International cruise ships back in Manila

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International cruise ships back in Manila
Asian Terminals Inc's Manila South Harbor recently welcomed MV Seabourn Encore, operated by Soriamont Steamship Agencies, with its over 500 foreign passenger guests and 400 crew. Photo from ATI.
  • International cruise ships resumed their call to Manila after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Asian Terminals’ Manila South Harbor recently welcomed MV Seabourn Encore with its over 500 foreign passenger guests and 400 crew
  • Around 60 more cruise vessels are initially scheduled for a visit in the coming weeks

Asian Terminals Inc. welcomed back international cruise ships to Manila after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ATI’s Manila South Harbor received MV Seabourn Encore, operated by Soriamont Steamship Agencies, with its over 500 foreign passenger guests and 400 crew who were treated to a festive Filipino reception by artists and musicians organized by local tourism groups, the company said in a statement.

The call officially marks the resumption of commercial cruise operations in Manila since the pandemic with around 60 more cruise vessels initially scheduled for a visit in the coming weeks.

“As a trade enabler and logistics player, ATI is very pleased to provide cruise liners with an integrated port facility that suits their needs. We are glad to contribute to the resurgence of the tourism industry which government considers as among the major linchpins towards economic recovery,” ATI director and DP World Philippines president and CEO William Khoury said.

Apart from its historic and economic significance, Manila South Harbor serves as an important conduit for cultural promotion as gateway into the country’s capital. The port is accessible to historical landmarks like the Walled City of Intramuros, the world’s oldest Chinatown in Binondo, National Museum, Rizal Park, and other entertainment and world-class heritage sites.

Prior to the pandemic, Manila South Harbor’s Eva Macapagal Cruise Terminal (EMCT) in Pier 15 served as the country’s dedicated homeport for international cruise vessels which handled nearly 200,000 outbound passengers at its peak.

As cruise operations ceased during the pandemic, ATI’s EMCT became an added community isolation facility and crew-change hub to augment government’s health and maritime transport infrastructure.

By March, a revitalized EMCT will reopen its doors to accept more foreign visitors and potentially host homeporting services, paving the way for more international cruise options via Manila.

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