Zegrahm Expeditions organized a voyage to the Tubbataha Reefs on board the MS Caledonian Sky, a 4,200-ton cruise ship registered in the Bahamas. The 300-foot luxury cruise ship will carry 63 foreign visitors to the park on 17 March 2016. Only around seven guests are scuba divers while the rest are snorkelers and bird watchers.
Increasingly, cruise ships are visiting Palawan over the last five years. The visit of a cruise ship to Tubbataha was a topic lengthily discussed by the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board (TPAMB). Fears of the negative impacts of mass tourism on the fragile marine environment sparked apprehensions. In the end, due to the small number of guests on board the MS Caledonian Sky and agreed-upon protocols to ensure utmost care for the environment, the Board granted the cruise ship permission to visit the park.
TMO’s Information, Education, and Communication and Tourism Officers will personally board the ship to brief the visitors and explain rules and regulations that apply. Activities will be conducted under supervision of marine park rangers and the boat crew. Sixty three is the most number of guests on one boat that will visit Tubbataha so far.