MV Sentosa river cruise gaining popularity
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE weekly MV Sentosa cruise services have received favourable public response since it introduced a new schedule two weeks ago.
Sha-Zan Marine Operations Manager Daniel Hilman said since the weekly schedule was introduced, the company had received about 10 to 15 callers per day, enquiring about the cruise or making reservations. He estimated that 70 per cent out of the calls requested for more information on the new schedule, while the other 30 per cent asked about its private charter services. While most customers called to make reservations, Daniel said there was an average of 10 walk-in registrations for each trip so far.
Although the trips on Friday and Sunday last week were not fully booked, the company was able to reach 50 to 60 per cent of the vessel’s capacity, which could fit a total of 60 people on board, according to the operations manager.
Furthermore, he said the introduction of the weekly schedule did not have a direct impact on the company’s private chartered services as they have other slots to cater to such customers.
“It has actually improved our business in terms of customer awareness and flexibility, people no longer have to charter to join the river cruise,” he said.
“So far, feedback from guests have been positive, probably just to add on commentary as we cruise along,” he added.
Instead of having a full-time tour guide, Daniel said the company is currently working to create a video which will introduce the points of interest along the cruising route.
“With the new upcoming bridge and the upgrade of Jalan Residency along Bandar Seri Begawan, I believe our beautiful Kampong Ayer will be an even bigger attraction as it will be taken to the next level,” he said.
“The Brunei River is relatively clean compared to many other countries’ rivers which are heavily polluted by industrial waste, but there are no proper public pick-up and drop-off points along the way,” he added. He hoped there would be a proper pick-up and drop-off points for larger vessels, for instance at the Royal Wharf and at the back of the museum so that guests may have the option of getting on or off the river cruise at different points.
“Currently, we are looking to promote the cruise locally via the press, and at the same time to tourists through travel agents and hotels, hopefully more people will know the country now has a proper river cruise and will continue to support us. We also hope to operate on a more consistent basis and have the ability to pick up and drop off passengers at various points along the river,” he added.
The Brunei Times