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Freeman Region

Another cruise ship brings in more tourists to Bohol

Ric V. Obedencio - The Freeman

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines - — For the second time around, M/S Europa 2, the luxury cruise ship, dropped anchor about a mile from this city's port and ferried their mostly German passengers via its two "tender boats" early morning yesterday.

The first visit of the cruise ship was last Jan. 11, and tour operator Lourdes Sultan, who welcomed the visitors, said Bohol is now bouncing back in terms of tourism. Post-earthquake efforts to lure back tourists in the province of Bohol, after it suffered a hefty cut on tourist arrivals, had paid off, she told The Freeman.

Sultan said the M/S Europa 2 now brought in 324 foreign tourists, most of them of German nationalities, the number of whom were higher than its previous visit.

Six 40-seat tourist buses, two coasters and a couple of vans were used to ferry the tourists to their points of inland destination, such as the Loboc river cruise, the three-km man-made forest in Bilar town and the Chocolate Hills viewing deck at Chocolate Hills Adventure Park in Carmen town.

Some of them were brought to the Tarsier natural habitat in Corella town, the eco-tourism river cruising in large Abatan River and the white beaches in Panglao island, Sultan said

From Bohol, the cruise ship is expected to drop anchor in Boracay, and Malapuya island and Coron, all in Palawan province, Sultan said, adding that they were expected to depart at 6 p.m. to the other destinations.

Philippine Ports Authority manager Annie Lee Maneses and provincial tourism officer Jo R. Cabarrus also welcomed the visitors.

The anchorage of the M/S Europa 2 far from the city seaport was done since it found it hard to maneuver in entering the narrow and shallow sea channel toward the port, said the PPA source.

One of the vessel's 317 crewmen, who did not give her name, said almost 80 percent of them are Filipinos. Asked if the same captain skippered the ship when it dropped by here last January, she said that another captain is steering the voyage for months from its origin.

The M/S Europa 2 can accommodate at least 500 passengers, each of whom pay from 660 euros to 6,000 euros per day.

The ship, an 11-storey tall, 225-meter long, 26.7-meter wide and 42,830 tonnage structure, cruises at 21 knots. There are 251 suites; two owner suites, two grand penthouses, 16 spa suites, 24 grand suites, 59 ocean suites, 141 veranda suites and seven family apartments with a veranda.

Its facilities include Sansibar; yatch club resto; Weltmeere or seven seas resto; fitness and spa; teens club, boutique, atrium, staircase panoramic lift, jazz club, theatre, owner suites, wine gallery, library, culinary school and auditorium/3D cinema.

It is augmented with 12 Zodiacs (motorized inflatable rubber boats) and four tender boats, each with a capacity of 150 seats.  (FREEMAN)

ABATAN RIVER

ANNIE LEE MANESES

BOHOL

CHOCOLATE HILLS

CHOCOLATE HILLS ADVENTURE PARK

FROM BOHOL

JO R

LOURDES SULTAN

PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY

S EUROPA

SUITES

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