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Cruises to Manila

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.

  • More about Manila

  • Why go to Manila?

  • Manila Cruise Port Facilities?

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Silver Spirit
Silver Spirit

11 Night
Far East CruiseDetails

329 Reviews
Leaving:Manila
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Feb 15, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Westerdam
Westerdam

14 Night
Japan, Taiwan & The PhilippinesDetails

1,072 Reviews
Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Feb 27, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Westerdam
Westerdam

14 Night
The Philippines, Malaysia & ThailandDetails

1,072 Reviews
Leaving:Hong Kong
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite
Silver Muse
Silver Muse

16 Night
Far East CruiseDetails

233 Reviews
Leaving:Bali
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Mar 18, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Asia - South EastDetails

2,301 Reviews
Leaving:Taipei
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Oct 30, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Japan, Taiwan & The PhilippinesDetails

1,072 Reviews
Leaving:Yokohama
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 28, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Far East CruiseDetails

579 Reviews
Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Apr 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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27 Night
Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan & The Philippines Collect...Details

1,072 Reviews
Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Feb 14, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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28 Night
China, Japan, Taiwan & The Philippines CollectorDetails

1,072 Reviews
Leaving:Hong Kong
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Feb 3, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Southeast Asia CruiseDetails

360 Reviews
Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Mar 1, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Tokyo To Singapore CruiseDetails

45 Reviews
Leaving:Tokyo
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Aug 12, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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80 Night
World CruiseDetails

545 Reviews
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
Feb 7, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

35 Night
World CruiseDetails

713 Reviews
Leaving:Mumbai
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Jan 8, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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28 Night
Japan, Taiwan, The Philippines & China CollectorDetails

1,072 Reviews
Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Feb 27, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Southeast Asia CruiseDetails

375 Reviews
Leaving:Bali
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Feb 27, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Manila

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
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
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ashstreet
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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Bombay Bird
Excellent tour of CorregidorRead More
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alexmartin
We took an independent tour of sites related to Jose Rizal in Manila.Read More
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KWCowell

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