SUBIC BAY FREEPORT―Cruise ships are coming to Subic Bay.
Warmly welcomed by the Subic Bay community, the Italian-flagged cruise ship Costa Atlantica arrived at 7 a.m. Saturday, bringing in more than 2,000 passengers, mostly Chinese, to the Freeport.
Costa Atlantica’s visit is just the first of some 15 cruise ship visits expected in this Freeport for the year.
“Subic’s time to become the next cruise ship playground of Asia has already begun,” said SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma who with agency officials and members of the Board led the community in welcoming the cruise ship at the Alava Pier.
“We are very excited,” Eisma said. “I hope that this will spark our dream of making Subic a part of the inter-island itinerary of international cruise ships.”
Costa Atlantica’s arrival is a litmus test for Subic, which is raring to draw foreign tourists to the various attractions on its shores.
Eisma had earlier announced the arrival in Subic of the Royal Caribbean cruise ship MS Ovation of the Seas in June, to be followed by the Voyager of the Seas in August.
Eisma said the Freeport promises to offer the best tourism facilities and services for tourists from the arriving ships, with memorable and tailored-tourism experiences to meet the expectation of visitors.
The visiting Costa Atlantica is an 85,619-ton, 292.56-meter Spirit-class cruise ship owned and operated by Costa Crociere (Costa Cruises), an Italian cruise line based in Genoa, Italy and owned by Carnival Corp. & Plc.
Costa Cruises currently operates 15 cruise ships that provide cruise holidays in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America.
Costa Atlantica is renowned for having all of its decks named after the movies of Italian movie director Federico Fellini. Each deck is said to be elegantly adorned with Italian-inspired decors of arts and furniture that brings its passengers to the admiration of wonderful arts, lights and scenery day and night.
The ship is described to be full of large, open spaces offering all kinds of entertainment, from the Caruso Theatre to the Disco Dante, to the fashionable shops in Via della Spiga.