The 180-meter MS Insignia cruise ship by Oceania Cruises made its maiden call to the port of Puerto Princesa on Wednesday, bringing 600 guests and 400 crew around 11 a.m. before a 7 p.m. departure.
City Tourism Office (CTO) chief Aileen Cynthia Amurao, representatives of the Philippine Port Authority (PPA), and MS Insignia captain Damir Kurilic exchanged plaques and tokens in a small ceremony on the fifth deck of the ship to mark the maiden voyage.
The ceremony is customary to cruise ships when making port calls for the first time.
Kurilic said except for the strong wind that slowed their movement to reach the port of Puerto Princesa “on-time”, the rest of the voyage was an easy ride for all their guests.
“It’s a nice place and I believe our passengers will enjoy their short stay,” Kurilic told Amurao.
The captain of the 10th cruise ship to sail to the city this year said the port management should consider having its own towboats to assist and maneuver vessels whose entry to the bay can be restricted when it is busy or when there are strong winds.
He said towboats can help move them whenever it is challenging to enter the harbor like what happened to MS Insignia.
“You need to have tugboats to help pull cruise ships that are having difficulty entering the bay. In other places they have. The wind was strong so we took time arriving,” Kurilic said.
The Regatta class cruise ship, which has a 30,277 gross tonnage and 2,700 dead weight tonnage (DWT), arrived in Puerto Princesa from its port call in Bali, Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Amurao said the city government continues to ensure that all cruise ships arriving in Puerto Princesa get good welcome for their passengers.
“The city government is steadfast in ensuring that our cruise ship visitors are received with utmost care kaya ‘yong mga tourism frontliners natin lagi nating gina-guide para sa pagbibigay ng maayos na serbisyo sa kanila,” she said.
ichie Meneses, CTO chief of the promotion and marketing division, said the MS Insignia passengers visited Honda Bay and toured the World War II Museum in Barangay Bancao-Bancao, Plaza Cuartel, the public market.
She said their city tour for the passengers was different because they requested to use the tricycles.
“Dahil limited ‘yong time nila, dalawang tours ang pinuntahan nila — ‘yong Honda Bay and city tour. Kakaiba ‘yong city tour nila kasi ang gagamitin nila tricycles. Ni-request nila na tricycles ang sakyan kasi gusto nilang ma-experience sa city tour,” she said.