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February 03, 2011

Indonesia Developing World Cruise Destinations

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - With over 17,500 islands and water areas of 70 percent, Indonesia -- which owns the world’s longest stretch of beaches reaching 81,000 km -- is building at least 66 maritime ecotourism destinations to attract tourists on board cruise ships.
The development of the world cruise destinations is part of the country’s efforts to advance its maritime tourism and boost foreign tourist arrivals which have been showing an upward trend of late.
"Now is the time for us to become a world cruise tourism destination because we have a big potential in this sector," Director General for Marketing Affairs of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Sapta Nirwandar said.
The Indonesian government, during the celebration of New Year’s Eve last December, officially announced its optimistic target of attracting 7.7 million foreign tourists into the country in 2011, up about 10 percent from 7,000,571 arrivals in 2010. In order to help the country achieve its tourism targets, the government is developing various tourism-related sectors, including its maritime ecotourism. As regards, Indonesia affirms its readiness to become a world cruise destination as part of the development of its maritime tourism.
The director general said his office was working hard to develop the potential while declaring that Indonesia was ready to serve cruise ships from various countries.
"We hope that in a not-too-distant time at least two cruise ships will visit the country every day. Besides making calls at Padang Bai, Benoa (Bali), Jakarta, Lembar (Lombok-West Nusa Tenggara-NTB), Makassar (South Sulawesi), Komodo (East Nusa Tenggara-NTT) and Semarang (Central Java), the world cruise ships are also expected to call at other 66 destinations such as the Tanjung Puting (Central Kalimantan) which has of late attracted many world cruises," Sapta Nirwandar said.

Sapta said his office has seriously developed cruise tourism in Indonesia in the last eight years together with other maritime tourism stakeholders.
"This endeavor has begun to show results. Now, the number of world cruises’ calls has increased to 90 a year, from only 20 calls in 2002," the director general said. After all, the number of destinations visited by cruise ships has also increased from only three in the past several years to 66 destinations now.
Therefore, the marketing directorate general will continue its efforts to develop the country’s cruise tourism and to improve the image and competitiveness of Indonesia as a world cruise destination. For this purpose, the directorate general will use the Indonesian tourist resort island of Bali as a turn-around port while preparing others so that Indonesia would be able to serve large-scale cruises with big number of passengers.
It will also increase the quality of its services, synchronize and harmonize regulations, including polices in facilitating the visits of world cruise ships. Sapta said that priority would be given to the Benoa port of Bali to be developed as an international standard turn-around port which could accommodate world cruise ships and serve as a starting point for the development of maritime tourism into the eastern regions of Indonesia.

So far, Bali has been the major foreign tourist destination province and is expected to serve as a catalyst for Indonesia’s tourism. During 11 months of the January - November 2010 period, the tourist resort islands was visited by 2,345,885 foreign tourists, or an increase of 8.48 percent compared with those arriving in the corresponding period in 2009 which stood at 2,162,576 visitors.
"The arrivals in 2010 exceeded the target set by the Bali regional government at between 2.2 million and 2.3 million arrivals," Bali’s statistics chief officer Gede Suarsa said.
In order to help develop Indonesia’s maritime ecotourism, particularly in island areas, the government is also active in promoting the potentials and cooperating with other countries.
For example, Indonesia has offered cooperation in this field to Maldives. Minister for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) Fadel Muhammad said the island country which is located in the Indian Ocean was asked to cooperate with Indonesia because it had developed advanced island maritime tourism.
Maldives is visited by about one million foreign tourists a year. If the pattern of Maldives’ maritime tourism could be emulated, it is expected that Indonesian islands which account for thousands of islands would attract and multiply foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia.
"About one million foreign tourists visit Maldives every year. Ahead, we will emulate them," the minister said explaining his visit to Maldives last week.  He said Maldives was able to optimize the development of its isles into maritime tourism sites as sources of income for its people.
Maldives leased its islands to investors who developed them into tourist resorts with an investment value of each island reaching US$150 million and 200 million. The rate of hotel rooms there is between 600 and 1,000 per day. This drastically drives fishermen’s income up from about 600-800 to about 10,000 dollars.
"Therefore, we will invite investors both domestic and abroad, to cultivate small islands as tourism sites," the minister said.
In the meantime, Director General for Small Islands and Coastal Areas Sudirman Saad said his side had signed a cooperation agreement with the Maldives’ tourism minister for the development of maritime tourism. He said Indonesia had clusters of islands which had the potentials to be developed into maritime tourism resorts, such as the Anambas islands in Riau province, Rajaampat in Papua and Wakatobi in Central Sulawesi.
"The islands which are good for development are those near Singapore because Indonesia can take advantage of infrastructure in that country," Sudiman Saad said.

