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Cruises to Bali

Bali (Photo:Khoroshunova Olga/Shutterstock)

About Bali

Bali is a small island -- measuring just 153 kilometres wide by 112 kilometres long -- but it offers a variety of landscapes and a wealth of experiences to appeal to many tastes.

While rampant development over the past 40 years has seen this once quiet rice-growing and fishing community become Indonesia's tourism success story, attracting around 3.2 million visitors a year, there are still many paddy fields and pockets of traditional Balinese life to explore, as well as secluded beaches.

Known as the Island of the Gods, Bali has more than 10,000 temples, most of which host at least two festivals every year. Despite the tourism that has spawned hundreds of hotels and thousands of restaurants and bars, the island's inhabitants remain deeply religious, with 84 percent of its almost four million residents practising their own distinct brand of Hinduism. Tiny offerings called canang sari (flowers and sometimes sweets in a palm leaf tray) are made every day to the gods and are found everywhere, even on the beach and on footpaths, while statues of gods and sacred animals adorn every street.

Southern Bali is the most developed especially the budget beach resort of Kuta and its more sophisticated northern neighbour Seminyak. The high-end tourist enclaves of Jimbaran and Nusa Dua are just a few kilometres south of Kuta.

The artists' hub of Ubud in central Bali, known for its many galleries and artisan workshops is, in fact, a collection of 14 separate villages, often separated by rice terraces. Dance is central to the Balinese culture along with the music of the gamelan -- an ensemble of percussion instruments much like xylophones -- and drums.

For an authentic slice of Balinese life, it's best to head to the regions to the north and east of Ubud, where folks live in organised communal villages and still wear traditional dress such, as kebayas (traditional Indonesian blouses) and sarongs, and where there are many opportunities to see women carrying baskets of flowers and fruit on their heads to the temple. Another ceremony likely to be encountered in rural areas is the cremation procession where a huge bamboo funeral pyre fashioned in the shape of a bull is carried through the streets.

Two areas where culture and tourism combine beautifully are cuisine and massage. The Balinese give the best massages, be they on the beach or in a luxurious spa, while cooking schools, many of which are in private homes, have also sprung up across the island.

  • Why go to Bali?

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Regatta
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Regatta

77 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

398 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
$15,749*pp
$205/night • outside Cabin

Oceania Cruises

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Regatta
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Regatta

20 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises

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Island Princess
Island Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)
Island Princess

111 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

1,190 Reviews
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
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Island Princess
Island Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)
Island Princess

111 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
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Noordam

14 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Holland America Line

Cruises.com

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Island Princess

97 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
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Norwegian Sun

14 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line

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Cruise Critic Favorite
Seven Seas Explorer

18 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises

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Seven Seas Mariner

37 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises

RegentCruises.com

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Island Princess

52 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
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Norwegian Spirit

13 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line

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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)

118 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:New York
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
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Seabourn Sojourn

140 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line

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Queen Elizabeth

23 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
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Crystal Symphony

27 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Melbourne
Cruise Line:Crystal Cruises
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Seabourn Odyssey

30 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Auckland
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line

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Viking Orion

26 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Hong Kong
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
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Queen Elizabeth

43 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
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Seabourn Ovation

25 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line

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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)

62 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Dubai
Cruise Line:Cunard Line
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Serenade of the Seas

13 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean

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Noordam

28 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Singapore
Cruise Line:Holland America Line

Holland America

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Regatta

21 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Bali
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises

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Crystal Symphony

27 Night
Cruise to BaliDetails

Leaving:Sydney
Cruise Line:Crystal Cruises
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Why go to Bali?

Pros:

Offers unassuming temples, romantic rice paddies and beautiful stretches of bustling beaches

Cons:

The popular tourist areas of Bali are 30 minutes by taxi from the Benoa port

Bottom Line:

Passengers can fall in love with the warm and welcoming Balinese culture

Bali Cruise Port Facilities?

