Subic keen on becoming next cruise ship playground

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is keen on positioning its port to become the next tourism destination for Royal Caribbean cruise ships starting next year.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, who met here with Dr. Zinan Liu and other officials of Royal Caribbean International (RCI) over the weekend, said the Subic community is hoping to generate more business with the growing cruise ship tourism industry in the Asian region.

“We hope that Subic would be the next cruise ship playground. And we are very excited over this prospect,” Eisma told RCI officials, as she briefed them on the potentials of the Subic Bay area as cruise ship destination.

“We can offer you the best tourism facilities and services for your passengers and crew, highly memorable and tailored tourism experiences to meet the expectations of your clients, and a safe environment that will be very conducive to your business,” Eisma added.

Liu, who is RCI’s president for China and North Asia Pacific Region, arrived in Subic on Saturday along with his assistant Anna Lian and company director Antonio Muresu, and escorted by Isabela Vice Gov. Antonio Albano.

Royal Caribbean International president for China and North Asia Pacific Region Zinan Liu presents a miniature cruise ship model during the end of their two-day ocular of the Subic Bay Freeport.

Eisma brought the visitors to Alava Pier here, where the firm’s MS Oasis of the Seas cruise liner may dock once Subic is included in the ship’s Asian itinerary.

The RCI, which is a cruise line brand based in Miami, Florida and owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), a global cruise vacation company which controls 22 percent of the cruise market worldwide, is said to be scouting for newer attractions for the growing Asian cruise ship market.

Eisma, along with the SBMA Cruise Ship Technical Working Group, stressed that her administration is positioning Subic as the new Asian destination to meet such growing demand.

The MS Oasis of the Seas is said to provide some of the most modern cruise experiences today with facilities like the Central Park, Boardwalk, Royal Promenade, Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place, and Youth Zone, which features a surf simulator, cantilevered whirlpools suspended 112 feet above the ocean, and zip line.

The ship can carry over 6,000 passengers and 3,900 crews and officers in its 16 passenger decks.

During the preliminary meeting with another RCI team headed by Capt. Nikolaos Antalis in November this year, it was noted that because of its gigantic size, Oasis of the Seas could only use the Port of Subic, among the many ports in the Philippines.

During their two-day stay here, Liu and the other RCI officials said they were impressed over the potential of the Subic Bay area, noting that it has attractions in culture, history and religion, aside from modern amenities.

Eisma toured the cruise ship officials around Subic Bay and brought them to see Zoobic Safari, Ocean Adventure, and Segara Villas on Saturday, and brought them as well to the famed Philippine heritage destination Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan last Sunday.

Last July, RCCL Vice President for New Business Development John Tercek also visited Subic to assess its readiness as a cruise ship destination.

Eisma said Tercek similarly cited the potentials of Subic and advised the SBMA to step up efforts in developing the free port to address the demand. (Dante M. Salvana)

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