For those who enjoy traveling in style, a luxury cruise ship is the best way to travel Asia. With shopping malls, an array of restaurants and countless leisure activities onboard—not to mention quick stops in exotic Asian locations, of course—a week or two on a cruise provides the perfect, relaxing and indulgent getaway.
The Manila Times knows this because of a daylong visit on two of Star Cruises’ ships—the SuperStar Gemini and SuperStar Aquarius—when the Asia Pacific Cruise Line company made its very first port calls in the Philippines shortly before the holidays. With the promise to bring more foreign tourists to the country, the grand cruise ships now dock regularly at the Eva Macapagal Passenger Terminal in Manila City.
When the SuperStar Aquarius stopped at the Manila North Harbor for the first time in November, the Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomed 1,200 Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Australian and Southeast Asian passengers from Kaohsiung, Taiwan with traditional dances, a 60-piece band, and souvnirs.
Tourism Assistant Secretary Benito Bengzon led the welcome for the impressive 50,764-ton SuperStar Gemini when it made its first key stop in Manila. He said, “We are very happy that you have finally called in on Manila. This is a great opportunity to promote cruise tourism in our country, especially since the Philippines is surrounded by water and composed of 7,107 islands. Even if you visit one island a day, it would still take 19 years to be able to visit each island in the Philippines,” Bengzon said during his speech at the ships truly grand ballroom.
Star Curises chief operating officer William Ng, proudly replied, “This special charter cruise has brought more than 1,200 passengers from Xiamen to Manila to experience the many attractions this energetic city has to offer. Many of them will also visit Resorts World Manila, our world-class, one stop, non-stop entertainment and leisure hub during the shore excursion.”
From Manila, the 13-deck vessel that returns to Sanya, Hainan in China also docks at the famed Vietnamese destinations of Danang and Halong Bay in regular trips until March 30. Halong Bay was recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1994 as a natural wonder made up of thousands of limestone karsts and isles. Danang is the fourth largest Vietnamese city once occupied by France and the United States, a destination known for its mesmerizing romantic atmosphere.
SuperStar Aquarius, meanwhile, offers a four-day/three-night cruise from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, to Muara, Brunei and back to Malaysia via Bintulu every Sunday. The vessel will be calling at Bintulu every Tuesday on a weekly basis, until March 30.