Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Tour of the M/V St. Francis Xavier (Manila)

MV St. Francis Xavier

The M/V St. Francis Xavier (SFX for short), launched last March 19, 2014 at Manila’s North Harbor, is one of 2GO Travel’s (the Philippines’ biggest shipping company) biggest ships.

It is also the third ship of 2GO (the other two are M/V Joan of Arc and M/V St. Michael the Archangel) to ply the Manila-Bacolod City (Negros Occidental) route.  

Its top man is 50 year old Capt. Leo L. Inocencio, a father of four and 16-year ship captain of 6 ships.
The ship's hotel-like lobby

The car deck
This 11,191-ton vessel, with a maximum speed of 19 knots and a capacity of 1,910 passengers and 180 TEU (twenty-feet equivalent units) of cargo (160 huge containers), is 150.87 m. (equivalent to 10 buses joined end-to-end) long and 29 m. wide.  

It was acquired in 2013 for US$16 million from a Korean company (it was built in Japan in 1991); dry-docked, repaired, refurbished in Subic for 3 months to become domestic cruise ship (a breakthrough in the local shipping industry).

The ship's bridge

Capt. Leo Inocencio
One of the most technologically advanced ships to dock at North Harbor, the SFX was also equipped with new technology and safety features that pass international standards and impressed the London Protection and Indemnity (P&I) surveyors that reviewed the SFX a day after its maiden voyage.  

Aside from the standard 3 radars, automatic radar piloting aid (ARPA), a gyro compass and echo sounders, it also has a Global Maritime Distress System (GMDS), a sprinkler system for passengers, and a water mist system (used to expeditiously control and extinguish  fires and protect shipboard machinery spaces).

The economy class restaurant

Salon and spa
As part of 2Go Travel’s “Sarap Maglakbay” slogan, the 2GO group decided to upgrade the SFX (as well as some of its other vessels) to provide the ambiance of a cruise ship, thus giving passengers a more comfortable and enjoyable trip.  

Redesigned to look “affordably chic,” its beautiful interiors were exquisitely designed and upgraded by One Urban to become an extravagantly comfortable floating hotel.  
It features 4 suites, 12 state rooms, 8 cabins, 8 Business Class rooms and 12 Tourist Class rooms, all of which have ensuite toilet and shower rooms and 5-channel flat screen TVs.  It also has 18 Mega Value rooms, 2 Super Value rooms and a contingency room, all with clean and separate restroom and shower rooms for male and female.
The first class restaurant

The open air deck
To entertain passengers when they travel between 19 to 25 hours, a bar features a comedy show and other performances.  A multi-events hall, formerly an empty, high-ceilinged space atop the deck, now features a mezzanine floor. 

A conference hall during the day, it can be transformed into a 500-pax karaoke club or party area at night. 

At its open air deck, guests can converge for island sightseeing and stargazing. Other amenities on board the SFX include spacious, brightly-colored economy and first class restaurants; a relaxing salon and spa; and a 24-hour convenience store.
A typical suite

The multi-events hall
The ship also serves as a training vessel for students taking up tourism and maritime courses.  It undergoes quarterly and yearly audits and it is accredited with the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) as well as internationally-certified with the Bureau Veritas and also American Bureau of Shipping.
The SFX serves the Visayas ports of Bacolod City, Iloilo City (Iloilo) and Dumaguete City (Negros Oriental) and the Mindanao port of Zamboanga City (Zamboanga del Sur). 

Every Wednesday, the SFX plies the Manila-Bacolod City-Iloilo City-Manila route and, every Saturday, the Manila-Cebu-Dumaguete City-Zamboanga City-Dumaguete City-Manila route.
2GO VP - Passage Business/Chief Commercial Officer Mr. Stephen Tagud (center) with VIP guests

2GO Travel: 15/F, Times Plaza Bldg., United Nations Ave. cor. Taft Ave., Ermita, Manila. Website:  www.2go.com.ph. Customer Interaction Center (for schedules, rates and ticket delivery): tel: (+63 2) 528-7000 (trunkline), e-mail: info@2go.com.ph; Website Coordinator (for online ticketing): tell: (+63 2) 528-7209 (trunkline); Tours and Group Sales: tel: (+63 2) 528-7840 (direct line), mobile numbers: (0905) 478-6596 (Globe), (0919) 894-3926 (Smart) and (0922) 205-1963 (Sun), e-mail: Tours_and_Groups@2go.com.ph. 

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