The Celebrity Millennium with more than 2,000 passengers and nearly 1,000 crew members on board docks at the Hon Gai International Passenger Terminal in Ha Long city (Photo: VNA)

Quang Ninh (VNA) – The Hon Gai International Passenger Terminal in Ha Long city, in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh, welcomed its first international cruise, the Celebrity Millennium, on November 27, which carried more than 2,000 passengers and nearly 1,000 crew members on board.

The Celebrity Millennium, a five-star cruise from the US’ Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, first departed from Hong Kong and is scheduled to leave the Hon Gai International Passenger Terminal on November 28.

The Hon Gai International Passenger Terminal is one of Quang Ninh’s key infrastructure projects, aiming to attract more investment in local socio-economic development.

It is also expected to help lure in high-end international tourists to Ha Long city and spur local tourism.

Nguyen Duc Long, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the terminal is set to create the best possible facilities for cruises travelling to UNESCO-recognised site Ha Long Bay and will ensure full safety for passengers.

The official expressed his hope to receive more international cruises and tourists to Ha Long in particular and Quang Ninh in general.

The Celebrity Millennium’s Captain Nikolas Christodoulakis said this is the second visit to Ha Long Bay by cruise ship following his first trip in 2014, adding that Ha Long has changed a lot over the past four years.

Construction on the port began in November 2017 with a total cost of 1.1 trillion VND (47.3 million USD) under the private-public partnership between Sun Group and Quang Ninh province.

It was designed to have a 524m quay that is able to receive two cruise ships at the same time, each with capacity of up to 225,000 GT and total number of passengers and crew members amounting to 8,460.

The port provides a five-star three-storey terminal covering 7,600sq.m and a harbor serving 250 tourist boats carrying visitors to the world heritage site Ha Long Bay.

It is expected to welcome 10 international cruises by the end of the year, contributing to raising the number of tourists to the province to over 12 million for 2018. –VNA