More cruise liners want to include Ilocos Norte in itinerary

LAOAG CITY—Cruise tourism in this northern part of Luzon is slowly picking up with the entry of more boats wanting to explore Ilocos Norte’s natural and man-made wonders.

Governor Ma. Imelda Marcos said the Royal Caribbean International — a cruise line brand founded in Norway and based in Miami, Florida in the United States — and other small boats have already expressed interest to include Ilocos Norte in their travel itinerary.

This, as SuperStar Virgo, a Leo class cruise ship owned and operated by Star Cruises, has continued to bring in tourists here since March last year.

On Sunday, January 14, over 1,300 passengers on board the 13-storey SuperStar Virgo safely docked at the privately-owned Omnico Natural Resources Inc. Port located within the boundary of Badoc and Currimao towns.

This is now the second winter call in Ilocos Norte of the leading cruise line in Asia-Pacific since its first arrival in 2017.

From the port of embarkation in Manila, the management of Star Cruises also bared plans to open more routes in Japan, Kota Kinabalu, Brunei, Ho Chi Minh, Okinawa and Thailand, among others.

While the Ilocanos are eager to welcome more visitors, Marcos hopes that the cruise line industry here will be sustained.

The governor is particularly concerned on the safety of visitors and the provision of win-win solutions to encourage more investors in the province.

“More boats are coming and we are trying to put together a package to benefit both the government and investors,” said Marcos.

As the Currimao seaport being managed by the Philippine Ports Authority is apparently not ready yet to accommodate bigger ships due to its shallow waters, the Omnico port was temporarily used this time for the safety of visitors.