By Maria Aranza Peralta
Star Cruises, Asia Pacific’s leading cruise line, has announced that Manila South Harbor is now a home port for its cruise ship SuperStar Virgo.
Known as the “Jewel of the South China Sea,” SuperStar Virgo will start sailing from Manila on March 19 to May 23, making a total cruise voyage of 6 days and 5 nights as it takes passengers from Manila to Laoag, Kaohsiung (Taiwan) and Hong Kong.
The 13-story vessel has 935 cabins that can accommodate a maximum of 2,400 guests. Some rooms include sea-view cabins and balcony suites.
Filipino cruise passengers will get to enjoy visa-free travels not just in Hong Kong but also in Taiwan after Star Cruises arranged for the Taiwanese visa to be waived for the passengers on the duration of the cruise journey.
“It is the first time ever that Filipinos can cruise literally from (their) doorsteps, hassle free, visa-free” and enjoy the cruise that has an advantage of “almost unlimited baggage allowance,” said Star Cruises president Ang Moo Lim.
Star Cruises assistant vice president for sales Andrea Solis Manzano added that they offer short excursions and day tours.
SuperStar Virgo will allow not only the Filipinos to see the beauty of Asia, but also it will enable foreigners to see the country’s beauty.
“The growth of the cruise industry in the Philippines is remarkable,” assistant tourism secretary Maria Lourdes Japson stated.
Star Cruises is expected to make 20 dockings this year at the Pier 15 in Manila. This is on top of various unscheduled expedition cruises that have been visiting the country, including Costa Rica Cruises.
Star Cruises also said it may ask for a government waiver on the cabotage law to expand its existing route to other beautiful places in the country, as well as raise concerns on the country’s tourism infrastructure.
As a way to entice cruise enthusiasts, Star Cruises is offering an early bird discount from $490 per person (twin-share) on March 19, 24 and 29, with third and fourth persons (quad-share) to enjoy an additional 50-percent discount from $245 per person.
Delightful culinary experience is also part of the cruise, with the cruise package including six meals a day. The vessel embraces Chinese, Japanese and International restaurants that can be enjoyed by the passengers.
Among the highly anticipated events during cruises is the “High Seas” or “Cruising Day,” a gala dinner during which guests can socialize with the captain and cabin crew. Guests must make reservations in advance to attend.
SuperStar Virgo also features facilities such as a 100-meter mega water slide, outdoor swimming pool, theater featuring full-production shows, bar, gym, foot reflexology salon and spa, sauna rooms, hairdressing salon, duty-free shops and karaoke room.
“The real destination is the cruise ship,” said Michael Goh, senior vice president of Star Cruises Travel Service-Singapore.
Tags: Asia Pacific, cruise, home port, Jewel of the South China Sea, Manila, Manila bulletin, Star Cruises, Star Cruises makes Manila its new home port for SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Virgo, Travel, vessel