrounded by lush greenery. It includes options for every diet, including gluten-free.

If you’re on sole reason for a vacation in Malaysia is to dip your toes in the sand and bask in the glorious sun, then spending the mid-morning on Batu Ferringhi beach is the best way to catch a killer tan!

Batu Ferringhi Beach

This long strip of golden sands stretches as far as the eye can see, and gives you plenty of space to escape the crowds if you’re looking for a relaxing holiday! Part of the beach is lined with resorts that look over private sections of the beach. Spending the day at one of the resorts is sure to be a treat, and will see you sipping on cocktails as the hours pass you by.

Take a picnic along with you for the adventure, or simply try some of the incredible street food that the vendors have to offer.

Insider Tip: You simply must try Malaysian curry and a variety of noodle dishes while you visit Penang! They are completely unique from the Asian and Indian dishes that you’ll find in other parts of the world, and use a comprehensive blend of flavors that bring each dish to life.

Day 2 / Stop 3 – Visit the Peranakan Museum

  • Why it’s awesome: The Penang Peranakan Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Peranakan people that moved to Malaysia.
  • Cost: Adults – USD $5, Children under 6 – Free!
  • Food nearby: Tek Sen Restaurant is a simple eatery that isn’t much to look at, but the food is absolutely delicious and it has become a local favorite. Choose between a range of Thai and Malay fusion dishes, or indulge in a buffet-style meal that allows you to try a little bit of everything!

If one thing is for certain, it’s that Malaysia and Penang in particular is a very diverse area. It contains cultures from all over the world, making it a very interesting place to explore!

Peranakan Museum

The Peranakan Museum in Penang is dedicated to telling the story of the Peranakan people that moved to Malaysia many years ago. These people are also often referred to as Straits Chinese. The Peranakans are descendants of Chinese settlers that moved to Malaysia between the 15th and 17th centuries.

Within Malaysia, they developed a unique culture that was a blend of Malay and Chinese customs. The Peranakan Museum will teach you about the customs and traditions of these people, as well as showcasing some of their traditional art and antiques found in many of their homes.

On display, you’ll also see a recreation of a 19th-century traditional Peranakan house to get a better feel for their culture.

Day 2 / Stop 4 – Take a Walk Through Snake Temple

  • Why it’s awesome: The snake temple is also known as the temple of Azure Cloud and Pure Cloud Temple.
  • Food nearby: Uncle Lim’s Recipe serves a variety of unique Malay dishes with a twist. The food is absolutely delicious and served in generous portions. Many of the locals that work nearby stop at Uncle Lim’s Recipe for lunch before heading off to finish their workday.

The snake temple is located in the southwest region of Penang Island, and was built in honor of Chor Soo Kong, who was a Buddhist priest and healer. The legend tells the story of the monk who provided the shelter for snakes in the temple, and after his death they welcomed themselves in on their own.

Snake Temple

It was then thought that all these snakes were disciples of the monk, so they were allowed to stay. You’ll now find a variety of venomous Wagler’s pit vipers and green tree snakes that have taken up residence in the temple.

The temple was completed in 1850, and ever since then, it has been the home of many snakes.

If you’re looking for a heart-pumping and thrill-seeking adventure, then taking a trip to the snake temple is enough to get your adrenaline pumping. The snakes are fed, and so a little less dangerous than you might imagine, but it still makes for a very interesting activity!

Day 2 / Stop 5 – Stop Off at Penang Hill

  • Why it’s awesome: After a full day of exploring, we recommend you take a tram ride to Penang hill and kill two birds with one stone!
  • Cost: Free to visit Penang Hill!
  • Food nearby: David Brown’s Restaurant and Tea Terrace offers a delightful ambiance, and is the perfect place to have a romantic dinner after visiting Penang Hill! Enjoy a glass of wine with your delicious meal under sparkling fairy lights that add a bit of magic to the beautiful garden setting! Be sure to order one of their wonderful desserts to share after your meal.

Penang Hill is one of the main attractions in Penang, and it rises an impressive 812 meters above sea level. Penang Hill actually covers a number of hills but the most prominent being Western Hill, which is exactly where you should visit!

Penang Hill

The hill is a beautiful forested area and the best way to get to the top is via Penang Hill Railway, which has a funicular that transports guests to the top. The trip to the top is all part of the fun, and is completely unique to Penang Hill as there are no other funicular railways in Malaysia!

