THE Philippines will get a larger slice of the European cruise market when four of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' ships from Germany call at the country's various ports this year.
These are namely Europa in February, Columbus 2 in March, Bremen in May and Hanseatic in October. Europa has been an annual visitor for three years, while Hanseatic last came in 2010.
The luxury, 450-pax Europa is scheduled to arrive in February, staying for seven days and covering Manila, Hundred Islands in Pangasinan, Boracay and various points in Cebu and Palawan.
In March, first-time visitor Columbus 2 will spend six days in the country, bringing 698 guests. It will stop at Manila, Boracay, Cebu, Bohol and Palawan.
Bremen will island-hop between destinations in Palawan, Cebu, Bohol and Mindoro for 11 days in May, with under 500 cruisers.
Finally, expedition ship Hanseatic will sail from the Antarctic to the Philippines in October, calling at the ports of Manila, Subic, Basco in Batanes and Bohol with about 400 passengers over four days.
Marilyn Tunguia, inbound tour supervisor, Sharp Travel Service, noted that more cruise ships were coming to the Philippines, staying for a longer period and including more destinations. Sharp is the groundhandler for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
She added that another new ship, Europa 2, would visit the Philippines in January, February and March next year. Spending four days each visit, it will bring different groups of passengers on itineraries including Hundred Islands in Pangasinan, Manila, Palawan, Boracay and Bohol.