Cruise tourism will be a big focus for Bali’s tourism sector in 2023. Tourism stakeholders from across Indonesia are investing millions in upgrading the island’s facilities to ensure that larger cruise vessels can come into dock. On the 14th February, Bali’s Celukan Bawang Port in Buleleng Regency welcomed the luxurious Seven Seas Explorer Cruise Ship’s arrival on a one-day visit to the Island of the Gods.
The Seven Seas Explorer docked at Celukan Bawang Port at 7 am. The cruise liner is 225m in length and was welcomed by the local community. Many residents from the Celukan Bawang Port came out to see the impressive ship for themselves. The cruise ship travels with the Marshall Island flag and passengers and crew were greeted with a traditional Balinese dance. Passengers and crew were also gifted flower garlands. The Head of the Buleleng Regency Tourism Office, Gede Dody Sukma Oktiva Askara, personally welcomed the ship’s captain, Cpt Rosario Giovanni Vasta.
During the one-day visit to Bali, passengers had the chance to visit some of Buleleng Regency’s leading tourist and cultural destinations. Passengers hopped off the Seven Seas Explorer to visit Banjar Hot Springs, Arama Banjar Temple, Ling Gwan Kiong Temple, Beji Temple in Sangsit Village, and the War Monument in Jagaraga Village.
Askara told reporters, “The cruise ship docked for one day. The group went down for a tour; then the cruise ship departed for Surabaya again.” The Seven Seas Explorer departed Bali at around 5 pm. Askara continued, “410 tourists from the Seven Seas Explorer Ship traveled through travel agents, and 100 more tourists traveled independently.” He was as candid in sharing his observations about the quality of Celukan Bawang Port.
The Head of the Regency Tourism Office explained more needs to be done to make Celukan Bawang Port a world-class tourism facility. He shared, “If I see that the facilities are still lacking, such as toilets, there are only six toilets, when compared to the number of cruise ship crew and passengers, it is very overwhelming, we have also suggested to Pelindo to make additions to the facilities that are still lacking.”
He was happy, however, that the issue of hawkers had been dealt with. Askara added, “For security, we said before, hawkers harassed tourists, but now it’s not anymore. They are orderly and environmental security is also very good.” He confirmed that the Seven Seas Explorer is just one of five cruise ships scheduled to dock in Celukan Bawang Port in February and March.
Askara added that the increase in cruise ships arriving in Buleleng will benefit the local tourism destinations in the area. He explained, “Cruise ships [will dock according to] the schedule on February 19th, 23rd and 27th to March 1st. Cruise ships like this will arrive. They [passengers] will later visit several tourist objects in the Regency.”
Celukan Bawang Port is located in the northwest of Bali, far away from the popular resort areas of Kuta, Nusa Dua, and Uluwatu in Badung in the south. Work is underway to create the Bali Maritime Tourism Hub in Benoa in South Kuta. The huge redevelopment is a jointly funded partnership between the Indonesian government at the private company Pelindo. Nearly USD 80 million is being pumped into the project, which will see the development of maritime tourism facilities and improvements to transportation and waterway management infrastructure.
The teams behind the project have visions that the Bali Maritime Tourism Hub will create business growth for micro, small, and medium enterprises across Bali. Plans to increase the dock’s capacity will enable cruise ships up to 350m in length to dock. These sized vessels can carry up to 6,000 passengers. The plans also indicate that the development will include a yacht marina, yacht club, theme park, and water sports facility.
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