Bohol, Cebu share common drawback in luring cruise ships

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Bohol, Cebu share common drawback in luring cruise ships

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The province of Bohol and Cebu share the same drawback in enticing big international cruise companies to send more cruise ships and visit these islands situated in Central Visayas.

Their common problem is shallow seawater or narrow channel off their respective seaports where the international cruise ships could dock.

Cebu seeks to be one of the cruise ship destinations in the country.

Regional director Rowena Montecillo had this to say: “Yes, we do want to be included in the map (of international cruise lines). Right now, we have some problems with the port area but the Cebu Port Authority is looking into that. They are looking at another place or another town very near Cebu City to transfer all of these cargo ships so that we can allow the Cebu International Port, or Port 6 or Pier 6 to really concentrate on cruise liners,” Montecillo said.

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Montecillo wanted to sell Cebu as cruise ship destination in this part of the country as soon as new international container port in Consolacion, a first class municipality in Cebu, would hopefully push through and be completed.

Cebu just hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) the past weeks and Bohol benefited from “spillover” of visitors, reports said.

Most of the international cruise ships arrived in this city just dropped their anchors about one mile away off the city port because of narrow and shallow channel.

It will be recalled that there were three international cruise ships arrived here whose passengers toured around Bohol, including the Tarsier sanctuary and the Chocolate Hills in hinterland town of Carmen.

M/S Europa of Hapag-Lloyd Cruise company in Europe sailed and docked here early this year, bringing some 273 foreign passengers, mostly Germans, tour operator Lourdes Sultan said in interview.

M/S Europa arrived here early yesterday but dropped anchor in a distance from the city port due to shallow waters and narrow channel.

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The cruise ship is manned by more than 150 crew, mostly Filipinos, a crew member said but did not give his name and refused to provide details for he was not authorized to do so.

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This would be the 3rd time that the international cruise ship of Hapag-Lloyd company dropped anchor in this city’s port. The first one was on January 11, 2014 and second on March 18, 2014.

The cruise ship used its “tender boats” to ferry its passengers to the port where some seven buses and several vans were waiting to their destinations in Chocolate hills, other tourist spots and some to Abatan river eco-tour.

Post-earthquake efforts to lure back tourists in Bohol have been launched after tourist arrivals slackened as a result of the earthquake in 2013. (rvo)

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