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Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise group is expanding aggressively into Asia. It predicted that the regional market for leisure voyages will grow significantly over the next few years. The industry forecasts that cruise passengers will increase to seven million passengers a year by 2020 in Asia, up from just above one million now.
It is focusing on Southeast Asia in particular. In April 2013, the company announced that one of its more than 100 cruise ships, Princess Cruises, will operate from Singapore by next year to provide short-haul leisure trips. The 2,670 passengers Sapphire Princess will be based in Singapore.
The 116,000 tonne ship's home port will be at Singapore's Marina Bay Cruise Centre and will dock there during the off-peak season. The Princess Sapphire will join more than 11 other cruise ships that have Singapore as their homeport, including the world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean International's Mariner of the Seas. The Mariner of the Seas can carry 3,114 passengers
The Princess Sapphire is expected to be deployed to Singapore from November 2014 to February 2015. It is expected to ferry 40,000 passengers during that period. The luxury liner will bring cruise travellers from Singapore to destinations in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Southeast Asia is a key developing market for many cruise operators because it is a great year-round experience. The seas are typically calm and the beautiful surroundings are ideal for short-haul cruise trips.

Carnival's cruise brands include Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Cunard and Ibero Cruises as well as P&O Cruises in Australia, and P&O Cruises in Britain.