For only the second time in the last 3 years, a large cruise ship has arrived today at Koh Samui, four times larger than the first. After cruising came to a halt worldwide as cruise ships became the perfect petri dish for the spread a Covid-19, only one other cruise ship has arrived on the holiday island previously just three weeks ago.
Mein Schiff 5, a cruise ship owned by TUI Cruises, dropped anchor on the shores of Koh Samui earlier today. The ship is stopping over for just a short day trip to the island. But its passenger load of 2,500 travellers from Europe was a welcome sight for the port city of Nathon, and the island in general.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha even expressed his happiness to see the large cruise ship bringing back maritime tourism to Thailand. A deputy spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office expressed Prayut’s delight. He requested that relevant agencies join forces to make sure that vendors, businesses, and services on the island don’t take advantage of the day-tripping tourists and give Samui and Thailand a bad name. He warned that anyone found hiking up prices or ripping off the cruise passengers would face severe punishment.
Officials on the island excitedly met the arriving cruise passengers with a welcoming reception. They made arrangements for sightseeing trips around Koh Samui in order to make sure that travellers could see all the best that the island has to offer while attempting to evenly distribute tourist cash from the cruisers’ pockets.
The TUI Cruises ocean liner is only the second to stop in Koh Samui since the pandemic, with the first arriving on November 27 to great fanfare. Viking Cruises included Koh Samui in their Secrets of Southeast Asia cruise, stopping for some 600 passengers to come ashore and explore the Thai tourist island. Mein Schiff 5 is a much larger ship bringing even more passengers ashore.
The cruise industry was hit hard by the Covid pandemic where ship’s tight quarters and poor ventilation made the industry one of the first martyrs of an airborne virus. Cruises are now finally beginning to pick up steam again worldwide. Koh Samui expects another ship to stop on the island over New Year’s Eve. Next year though, 31 ships are scheduled to dock at Samui, while there are currently 32 scheduled to arrive in 2024, according to Thai Newsroom.
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