6th largest cruise ship with 5,000 passengers visits Subic

Published June 8, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Jonas Reyes

Subic Bay Freeport – Carrying almost 5,000 passengers on board, the MS Ovation of the Seas made its maiden port call in this premier Freeport yesterday, making it the biggest cruise ship to ever dock here to date.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Wilma T. Eisma welcomed the arrival of the Quantum-class ship of the Royal Caribbean International (RCI).

The MS Ovation of the Seas is an 18-deck ship 348 meters long, has a gross tonnage of 168,666, a maximum occupancy of 4,905 passengers and, along with its sisters Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, are considered the sixth biggest cruise ships in the world today.

Eisma pointed out that tourist arrivals here rose significantly due to the port calls of cruise ships.

Level up

“So, as you can see, we have now taken this cruise ship program several notches higher. We started in February this year with Costa Atlantica, which has a passenger capacity of just over 2,000, and now we have this–Ovation of the Seas with almost 5,000 passengers and crew,” she added.

“We are glad that in its own little way, Subic is able to help in the national government effort to raise tourist arrivals in the country and generate more income for local people,” Eisma added.

Subic, Manila port calls

MS Ovation of the Seas Captain Flemming Neilson said, “we are very pleased to arrive at Subic Bay for the first time today and at Manila tomorrow. This double ship call is a historic one for Royal Caribbean International in the Philippines, as Ovation of the Seas is the largest ever cruise to call at any port here.”

“The success of our ship calls in the Philippines this week is attributed to the strong support and close cooperation from the terminal operators and tourism authorities, which we greatly appreciate,” he said.

Capt. Neilson welcomed honorary guests Senator Richard Gordon, Bataan Vice Governor Maria Cristina Garcia, Eisma and Department of Tourism officials.

Cruise ship destination

Gordon said that this is part of what he envisioned Subic Freeport to be, a cruise ship destination.

Gordon also said that he hopes the Royal Caribbean International Philippines will bring in more tourists to this premier Freeport.

He added that the national government is working hand-in-hand to accommodate the growing number of cruise ships arriving in the country.

Port development

Meanwhile, the SBMA plans to develop the Port of Subic to further accommodate the huge number of cruise ships that are set to arrive here, providing better services while handling larger maritime vessels.

SBMA has commenced major infrastructure projects that would significantly develop the Port of Subic to provide better services to port users and accommodate bigger maritime vessels.

The SBMA has allocated a total of R135.8 million for the said projects that are designed to increase the number of shipping lines visiting Subic and to boost port revenue.

“From merely a handful just a few years back, the number of commercial shipping lines regularly visiting Subic has now reached 23 – and these do not include the growing number of cruise ships that are docking in Subic and bringing in tourists,” Eisma pointed out.

“With the completion of these three port projects by next year, we expect to see more attractive and more efficient port facilities, more customers coming in, and more income for the port,” she added.