Once you’re at the top, you’ll get the chance to see stunning views of Penang City below! The reason we suggest this activity as the last one of the day, is because being on top of Penang Hill while the sun sets is absolutely spectacular.

Because it’s so warm all year round, you can stay on the hill for hours enjoying the twinkling lights of the city below you. Be sure to bring your travel camera so you’ll never forget these picturesque views! This is an activity you simply must add to your itinerary for Penang!

Penang Itinerary

House of Journey

House of Journey is located in the heart of George Town's historical zone, making it easy to access many of the best Penang landmarks. The cozy interior makes you feel right at home, and the buffet breakfast provided every morning doesn’t hurt either! This is definitely one of the best places to stay in Penang!

  • Free Breakfast

Butterworth | Upper Penang Road | Penang National Park | Batu Ferringhi | Butterfly Farm

If you’re staying a little longer in this wonderful district of Malaysia , you’re going to need a few more Penang things to do! You need to know where to go in Penang to find the most interesting activities and tourist destinations that this area has to offer.

Visit Butterworth on a Ferry

  • Take a ferry from Penang Island to Butterworth.
  • Experience part of the Malaysian mainland.
  • Take in unique views of George Town from the mainland!

Butterworth is well worth a visit while you’re in the area, and could be considered the best place to stay in Penang in three days. It has easy access to Penang Island and George Town, as well as being a part of the mainland, which gives you easy access to other parts of Malaysia.

Just a short ferry ride from George Town will land you in the wonderful town of Butterworth. While you’re there you should spend some time relaxing on the magnificent beaches and enjoying views of the crystal clear water, as well as of George Town just across the water.


You should then visit Apollo Market, which is a huge marketplace that consists of over 500 hawkers. You can really pick up a great bargain at this market, or simply indulge in some delicious street food and browse the other stalls!

For a cultural experience of note, catch a movie at the Lotus Five Star Movie Theater. Here you can watch the latest Hollywood reruns, or try something completely different and catch some of the best Bollywood films on the circuit! Many of them are in Hindu, but subtitles are provided, so you’re sure to understand what’s going on!

Before you head back to Penang Island, be sure to check out a temple or two and go on a little exploration of the town. This will help you get a little familiar with the other side of Penang!

Explore Upper Penang Road at Night

  • Penang has a thriving nightlife scene, especially when compared to other parts of Malaysia.
  • Boogie the night away with locals and tourists alike.
  • Variety of bars and nightclubs.

Penang has a thriving nightlife scene and has more to offer than anywhere else in Malaysia! The center of this hub is in Upper Penang Road where you’ll find a great variety of bars and nightclubs to dance the night away!

Upper Penang Road at Night

Many of the nightclubs and bars have happy hour specials or nightly deals, so be sure to walk along the length of the road to find the best deals, as well as the atmosphere that best suits your taste! Whether you’re down for a night of partying and tequila shots, or chilled drinks at a bar, Upper Penang Road will have something to suit your fancy!

Some of the most famous and popular joints on the block are Slippery Senoritas and Soho Free House, which are both must-visits while you explore the wonderful nightlife of Penang!

When you’re done with all the partying you can handle, sit down at one of the many 24-hour restaurants on the block to regain your energy before heading back to the hotel.

Visit Penang National Park

  • Experience nature at its best while visiting Penang National Park!
  • The park is used by scientists, conservationists as well as nature lovers.
  • See an array of fascinating wildlife.

The Penang National Park consists of overgrown jungle with winding footpaths that will lead you through the immense natural thickets. This national park is the smallest in Malaysia but by far one of the most beautiful!

Penang National Park

It is located just an hour outside of George Town, making it easily accessible to locals and tourists alike. Walking through the National Park is an absolute delight. You’ll experience nature at its best and even spot fascinating birds and other wildlife.

You’ll eventually reach a beach where you can spend a good portion of the day sunbathing, or get one of the locals to take you on a boat trip to see a little more than the island.

If you’re an adventurer at heart, spending a night in the National Park is an option, just be sure to rent a tent and camping gear before you head off Bear Grylls-style into the bush!

Indulge in Water Sports at Batu Ferringhi

  • Get your heart pumping as you glide over the water
  • Try a variety of thrilling water sports provided at Batu Ferringhi Beach
  • Be a thrill-seeker or simply take a relaxing day to fish

Batu Ferringhi is known for its great variety of activities on offer at the seashore. Locals have set up many businesses catering to the adventurous needs of the tourists that visit the quaint island.

