Feb 17, 2010 Cruise ships fight IR They expect business to dip as punters head to the new casinos By Tessa Wong . WITH Singapore's first casino opening its doors on Sunday, cruise ships with gaming facilities are upping the stakes to retain local customers. They have been pulling out all the stops, from offering free cruises to sweetening membership deals - hoping that gamblers will still patronise them, even with a new kid already in town and another on the way. There are at least five cruise ships with gaming rooms that regularly dock in Singapore. Two of them, MV Long Jie and MV Leisure World, are particularly popular among punters, each drawing a daily average of 500 and 700 passengers respectively. The passengers are ferried to these cruise ships, which are anchored off Indonesian waters. Many of these passengers pay about $40 to $50 to stay onboard for a day and night, where they will be plied with free food plus free gambling chips. Asian Cruises International, which operates MV Long Jie, launched one of its biggest promotions on Monday when it gave away free cruise coupons for those with copies of Chinese-language newspapers Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min. It also offered readers discounted memberships. It has also sweetened existing deals, such as offering a two-year membership for the same price as a one-year one, and holding lucky draws.