Princess Cruises to sail to Lombok and Komodo

Princess Cruises is set to offer a 10-day trip to Indonesia that include visits to Jakarta, Bali, Komodo and Lombok as part of its new cruise itineraries announced on Wednesday. The new tour will be available from Jan. 13, 2015, with a fare of SGD$1,629. Indonesia is considered to hold plenty of potential for cruise tourism thanks to its location in the heart of Southeast Asia, year-round warm weather, 17,000 islands and calm seas. "Indonesia hosted more than 300 cruise ship visits in 2013, a 44% increase from last year. We are expecting to raise the number to 385 in 2014," Princess Cruises director for Southeast Asia Farriek Tawfik told a press conference on Wednesday. According to the Ministry for Tourism and Creative Economy, up to 160,000 passengers arrived in the archipelago by cruise in 2013. That number is expected to grow to 203,000 this year. "This country is the new cruise playground. It is like the Caribbean of the East, but has the potential to become even more than that. Besides beautiful beaches, Indonesia also offers diversity of cultures and cuisine, as well as great shopping," said Tawfik. He added that there were challenges for cruise tourism to meet its potential in Indonesia. Infrastructure such as ports and destinations might not be developed enough to withstand a sudden influx of guests into the country. "There are around ten ports in Indonesia, such as in Jakarta, Bali and Semarang, that can harbor cruise ships. But besides basic facilities, these ports should also be ready to provide certain features to cater to our 2,670 passengers and 1,000 crew from all over the world, such as buses and multi-language tourist guides," said Tawfik. At the small port of Komodo Island, for example, the cruise ship won't be able to dock and will have to anchor out at sea. "When dropping anchor, we also need to make sure that we don't damage any coral or other parts of the environment. It is an issue that requires great sensitivity," said Tawfik. Many years back, according to Tawfik, Princess Cruises used to dock in Semarang and take passengers on a full day tour to Borobudur Temple using 50 buses from the port, escorted by local traffic policemen. "We intend to repeat that trip in the future, as well as expanding the itinerary to other regions such as Sulawesi and Sumatra," added Tawfik.

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