A cruise ship with 160 tourist passengers docked at the city port Sunday, the 12th this year as Puerto Princesa City bids to become an established international cruise destination.
The Le Laperouse is carrying mostly European passengers. Its travel manager, Careline Coquin, said they came from Brunei before heading to Puerto Princesa for a 24-hour stay before heading to El Nido.
Most of its passengers disembarked from the ship to roam around the city before their departure.
Le Laperouse is under the Ponant company which is a French cruise ship operator. It was founded in April 1988 by Philippe Videau, Jean-Emmanuel Sauvé, and other officers of the French Merchant Navy and launched the first French cruise ship.
Coquin said that the company currently operates ten ships travelling in different continents.
“Our ship has a 180 carrying capacity and we currently have around 160 passengers who are roaming around the city including the underground river,” she said.
Assistant city tourism officer Demetrio Alvior said that this is the 12th cruise ship which made a maiden call to the city.
“It only shows that our city is considered as a cruise ship destination sa buong Pilipinas at isa rin itong sign na talagang nagugustuhan nila ang ating lugar,” he said.
He said that Le Laperouse is one of the smallest cruise ship docked at the city port but it is more exclusive than the other large ships.
“Maliit lang ito kumpara sa mga pumupunta dito nakaraan na malalaki, ang Genting Dream carrying around 3,500 passengers. Pero kapag maliit kasi, the more na mas exclusive ito,” he said.
Alvior said that they are expecting three other cruise ships that will visit the city before the end of the year.
Earlier, Mayor Lucilo Bayron said the 500-meter cruise ship port under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” big-ticket and high-impact infrastructure initiatives in Puerto Princesa City is already 60 percent complete.
Bayron said the construction is ongoing, but they are hoping that the P1.5 billion cruise ship port being built by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will be operational by the end of next year.
“This is a project of the national government [through the] DPWH. [It’s] one of the big-ticket projects under the Build, Build, Build of President [Rodrigo] Duterte that is being implemented in Puerto Princesa City,” he said.
He said they can transport around 7,000-10,000 in the city.