The Philippines welcomes Asia’s largest cruise ship


Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas makes its first-ever stop at Manila and Subic Bay.

Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas made its maiden call to the Philippines, docking first at Subic Bay and then Manila the following day.

It is the largest ever cruise ship to dock at any port in the Philippines, with a record number of 4,600 guests from around the world on a five-night cruse from Hong Kong.

And the Philippines feted her in a bid to ensure more visits from the meal liners.

In honour of its arrival at Subic Bay’s Alava Pier, a traditional plaque exchange ceremony took place onboard between Ovation of the Seas’ Captain Flemming Nielsen and local state officials. Officials present included Roberto Alabado III, Assistant Secretary of Department of Tourism, and Atty. Wilma Eisma, Chairman and Administrator of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

Other VIPS in attendance were Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon and Ma. Cristina Garcia, Vice Governor of Bataan.

Over in Manila, Atty. Solfia Arboladura, Director of Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs Bureau, presented Captain Flemming with the key to the city of Manila. A similar plaque exchange ceremony was held as well, with Mancile Francisquiel, Port Manager of Philippine Ports Authority, and Pocholo Joselito Paragas, Chief Operating Officer of Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) taking part.

Cruise passengers also had the opportunity to explore Subic Bay’s various sights, as part of Royal Caribbean’s shore excursions. The Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar Heritage Tour took visitors to antique mansions from the Spanish-colonial era, whilst Subic’s Ocean Adventure entertained guests with a marine show.

In Manila, the Tagaytay Tour presented guests with panoramic views of Taal Lake and Volcano, and included a visit to a pineapple plantation ─ the country is currently one of the biggest producers of pineapples in the world. Another highlight was the Manila City Tour, featuring historical landmarks such as Basilica Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church.

On board, Ovation of the Seas’ highlights are the ‘North Star’, an observation capsule rising 92 metres over the ocean, ‘Two70’ – a hi-tech entertainment venue, and the ‘Bionic Bar’ where diners are served by robotic bartenders. Entertainment options include skydiving, a surf simulator, and the ‘SeaPlex’, currently the largest indoor activity space at sea.

Ovation’s upcoming cruises include a 12-night voyage from Tianjin to Singapore on October 7th (visiting Okinawa, Taipei, Hong Kong and Vietnam), and a 14-night cruise from Singapore to Sydney on October 19th ─ with stops at Perth, Adelaide and Hobart.

At 347m long, the vessel boasts a 168,666 gross registered tonnage, with a total capacity of 4,905 guests, 2,091 staterooms, 18 decks and 1,500 crew. Accommodations range from Loft Suites (with living areas and a private concierge service) to interior staterooms boasting real-time ocean views.

Ovation of the Seas’ upcoming cruises are currently open for booking, with info on the latest promotions available from local agents.