Westerdam to Dock at Sihanoukville Port for First Time Since Pandemic

Cambodian people look at the Westerdam cruise ship in Sihanoukville on February 18, 2020, where the liner on February 13 docked after being refused entry at other Asian ports due to fears of the novel coronavirus. Photo by AFP / TANG CHHIN Sothy

PHNOM PENH – The MS Westerdam will return to Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on Dec. 28, three years after docking in Cambodia amid the COVID-19 outbreak and being denied entry by several countries and territories.

Deputy Governor of Preah Sihanouk province Long Dimanche said the provincial administration is ready to welcome it back.

Dimanche sees the return as a chance to show Cambodia’s potential, especially Sihanoukville, and to attract more investors. 

“As this year marks the third anniversary of Westerdam docking, the Sihanoukville provincial administration will hold a welcome reception,” he said. 

“The authorities are now preparing for security, safety, as well as environmental sanitation.

“Most notably, videos published by major media outlets will be displayed on that day too,” he said. 

The Westerdam will carry over 1,500 tourists to Sihanoukville. Over 900 will return to the ship, while the rest will visit Cambodia.

This full-day docking will kick start from 8am and all tourists will leave to their respective destinations. Some tourists will visit Koh Rong beach, some visit Sihanoukville, some travel to Phnom Penh and some to Siem Reap province.

On Feb. 13, 2020, Holland America Line asked for permission to dock from Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Guam island. Only Cambodia agreed. 

More than 2,200 people were on the ship, including 1,455 passengers of more than 40 nationalities and 802 crew members. The largest number of tourists were from the United States (651), Canada (271), the United Kingdom (127), the Netherlands (91), Australia (79) and Germany (57). 


Originally written in Khmer for ThmeyThmey, this story was translated by Rin Ousa for Cambodianess.

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