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Samoa welcomes back cruising

Cruise liners have returned to the Port of Apia signifying the growing attraction the nation has to offer to the industry.

Cruise ships Westerdam and Zuiderdam from the Holland America line called in at Matautu this week, making it the first trip by a cruise liner in more than two years.

Samoa’s borders were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and the reopening is a hinge boost for tourism and local businesses. Both vessels are visiting Samoa for the very first time

Westerdam is on a trans-Pacific cruise which started in Seattle on October 2. It’s carrying 1,345 passengers and 768 crew. Its current cruise is expected to end in Sydney on November 8.

Close proximity of Samoa's attraction makes it viable for cruise tourists. Picture Samoa Tourism
Cruise ships Westerdam and Zuiderdam from the Holland America line called in at Matautu this week, making it the first trip by a cruise liner in more than two years. Picture: Samoa Tourism

Zuiderdam is on a South Pacific cruise which started in San Diego on October 3. After Apia, it will call into Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands and French Polynesia before finishing back in San Diego on November 17.

In addition, the visits will be the first cruise ship port calls following the reopening of borders on August 1 and the lifting of Covid-19 entry requirements on September 22.

To celebrate the occasion, a special welcome featuring traditional entertainment was organised by the Samoa Tourism Authority in collaboration with the Samoa Ports Authority, Betham Brother’s Enterprises (the contracted shipping agent) and Margaret’s Tours (the official shore excursion partner).

The General Manager of Betham Brothers Enterprises, Fuimaono Hugo Betham was delighted with the return of cruise ships.

“We are thrilled to see large-scale cruising come back to Samoa. For us it’s important that our principals Carnival Corporation have shown confidence in the work of our Ministry of Health and Port Health teams and steps taken by everyone to ensure Samoa is ready to safely welcome cruise lines back to our shores” said Mr Betham.

Samoa's lush green beauty and sparkling blue oceans. Picture Samoa Tourism
Samoa’s lush green beauty and sparkling blue oceans. Picture: Samoa Tourism

Margaret Ryan of Margaret’s Tour, echoed similar sentiments saying she’s also excited to welcome cruise ships back again. Ryan shared that while many have arranged tours through the vessels, many more will sample what Samoa has to offer either through taxis and independent tour operators.

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The cruise liners remain an important part of Samoa’s tourism industry. Pre-COVID figures show that on average, Samoa was receiving about 1,500 tourists per month through the cruise industry.

Samoa is also a big attraction for tourists with its beaches and rivers and other tourist activities not far from the port.

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