Tonga prepares itself for the beginning of the new cruise ship season for 2014 with 14 cruise ships confirmed to visit the Kingdom. They will visit the islands of Tongatapu, Ha'apai, Tofua and Vava'u and for the first time in Tonga's cruise ship history, a cruise ship will spendovernight in the Ha'apai Islands later in the year.

The first cruise ship to call in Tonga for this year is the MS Silver Whisperer arriving on Friday 24th of January followed by a 'double cruise ship', the MS Columbus and Crystal Symphony on Monday 27th of January, 2014.

The MS Silver Whisperer is carrying over 500 passengers and crew on board. This vessel will be handled by shipping agent Trans-am Dateline Shipping and operated by EziWorld Holidays. The next two vessels are the MS Columbus and Crystal Symphony which will both arrive in Nuku'alofa on the same day. The MS Columbus will be berthed at the Queen Salote Wharf whilst the Crystal Symphony will berth at the Vuna Wharf. The arrival of two cruiseships in one day will indeed be a busy day for Nuku'alofa. The last port of call for the MS Silver Whisperer is American Samoa and from Tonga will continue to New Zealand. 

The cruise market has developed greatly since December 2012 when the new Cruise Wharf – Vuna opened. Led by the Cruise Steering Committee, the cruise market has seen a huge improvement in the operations of the cruise days, community awareness programmes were set in place with a clean-up competition for the villages and traditional welcoming has now been integrated as part of the cruise day activities.

For more information on the schedule and activities of the cruise ships, contact Manatu Vivili at the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour on 24-436, e-mail or the Tonga Tourism Authority on 25-334.