Luxury cruise lines offer fly/cruise arrangements which allow you to fly to Bali and other ports where you can play in the sun, then catch your ship on the way home or vice versa. For those seeking elegance, a few ships offer cruises to Indonesia. The Pearl of Scandinavia, run by Mansfield Travel in Singapore (Tel: 737 – 9688) offers a 14 day Indonesia Island cruise, which begins and ends in Singapore, to Penang, Belawan, Sibolga, Nias, Jakarta, Padang Bay, Bali and Surabaya. There are many discount fares when three or more people travel together and you won’t just be spending long hours staring at your friends: interisting scholars. Artists, writers, historians and diplomats sail as guest lecturers and travel companions.
If you like to travel with the footloose budget travellers, you can hop on a motor launch leaving Finger Pier, Prince Edward Road in Singapore for Tanjung Pinang where you can catch the KM Tampomas, flagship for the Indonesia National Pelni Lines which sails weekly to Medan or Jakarta. Ticketing agents will confirm the current schedules and fares.
There are many motor launches to Tanjung Pinang, one at 8.30 a.m. but none later than noon. Check at Finger Pier in the morning for schedules and tickets. The 5 to 6 hour ride costs S$65 (US$30) but a S$75 (US$35) fast boat is available. Intra Express Pte. Ltd. Next to the Garuda ticketing office in United Square (Tel: 254 – 0914) also sells tickets. It is advisable to leave Singapore two days before the Tampomas departs and spend time on Tanjung Pinang. Tampomas leaves for Jakarta every amount of money to buy a package fare from German Asian Travels in the Strait Trading Building, 14th floor, 9 Battery Road, Singapore (Tel: 221 – 5539) which includes the boat ride from Singapore, the transfer from Tanjung Pinang to the KM Tampomas by sampan and accommodation on board according to the class booked.
Food and drinks can be purchased on board but may be costly. You might want to pack your own food. It is an ‘unforgettable’ two day trip across the Java Sea aboard a crowded ship with primitive sanitation facilities and it’s recommended only for the hardy. The ship arrives in Port Tanjung Priok, Jakarta on Monday at 5 a.m. and turns around to head back ready for embarkation at 6 a.m. Cabin must be booked one to two weeks in advances. Deck class can be obtained at short notice. (See “Travel Essentials” for custom and health formalities).
Several other big shipping companies run ships both big and small, in and out of the hundreds of port in Indonesia. However, most of them carry cargo with limited space for passengers and are less accommodation than Km Tampomas. Check with the harbourmaster for prices. It’s often cheaper to go direct to the captain himself and pay for your fare.
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