The small cruise terminal is in a two-storey Balinese-style pavilion. Passengers are greeted with a cultural dance, while stalls are set up to showcase artisans and their wares, which may include batik painters, wood carvers and puppeteers. There are sometimes exotic fruits to taste, and there's also a cafe and bar in the terminal building. A tourist information centre dispenses maps and offers a place to book tours, along with money changers and free Wi-Fi. It's a five-minute walk to the nearest ATM, so if you don't have any cash, ask your taxi driver, or hire car driver to take you to the ATM. Outside the terminal, there are plenty of taxis, bemos (open-air mini-buses) and drivers touting for your business. Blue Bird taxis are said to be the most reliable and are metered if you just wish to go from A to B. If you're after a daytrip and you know where you want to go, it's best to negotiate with a driver for a half-day or full-day tour. Expect to pay around A$50 for his services for the day (and add a tip). As there's nothing to do at the port itself, it's best to get on your tour or in your taxi once you're stocked up with cash and maps.

Good to Know?

It seems like almost the entire 4 million population of Bali has a motorbike, so expect them to be everywhere. Traffic jams are notorious around the southern area of Bali -- from the airport to Kuta, around Kuta, Legian and Seminyak and en route to the main temples of Uluwatu and Tanah Lot. Always allow extra time for your trip.

Getting Around?

On Foot: As there's nothing at the port or in the nearby area, you must take a taxi or hire car to get to the main attractions.

By Taxi: Taxis are everywhere, but those in the know recommend the Blue Bird variety. These are metered, and fares are relatively cheap. It should cost about A$10 or thereabouts to get into Kuta or Nusa Dua, as these resort areas are only about 10 kilometres and 5 kilometres away, respectively. For those flying out that day, the airport is also about 10 kilometres away (to the west of the port), and the taxi fare is also cheap.

By Rental Car: It's possible to negotiate with a driver for your own personalised shore excursion; just know where you want to go, and be open to a bit of flexibility. One of the nearest attractions is the wonderful Uluwatu Temple, built into the cliff at the very southwest point of the island. A visit to Uluwatu and some time in Kuta, Legian or Seminyak, along with lunch, make for a good day-tour.

Bemos: These mini-buses are popular with the locals and tourists with an independent streak and sense of adventure. Remember to know where you want to get off, and expect to pay a higher price than the locals do.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Prices will be quoted in the thousands and will often have a K after them. For example, something that costs 65,000 will be written either as 65 or 65K, so be alert. ATMs are everywhere, and money-changers are at the airport and the port. Credit cards are taken at hotels and good restaurants, although local drivers, taxi drivers, small restaurants and shopkeepers, and traders want local currency. As wages are low, it's good to tip the equivalent of a few dollars or perhaps A$10 to your driver for the day.

Language?

English is widely spoken in the major tourist areas although it is mainly of the basic variety. Drivers will know how to get you around and understand typical requests, but conversations at any deeper level should not be expected. English is likely to be of a higher standard in the more upmarket resorts and hotels.

One interesting facet of the Balinese language is the way children are named. Only four names (and a few nicknames) are used for the first four males. If there is a fifth child, he takes the first name but with the added word balik which means 'again'. The names from first to fourth are Wayan (or nicknames Gede and Putu), Made (or Kadek), Nyoman (or Koman) and Ketut (or Tut). You'll meet a lot of Mades and Putus in your travels.

Where You're Docked?

Ships dock at the Port of Benoa, which is located on the tiny little blob of land at the south of Bali, which is connected to the rest of the island by a narrow isthmus. From here, it's only a short drive to the airport just to the west (on the other side of the isthmus) and a little further north to the beach resorts of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. The upmarket tourist enclave of Nusa Dua (with a dozen or so five-star hotels) is just a 10-minute drive away to the south. Big ships anchor in Benoa Harbour and passengers are tendered into shore to a small Balinese-style pavilion terminal building.


Bali Cruise Reviews
Bali is always a nice place to visit but was cut short because of the 3 hour wait to get a Tender across from the ship to Bali... Read More
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shellz37
We went around on our own. The people of Bali are wonderful.... Read More
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briangdg
How many Australian have not been to Bali? A place that never chnge sover the years, very friendly locals who make you feel at home... Read More
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john strange
We went ashore, we have been to Bali.... Read More
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VK2EBR

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