SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—A band struck up festive music while employees of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) waved flaglets here last Saturday as the Italian cruise ship Costa Atlantica slipped into the dock for what is seen to be the first of a series of port calls here.
The Italian-flagged cruise ship arrived here before 7 a.m., bringing more than 2,000 mostly Chinese passengers who toured the Subic Bay Freeport for a day and visited some tourist destinations in the nearby provinces of Zambales and Bataan.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said some visitors ventured as far as the Rosa Farms in San Marcelino, Zambales, where they picked mango fruits at the 12-hectare mango orchard, and Las Casas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan, where authentic Filipino heritage houses are on display.
Eisma, who personally greeted the disembarking cruise-ship passengers last Saturday, said Costa Atlantica’s visit served as a litmus test for Subic, which is raring to attract more foreign tourists to its shores.
Eisma said the whole Subic community is “already very excited” about the prospects of Subic’s becoming part of the inter-island itinerary of international cruise ships.
“Subic’s time to become the next cruise-ship playground of Asia has already begun,” Eisma announced last Friday, as she briefed members of the recently-formed technical working group for SubiCruise campaign on the arrival of Costa Atlantica.
Eisma said she is confident that the Subic Bay Freeport, as well as the nearby communities, would be able to keep its promise to offer the best tourism facilities and services for visitors from the arriving ships, as well as memorable and tailored-tourism experiences to meet their expectations.
The visiting Costa Atlantica is an 85,619-ton, 292.56-meter Spirit-class cruise ship owned and operated by Costa Crociere (Costa Cruises), an Italian cruise line based in Genoa, Italy and owned by Carnival Corp. Plc.
The Costa Cruises brand currently operates 15 cruise ships that provide cruise holidays in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America.
Costa Atlantica is renowned for having all of its decks named after the movies of Italian movie director Federico Fellini, with each deck elegantly adorned with Italian-inspired decors of arts and furniture.