TAGBILARAN CITY – The province of Bohol may now lay claim as the favorite cruise ship destination in the country with expected arrival today of international cruise ship M/S Europa 2 of Hapag-Lloyd Cruise company in Europe. This came following information relayed to DYTR by Ms. Andrea Echavez, COMPETE-tourism specialist of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). “Europa 2 will arrive tomorrow at 10 AM,” she said in her text to this writer. This would be the 3rd time that the international cruise ship (M/S Europa 2) would drop anchor a this city’s port. The first one was on January 11, 2014 and second on March 18, 2014. The cruise ship dropped anchor from a distance from this city port and ferried its passengers by its two “tender boats” Tuesday early morning (March 18, 2014). The anchorage of the Europa 2 at a distance from the city seaport was done since it found it hard to maneuver in entering the narrow and shallow sea channel en route to the docking facility at the port, said the PPA source.
Post-earthquake efforts to lure back tourists in Bohol after it suffered a hefty cut on tourist arrivals have been launched, including other promotional attempts in travel marts and exhibition. Europa 2 is expected to bring in the same number (324 foreigners last year) of tourists. Most of them were German nationalities.
Philippine Ports Authority manager Annie Lee Maneses and provincial tourism officer Jo R. Cabarrus also welcomed the visitors. The cruise ship had crew members over 300 and almost 80% of them are Filipinos when it called port here last here. A welcome program is being prepared to welcome the visitors, Echvez said.
Tourist buses and vans are also readied for the visitors to ferry them to their points of destination, expected to be the Loboc river Cruise, scaling the three-km man-made forest in Bilar town prior to the Chocolate Hills in Barangay Buenos Aires, Carmen town. Last year’s visits were divided into Tarsier natural habitat in Corella town and to eco-tourism river cruising in long and winding wide Abatan river and to the white beaches in Panglao island. They’re expected to depart at six in the evening to other destinations.
The ship when docked here was a luxury and can accommodate more than 500 passengers with 317 crew. Embarking on this kind of luxury ocean cruise ship will cost at least 600 Euros and the highest is 6,000 Euros per person per day, one of ship’s crew said.
The ship is a 11-storey tall, 220-meter long and 42,830 tonnage. The ship is built in 2013 at shipyard in STX Europe, St. Nazaire, France. Its is 225 meter long and 26.70 m wide with draught of 6.30 meters. It cruises at 21 knots and powered by 24,000 kw. There are 251 suites; 2 owner suites with an area of 114 square meter; two grand penthouses; 16 spa suites; 24 grand suites at 52 sq. m. 59 ocean suites with 35 sq. m.; 141 veranda suites with 2X27 sq.m. including veranda; and 7 family apartments at 2 x 27 sq.m. including the veranda.
Its facilities include Sansibar; Yatch club resto; Weltmeere or seven seas resto; fitness and SPA; teens club; boutique; atrium; staircase panoramic lift; jazz club; theatre; owner suite; wine gallery, library; culinary school; and auditorium/3D cinema. It is augmented with 12 Zodiacs or (motorized inflatable rubber boats) and 4 Tender boats with capacity of 150 seats. It is part of the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises ships, “a light and modern approach to luxury and host of options for creating tailor-made programme on board the Europa 2.”
The international cruise ships, such as that of Hellenic and Minerva companies, docked here for tourism purposes in past years. (rvo)