Benoa & “Glorious Bali Island”

In the late 60’s, when I first started cruising, Holland America had an all Dutch crew. I happened to be onboard in the middle of the Atlantic when word came down that Holland America was eliminating the Dutch room stewards and waiters and going to a largely Indonesian crew. Not a great day to be on a cruise ship! But for years Indonesians have been the mainstay of Holland America crews. For years I have had room stewards and waiters, most of them from Bali, telling me about “Glorious Bali.”

So yesterday I finally had the chance to visit Bali . . . and these guys are “spot on” (sorry, picking up another version of English). What a beautiful islands and it is no wonder Indonesians refer to it as “Glorious Bali Island.”

Bali is 2,175 square miles with a population of 3 million. Unlike rest of Indonesia which is 86% Muslim, Bali home to the majority of Indonesia’s small Hindu population (about 4%), but 93% of Balinese are Hindu, meaning there are temples large and small everywhere. Bali is the largest tourist destination in Indonesia and renowned for crafts such as woodcarving, painting, silver and gold jewelry and batik.

Bali’s tourist economy was severely damaged by the Bali bombings and is struggling to recover. Benoa is a relatively new port, created after the bombings, in part I believe to lure cruise lines back to what may be perceived as a “safer” destination. The ship anchors out and the tender ride through the reef is about 40 minutes. The Balinese people fell into three categories: the tourist-related people who were warm, gracious and friendly, the locals along the way who waved and smiled and were gracious, and the street vendors who were generally in-you-face, insistent, demanding, obnoxious and who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

Bali is a charming and beautiful country, lushly tropical, with small house-hold temples in front of every dwelling, huge temples in every town, and marvelous architecture and artwork everywhere you looked.

Here are a few shots from yesterday . . .


One thought on “Benoa & “Glorious Bali Island”

  1. Richard,

    Again I must say you write a great blog.
    You promote the cruise business in the
    best way, just showing how much you enjoy
    it. Fresh pictures!, great!

    I live near Rockland on the mid coast of
    Maine USA. Last year we had a visit from a
    cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of
    the Seas, a sort of test visit. As it sailed
    out past the light house I recalled scenes
    from the movie “Close Encounters”. It was
    Lit up like nothing Ive ever seen, afloat or
    on land.

    To actually take a cruise I would have to
    overcome my mindset that the destination is
    the goal of the journey. With a cruise, the
    journey IS the destination, Was this what
    happened to the business over the last 40
    years? Air travel is on its way to requiring
    sedation the way dentistry often does. Not
    remembering any of the journey when the
    mode is aviation would be a blessing. What a
    contrast with this journey you’re on!


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