Manila South Harbor recently welcomed the second largest Japanese cruise ship, MV Pacific Venus.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) gave a festive welcome to the international guests and crew of MV Pacific Venus, with performances from Banda Kawayan Pilipinas, Higantes from Angono and Ati-Atihan dancers. Cruise passengers were given souvenirs by representatives of DOT-NCR office upon alighting the vessel.
According to Captain Katsuya Matsui, their 20-day trip started in Yokohama, Japan with around 690 passengers (most of them retirees), going towards Taiwan. Afterwards the passengers were taken to various Philippine tourist spots such as Bohol and Boracay. The cruise spent a day in Manila where over 200 passengers availed of whole day or half day city tours and explored the metropolis’ historical sites before making its way to Hundred Islands in Pangasinan. Their itinerary couldn’t have a better timing as the Philippines and Japan celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations this year.
MV Pacific Venus is a Filipino cruise as much as it is a Japanese cruise. This is because 127 out of the 192 crew on board are Filipinos. Some of them introduce Filipino culture and language to the visitors through cooking, dancing and singing. The vessel’s stopover in Manila provided them the perfect opportunity to see their family once again. The rest of the crew are comprised of Japanese (50), Indonesian (6), Croatian (5), Indian, Macedonian, Montenegrin and Ukranian.
Captain Katsuya Mitsui and DOT Senior Tourism Operations Officer May Ramos exchange tokens during the port call.
We also had the chance to tour the MV Pacific Venus led by Cruise Coordinator Yukiko Hirota. The cruise vessel has twelve (12) floors with a theater, souvenir / logo shop (tax free shopping), piano saloon, dining saloon, main dining room, observation lounge, sports area and top lounge where the pool, Jacuzzi and gym are located.
Captain Matsui hopes to regularly bring the MV Pacific Venus’ passengers to unique island destinations in the Philippines. A fan of diving, he is personally eyeing Camiguin, Coron and parts of Leyte for next year’s itinerary. Until then, the vessel is scheduled to visit the Philippines again in 2018.