Cruise tourism is making an overwhelming comeback in the Philippines this year, with 30 cruise ships scheduled to call at the country’s ports this year.
Records from the Department of Tourism (DoT) showed that these cruise ships will carry up to 200,000 pax and make 139 port calls spanning 46 Philippine destinations.
Cruise throughput for 2023 represents a 56 per cent increase from 128,000 pax recorded in 2019.
At the recent PATA Philippines Chapter business assembly, Verna Buensuceso, assistant secretary for product and market development and OIC-undersecretary, tourism development, said: “It certainly looks like revenge travel is for real.”
Seabourn Cruise Line will send the first cruise ship – Seabourn Encore – to the Philippines since the pandemic disruption, arriving February 9 with a 600-pax vessel. It will call at Puerto Princesa and Coron in Palawan before arriving in Manila for shore excursions, and then onwards to Boracay.
Silversea Cruises is returning too, with Silver Shadow calling at Kalanggaman Island, Romblon and Bohol before Manila.
While fewer ships will sail to the Philippines this year compared with 2019, a number will be expedition ships making repeated calls at various ports and island destinations throughout the year.
New destinations this year include Ilocos Sur, Kalanggaman Island in Leyte and Romblon. Bohol is also getting popular among cruise ships.
Another positive note is the development of the Salomague port in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur which can take in large ships of 3,000 pax or more.