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Cruises to Manila

Manila (Photo:r.nagy/Shutterstock)
Manila (Photo:r.nagy/Shutterstock)

About Manila

Once considered the most beautiful city in Asia, Manila was reduced to rubble by extensive bombing during World War II. But from the debris has risen a cosmopolitan city that's surprising visitors with its vibrancy.

Elongated and brightly painted jeeps honk their way through the gridlocked streets, passing the cranes and scaffolding of new sky-high property developments as the city prepares for its population to rise to more than 30 million by 2025.

Then there are the luxury hotels, the vast shopping malls and the mammoth casinos. And away from the glitz are centuries of colonial history, a flourishing art scene and a setting rich in natural beauty with its waterfalls, volcanoes and wildlife.

Cruising is still a relatively new part of the city's tourism industry, so there's not yet a dedicated passenger terminal for international cruises in Metro Manila. Cruise ships currently use Pier 15 at South Harbor, which is otherwise a cargo port. However, some vessels have begun to use the North Port Passenger Terminal Complex at Tondo, which reopened in 2012 after a redevelopment increased its capacity to 3 million passengers each year.

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DAY 1: Sydney

28 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Brisbane, Whitsundays ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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164 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Kauai, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: Singapore

14 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Singapore
Visiting:
Phu My, Nha Trang ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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DAY 1: Manila

18 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Manila
Visiting:
Coron, Romblon Island ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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108 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Southampton
Visiting:
Hamilton, Port Canaveral ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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26 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Bangkok
Visiting:
Sihanoukville, Ho Chi Minh City ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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6 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Manila
Visiting:
Romblon Island, Puerto Princesa ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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139 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Cartagena, Panama City ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Singapore
Visiting:
Ilocos, Manila ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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81 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
San Francisco
Visiting:
Honolulu, Apia, Samoa ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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97 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Aruba, Panama Canal ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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123 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Honolulu, Maui ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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111 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Honolulu, Maui ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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100 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Melbourne
Visiting:
Dunedin, Akaroa ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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59 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Brisbane, Cairns ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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28 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Singapore
Visiting:
Koh Samui, Bangkok ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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44 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Brisbane, Cairns ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Hong Kong
Visiting:
Manila, Boracay ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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75 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Bangkok
Visiting:
Koh Samui, Sihanoukville ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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28 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Yokohama
Visiting:
Shimizu, Kobe ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Singapore
Visiting:
Kota Kinabalu, Subic Bay ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Manila
Visiting:
Coron, Romblon Island ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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19 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Singapore
Visiting:
Phu My, Nha Trang ...
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Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
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28 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Hong Kong
Visiting:
Manila, Boracay ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Manila

Leaving:
Singapore
Visiting:
Phu My, Nha Trang ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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Why go to Manila?

Pros:

Pasig River mouth hosts the port and the city's sights and shopping mall are just a taxi away

Cons:

Cruise ships dock at a busy container port with very heavy traffic moving into the city

Bottom Line:

There's little to see within the immediate vicinity, though it's close to historic Intramuros and Rizal Park

Manila Cruise Port Facilities?

Don't bother hanging around. There isn't much to do, but if you don't feel like venturing far, head for the Manila Hotel (just across from the port). It opened in 1912, making it the city's oldest hotel. It was a regular haunt of former first lady Imelda Marcos, and it's a great place to have a drink while taking in the views of the bay.

Otherwise, you can stroll around the well-tended Rizal Park or head for nearby Manila Ocean Park, which offers marine life attractions, retail outlets and amenities. (Behind Quirino Grandstand, Luneta; +632-567-7777; www.manilaoceanpark.com)

Good to Know?

The traffic, as in many Asian cities, can be horrific, so if you're taking a taxi anywhere, factor this slow crawl into the equation.

Be prepared for window knockers as the slow crawl puts your patience to the test. Some will be selling snacks or DVDs, while some will be begging. If you're not interested, a polite "no" should suffice.

Getting Around?

With the port slap-bang in the center of the city, it's easy to make your way from the ship on foot. The main tourist area of Intramuros is just a short walk from the port.

Temperatures in Manila can soar as high as 97 degrees Fahrenheit (about 36 degrees Celsius), so to slightly farther, you may find it more comfortable to go by taxi. There are also autorickshaws -- similar to those you might find in other parts of South East Asia, but with a sidecar twist. Or take a jeepney, a kitschy and colorful elongated Jeep originally made from U.S. military vehicles left over from World War II. They're now a national symbol.

If Intramuros is your planned destination, you can explore by bamboo bicycle with Bambike Ecotours or take a horse and cart ride. (Bambike Ecotours; www.bambike.com/ecotours)

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The Philippine Peso is the local currency. Check out www.xe.com for the latest rates. There should be a money changer in port upon arrival, but you can draw currency easily from ATMs, which can be found around town and in the major hotels. Credit cards are also widely accepted, but for smaller shops, cafes and restaurants, cash is best.

Language?

Although once officially a Spanish-speaking country, Filipino and English are now the national languages. Most people in Manila speak excellent English albeit with an American twang, thanks to the U.S.'s long-running involvement in the country.

Where You're Docked?

There's not a lot going on at the terminal at South Harbor, which is still primarily used by cargo ships. Temporary souvenir stalls and a money changer are set up when a cruise ship sails into town, but they won't keep you occupied for long.

The port is well located in Manila Bay, close to the old colonial city of Intramuros and the Rizal Park. A short taxi ride or even a stroll can take you to some of the city's most vibrant areas and key tourist sights.


Manila Cruise Reviews

Celebrity Millennium
ashstreet
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Did not take an excursion. Walked to the beautiful old Manila Hotel for coffee....stunning interiors, and there is an art gallery featuring the works of local artists and artisans.... Read More
KWCowell
Sail Date: Mar 2019
We took an independent tour of sites related to Jose Rizal in Manila.... Read More
Ovation of the Seas
Mala56
Sail Date: Jun 2018
Interesting to see the heart of manila and even the large shopping Mall - coffee needed!... Read More
Bombay Bird
Sail Date: Jan 2018
We took a tour to but we found it rather boring and only took a tour as we did not feel it very safe to walk around on our own.... Read More
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