Guam, Kiribati greet first post-Covid cruise since the reopening of borders
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Ferrying 523 passengers and 302 crew members, the MS Amadea pulled into Apra Harbor early morning Friday, becoming the first cruise liner to visit Guam since the pandemic broke out in 2020.
“We have been looking forward to receiving cruise ships following a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic,” Port General Manager Rory J. Respicio said. “We are excited to welcome these international luxury cruise ships back to our shores as our island continues to recover from the pandemic.”
Respicio added that there are a total of five cruise liners set to arrive this year. “This is great news as our tourism industry continues to see a steady increase of visitor arrivals to Guam,” he added.
The MS Amadea, sailing under the Bahamas flag, is a 567-foot-long vessel that arrived from Pohnpei and will be dockside at the Port until its estimated departure time of 9 p.m. Friday evening.
“The MS Amadea is docked at wharves F5 and F6,” Respicio said. “However, once the rehabilitation of Hotel Wharf is complete, cruise liners will begin to be docked, processed and welcomed at the expanded facility allowing for uninterrupted STS gantry crane loading and off-loading operations.”
The last cruise liner that called on the Port Authority of Guam was the Crystal Symphony, which came in February 2020.
The next cruise ship scheduled to sail to Guam is the Diamond Princess on March 3, at 8:15 a.m. bringing in an estimated 1,629 passengers and 1,100 crew members.
Before coming to Guam, MS Amadea called on the islet of Betio and South Tarawa in Kiribati on Feb. 28. It was the first post-Covid cruise to visit Kiribati as well.
According to the Tourism Authority of Kiribati, visitors were welcomed at the Port of Betio with entertainment from the Kiribati Police Services Brass Band, a local choir and the traditional Kiribati dancers.
"This cruise ship visit was an opportunity for Betio and South Tarawa to showcase the local culture and scenic beauty of the island and it was encouraging to witness local communities coming together to deliver an unforgettable experience for our visitors," said Petero Manufolau, CEO of the tourism agency.
Manufolau added that cruise ship tourism is also about contributing to the local economy and he expressed TAK’s appreciation to all vendors who came out to help complete the Kiribati visitor experience on the day.
Kiribati is scheduled to receive its next cruise ship call at Tabuaeran (Fanning Island) in March.