Monday, April 22, 2024

Delivering Stories of Progress


Navigating the Archipelago: The Philippines’ Strategic Move into the Global Cruise Line Industry

Latest article

Advertisement - PS02barkero developers premium website


Hotel Okura Manila
Hotel 101
The Manor at Camp John Hay
Novotel Manila
Taal Vista Hotel
Advertisement - PS02barkero developers premium website

By Prince Rodvil Pangga

Back in 2020 a lot of Cruise ships got stranded here in Manila trying to disembark thousands of Filipino crew members due to the Global Pandemic. Even after 3 years, the industry itself is recovering. 

According to the UN World Tourism Organization, the Cruise industry supports 1.2 million jobs and contributes US$150 Billion to the global economy annually. Data provided by Statista Market Insights indicates that the Philippines Cruise tourism industry is set to continuously increase between 2023 and 2027 by a total of US$15 million (+58 percent), with its current standing at US$25.86 million for 2023 yet still lower than the pre-pandemic year of 2019 at US$26.44million.

Holland America Lines MS Westerdam docked at Manila for the second time this year on November 14, 2023, as part of its 14-day voyage through the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand, with ports of call in Manila, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, and Boracay, Aklan. 

The Westerdam, a Vista Class ship, is a magnificent vessel that provides a very opulent and immersive cruise adventure. This gorgeous ship, which is part of Holland America’s fleet, is known for its beauty and keen eye for detail. The Westerdam has a gross tonnage of around 82,500 and a length of 936 feet, making it a large and remarkable ship. It can accommodate around 1,964 people, creating a comfortable and cozy ambiance onboard. 

The Westerdam underwent several renovations and modifications during its most recent restoration in 2017, ensuring a new and contemporary environment. Every part of the ship, from the gorgeous exterior spaces to the well-appointed suites, displays a dedication to providing passengers with a refined and outstanding cruising experience.

Throughout the journey, the Westerdam’s cabins provide passengers with a pleasant and appealing hideaway. The Verandah accommodations are particularly remarkable among the different alternatives offered – Ocean View, Verandah (balcony cabin), Signature Suites, Neptune Suites, and Pinnacle Suites. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a private verandah allow visitors to absorb the amazing views and immerse themselves in the gorgeous setting.

Westerdam has a variety of culinary alternatives to suit every taste. Guests may enjoy an excellent culinary experience in the ship’s fine dining venues, which include the Vista Dining Room, which serves as the main dining room, and the Pinnacle Grill. Gourmet masterpieces made by professional chefs can be found everywhere from the magnificent Pinnacle Grill, famed for its quality steaks and seafood, to the Italian-inspired Canaletto.  

On board the Westerdam, the Canaletto restaurant provides a delectable gastronomic adventure inspired by the tastes of Italy. This quaint restaurant has an intimate and pleasant setting that is ideal for a nice supper with loved ones or an unforgettable occasion. Guests may experience genuine Italian meals made with new components and traditional recipes on the delightful menu created by professional chefs. Canaletto offers a delectable feast for the senses, with everything from exquisite pasta meals to rich seafood and decadent sweets. Seating is limited, so make your reservations early.

Casual dining is also enjoyable, with the Lido Market serving a variety of different cuisines, fresh fruit, and open seating. The meal was excellent, and the ice cream at the Lido market was really popular. Please don’t leave without trying their legendary cinnamon bread pudding.

Westerdam offers a diverse choice of entertainment opportunities to appeal to all tastes. The Main stage features riveting live performances by great musicians, singers, and performers. The Music Walk features many genres such as classical, rock, and blues, while the casino provides a stimulating environment for those feeling lucky. The Piano Bar and Billboard Onboard are popular places to listen to authentic music and sing along to big songs. Visit the Rolling Stone Lounge for a range of music types including R&B, rock, and pop.  

Such visits are important for the Tourism Industry, thus seeing The Philippines charting a route into the growing cruise line business as part of a strategic shift to strengthen its place in the global tourist scene. This transition is distinguished by rigorous planning, infrastructure development, and a dedication to sustainable tourism practices.

Port Infrastructure Upgrades

Recognizing the need for world-class facilities, the Philippine government has made major investments in port infrastructure upgrades. Key ports in Manila, Cebu, and Davao were expanded and improved to handle larger cruise ships, assuring a smooth passenger experience and efficient operations for cruise line operators. A good example of this would be the planned Solaire cruise port terminal that can be used by major industry leaders.

Collaboration with International Cruise Lines

To entice global cruise line titans, the Philippines has collaborated with industry heavyweights. Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) have been signed by the likes of Holland America Group under the Carnival Corporation, Celebrity Cruises of Royal Caribbean Group, and MSC Group, paving the door for more diverse cruise itineraries and greater frequency of visits. The relationship intends to establish the Philippines as a Southeast Asia cruise center.

Eco-Friendly Practices

The Philippines is pursuing environmental sustainability in the cruise line business, in line with worldwide trends. Environmental restrictions, waste reduction measures, and investments in clean energy technology are key to the country’s strategy. Cruise line companies operating in the Philippine seas are supposed to follow rigorous environmental requirements, helping to preserve the country’s natural beauty. 

Tourism Diversification

With its various landscapes and rich cultural past, the archipelagic nation is set to provide cruise line passengers with a variety of experiences. Cruisers may anticipate a rich tapestry of locations, from the wonders of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, to the pristine sands of Boracay, Aklan, with some specialized ports of call to the breathtaking Hundred Islands of Pangasinan and the Historic City of Manila. The move is expected to enhance tourism while spreading economic advantages across other areas.

Local Economic Impact

As the cruise line sector grows, local businesses prepare for greater tourist traffic. Small businesses, tour operators, and hospitality organizations are tailoring their offers to the interests of cruise line passengers, resulting in financial development in port cities and neighboring areas.

Safety and Challenges

Recognizing possible difficulties, the Philippine Coast Guard is actively involved in improving safety procedures. The Philippines’ commitment to passenger safety includes stringent health procedures, innovative weather monitoring systems, and contingency planning for unanticipated circumstances.

As the Philippines embarks on a new era of maritime tourism, a convergence of strategic planning, sustainable practices, and international collaboration would be necessary for success. We need to position the country as a promising destination for cruise line enthusiasts, contributing to global economic growth and cultural exchange.

Author’s Note: Prince Rodvil Pangga is a contributing writer to THEPHILBIZNEWS, a Cruise Consultant, and an avid Traveler. A graduate of Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of the East (UE). He always emphasizes the importance of People, Culture, and Tradition. Has a strong interest in global issues that can be solved by diplomatic discourse and negotiations factoring industry-level thinking

Advertisement - PS04spot_img

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Advertisement - PS05spot_img
Advertisement - PS01spot_img

Must read

Advertisement - PS03spot_img