MANILA, Philippines -- Manila is now a cruise home port as Star Cruises launched its “Jewels of the South China Sea” cruise, marking the first-ever homeport deployment of Superstar Virgo in the Philippines.
“It’s the first time that Filipinos can cruise literally from your doorstep. Hassle-free, visa-free, and almost no limitation on baggage allowance,” Star Cruises president Ang Moo Lim said at a recent press launch.
“Star Cruises was the first major cruise line to recruit Filipinos 23 years ago for our cruise ship, and now we are pleased to be the first international cruise line to make Manila our home port,” Lim added.
The first cruise is scheduled to depart on March 19, while the last trip is set on May 23. This means guests should expect a storm-free voyage as the six-day-five-night cruises are scheduled during the summer months.
From Manila, the ship will travel to its first stop, the port of Currimao in Laoag, where passengers can visit historical and cultural landmarks in the Ilocos Norte capital like Spanish colonial buildings and houses, Baroque churches, as well as opportunities to see the white sand beaches of Pagudpud.
Next, the Superstar Virgo will dock at the biggest port in Taiwan in Kaohsiung. According to Lim, special concessions have been given so that Filipinos on the trip will not have to apply for a Taiwanese visa.
In Kaohsiung, foodies can enjoy Taiwan’s finest street food, while history buffs can choose between a myriad of historical sites, temples, and museums.
After enjoying the delights of Taiwan, the cruise will voyage to Hong Kong. Arriving in the early afternoon, travelers will get a chance to shop, dine, and even enjoy some of the nightlife in the bustling former British colony.
A day will be spent at sea as the Superstar Virgo heads back to Manila.
As the flagship of the fleet, Superstar Virgo features 935 cabins that range from affordable staterooms to luxurious executive suites.
Cruise amenities in the 13-storey ship include the Parthenon Pool (an outdoor Greek-themed swimming pool) with the Mega Waterslide, 15 food and beverage outlets, a beauty salon, a library, a spa and health club, karaoke rooms, fitness centers, a basketball court, and even a jogging track.
Meals are included in the cruise fare from breakfast to dinner in their three main restaurants (Genting Palace, The Pavillion Room, and the Mediterranean Buffet).
Live shows, meanwhile, are held every night at the Lido Theater featuring magic shows, and ballroom dancing spectacles, to name a few.
In every trip, a snazzy gala dinner is held at the Grand Piazza deck where guests can mingle with the ship’s captain and officers.
To celebrate this milestone, Star Cruises is offering an early bird rate for all its cabins for the first month of the cruise.
Twin sharing will be at US$490 per person, while quad sharing rooms can enjoy an additional 50% off at US$245 per person. Executive suites, meanwhile, are discounted at US$1,230 per person.