The arrival of MV ORION II in Kuching last Friday marks another busy season for Orion Expedition Cruises, Australia. The cruise ship arrived at the Sim Kheng Hong Port, Kuching at around 6.30am.
This is the first arrival for MV ORION II this season but the fifth cruise ship arrival within Sarawak shores this year in what promises to be another positive season for local businesses and tourism operators. Sarawak recorded 15-cruise ships arrival until October this year compared to 14 cruises for the whole of last year.
Kuching has been the main port of call for MV ORION II on its 10 nights cruise departing Bali, Tanjung Putting National Park, Bako National Park, Natuna Archipelago, Anambas Archipelago and Singapore.
At their arrival, all passengers were given a traditional welcome by 10 members of a cultural troupe courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board. They were welcomed with traditional dances and garlanded in typical Sarawak style. While in Kuching, cruise passengers will visit Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and the city attractions. They will also celebrate with a theme party to be held at Sarawak Cultural Village in Damai.
MV ORION II is an Australian based luxury expedition cruise line formed in 2004 and is the leading expedition cruise operator in Asia Pacific. Due to its size, MV ORION II can only carry less than 200 passengers. At this arrival, 89 passengers and 74 crew were recorded. They consist of 6 Australian, 46 American, 14 Canadian, 2 Austrian, 2 Indonesian and the rest are from Greece, UAE, Brazil, Portugal, Thailand and Romania.
After Kuching, the ship will proceed to Natuna Archipelago before docking at Singapore.
Last year, more than 2000 tourists arrive via these cruises into the state. Sarawak Tourism Board realizes the importance of these cruise arrivals and will continue providing support wherever possible. As a tourism promotional body, the Board sees these cruise arrivals into the state as one of the important contributors to tourist numbers.