Sat, Mar 17, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Initial ‘fly-cruise’ tour tests model

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The British cruise ship Noble Caledonia is pictured at Keelung Port on Thursday.

Photo courtesy of the Maritime Port Bureau

The nation this week welcomed its first group of international cruise-ship visitors who are to travel around Taiwan proper as well as some of the nation’s outlying islands, the Marine Port Bureau said.

The ship Noble Caledonia is to arrive at Keelung Port today and carry about 100 tourists from the UK to attractions across the nation, bureau Deputy Director-General Chen Pin-chuan (陳賓權) said.

The tour is arranged in the “fly-cruise” model, in which visitors fly to Taiwan before boarding cruise ships to travel around the country, Chen said.

Previously, the ship had only stopped in Hualien, he said.

While some tour operators have already arranged tours using the model, this is the first time a fly-cruise group is to travel around Taiwan and to some outlying islands on a cruise ship, Chen said.

Based on the itinerary obtained by the Tourism Bureau, the group arrived in Taiwan on Thursday, and were scheduled to spend two nights in Taipei to see attractions in Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung before boarding a cruise ship in Keelung tonight for Taichung.

During the stay in Taichung, they are to visit Sun Moon Lake, Chung Tai Chan Monastery and other attractions in central Taiwan.

From Monday to Friday next week, they are to visit Kinmen, Penghu, Tainan, Taitung and Hualien to see former military facilities in Kinmen, the former Fort Provintia in Tainan, the Amis Folk Center and Taroko Gorge.

After Taiwan, the ship is to bring the tourists to Japan, where they are to spend four days before flying back to the UK, Chen said.

The fee for the entire tour is about NT$300,000 per person, he added.

“This group consists of high-end customers interested in quality tours who are seeking to explore a certain region or country’s culture and nature,” he said.

The ship only holds 114 passengers in 75 luxury suites.

The bureau’s Maritime Affairs Administration Division Director Lai Ping-jung (賴炳榮) said the cruise ship company scouted the route before selling the tour package to customers in the UK.

The company also found a Taiwanese travel agency to help arrange the tour, he added.

Small European cruise liners similar to Noble Caledonia are also interested in selling the Taiwan tour package to their customers, Lai said, adding that more fly-cruise tour groups from Europe might come if this trip is successful.

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