Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tourism on Cruise: SuperStar Aquarius coming to Malaysia

KUCHING: Ocean cruise liner SuperStar Aquarius will be using Kota Kinabalu for her seasonal homeport deployment from Nov 6, 2013, to March 30, 2014.

Star Cruises East Malaysia Operations vice-president Edward Johann Leong said throughout this five-month period, the 51,309-tonne ocean cruise liner would be calling at Bandar Seri Begawan (in Brunei) and Bintulu on a weekly basis.

Star Cruises will be the first international cruise line to be homeported in Kota Kinabalu, thus continuing its pioneering and leading position in Asia’s cruise industry.

“It didn’t take us long to decide on making trips to Brunei and Bintulu as Sarawak and Sabah have everything to offer in multitude of ways, such as the food and cultural experience.”

“Sabahans and Sarawakians are well-known also for their hospitality and sincerity,” Leong told a press conference at the Tourism Ministry office here yesterday.

Also present were Tourism Ministry permanent secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Datuk Rashid Khan and Bintulu Resident Muhamad Yakup Kari.

SuperStar Aquarius, belonging to Star Cruises, is currently homeported in Keelung, Taiwan. It will embark on a special maiden journey (8D7N) cruise from Kaoshiung on Oct 29, with stops at Hong Kong, Manila and Boracay of the Philippines.

It will arrive at Kota Kinabalu on Nov 6, and would be in Bintulu six days later. It would depart for Sabah at 6pm on the same day.

Leong said Star Cruises wanted to prove to everyone the tourism potential Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei could offer to the world.

The cruise offers a four-day-three-nights (4D3N) package from Kota Kinabalu to Bandar Seri Begawan and Bintulu, before returning to Kota Kinabalu. Prices starts from as low as RM1,010 to RM5,000 and RM6,000 for the suites.

At the end of the 4D3N journey, the cruise liner will berth at Sabah waters for four days before resuming its cruise.

The daily one-night high sea experience will roll up from RM170 onwards.

“The whole idea of introducing this cruise is to give opportunities for locals to enjoy a different kind of holiday. Over the years, most people here only see and hear about cruise liners, but never had the opportunity to board one.

“Of course, the main highlight is to bring tourists to Sabah and Sarawak. By doing so, we are helping the local industries here, such as the food and beverage sector, handicrafts and services, while creating job opportunities,” he said.