Typhoon Sends Manila Cruise Ships to Sea

Cruise ships in Manila Bay - Philippine Coast Guard

Published May 18, 2020 2:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

The unplanned gathering of the world’s cruise ships was briefly interrupted as typhoon Vongfong (also known as Ambo) forced the closure of Manila Bay. The nearly two dozen cruise ships anchored in Manila Bay were all forced to sea as the first storm of the season passed near the island of Luzon.

Manila has become the unlikely gathering place for the world’s cruise ships as they seek to complete reparations for their crew members while cruising operations are suspended. The gathering of ships began last month as the cruise ships ordered to leave Australia waters arrived in the Philippines on reparation voyages. Since then, other cruise ships in the region have also been sent to Manila.

The cruise companies with ships in other parts of the world have also begun to dispatch ships to the Philippines to transport crew members home. The companies had been organizing charter air flights to transport their crews but that has been complicated by regulations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the temporary closure of the Manila airport to international flights.

The Philippines Coast Guard recently released a video showing the arrival of Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess in Manila Bay that also shows some of the other cruise ships anchored in the area.

PCG conducts aerial surveillance to monitor arrival of M/V Ruby Princess at the Manila Bay Anchorage area

WATCH: The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) conducted aerial surveillance to monitor the arrival of M/V Ruby Princess at the Manila Bay Anchorage area at 08:00 a.m. today, 07 May 2020. #DOTrPH???????? #CoastGuardPH #MaritimeSectorWorks

Posted by Philippine Coast Guard on Thursday, May 7, 2020

Once arriving in the Philippines the cruise ships are being placed in a mandatory 14-day quarantine. The Philippine Coast Guard is working closely with the ships and has been organizing COVID-19 testing before the end of the quarantine period.

After the typhoon cleared the area, 22 cruise ships returned to the anchorage in Manila Bay creating one of the most unique sights in the cruise industry. Many of the world’s largest and several of the newest ships are all gathered together in one portion of the bay. Among the ships are Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth, Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Solstice, three ships for Royal Caribbean International, seven ships from Princess Cruises, three ships from Costa Cruises and thee ships from Carnival Cruise Line.

Several ships recently arrived in Manila Bay after crossing the Pacific from the United States.  This includes Holland America Line’s Eurodam, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Panorama, and Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess

Holland America’s Amsterdam had one of the more circuitous routes having ended her world cruise in Australia before heading first to South African and then returning across the Indian Ocean with refueling stops before she arrived in the Philippines.

Additional cruise ships are currently sailing to the Philippines after having left the Caribbean and Europe.  It is unclear once the quarantines have been completed and the crew members landed if the cruise ships will remain idle in Manila Bay or will sail to other destinations.