An Australian cruise ship is scheduled to anchor at Tanah Ampo harbor in Karangasem regency this Sunday (July 17), the first ship to make a stopover there after several others cancelled their visits due to unfinished docking facilities.
The Sun Princess cruise ship, which started its journey three weeks ago, will be making its final stopover in Tanah Ampo before returning to Fremantle, Western Australia.
There are 2,100 passengers and 880 crew members on board. Kicking off their journey in Fremantle, they went to Padang and Langkawi, making a turnaround in Singapore before heading to Vietnam and Cambodia.
Tanah Ampo still needs a wharf extension to be able to accommodate cruise ships.
Its current pier is only 154 meters long, which falls short of the international standard of at least 300 to 350 meters.
The construction remains unfinished, although it was initiated years ago, due to the lack of budget of around Rp 200 billion (US$23.6 million) from the central government.
Even though the docking facilities are not yet finished, cruise ships can anchor some 400 meters away from the wharf and small boats will bring the passengers and crew to a floating jetty to reach the terminal.
The Sun Princess was initially scheduled to anchor on Tanah Ampo on Saturday (July 9), but the plan was cancelled because the floating jetty was not fully prepared. The cruise instead docked in Benoa Harbor in southern Denpasar.
Two Sun Princess crew members came to Tanah Ampo on Saturday to ensure the harbor’s preparedness to welcome the cruise.
Cruise staff captain Kevin Grant said that after observing the facility, the floating jetty still needed some improvements to make it safer for the passengers and the crew.
“We’ll just wait for some improvements to be made on the floating jetty. We need safety nets on the side, so that children don’t fall,”
he said, adding that the facility should also be accessible for disabled passengers.
If everything in Tanah Ampo is ready, the harbor would be safer than Benoa, he said.
Cruise hotel general manager and crew member Karin agreed that Tanah Ampo has great potential to be a cruise harbor, saying it has a panoramic view of a mountainous area with green rice fields as also a scenic backdrop at the location.
“The view is beautiful, with mountains around. For foreigners who are coming to Bali for the first time, this is fantastic,” she said.
She said improvements should also be made at the terminal building, including improved pavement and ample parking lot.
“We need solid pavement inside the terminal so that passengers don’t go through mud when it rains. And also for the buses — we need ample space so that people can actually get in and out of the buses.”
I Gusti Lanang Bagus Wirawibawa, a project monitoring officer from state-owned port operator PT Pelindo III, said all improvements would be finished within the next couple of days.
“Everything will be prepared based on the Sun Princess cruise requests.”
Karangasem Transportation Agency head Ida Bagus Putu Suastika said the harbor had officially commenced operations, although not all facilities had been completed following the issuance of a temporary license on June 28.
A two-story terminal building has been constructed in Tanah Ampo to welcome the cruise ship tourists.
In the first floor, a health clinic, immigration office, cafe, small shops, a mini stage for dance performance, as well as departure and arrival gates will be built.
Tourists can go to the second floor to enjoy the beautiful views of mountains and rice fields overlooking the sea.