BINTULU: SuperStar Aquarius made its maiden call here yesterday, docking at Bintulu Port exactly at 9.45am, after making a similar call at Brunei’ Muara Port on Monday.
Her homeport relocation to Kota Kinabalu also makes it the first international cruise liner to homeport a ship in Sabah’s capital.
Nearly 800 passengers from Malaysia, China, Taiwan and other Southeast Asian countries were onboard the 51,309-tonne SuperStar Aquarius when it arrived here yesterday.
Among those present to welcome the passengers were Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Assistant Minister of Public Utilities (Electricity and Telecommunications) Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi, Bintulu Port chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Mior Ahmad Baiti Mior Lub Ahmad, Bintulu Resident Muhamad Yakup Kari and Bintulu Development Authority deputy chairman Tan Sri Celestine Ujang.
Star Cruises vice-president (East operations), Edward Johann Leong, said SuperStar Aquarius was proud to make a maiden call at Bintulu.
“I am sure our international passengers are excited to explore the extraordinary natural wonders and cultural treasures this amazing destination is so well known for.
“Our new 4D3N cruise departing every Sunday from Kota Kinabalu to Muara and Bintulu will give passengers a holiday experience they will never ever forget.
“We will continue to work closely with tourism and legal authorities to bring even more international passengers to Bintulu and promote its tourism appeal to the world,” said Leong.
The welcoming ceremony, which also participated by heads of government departments, members of the media, travel agents and business partners from Malaysia, China and Taiwan, was graced by Talib.
According to Talib, the cruise ship had made the right decision to come to Bintulu where they would be treated by very friendly locals.
“I hope our guests who come here will notice how friendly we are and hope that they will share the memories with their friends and families back home.”
After a memento exchange ceremony held at Stardust Lounge, the guests were invited to a sumptuous lunch featuring Star Cruises’ celebrated international and Asian cuisines at Spices Restaurant followed by a tour of the 13-deck luxury liner.
SuperStar Aquarius offers a 4D3N cruise from Kota Kinabalu to Muara and Bintulu every Sunday with a number of exclusive shore excursions for guests to explore.
The vessel will be calling at Bintulu every Tuesday on a weekly basis, from now until March 30, next year.