If you’re in the mood to get your heart pumping, then rent a jet ski and go gliding through the water at great speeds! Parasailing is also an option for those who want to try something a little different.

Batu Ferringhi

If you’re looking for a good few laughs with your travel buddies, be sure to take a banana boat ride to see who can hold on the longest.

If you’re in the mood for a relaxing afternoon, then going fishing is a great way to spend a few hours. There are boats in the bay that are even willing to take you deep sea fishing. This is highly recommended for those who have a decent amount of experience.

Spend a Day at Butterfly Farm

  • Plenty of beautiful flora and fauna to be seen
  • You’ll find over 4000 butterflies
  • 120 different species of butterflies call this farm their home!

Butterfly farm was opened in 1986, and has been working to preserve the natural environment of these lovely creatures. They also breed butterflies at the farm before releasing them into the wild.

The colorful gardens are home to a colorful variety of flora and fauna, which is perfect for anyone that loves plants. But the main attraction is the beautiful fluttering creatures that spread their wings and flutter about the gardens.

Entopia Butterfly Farm

Butterfly Farm is known for the unique and rare species of butterflies that it contains, these include the Yellow Bird Wing Butterflies as well as Indian Leaf Butterflies.

There are narrow stone pathways that lead you through the garden, giving you the opportunity to explore the lush premises. Within the farm, there is also a 25-acre organic orchard, where you’ll be given the opportunity to sample incredibly delicious fruits!

If you love nature and all the magic it has to offer, then a visit to Butterfly Farm is highly recommended. They do so much good for conservation, as well as provide wonderful sightseeing opportunities for travelers and local guests!

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If you’re going to travel to Penang, you’ll need a few useful tips about how to stay safe in the area. While Penang is generally a safe place in Malaysia to visit , there are still safety precautions that every traveler should take or know about before visiting Penang Malaysia.

The first thing you should watch out for is the wild monkeys that live in the cities and towns. While many of them are used to humans and are fairly tame, all monkeys are unpredictable and should be left well alone.

Even the nicest monkeys attack if they feel intimidated or scared. They’re also known to steal food from locals and foreigners, so it’s best to keep your snacks hidden! 

There have been a few reports of pickpockets on buses. They often use disguises or scams to distract you while they pinch your belongings. Be aware of this and always keep your valuables in a security or travel money belt that you can see and feel around you.

The weather in Penang is another thing you should watch out for. When it rains, it tends to rain for a long time, so it’s best not to visit during their rainy season. Many of the best Penang attractions are outdoors and won’t be any fun during a downpour.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance for Penang

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If you’re spending three days in Penang or more, you’re going to need a few more activities to add to your Penang itinerary. Here are a few of our favorite day trips from Penang that are sure to spice up your trip!

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Self-Guided Audio Day Trip From Penang Island

Penang Self-Guided Audio Tour

During this day-trip from Penang island, you’ll be able to take your sightseeing experience at your own pace, and see the many highlights that the island has to offer.

You’ll learn about the island’s rich cultural history and see the melting pot of cultures and influences that make Penang the diverse place that it is.

You’ll meet many merchants and traders along the way from countries like India, the Middle East, China, and Europe. If you’re looking to spend one day in Penang, this is surely the best way to spend it, immersed in the culture and meeting the interesting people that make up Penang Island.

Penang Street & Local Food Tour

Penang Street & Local Food Tour

On this four-hour tour, you’ll be lead around George Town’s neighborhoods and the surrounding area, by an expat that’s passionate about Penang and all it has to offer. You’ll be taken to a minimum of four different foodie destinations, tasting a variety of delicious Penang food.

This will range from small tasters and street food to full sit-down-meals at some of the best restaurants in the city. You’ll also explore markets that are known for their incredible and delectable variety of food choices!

If you’re looking for the perfect Penang tour that will help you understand the area and it’s people all the better, this is the perfect one for you!

Kuala Lumpur City Day Trip From Penang

Half-Day Kuala Lumpur City Tour

During this wonderful sightseeing tour, you’ll be lead to the mystical city of Kuala Lumpur. You’ll explore Kuala Lumpur’s many iconic landmarks and historic sights . You’ll visit the sky-high Petronas towers, and see the country’s national mosque, which has become a prized treasure to the people of Penang.

