Ilocos Sur Welcomes Royal Caribbean

Got to Port Salomague today at 7 AM to welcome the first Royal Caribbean ship, Spectrum of the Seas, to drop anchor here.  There is no deep water dock, so the ship that holds over 4,000  passengers put the people in tenders, 4 small boats which hold about 150 people each.  The first tender hit the docks at 7:50 AM and was greeted by a Filipino marching band, no trumpets, no trombones, no sousaphones, but plenty of glockenspiels and drums.  Once off the docks the cruisers were met by 12 folk dancers doing traditional Ilocano folk dances.
There were plenty of tour buses waiting with signs for trips to either Laoag or Vigan.  And there was the usual food and trinket sales people along the side opposite the buses.  Empanada for 80 pesos, pure squeezed mango juice plus printed white t-shirts for 150 pesos, colored printed t-shirts for 250 pesos.  All t-shirts were praising Vigan
The traffic seemed to move out smoothly, we went south to Vigan at 10 AM and hit a big traffic jams in Santo Domingo on the way to Vigan, took 90 minutes to get there.  Never saw so many white people, mostly Aussies, Kiwis and Brits, in downtown Vigan.  The calesa were very busy but since most of the tourists were on foot the city did not feel crowded, nothing like at night during Christmas season when they have a fountain, lights and music show right in center square.
The same ship will be back on January 6, 2020, and the Quantum, a sister ship, will be stopping in on February 26, 2020.  My wife and I will be on that ship out of Hong Kong, one of the reasons I wanted to check out the scene today.  We will also be stopping at Subic and Manila plus a couple of Vietnam stops on our way to Singapore.  Been looking forward to the trip since we got here in October.

mugtech :

Got to Port Salomague today at 7 AM to welcome the first Royal Caribbean ship, Spectrum of the Seas, to drop anchor here.  There is no deep water dock, so the ship that holds over 4,000  passengers put the people in tenders, 4 small boats which hold about 150 people each.  The first tender hit the docks at 7:50 AM and was greeted by a Filipino marching band, no trumpets, no trombones, no sousaphones, but plenty of glockenspiels and drums.  Once off the docks the cruisers were met by 12 folk dancers doing traditional Ilocano folk dances.
There were plenty of tour buses waiting with signs for trips to either Laoag or Vigan.  And there was the usual food and trinket sales people along the side opposite the buses.  Empanada for 80 pesos, pure squeezed mango juice plus printed white t-shirts for 150 pesos, colored printed t-shirts for 250 pesos.  All t-shirts were praising Vigan
The traffic seemed to move out smoothly, we went south to Vigan at 10 AM and hit a big traffic jams in Santo Domingo on the way to Vigan, took 90 minutes to get there.  Never saw so many white people, mostly Aussies, Kiwis and Brits, in downtown Vigan.  The calesa were very busy but since most of the tourists were on foot the city did not feel crowded, nothing like at night during Christmas season when they have a fountain, lights and music show right in center square.
The same ship will be back on January 6, 2020, and the Quantum, a sister ship, will be stopping in on February 26, 2020.  My wife and I will be on that ship out of Hong Kong, one of the reasons I wanted to check out the scene today.  We will also be stopping at Subic and Manila plus a couple of Vietnam stops on our way to Singapore.  Been looking forward to the trip since we got here in October.

Interesting. Are you gonna be boarding from Port Salomague to Singapore? And how long would be the cruise?

Boarding 2/24/20 In Hong Kong.

Hongkong to PI....

robal :

Hongkong to PI....

Yes, cruises are set up to get on in the port of origin (Hong Kong) Get off at the final destination.  Could not board in Salomague as there is no immigration available.  Glad to spend 9 nights on Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas.

You get off then in Manila because of immigration...

Cruise ship passengers only need visas in certain ports, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand.  At many ports the only thing required is your Sea Card from the cruise line and any government picture ID, need not be a passport.  Of course if the ship leaves and you did not get back on, then you are in the country illegally.  The other Southeast Asia countries make you get a specialized card n the ship which must be used to get on and off the ship, is then collected by immigration after reboarding at the last port in said country.  The cruise ship will take everyone's passport before the first country and not give them back until the last port the ship visits of the above listed countries.  In March we went to Ko Samui, Bangkok, and three stops in Vietnam without our passports,just photo copies, which are useless.

Thanks for the input...

mugtech :

Boarding 2/24/20 In Hong Kong.

Enjoy the trip mugtech, let us know how it went when you get back.

Cheers, Steve.

Very interesting.

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