Boracay – which cruise lines have made itinerary changes

Royal Caribbean Line has diverted its popular megaship, Ovation of the Seas, from a Boracay port call as the Philippines Government closed the popular island to tourism. Several cruise lines have taken avoiding action after the President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure because of pollution problems.

Ovation of the Seas will stop at Manila on 8 June and visit Nha Trang on 16 October.

“Fortunately for Royal Caribbean, the 6-month shutdown of Boracay will not have a huge impact on us. We have two calls on Ovation of the Seas to Boracay during that period, one of which has been replaced with Manila on June 8 and Nha Trang on 16 October,’’ the spokesperson said.

Regent Seven Seas cancelled SS Voyager’s call at Borcacay on 3 April and is likely to do the same with Oceania Insignia which is scheduled to visit the island on 18 April while on a 35-night Far East and Coral Seas itinerary from Tianjin to Sydney.

Seabourn is reviewing the situation with Seabourn Sojourn which is due to visit Boracay on 20 April while on a 72-night North Africa and the Pacific Realm itinerary from Cape Town to Hong Kong.

Voted as a “tropical idyll in Southeast Asia” by Conde Nast Traveler a year ago, Boracay has been plagued by mounting sewage problems which has transformed its blue waters into a “cesspool.”

This has prompted Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to close the island for six months starting on 26 April.

“As long as there is shit coming out of those pipes draining to the sea, I will never give you the time of the day (to return) to the island,’’ said President Duterte.

This has thrown thousands of tourism jobs in Boracay in jeopardy. Last year almost 1.7 million tourists including thousands of cruise passengers, visited Boracay.

As many as 18 ocean liners carrying more than 50,000 passengers are due to visit the island this year, according to the Philippines Department of Tourism.

The island’s shutdown is to provide an extended period to clean up the island and surrounding seas.

Meanwhile authorities in Thailand have recently ordered the temporary closure of the beach made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach in a bid to halt environmental damage caused by too many tourists.

Maya Bay, on Koh Phi Phi Leh in the Andaman Sea, will be closed to all visitors for four months annually starting this June to allow for the recovery of the island’s coral reefs and sea life. About 4000 people visit the beach everyday.