Secretary Wanda Teo said on Monday the increasing number of cruise ships visiting Manila, as well as Boracay, raises the possibility that the country may yet become an international cruise hub.
“As the first-ever cruise ship to homeport in Manila, Superstar Virgo will etch a milestone in our tourism journey, as both the ship and our shores will provide vacationers, including the locals, the convenience of not having to fly to either Hong Kong or Singapore to take a cruise,” Teo said in a statement.
On Sunday, the luxury cruise ship made its maiden voyage from Manila to Laoag-Kaohsiung, Taiwan-Hong Kong and back to Manila.
Manila ushered in the summer season as the historic Philippine capital becomes homeport to the flagship of one of the world’s largest cruise ship operators.
Teo also noted that, “This event dramatizes the vision of the Asean and China Tourism Cooperation agreement forged recently.”
The Asean member-countries are: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Star Cruises President Ang Moo Lim echoed Teo’s optimism that a wholesome and ultimate tour experience for both, international and Filipino cruise passengers offer families the perfect bonding time.
Hong Kong-based Star Cruises’ flagship arrived to a rousing, fanfare-filled celebration at Manila’s South Harbor where hundreds of welcomers waited as early as 5 a.m.
The 13-story, 900-cabin, 2,600-passenger capacity ship, docked at 7:30 a.m. and the public was treated to a dazzling musicale at its Lido theater and then given a tour of the ships amenities, including restaurants, bars, game room, shopping mall, gym, massage spa, and roof deck swimming pool.
Star Cruises is reportedly looking forward to add more Philippine destinations, such as Boracay and Cebu, in the cruise itinerary in the future.