Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas made its maiden test call at Subic Bay today and in Manila tomorrow carrying with over 4,500 guests onboard which is currently on a 5-night cruise from Hong Kong.
“The double ship call is a historic one for Royal Caribbean in the Philippines as Ovation of the Seas is the largest ever cruise ship to call at any port here with over 4,500 guests onboard, which is the highest number for any cruise ship here. The success of our ship calls in the Philippines this week is attributed to the strong support and close cooperation from the terminal operators and tourism authorities,” Ovation of the Seas Captain Flemming Nielsen said.
Plaque & key ceremony
To celebrate the maiden call at Subic Bay, a traditional plaque exchange ceremony was held onboard where Ovation of the Seas’ Captain Nielsen and Captain Nikolaos Antalis, Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Associate Vice President for Marine & Safety – Asia Pacific were joined by Senator Richard Gordon, Asec. Roberto Alabado of the Department of Tourism, Pocholo Paragas, Chief Operating Officer of TIEZA, Atty. Wilma Eisma, Chairman and Administrator of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, and local officials led by Bataan Vice Governor Ma. Cristina Garcia.
Sen. Gordon, formerly a Tourism Secretary remarked, “I hope that Royal Caribbean will make Subic its regular port-of-call to bring in more tourists. Our government is working hand-in-hand to accommodate the growing number of cruise ship visits in the country.”
The same ceremony will also be held to celebrate the ship’s maiden call in Manila. Nielsen and Antalis will be joined by Mancile Francisquiel, Port Manager of Philippine Ports Authority, TIEZA’s Paragas, and Atty. Solfia Arboladura, Director of Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs Bureau who will present the “key to the City of Manila”.
Highlights and features
At 347-meter long, this Quantum Class has a gross registered tonnes of 168,666 and filled with first-at sea features and technologies. She has a total capacity of 4,905 guests staying in 2,091 staterooms and hosted by 1,600 crew.
Invited guests, consisting of local officials and media, were treated to a short ocular of the ship highlights like the ‘North Star’, an observation capsule that rises 92 metres over the ocean; ‘Two70′, a hi-tech entertainment venue; Robotic bartenders showing off cocktail-mixing at the ‘Bionic Bar’; and partake of the special lunchtime menu at Chic Main Dining.
Fully booked rooms and heavy monsoon rains prevented the guests from visiting other ship amenities like interior virtual balcony staterooms with real-time ocean views; luxurious Loft Suites with large living areas and private concierge service; the Ripcord by iFly (skydiving) and Flowrider (surfing) simulations; and ‘SeaPlex’, the largest indoor activity space at sea housing roller-skating, bumper cars and more. The ship also features 18 dining venues with cuisines from around the globe, including Jamie’s Italian by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
In Subic, a wide variety shore excursions were offered to onboard guests such as the heritage tour to the Spanish colonial-era mansions of the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, jungle survival experience in Subic, the Puning Hot Spring experience in Pampanga, and the marine animal shows at Ocean Adventure.
In Manila, guests can choose to go for shore excursions such as the Tagaytay Tour to see the panoramic view of Taal Lake and a visit a pineapple plantation, or purchase souvenirs from the furniture and wood carving shops, and the Manila City Tour for heritage tour of Roman Catholic and Spanish-colonial era landmarks in the Walled City of Intramuros.
After Manila, the ship will continue its sailing back to Hong Kong.
The ship will be cruising around North Asia for the summer out from 6-night Hong Kong and Tianjin on June 15, 12-night Tianjin to Singapore on October 7, before repositioning to 14-night Singapore-Sydney in October 19 for the winter.
“As we continue to grow in Southeast Asia in a big way, we look forward to bringing more ships and tourists to more ports in the Philippines in the future,” Capt. Nielsen concluded.
Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. is represented in the Philippines by Arpan Air, a sister company of Baron Travel.