The Philippines officially welcomed Star Cruises on 19 March when SuperStar Virgo arrived in Manila to begin her inaugural homeport deployment in the country.
The occasion was commemorated with a special ceremony at Manila South Harbour, which was attended by Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea as the Guest of Honour, representing President Rodrigo Roa Duterte from the Office of the President of the Philippines, together with Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo from the Philippines Department of Tourism.
“It is our honor to call Manila SuperStar Virgo’s new homeport for the next few months. As an important market for Star Cruises and the cruise line brands under Genting Cruise Lines, it is our goal to continue to support the country’s tourism industry here in the Philippines and across the region,” said Hui Lim, Executive Director of the Genting Group. “We are proud of our long history with the Philippines as Star Cruises was the first major cruise line to recruit Filipinos for our vessels 24 years ago and we developed Resorts World Manila in partnership with Alliance Global Group.”
“We congratulate Star Cruises for believing in the Philippines,” said Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo. “Thank you for helping us get closer to our vision as a regional cruise center to serve as homeport and eventually as center for cruise crew training, maintenance services and ship building in the long term.”
As the first international cruise line to homeport in the Philippines with the deployment of SuperStar Virgo in Manila, Genting Cruise Lines continue to strive to create new milestones with a series of ‘First’, including the signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding with local stakeholders to pioneer and advance the cruise terminals and the overall cruise experience in the Philippines.
“As part of Genting Cruise Lines’ on-going and long term commitment, this marks the beginning of a significant joint effort in creating new opportunities and to further develop best-in-class cruise infrastructures and facilities here in the Philippines,” added Hui Lim. “Together with the support of the Philippine government and the various local agencies, we will continue to work closely to accelerate the growth of the cruise tourism in the Philippines and to maximize its full potential."
During the homeport welcome ceremony event in Manila, a series of events were held on board with a special celebrity appearance by Star Cruises Philippines brand ambassadors, reigning Miss International 2016, Kylie Fausto Verzosa and the popular Filipino model, LA Aguinaldo, together with the appearance of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation World Champion Team.
After the ceremony, over 2,000 passengers set sail on board SuperStar Virgo for her debut 6 Day/5 Night cruise itinerary departing from Manila, with stops in Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte, Philippines, Kaohsiung, the largest southern port city in Taiwan, and Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis world famous for shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife.
In Ilocos Norte, the arrival of SuperStar Virgo on 20 March was greeted by the Guest of Honour, the Honorable Imee R. Marcos, Governor, Province of Ilocos Norte, together with the Honourable Eugenio Angelo Barba, Vice Governor, Province of Ilocos Norte and the Honourable Gladys Go-Cue, Vice Mayor of Currimao, members of Ilocos Norte Sanguniang Panglalawigan, as well as the City and Municipal Mayor of the Province of Ilocos Norte.
SuperStar Virgo’s itinerary is the perfect opportunity for Filipinos to enjoy exciting ports of call during the first-ever “Jewels of the South China Sea”, a new itinerary pioneered by Star Cruises that connects four scenic cities in Asia - Manila, Laoag, Kaohsiung and Hong Kong - across a 6 Day/5 Night cruise.
Even at this early stage, the announcement of the new cruise itinerary and the homeport deployment of SuperStar Virgo in the Philippines have generated a huge amount of interest with nearly all cabins being sold out. This success and support of the travel industry means that SuperStar Virgo will be returning for another season of cruising from Manila in December of this year, calling at ports in the Philippines, as well as other popular Asian destinations such as Kota Kinabalu, Brunei; Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Vietnam; Taiwan;Hong Kong; Okinawa (Japan) and other ports of call.