You’ll explore the magnificent architecture of the Kuala Lumpur railway station before visiting a range of other wonderful Penang sights. You’ll be picked up from your hotel at the start of the tour and dropped-off safely afterward, saving your money on transport costs. This Penang trip itinerary will leave you with a hunger to see more of this incredible area!

Cameron Highlands Tour

Cameron Highlands Tour

If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of busy city life, the Cameron Highlands tour is the one for you. You’ll head to Malaysia’s gorgeous countryside to experience absolute tranquility!

Your Penang travel guide will lead you to the Highlands and tell you about the great history of the area. You’ll explore many Buddhist temples that are nestled amongst the lavender and rose gardens before stopping to admire views over the tea plantations that stretch on for miles.

If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet during your Penang day tour, this is the perfect one for you!

Batu Caves, Waterfalls and Hot Springs – Penang Day Trip

Batu Caves, Waterfalls and Hot Springs - Penang Day Trip

If you’re looking for a day of excitement and adventure, as well as getting opportunities to take stunning photos, this is the right day trip for you!

You’ll start the day by heading to Batu Caves with their decorative and picturesque entranceway, before witnessing the cascading Kanching Falls. You’ll even get a chance to take a dip in the waterfall catchment area before continuing on your tour!

You’ll then visit the Selayang Hot Springs where you can dive into the water yet again. This is often considered one of the most Instagrammable tours in Malaysia, so don’t miss out on this picturesque experience!

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Find out what people want to know when planning their Penang itinerary.

How many days do you need in Penang?

Three full days are plenty for exploring Penang’s top attractions.

What should you include on a 3 day Penang itinerary?

Make sure to include these Penang hotspots: – Tropical Spice Gardens – Khoo Kongsi – Batu Ferringhi Night Market – Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque

When is the best time to visit Penang?

November-February offer the best weather for exploring and are peak season for Penang. Crowds are smaller from September to October, but be prepared for rain!

Are there any day trips from Penang?

There are loads of epic guided tours and trips from Penang. Kuala Lumpur, the Cameron Highlands, and the Batu Caves are all within reach.

The wonderful state of Penang has so much beauty, culture and exciting experiences to offer. Now that you know all the best places to visit in Penang, you can start planning your very own Penang itinerary!

Whether you enjoy a holiday filled with lazy days by the pool or beach, or you prefer an adventurous fun-filled vacation of exploring small fishing towns, Penang is the place to be.

In recent years it has grown exponentially in popularity among tourists, as it offers an authentic eastern experience while still providing all the western luxuries we’ve come to love in a holiday destination.

Now that you’ve decided on what to do in Penang, put together your own ultimate itinerary to suit your personal taste! Don’t hesitate any longer, the wonderful state of Penang awaits your arrival! 

cruise to penang itinerary

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Janey Mae

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CruiseWorld Asia 2023: Asia’s cruise industry enters new phase of growth

Cruise line speakers at CruiseWorld Asia 2023: Travel Weekly Asia’s Irene Chua and Xinyi Liang-Pholsena; Uniworld’s Henry Yu; MSC Cruises' Helen Huang; Resorts World Cruises' Michael Goh; Royal Caribbean International’s Angie Stephen; and Travel Weekly’s Arnie Weissmann.

A total of 296 cruise line and port leaders, travel experts and travel agents gathered at CruiseWorld Asia 2023 for a day of sharing, networking, and exchanging of ideas with industry friends and colleagues.

Organised by Travel Weekly Asia, the annual flagship cruise conference took place at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore on 7 November 2023, with support from cruise line sponsors Resorts World Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, and Silversea Cruises; destination sponsors Hong Kong Tourism Board and Penang Global Tourism; and strategic partner Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore.

Here are some of the highlights from the cruise line panel and destination panel discussions.

Cruising interest surges, unleashing new opportunities

For Royal Caribbean Group, 2023 was a record-breaking year in its history operating out of Singapore. The pandemic was the catalyst that introduced a greater proportion of the local population to cruising with cruise-to-nowhere sailings, and the growth trajectory has since continued. Singapore, for instance, has now become one of the world’s highest penetration of cruisers at over 7%, noted Royal Caribbean Group’s VP, Asia Pacific, Angie Stephen.