10 Most Luxurious Cruises of the World

Cruises make wonderful family vacations. Large cruise ships cater to all ages and many offer interesting and educational age-specific children’s programs. With over 60 cruise lines and almost 300 cruise ships to choose from, selecting the right cruise line for your family is often difficult.


Here I have compiled some of the most luxurious cruises of the world. I may have missed out some. So feel free to comment. Thanks.
Silversea, Silver Shadow

Silversea is the only six-star cruise liner in the world. It has lavishly decorated Owner’s Suite, Kitted out with plasma TV, a CD player, a Lavazza espresso maker, complementary butler service.


Windstar Cruises, Wind Spirit


Carrying just 148 privileged passengers; the Windstar Wind Spirit is a motored sail yacht like no other. Inside, you’ll be able to relax with a drink, enjoy a five-star meal, gamble the night away, or get the adrenalines pumping in the sea by the Water sports.

Crystal Cruises, Crystal Serenity

Crystal Serenity ups the glamor stakes in the world of cruising, with one of the highest guest-per-space ratios at sea. It features new hip dining venues such as Tastes, Silk Road and The Sushi Bar.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney isn’t just for kids. Enjoy adult-oriented amenities, such as the spa, fitness center, nightclub, several gourmet restaurants, and an adults-only retreat with good coffee, books, and WiFi Internet access.

Carnival, Spirit

Little touches make this cruise extra special, such as an escort for ladies entering the dining room. Other unexpected freebies include bottles of champagne on arrival, a complimentary in-suite mini-bar, drinks, and wine with lunch and dinner.

Regent, Seven Seas Voyager

It has a constellation theater, casino, fitness center, aerobics room, swimming pool, miniature golf course, paddle tennis court, and onboard Carita Spa one of the most luxurious spas in the world.

Orient Express, the Road to Mandalay

This five-star ship offers a super-luxurious cruise up the Ayeyarwady River in Myanmar. Your needs will be more than accommodated as you relax in your well-appointed state cabin.

Royal Caribbean, Freedom of the Seas

This ship has an interactive water park, cantilevered whirlpools, a rock-climbing wall, a miniature golf course, a full-size basketball court, and an ice-skating rink.

Nikki Beach at Sea


When it opens in 2009, the $498 million cruise liner will offer it all. The floating resort comprises a super Las Vegas-style casino, modeling agency, indoor theater, outdoor concert arena, shopping arcade, and a cosmetic surgery clinic.

Queen Mary 2

QM2, as it is better known, is as grand as cruising gets 15 world-class restaurants and bars, five swimming pools, a casino, a ballroom, a theater, and a planetarium.
Author Ahsan Mukhtar

Travel Tips
Cruise ships are a means of travel with some substantial benefits... and drawbacks. Some people love them, and some people hate them, but they're worthy of consideration, especially if you find other modes of travel too difficult or inconvenient. They make it easy to visit several places in a single trip without the need to pack your belongings and sit in a car/train/bus/plane to travel to each one; your hotel room comes along with you, and even provides the transportation. You may go to bed in Cabo San Lucas and wake up in Puerto Vallarta, which is a great convenience, but can also make it easy to lose a sense of where you are. Typical itineraries also limit the time you can spend in each place, usually just a short day of activities or sightseeing. They may also include one or more days at sea: paradise if you enjoy a relaxing day by the pool, but perhaps frustrating if you prefer more active exploration. Nonetheless, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks for enough people to support a growing industry.
Today you can visit every continent on earth, including Antarctica, by cruise ship. The most exotic itineraries, such as the Galapagos and South Pacific, are best visited by small expedition vessels like Lindblad Cruises. While these cruises are expensive, you'll be traveling with expert lecturers.
Carnival Corporation is the giant in the cruise industry. It owns Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Cunard Line, Costa Cruises and Seabourn Cruises. The other major cruise lines are Royal Caribbean International, which owns Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, Oceania Cruises and P&O, which caters to the British market, and Norwegian Cruise Lines, which caters primarily to passengers on the United States' east coast with year round sailings from New York City and Miami.

 
 Happy New year 2011
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