DOT on chaotic cruise ship arrival: No coordination with us | Global News
‘Nightmare’ recounted on social media

DOT on chaotic cruise ship arrival: No coordination with us

/ 05:36 AM December 16, 2023

The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Friday expressed “grave concern” over the chaotic management of the arrival of a Norwegian cruise ship with about 2,500 passengers last month and requested help from other government agencies to avoid a repeat of the incident.

The DOT said it was “not included” in the prearrival coordination meetings of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Asian Terminals (AI), and Ben Line Agencies Inc. for the arrival of the Norwegian international cruise liner.

On Nov. 30, the Norwegian Jewel docked at Pier 15 South Harbor in Manila at the end of a 10-day Southeast Asian cruise that took them to Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia.


The ship carried about 2,500 tourists, mostly Filipino-American retirees, who were assisted by only around 20 porters, according to one of the passengers, Nelson Terible, whose account of the “cruise chaos” on his Facebook page went viral.



“What was supposed to be an opportunity to showcase Philippine tourism turned into a harrowing experience,” Terible said.

According to him, their “nightmare started” when the passengers were led to a hall that could accommodate only around 1,000 people. He said they were “packed like sardines” inside the hall for one-and-a-half hours with hardly any assistance from the port personnel.

“There was an absolute lack of concern on the part of PPA personnel to ensure a safe, comfortable, and pleasurable disembarkation experience. If anybody panicked or had a medical emergency, the congestion would have made it impossible to get help, especially since we didn’t see anyone to ask help from,” Terible said in his Facebook post on Dec. 8.

He posted pictures showing luggage in an open parking area where passengers were supposed to collect them under the “searing heat” of the midday sun.

He also saw some “unscrupulous individuals” trying to make a “deal,” which he did not specify, with some of the foreigners.

One of the tourists complained, saying that the price for what was being negotiated was “too expensive.” This showed the lack of protection for “hapless” tourists in such a situation, he said.


‘Never again’

Terible said he heard some of the foreigners say, “Never again, Philippines.”

The DOT was quick to denounce the incident. It said that what happened was against President Marcos’ vision for Philippine tourism and was not an example of the Filipino cruise industry which won several recognitions over the years, such as Asia’s Best Cruise Destination of 2023 by the World Cruise Awards.

‘Welcome reception’

“To date, the Philippines has successfully welcomed 123 cruise calls, with every shore excursion in destinations, including Aklan, Leyte, and Palawan, to name a few, always well-received not only by cruise agents but most importantly, our cruise tourists,” the DOT said in its statement.

The DOT said to help alleviate the stress of the passengers from the incident that its National Capital Region office did provide a welcome reception for them on the day of their arrival but did not give more details about this.

To avoid such similar incidents from happening in the future and to uphold the proud Filipino standard, the DOT said it requested the Department of Transportation to intervene in future cruise arrivals.

“The public may rest assured that the DOT remains committed to ensuring the growth of Cruise Tourism, a national industry that needs the collective effort of its stakeholders especially in our gateways in order to thrive and flourish,” the DOT promised.


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TAGS: Cruise Ship, DOT, Norwegian Cruise Line, Tourism

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