The Norwegian Jewel cruise ship recently visited Kota Kinabalu, boosting the local economy with 2,000 tourists disembarking to shop and spend.
The 20-floor luxury cruise ship’s 12-day itinerary covered Bangkok, Manila, Kota Kinabalu, Brunei, and Singapore.
Matthew Chin, Chairman of MatthewPaul Tours and Travel, a pioneer in local cruise tourism, led a local travel agents and media members a tour inside the ship.
With a decade of experience, Chin has led Sabah cruise tours globally, including Southeast Asia, Europe, South America, and Antarctica.
He noted a growing acceptance of cruise leisure travel among Sabahans over the past decade.
Chin highlighted the popularity of cruise routes departing from Singapore or Port Klang to Penang and Phuket among Sabahans.
Cruise travel, once unfamiliar, is now widespread and affordable, including meals and flight costs in packages.
Short-haul routes attract families, while long-haul ones cater to affluent retirees.
Norwegian Cruise Line, part of the world’s third-largest cruise group, ranked first in revenue growth in 2023.
MatthewPaul has been a major agent for Norwegian Cruise Line in Malaysia since 2011, being the sole agent in East Malaysia.