Luxury cruise ship l'Austral docks at Hualien Port in eastern Taiwan

French luxury cruise ship l'Austral docked at Hualien Port early Thursday morning, and the port management welcomed the international guests with Electric-Techno Neon Gods

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L'Austral docks at Hualien Port early Thursday morning

L'Austral docks at Hualien Port early Thursday morning (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—French luxury cruise ship l'Austral docked at Hualien Port early Thursday morning, and the port management welcomed the international guests with Electric-Techno Neon Gods, a special dance performance combining folk dance with modern pop music, according to a CNA report.

This is the cruise ship’s second visit to the port, which is within walking distance of the downtown area of Taiwan’s eastern city of Hualien, after its first visit in March last year. Carrying 214 passengers and 105 crew members on this voyage, the ship’s previous port of call was Ishigaki Port of Japan, and the next is in the Philippines, according to the report, which adds that Hualien Port is the ship's only port of call in Taiwan.      

Chang Tzu-ying (張自英), an official from Taiwan International Ports Corp's Hualien branch, said the number of cruise liners docking at the port and cruise passengers have both grown in recent years, the report said. There is also an uptick in the quality of the visiting cruise liners as more high-end cruise brands continue to make port calls to Taiwan, Chang said, according to the report.  

l'Austral joined PONANT's fleet in May 2011, and the mega-yacht has 132 staterooms, according to PONANT's website.

As many of the cruise passengers are independent travelers, the port company has arranged taxis to come into the port area to make it more convenient for passengers who wish to visit Taroko Gorge, Pine Garden or elsewhere in the area, the report said.

(photo by CNA)