Three cruise ships are expected to make port calls on Saipan in the next few days.
Saipan Shipping Co. would be the vessel agent and will be handling the MS Asuka II on Dec. 31 and the largest cruise ship to call on Saipan, Costa Atlantica, which would drop by on Jan. 7, 2017, on its way to China. Costa Atlantica is 960 feet long, with a capacity for 2,680 persons.
A&T Shipping would handle Nippon Maru, which expects to dock on Saipan on Dec. 31.
MS Asuka II expects to bring in 750 tourists, while the Nippon Maru would bring in 450 tourists, for a total of 1,200 tourists in a single visit.
In an earlier interview with Saipan Tribune, Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Chris Concepcion shared the potential of the cruise industry and the opportunities the CNMI has to offer.
“We are hopeful this can contribute to our overall economy at a time when hotel occupancy rates are at an all-time high. The Marianas offers a huge potential to cruise ships because we have not just one island but multiple islands that can be visited,” said Concepcion.
Saipan Shipping operations manager Jose Quan said the MS Asuka II would be arriving at 8am on Dec. 31, while a specific time for the Costa Atlantica has yet to be announced.
Quan also mentioned in an earlier interview that a cruise ship terminal is essential for efficient docking and an even more enjoyable experience for tourists.
“Saipan needs to create a proper cruise ship terminal. …The clearance process requires coordination between six different government organizations that will deem a ship cleared upon arrival. Until this is created, vessel agents will have to plan for additional resources to accommodate for the deficiencies due to a non-existent cruise ship terminal,” he said.
The Nippon Maru is a cruise ship classified as a “museum ship,” meaning it is a ship that has been memorialized due to its significance to the military and the like. The Nippon Maru was used for the training of cadets of the Japanese merchant marine and was converted into a museum ship in 1984. The Nippon Maru is permanently docked at the Yokohama harbor of Japan, residing in the memorial park of the same name, the Nippon Maru Memorial Park.
MS Asuka II is a cruise ship owned and operated by one of the world’s oldest and largest shipping companies, called Nippon Yusen Kaisha, based in Tokyo, Japan.
The MS Asuka II measures 791 feet long with a capacity for 960 passengers.