5 Reasons Why Your Family Should Go On A Winter Cruise This Christmas
The third time’s the charm for the SuperStar Virgo. The Star Cruises ship was the first cruise ship to call Manila its home port, pulling the glitz of Hong Kong and Taiwan closer to the Philippines in summer 2017. Earlier this summer, it once again sailed for East Asian shores, reaching as far as exotic Okinawa. For winter 2018, Star Cruises drew up seven five-day cruises to explore Southeast Asia. Before you board, here are five things you should know:
1. The winter cruises will be extra convenient.
As always, the SuperStar Virgo will be docked at Manila’s Pier 15, just behind the Manila Hotel. While seasoned cruisers usually advise newbies to fly in the day before, that just doesn’t apply here. After all, the ship is right beside our backyard. That means no more worrying about flight delays, and no need to spend extra for a night’s stay in a foreign city. Just ask the driver to drop you off at the pier, and you’re all set.
2. The ports of call are perfect in the winter.
The first two cruises take to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam’s most beautiful natural wonder. The UNESCO Heritage Site’s tranquil, emerald-green waters are flanked by almost 2000 towering limestone formations and islands, and dotted with solitary fisherman’s huts and small floating villages. Passengers also get to experience the city of Sanya in Hainan Island, China. Though the Hawaii of the East is cooler in winter, the sun still shines bright on the postcard-perfect island.
Ha Long Bay
Meanwhile, another four cruises will call in Ho Chi Minh City, a jewel of French colonial architecture and origin of the hit musical "Miss Saigon." Foodies will appreciate the vibrant street food scene here, while beach bums eagerly await Nha Trang, where they can sunbathe in Vietnam’s finest beaches. Finally, the farewell cruise in early January will stop in pristine Coron and Puerto Princesa, Palawan, before arriving in Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. You’ll get to explore lush rainforests and tropical islands sans the crowds!
Ho Chi Minh City
3. The cruises are tailor-fit for Filipinos.
On top of the nightly Las Vegas-style shows, the contemporary Star Cruises is going all-in on the winter festivities, with a unique Filipino twist for each sailing. The first concert cruise will feature The Company, a much-acclaimed Filipino quintet, while the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra makes its cruise debut in the second.
Meanwhile, celebrity chef and Metro Channel host Sandy Daza will hold cooking demonstrations on the third, teaching cruisers how to perfect Filipino holiday dishes.
Worried about not being able to attend Simbang Gabi while cruising? Daily masses are available throughout the fourth cruise. Celebrity preacher Bo Sanchez is also on board, ready to inspire. Of course, the Christmas and New Year cruises will provide the grandest holiday celebrations at sea, and the finale cruise will close out the season for the SuperStar Virgo. Andrea Manzano, Assistant VP for Sales and Marketing, underscores, “This winter season is 100% for our Filipino guests.”
4. There are very attractive promotions available.
You can score some sweet deals for the winter season—there’s the Cruise One, Take One promo, and the 3rd/4th Guest Free offer, applicable from comfortable cabins to luxurious suites with bespoke service. These promos run until September 30, so grab them now! Now that’s a perfect way for you to spend the holidays with your loved ones and save money at the same time. The cruise fare covers port charges, accommodations, meals, nightly entertainment, and daily activities. Cruisers visiting Sanya on shore excursions get to enter visa-free, too.
SuperStar Virgo Junior Suite
Library and Writing Room
Spa & Fitness Centre
5. It may be some time before cruisers get to sail out of Manila again.
After the 2018 winter season, the SuperStar Virgo will become the Explorer Dream (moving to Dream Cruises, the sister company of Star Cruises). The Explorer Dream’s home ports would most likely be Shanghai and Tianjin throughout the summer, and Sydney and Auckland from autumn onwards. We’re really hoping to hear the Explorer Dream call Manila home again, if just to experience that unparalleled convenience and luxury.
But for now, we’re getting on board the SuperStar Virgo.