To follow up on my initial report of the Karachi – Dubai Cruise liner which I posted a week back practically a day before it set sail for its first maiden voyage from Karachi to Dubai. The ship left the berth with the cruise management and Geo.TV (Jang) promoters literally patting themselves on the back for this remarkable feat.
During the five days on the sea, no news filtered through from any of the passengers but upon its return, I amongst many, were surprised of a strange hushed silence on Geo which should have been prancing with joy, it seemed to suggest that something was amiss. Little do these old-school media moguls realize the power of the Internet especially with the emerging concept of Citizen Journalism (blogging) where individuals can speak out and be heard, no more hidden agenda, no more governmental control, its the time of being brave to speak out, this is the true power of Citizen Journalism, commonly referred to as blogging.
A concerned individual ‘Tanveer’ chooses to speak out and I sincerely hope his voice is heard far and wide, enough to warn people so as not to take the trip to Dubai aboard the ‘Hell [Dream] Cruise Liner’. I quote here the email in its entirety.
My brother in law along with his family took that maiden voyage of so called “Dream” cruise. The journey started on 07/11/06 and the ACs were not working since the time the cruise left birth at Karachi port, as per the information I have the cruise reached back Karachi in same condition. The cruised reach Dubai, with delay of 12 hours and visas were not arranged by the cruise liner’s management in time, more that 150 passengers were not allowed to put their step on UAE’s soil.
To begin with, the allocation of cabins were total messed up many many passengers were not provided the cabins they opted & paid for. There was a newly wed Pakistani-American couple on board. The groom left the whole world to take the cruise out of patriotism or love of land. They were promised by the management that a suite with view of sea and sun deck will be provided, flower bouquet will await at port of departure & destination along with a limo, but they were only given a cabin and lower deck and as expected the management denied any promise regarding limo & bouquet, once they were on board, last but not least the bride’s visa got rejected as her name was listed on the passengers manifest handed over to Port Saeed’s Immigration authorities.
Further. cruise management had also arranged ladies for entertainment of guest from Russia, Azerbaijan, Philippines, China and of course LAHORE. the mujras were performed all night in name of dance parties / disco. I haven’t been to European / American cruise lines, but have spent couple of days on Star – Virgo during my trip to Singapore, they also provide such “facilities”, but in very discretely. I have been told that people who were half drunk, were even misbehaving at the time of serving breakfast at 10 am and were loudly discussing their experiences with Russian last night. mind you there were families present in the restaurant for breakfast.
The broadband Internet, Casino and GYM facilities were also advertised but none was provided, as full dues were not paid to the ship chartered company. Be it a poker room or a casino room the credit goes to the entrepreneur will to pitch in the money and take this tour
Half of the leisure staff, including ladies in spa, waitresses and house keeping guys were not able to speak fluent English, let along Urdu. Porters were not arranged at Dubai, the passengers were left with option to take their luggage through a thin gangplank, as the cruise parked at a cargo birth.
The swimming pool was filled with sea water, by the way, no one took a swim during the voyage to Dubai. Mr. Mohiuddin the front man for this operation was also on board and was threatening some of the the drunk tourist of serious consequences once they arrive at Karachi port
The cruise liner is a joint venture of Geo TV’s Managing Director & Mr. Babur Ghouri MQM Minister for Ports & Shipping, while Mr. Moinuddin is simply the front man for this operation. Personally I feel it could be a major set back provided some serious damage control is made to set things straight before the remaining sailing dates go to waste due to a dearth of passengers as I doubt anyone would want to be at the receiving end of a shady deal.
Until then all future cruise faring passengers must be forewarned. It would be interesting to hear more reports from other passengers as to the conditions of the first maiden voyage of the Gulf Dream Cruise Liner