PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan – City officials here welcomed the second cruise ship to visit Palawan after the Covid-19 pandemic, saying cruise ship tourism is a major boost to the local economy.
City Tourism Officer Demetrio Alvior Jr. said the Westerdam cruise ship, carrying 1,800 passengers, is the first of four cruise ships scheduled to visit the city this March that will usher in a total of 5,000 tourists.
"So far, they had a smooth sail towards Puerto Princesa and the weather was favorable,” Alvior, who led the welcoming party, said.
“Aside from this ship, we are also expecting another ship which is bigger, to arrive on March 4 and then another on March 5 and 7,” he added.
The three other cruise ships scheduled to arrive this month are MV Arcadia with 2,000 passengers, MS Nautica with 824 passengers, and MS Seven Seas Mariner with 700 travelers.
Seabourn Encore, the first cruise ship to visit the Philippines after the pandemic, arrived here last Feb. 9 with 512 passengers aboard, signaling the return of cruise ship tourism after a two-year hiatus, Alvior said.
“This is actually also the second of a total of 21 ships scheduled to arrive this year but we were informed that there might be additional. So we are glad that our place is among the first to be visited by cruise ships because it will surely bring in more tourists, favoring our tourism industry,” he further said.
“So we are expecting around 55,000 tourists this year from cruise ships alone, including the crew,” he said.
Westerdam sailed from Singapore and will proceed to Boracay Thursday night.
"Cruise ships generally travel on an excursion tour so they really don’t stay long in one place,” Alvior said.
The passengers visited destinations in this city including the Puerto Princesa Underground River while others went island hopping in Honda Bay.
“Some even opted to just roam around the city which is really good for the small players and frontliners who directly benefited from them,” Alvior said. (Gerald Ticke/PNA)