Subic Bay Freeport—A Swiss cruise line, considered one of the largest privately-owned cruise companies today, has become the fourth international cruise line to make this premier freeport its next destination.
MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company and the top cruise line in Europe, South America and South Africa, is scouting the area because of the tourist spots in the Subic Freeport and those found in its nearby communities.
MSC Cruises officials led by Port Operations Assistant Ian Meachem, met with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma recently to discuss the possibility of making Subic part of its itinerary.
Meachem was accompanied by Antonio Calingo Jr., assistant general manager of Wallem Philippines Shipping, Inc., the leading ship agent in the Philippines.
MSC Cruises is part of the Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A., the world’s second biggest container shipping operator.
Eisma briefed the visitors about local destinations and pointed out the places where most tourists from visiting cruise ships go during their stops here.
The SBMA has plans to turn the coastal area of the town of San Antonio in Zambales into a cruise-ship docking area and resort destination.
Meachem noted that the tourist spots in and around the Subic Freeport appear interesting, especially to tour operators who want a little bit of everything. He added that certain requirements had to be met before the company commits to make Subic a part of their itinerary.
MSC Cruises welcomed 1.8 million guests on board in 2016, and with 12 new ships to be put into service by 2026, it expects its capacity to nearly triple to 5 million passengers a year over the next 10 years.
Other cruise lines have made Subic a regular stop: Costa Crociere, an Italian line owned by Carnival Corp. & Plc; Dream Cruises, Asia’s first luxury cruise line; and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the world’s second-largest cruise line operator.