CruiseA flurry of cruise ships resume sailings in Asia with their first calls to the region's ports in three years.

Ships ahoy! It's back to cruise business across Asia's ports

Keelung Port welcomed its first international cruise liners since the Covid-19 ban lift, with 72 international cruises scheduled for this year.
Keelung Port welcomed its first international cruise liners since the Covid-19 ban lift, with 72 international cruises scheduled for this year. Photo Credit: Facebook/林右昌UChange

One by one, international cruise lines have returned to Asia with their first ship calls since the pandemic, bringing a resurgence of cruise activities and arrivals to popular port destinations such as Boracay Island, Keelung Port, and Sokcho.

Hong Kong's Kai Tak Cruise Terminal welcomed the resumption of international ship calls with inaugural calls from both Resort World One and Mein Schiff 5 last week. Resort World Cruises has also chosen Hong Kong as its homeport operations for its Resorts World One vessel.

In the Philippines, Boracay Island on 3 March welcomed the maiden port call of MS Westerdam, operated by Holland America, following an earlier port call by MS Seabourn Encore in February. MS Westerdam's 14-day cruise from Singapore to Yokohama between 27 February to 13 March included stops at several ports in Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan.

Meanwhile, MS Westerdam's arrival in Yokohama on 13 March also marked Holland America Line's return to Japan after a three-year gap. The ship offered a series of 11- to 14-day cruises to different ports in Japan, as well as ports of call in Taiwan and South Korea.

South Korea's Sokcho also welcomed the Amadea from Phoenix Reisen on 13 March, marking the first international cruise ship to call at a port in the country since the pandemic began in 2020. The Amadea is currently on a world cruise that started in France at the end of 2023, with stops in the Caribbean, French Polynesia, and Asia before concluding in Villefranche on 22 May.

Keelung Port, near Taipei in northern Taiwan, also saw the return of international cruise liners since the cruise ban was lifted in October 2022. The Seven Seas Explorer from Regent Seven Seas Cruises and the MS Westerdam from Holland America Line carried 600 and 1,700 passengers, respectively.

Keelung Port is scheduled to handle about 280,000 passengers from 72 international cruises this year, generating an estimated revenue of NT$1 billion (US$32.6 million) in the Greater Taipei and Keelung area.

In Taiwan's south, Kaohsiung will soon become a destination and homeport for the Hong Kong-Taiwan sailings on Resorts World One launching in April.

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