ATI supports post-Covid PHL cruise tourism reboot

December 19, 2023

After assisting government’s pandemic response, port operator Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI) has shifted it full support for the revival of Philippine cruise tourism as it reopened facilities for luxury cruise liners and multinational passengers at the heart of the country’s capital.

The newly refurbished Eva Macapagal Manila Cruise Terminal (MCT) restarted its operations recently from a three-year hiatus after augmenting the government’s urgent pandemic response as a 200-bedcapacity Covid-19 temporary isolation facility.

MCT gives Filipinos and foreign travelers the unique opportunity to begin their cruise from Manila, instead of flying to distant regional hubs.  At its peak in 2018, MCT seamlessly handled over 160,000 cruise passengers without any drawback.

The terminal is equipped with passthrough scanners, baggage x-ray machines, all-gender restrooms, lactation room for the privacy of nursing mothers, clinic with healthcare professionals and a standby ambulance, mobility features for seniors, pregnant, and disabled passengers, and dedicated check-in and immigration counters, among other traveler requirements.

Aligned with the “Love the Philippines” tourism campaign, the fully air-conditioned terminal is fitted with spacious passenger lounges aptly named after Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, the country’s major islands groups.

MCT is strategically located near Manila’s historical and cultural landmarks such as Luneta Park, Intramuros, the National Museum, Binondo District which is recognized as the oldest Chinatown in the world, and nearby restaurants, hotels, and major shopping and entertainment centers.

Last November 30, MCT hosted the homeporting of MS Norwegian Jewel, its first outbound cruise liner since the pandemic with around2,400 embarking and disembarking passengers. With the pent-up passenger enthusiasm, unexpected disembarkation outflux, mandatory border checks, road obstructions in the periphery, and the coinciding Holiday trade rush, logistical and roadside challenges were reportedly encountered by passengers. The isolated occurrence subsequently normalized with the collaboration of authorities and stakeholders, with more seamless operations expected in the future with greater coordination among industry players.

Supporting government’s port-centric economic programs is second nature to ATI as its reliable private-sector stakeholder in port modernization and development through its productive long-term partnership with the Philippine Ports Authority and other trade and maritime agencies.

Apart from serving as a critical linchpin in boosting government’s public healthcare response during the pandemic, ATI’s Manila Cruise Terminal helped repatriate stranded Filipino seafarers and cruise personnel when international borders were hindered by worldwide lockdowns. It also doubled as an important one-stop crew change hub, ensuring that foreign vessels anchored in Manila were adequately staffed to avoid delays and sustain the flow of international trade.

In Batangas, ATI is set to unveil the fully modernized Batangas Passenger Terminal early in 2024, officially making it the country’s biggest interisland hub featuring world-class facilities and amenities for the safe and convenient journey of around 6,000 passengers in anyone time.