Over the last three years, not a single cruise ship has visited Phuket. Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, 154 cruise ships had brought some 485,000 visitors to the island.
The Spectrum of the Sea, with a capacity of 5,600 beds, docked on the island on Monday 24 October. The Singapore-based ship - one of the mega cruise ships of the world - carried 4,594 tourists from 59 countries, mainly from Singapore, Malaysia, India, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The passengers were welcomed in Phuket by Governor Narong Woonsiew and the head of the Phuket office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Nanthasiri Ronnasiri. The Governor said it was the first major cruise ship to dock in Phuket over two years, after Covid-19 crippled the tourist island's economy. He hailed its arrival as a strong sign of Phuket's tourism recovery, explaining that cruise ship passengers generally have high purchasing power.
Approximately 800 Spectrum of the Sea passengers had purchased day passes to see Phuket's beaches and other attractions, while the vast majority of other passengers decided to explore Phuket on their own.
Day trips cost between 500 and 1,000 baht per person, depending on the itinerary. However, the price can go up to 3,000 baht if the packages include visits to attractions outside of Phuket, such as Ko Phi Phi in Krabi or Phang Nga Bay.
Spectrum of the Seas operates out of Singapore, which has been open to mega cruise ships since December 2020. The cruise ship is based in the city-state year-round, offering three-night cruises to Penang, Malaysia, and four-night cruises to Penang and Phuket.