A boy rides his bicycle at the bay walk in Puerto Princesa City with the passenger cruise ship AIDAvita behind him. The cruise ship arrived Sunday at the port of the city with around 1,200 crew and passengers.

The AIDAvita cruise ship has arrived in Puerto Princesa City with an estimated 1,200 crew and passengers from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, its last port of call before sailing to the Philippines.

Operated by AIDA Cruises based in London, United Kingdom, the passenger cruise ship was welcomed Sunday at around 6 a.m. by the representatives of the City Tourism Office (CTO), the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and other related agencies at the city port.

Its arrival came nearly two days after the CTO announced that the February 8 supposed port call of Silver Spirit cruise ship was canceled by the Customs, Immigration, Quarantine, and Security (CIQS) after learning that some of its 650 passengers have a history of travel to mainland China and its special administrative region, Hong Kong.

Michie Meneses, senior operations officer and promotions marketing chief of the city tourism, said AIDAvita was allowed to visit Puerto Princesa after a CIQS team boarded it in Kota Kinabalu for quarantine inspection as part of precautionary measures being undertaken against the possible spread of the 2019-novel coronavirus.


Passengers of AIDAvita descend from the cruise ship to tour the city. (Photo by Michie Meneses)

“Dumaong siya dito sa Puerto Princesa dahil wala pong nakitang problema ‘yong quarantine personnel doon sa mga dokumento na sakay nitong cruise ship. Majority ng sakay niya mga German at based naman sa initial information na natanggap natin walang recent travel history doon sa mga area na pinagbabawal ng government,” Meneses said.

“Wala rin pong nag-manifest ng any form or sign na may symptoms kaugnay sa nCoV,” she said, adding AIDAvita will only stay in the city until 6 p.m.

Based on its automatic identification system (AIS) data online, AIDAvita’s recent port calls before it sailed to Palawan were Benoa, Indonesia; Darwin, Australia; Surabaya, Indonesia; Singapore, and Kota Kinabalu.

In Kota Kinabalu, it has been reported that the Sabah government recently tightened temporary travel restrictions because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Although it is free from any coronavirus, its state government has beefed up restrictions at all points of entry effective Saturday. All foreigners visiting with recent travel history to mainland China within the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter.