Should the anticipated expedition of the luxury cruise liner Silver Explorer in the Northern Marianas push through successfully in 2014, it will become a “gateway” for more similar visits from the ship's operator, thereby generating the needed additional revenue to supplement the government's meager resources.
Ariel Dumapit and Matt Buenabajo of Inchcape Shipping Services, local agent for Silver Explorer, revealed the expedition which is still in the planning phase during their presentation at the 1st Northern Frontier Summit held last Sept. 6 at the Fiesta Resort & Spa in Garapan.
Silver Explorer is one of the luxury cruise ships operated by Silversea Expeditions which offers “cruises that are just as exhilarating as they are luxurious” to “adventure-seeking travelers with discerning tastes,” according to its website.
The Silver Explorer plans to include the Northern Islands in its itinerary for the 2014 expedition, and Dumapit disclosed that they are already working with local and federal agencies that would be involved in this proposed visit.
Buenabajo described the Silver Explorer as measuring 354 feet with a gross tonnage of 6,072. It is run by a 117-crew team that takes care of up to 132 passengers. Besides the usual facilities of a cruise ship, Silver Explorer boasts of personalized butler service and exquisite dining, among others.
The Silver Explorer 2014 expedition, Dumapit said, would begin its 2014 voyage from the Arctic region down to Antarctica and the operator wants to include a visit to the Northern Islands, Saipan, and Tinian in its schedule.
In the Northern Islands, the ship wants to visit Maug where passengers can use zodiac boats to cruise around the island, followed by a visit to Pagan where travelers who are physically fit can go trekking to explore the island.
After staying at the Northern Islands, Silver Explorer will then proceed to Saipan where the passengers will also go around the island, learn about its history, cultures, and traditions, and go shopping. Dumapit said the Saipan stay is being coordinated by PDI.
Subsequently, the ship will head to Tinian before going to other islands in the Pacific like the neighboring island of Guam and in Yap.
Buenabajo said that an estimated 100 passengers will be on board the Silver Explorer for the 2014 voyage, and they are mostly U.S. citizens, while the rest would be a mix of Australians, Japanese, Germans, British, and other Europeans. He described them as “prominent” travelers who would like to veer from a regular cruise and would want to see more of nature.
“What they (Silversea Expeditions) informed us once is that once this historic event materialized, there will be some more expeditions. This is like a gateway for us,” Buenabajo told over 80 summit attendees.
He added that since the proposed expedition is still in the planning stage, some details have yet to be ironed out. “Before 2014 comes, we will have a better picture on how we're going to go about it.”