15 JANUARY 2024, MANILA — The international cruise ship MV Vasco Da Gama, owned by the German cruise line Nicko Cruises, successfully docked at four terminals under the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) from January 6 to 10 this year.

MV Vasco Da Gama carried no less than 650 passengers, mostly German nationals, with a crew of 500, including over 150 Filipinos. Departing from Hong Kong, the ship made its initial stop at Manila South Harbor on January 6, 2024. It smoothly sailed and docked in Coron and Puerto Princesa in Palawan before its final stop on January 10, 2024 in Bohol distinguished as the Philippines' first UNESCO Global Geopark.

After a four-day visit to various islands in the country, with Bohol being the last, MV Vasco Da Gama set sail for Indonesia and Australia. The said passenger cruise ship is among the international cruise ships expected to dock at PPA-managed terminals in 2024.

In 2023, over 80,000 cruise ship passengers from various shipping companies such as Norweigan Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Silverseas, Windstar Cruises, and AIDA visited the Philippines, recognized as the 'Best Cruise Destination in Asia' by the World Cruise Award.

“Makikita niyo naman po smooth-sailing ang pagdaong ng mga cruise ships sa ating mga pantalan, bago dumating sa bansa may mga pre-arrival meeting po yan para masigurong walang aberya sa mga foreign national at maging sa mga Pilipinong sakay nito. Pagdating nila sa pantalan, sasalubungin sila ng modernong pasilidad at mga nakangiting personnel ng PPA”, said PPA GM Jay Santiago.

To further strengthen cruise tourism in the country, PPA General Manager Jay Santiago pledged that the agency is continuously developing cruise terminals at prominent tourism sites like Siargao, Camiguin, Boracay, Palawan, and Puerto Galera.

With each cruise ship arrival at the country's ports, PPA collaborates with various stakeholders such as the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Quarantine, and local governments to carefully plan a seamless welcome for cruise passengers.

In Palawan's Puerto Princesa, each cruise ship docking is viewed as an opportunity to extend services beyond port responsibilities. This perspective is crucial to enhance cruise tourism in the country, stimulating local tourism positively impacting local employment rates.