Luar Negeri / Singapura
50 Teluk Blangah Road Hex
02-02/03/06 Citiport centre Singapura 0409
Tel: 2726811, 2715159, 97293364
Telex: Rs. 21564
Fax: 001 (65) 2718685, 2715405
All larger passenger ships on regular routes in Indonesian waters are operated by P.T. Pelayaran Nasional Indonesia (Pelni), the national Indonesian shipping company, and this site, which is about to undergo a major facelift in the coming weeks, is dedicated to providing accurate schedules. While the last schedules we published were for 2006, we are now in the process of integrating the 2008 schedules.
If one compares standards and prices of traveling by ship anywhere in Southeast Asia (such as cruises in Thailand or to Bangkok), one will likely find that booking a cabin on a new Pelni ship is very affordable. A day at sea for two people on a German-built Pelni passenger ship of less than 5 years of age will cost less than 100 US dollars (for two) if exchange rates are favorable.
One may board Pelni ships either for the purpose of bridging the distance from point A to point B in Indonesia, or one may board Pelni ships for the pleasure of sea travel itself. Either way, it wins hands down over whatever the alternatives may be.
Traveling cabin class on Pelni ships is as comfortable as staying at a luxurious hotel room. For those who have the time, traveling cabin class on Pelni ships is far more comfortable than traveling by plane or bus. Most of the ships are very large, holding thousands of passengers. The sea in most Indonesian waters is seldom rough. Usually, sailing is so smooth, one hardly feels a difference to being on land. And for those who may get seasick, there always is a physician on board, and he may prescribe and provide some sedation medication such as valium.
Obviously, the fact that there always is a physician aboard can provide crucial comfort even in case of small accidents, as the onboard clinic is even equipped for minor surgery under local anesthesia.
For those who travel on Pelni ships not for the purpose of getting to a particular destination but just for the pleasure of sea travel, we recommend one of the newer ships, such as the MV Kelud which sails between Medan on Sumatra and Jakarta.
Class A-1 provides a two-bed cabin with a modern bathroom and toilet (German fittings), a writing desk and television. All class A-1 cabins are on an upper deck and have windows, which usually cannot be opened, though.
Lunch and dinner on class 1 on Pelni ships is excellent Indonesian cuisine. Breakfast is a mixture of Dutch and Indonesian morning fare. The Dutch component is toast, jam, and chocolate spread, while the Indonesian component is fried rice or rice porridge. There usually are also boiled eggs.
For those who consider traveling without specific destination, just for the fun of sea travel, Pelni passenger ships easily beat cruise lines and international cargo ships, simply for the entertainment of being with hundreds of friendly Indonesians. Cruise liners may provide all kinds of entertainment... but it sort-of rather suits rich pensioners. It's also too organized. And the people you meet are... well, rich pensioners.
On Pelni ships, there usually is a cinema (called "bioskop" in Indonesian) showing mostly English-language action films, and there is nightly entertainment with live music (usually from 20:00 to 22:30), but the real entertainment is making Indonesian friends.