SBMA eyes more cruise ships this year

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SBMA eyes more cruise ships this year
The MV Serenade of the Seas, the first cruise ship to call at Subic port this year, docked at Subic’s Leyte Wharf on March 25 with 2,190 onboard. Photo from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
  • Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority eyes hitting pre-pandemic cruise ship calls as it welcomed Royal Caribbean’s MV Serenade of the Seas, the first cruise ship to call Subic port this year
  • The Bahamas-flagged cruise ship docked at Subic’s Leyte Wharf on March 25 with 2,190 onboard — 1,371 guests and 819 crew members
  • MV Serenade of the Seas is one of the eight cruise ships booked to call Subic as of March 21

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) eyes hitting pre-pandemic cruise ship calls as it welcomed Royal Caribbean Inc.’s MV Serenade of the Seas, the first cruise ship to call Subic port this year.

The Bahamas-flagged cruise ship docked at Subic’s Leyte Wharf on March 25 with 2,190 onboard, of which 1,371 were guests and 819 crew members.

The cruise ship made its maiden call to the Philippines on March 24 at Manila South Harbor then left at 5pm on March 25.

Leyte Wharf recently underwent an extension with its wharf now 371 meters long.

“The Subic Bay as a cruise ship destination is being revitalized with the maiden call of MV Serenade of the Seas,” SBMA chairman and administrator Eduardo Aliño said.

“This is one target industry that we continue to develop and sustain in order to create more jobs and economic opportunities here and around the freeport zone,” Aliño added

MV Serenade of the Seas is one of the eight cruise ships booked to call Subic as of March 21. This is higher than the six cruise ship calls in 2023 when cruise ships started calling Subic port again after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SBMA intends to breach the pre-pandemic figures with an average of 18 cruise ship arrivals per year, senior deputy administrator for port operations Ronnie Yambao told PortCalls in a phone interview.

Subic port handled 19 cruise ships in 2018 and 18 in 2019.

Some favorite sites in Subic that cruise ship passengers can visit, including Subic Ocean Adventure, Jungle Environment Survival Training Camp, beach resorts, diving spots, and other landmark destinations in nearby towns such as Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar in Bataan.

As a member of the International Association of Ports and Harbors, Yambao said the SBMA Port Operations Group ensures the safety of cruise ship arrivals, including its passengers.

Using SBMA’s new vessel traffic management system, Yambao said they we were able to monitor the movement of Serenade of the Seas outside Redondo until it reached the Port of Subic Bay.

Other improvements at Subic port include road repairs, slope protection, and illumination. CCTVs were also installed at Leyte and Rivera wharves where cruise ships dock. – Roumina Pablo

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