Stephen also urged the local trade to open up its cruise selling playbook to beyond homeport sailings, considering further itineraries in other parts of Asia. "We recently did a 12-night sailing from Singapore to Tokyo, and then another 12 Nights Tokyo to Singapore, typically for those types of long itineraries, they are filled with international guests for long-haul markets like Europe, Australia, and the US. Half of the ship was filled by Asian markets, so the Asian customer is ready to sail beyond what they know."

Diversity of cruise itineraries grows richer

Resorts World Cruises, which was established in 2022, has expanded the diversity of itineraries with its dual homeport strategy, with Genting Dream homeported in both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and Resorts World One in Hong Kong and Kaohsiung. During its 18 months of operation, its steady expansion of fresh itineraries and themed sailings has increased business opportunities for trade partners.

“Our DNA is to continue to bring new cruising concepts into Asia, into the world. We want it to be a cruise line that is adaptable to do what the consumer wants and is able and not afraid to make changes so long as we don't compromise in terms of safety,” stated Michael Goh, president, Resorts World Cruises.

With Resorts World Cruises having year-round deployment in Hong Kong and Royal Caribbean international returning to Hong Kong in winter 2024 for the Christmas and New Year seasons, building strong partnerships with cruise lines and cruise agents is one of Hong Kong Tourism Board's top priorities, according to Kenneth Wong, general manager of MICE and cruise at HKTB.

With a crop of new attractions and offerings such as the Hong Kong Palace Museum, M+ contemporary museum, and the Frozen themed land at Hong Kong Disneyland, there are more options for travel agents to craft creative pre- and post-cruise packages for their customers, Wong added.

Uniworld’s Henry Yu, MSC Cruises' Helen Huang; Resorts World Cruises' Michael Goh and Royal Caribbean International’s Angie Stephen joined a panel discussion moderated by Travel Weekly Asia’s Xinyi Liang-Pholsena and Travel Weekly’s Arnie Weissmann.

Southeast Asia muscles up as a cruise source market

MSC Cruises, which returns to Asia with Japan sailings in 2023, is expected to bring two ships into China next year – MSC Bellissima and MSC Splendida MSC - operating ships from its homeports in Shanghai and Shenzhen and sailing to Keelung (Taipei), Yokohama, Tokyo and Naha.

Having established a presence in Greater China, MSC Cruises is now looking to grow the cruise market in Southeast Asia. The Europe-based cruise line has started to work directly in Southeast Asia in September 2022, and its target for the first three years is to learn how to grow business in this region with the travel trade.

Said Helen Huang, Great China president: “We are number one in the European cruise market; we have a great deal to offer - we have the most modern ships in the industry and will be continuously building the best ships in the world. And then we also have more and more flexibility for embarkation and disembarkation.”

Heightened interest in experiential travel

“In order to drive the business here in Asia, we really need to rely on travel trade partners, to promote the beauty of river cruises to consumers in Asia in many different ways,” said Henry Yu, managing director, Asia at Uniworld Boutique Cruise Line, which has 70 ships globally which are privately owned and operated.

He shared that marketing river cruises offer a very high return rate and 70% of clients have indicated that they would return at least once in the next three years. The Singapore market for Uniworld is largely dominated by FITs, ranging from four to six pax. In Malaysia, they range between 10 to 15 pax, and between 20 to 25 pax in Taiwan.

Ultra-luxury and expedition cruise line Silversea Cruises, which is part of the Royal Caribbean Group, will launch bespoke itineraries on board Silver Shadow in 2025, sailing to beautiful fjords and rarely visited ports. Expeditions on Silver Endeavour and Silver Wind will access remote shores of the British Isles. Said Philipps Walker, marketing director: “You're likely never have heard of these. But our customers love to explore these destinations where they've never been before. And with our small luxury ships, we can take them right into those destinations. And we pride ourselves in accessing raw and wild places.”

Sell the value of cruise vacations

Cruising offers immense value for vacations, said Resorts World Cruises' Goh. “The cruise product in fact, is an excellent product for you to package with your destination, especially the fly-cruise business, because the cruise products include all elements with bills and entertainments and activities," he said, urging trade partners to maximise this potential in selling crusing."

More opportunities abound for FITs too. Royal Caribbean's Stephen added: “Younger travellers want the flexibility of the choice of the date that they want. You're going to be able to tap into that audience - not necessarily by group block – as they're willing to pay the FIT pricing and secure their own airfare…So think about evolving the model to go more FIT and promote the destination of the cruise, and then sell it at FIT. It's probably going to be a little bit higher in price, but you'll make more commission on that as well.”

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