Taiwan’s first round-the-island cruise liner yesterday docked in Kaohsiung on a four-day voyage launched as part of the tourism industry’s efforts to boost domestic travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having embarked the previous day from the Port of Keelung with about 1,200 passengers, the Explorer Dream, operated by Genting Hong Kong (雲頂香港), docked at Kaohsiung with plans to sail to Hualien.
Although the pandemic has greatly hampered travel around the world, the tour operator said that such voyages are being introduced amid a recovering local tourism industry, thanks in large part to the nation’s effective disease prevention efforts.
Photo: Hung Chen-hung, Taipei Times
The maiden cruise was well-received, with 80 percent of the tickets having been sold, the tour operator said.
The vessel can accommodate 3,630 passengers, but the number was reduced so that social distancing and other disease prevention measures could be observed, it said.
The ship’s passengers must take precautions, such as wearing masks in public spaces and practicing social distancing when seated, it added.
Genting Cruise Lines said that the agricultural industry is being promoted in a special area aboard the ship, where 72 local products are available for sale and free samples are offered for more than 50 of them.
Lion Travel Service (雄獅旅行社), which partners with the cruise line, said that seven voyages are to embark from Kaohsiung or Tainan, and that after Nov. 27, winter tours would be introduced, with at least one vessel embarking from Kaohsiung each month.
The voyages embarking from Kaohsiung would be four or five-day tours, and would be similarly priced to the Keelung tours, Lion Travel president Andy Yu (游國珍) said.
More tours are to be introduced if the market responds well, Yu added.
Fares start at NT$8,900 per person, Yu said.
Each passenger spends about NT$2,500 each time the ship docks, so a considerable amount is added to local economies, he added.
SUPPORT: Reporters Without Borders said that it stands behind the legitimacy of the commission’s probe and that press freedom does not mean the absence of oversight National Communications Commission (NCC) commissioners yesterday reached a unanimous decision to reject CTi News’ (中天新聞台) license renewal application on the grounds that the channel’s frequent contraventions of media regulations showed that it has a malfunctioning internal control mechanism that cannot be rectified. This was the first time since it was established in 2006 that the commission denied a license renewal to a news channel. NCC Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥) announced the landmark decision at the commission’s weekly media briefing. The commission denied the renewal request because the news channel was fined a total of NT$11.53 million (US$400,932) for 25 breaches of media regulations
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
An investigation has found no mechanical problems underlying the Tuesday disappearance of an F-16 jet and its pilot, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday, adding that it does not rule out an accident due to “spatial disorientation.” An air force F-16 jet on Tuesday evening disappeared from radar screens, just two minutes after it took off from Hualien Air Base, while the 44-year-old pilot, Colonel Chiang Cheng-chih (蔣正志), has yet to be found. Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) yesterday morning headed to Hualien for updates on the search and rescue, while giving a pep talk to Chiang’s unit,