700 passengers on $220-million cruise ship navigate southern Vietnam

By Truong Ha    March 2, 2020 | 03:52 am PT
700 passengers on $220-million cruise ship navigate southern Vietnam
Foreign tourists get off the Vasco da Gama cruise ship to go onshore after docking at ODA Thi Vai Port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, on March 1, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Luong Tran.
Carrying Australian and British tourists, Vasco da Gama docked at ODA Thi Vai Port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province on Sunday after calling on Southeast Asian neighbors.

Bahamas’s Vasco da Gama, owned and operated by Cruise & Maritime Voyages, left Australia on February 12, passing Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. The ship is scheduled to leave Vietnam on Monday for Cambodia and Thailand.

On Sunday, over 300 Australians, 320 Britons and travelers from New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden had their body temperatures checked and hands washed before disembarking.

The group headed to Ho Chi Minh City, My Tho Town in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, home to beach town Vung Tau.

All tour guides had their own body temperatures monitored and hands washed before picking up the arrivals, with all vehicles also disinfected.

On February 22, Panama-flagged MSC Splendida delivered nearly 1,400 passengers from Europe and the Americas to ODA Thi Vai Port.

Tran Thi Thu Hien, deputy director of the provincial tourism department, said Ba Ria-Vung Tau is safe for tourists. "We have measures in place to ensure the health and safety of visitors as well as the local community."

The number of visitors to the southern province in February dropped by 31 percent against the previous month, resulting in falling revenues as many restaurants and bars stood empty.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) estimated the Covid-19 epidemic could cost the country $5.9- $7.7 billion in tourism revenues in the first quarter, or about 25 percent of the industry's total revenue last year.

Last week, 24 international cruise ships canceled plans to dock at Chan May Port in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

Vietnam has discharged all its 16 Covid-19 patients and has not recorded any new infections for the past 18 days.

The country has suspended entry from all areas stricken by the coronavirus outbreak under a prime ministerial directive issued last week.

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