It’s been three years since cruise ships last sailed to the Philippines, but the wait is finally over as the first cruise ships have arrived in the country. Seabourn Encore had the honor of being the first cruise ship to visit the tropical paradise of Puerto Princessa in Palawan. In the coming days, cruise ships from Silversea will also visit Bohol and Illocos Sur.
The return of cruise ships is not just great news for the local economy. It also provides the thousands of Filipino crew members the opportunity to welcome guests to their own countries and show their families the cruise ships they work on for up to nine months a year.
The First Cruise Ship Arrival After Three Years
The Seabourn Encore was the first cruise ship to reach the Philippines on February 9, 2023, visiting Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan.
Palawan is known for its stunning natural beauty; it is no surprise that at least 21 cruise ships will be visiting Palawan this year, bringing over 50,000 guests and crew members and significantly boosting the local economy.
The 41,865 gross tons Seabourn Encore arrived from Singapore with around 500 guests exploring the area around Puerto Princesa. The cruise ships visited Busuanga Island today, February 10, and will also visit Manila and Boracay in the Philippines in the coming days.
On February 11, Silver Shadow will visit the port of Tagbilaran on the island of Bohol. Bohol is famous for its unique ecosystems and stunning white sand beaches, making it an ideal destination for those looking to dive or enjoy the scenery.
Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the renowned Chocolate Hills or spend a relaxing day on the picturesque resort island of Panglao.
Finally, the Silver Spirit will visit the Port of Salomague, Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, on February 14, 2023. Salomague is a fascinating destination due to its proximity to the city of Vigan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the few surviving Spanish colonial towns in the Philippines, whose original structures are largely preserved.
Exciting Destinations and Itineraries
With the return of cruise ships to the Philippines, there is now a range of exciting destinations and itineraries available to those who want to explore the breathtaking beauty of Palawan, the unique ecosystems of Bohol, and the stunning scenery of Ilocos Sur.
Philippine Ports Authority General Manager Jay Santiago is thrilled about the return of cruise ships to the country and said: “It is about time that we live with the new normal and the PPA is proud to welcome again these international luxury ships to our shores as we bounce back from the effects of the pandemic.”
The Philippines is welcoming a good number of cruise ships this year, with the country pushing for a more significant part on the itineraries of major cruise companies. In the coming months, Oceania’s Nautica, P&O Cruises Arcadia, Seabourn Encore, Seven Seas Mariner, MS Europa, and Star Breeze will all visit several ports in the Philippines.
The Philippines has always played a massive part in the cruise industry, and the hundreds of thousands of crew members working onboard cruise ships have played an essential role in the success of cruising.
Health and Safety Protocols
The Philippines was one of the last countries to remove health and safety protocols relating to the pandemic after almost three years of strict lockdowns.
It’s not surprising that the ports the ships will visit have stringent measures to minimize the risk of any spread among passengers and locals. This includes temperature checks, mandatory COVID-19 testing, and regular sanitization of all public areas on the ships.