Excitement, anxiety as Hi-Impact cruise berths

by Olamilekan Okeowo

Amidst a feeling of déjà vu, on the one hand, and excitement on the other, by industry watchers, Solutions Media and Infotech Limited (SMIL) has announced its grand entry into nautical tourism with its cruise line division named Hi-Impact Cruise.

Hi-Impact Cruise is conceptualised to explore waterways that are home to Lagos State, and as well avail a different perspective of the Lagos landscape along shorelines to tourists and enthusiasts seeking leisure from all over the world.
Also, the idea is specifically tailored to meet the needs of persons who otherwise could not afford the cruise experience outside Nigeria due to reasons of cost and ease of travel.

Speaking at the tour of the cruise ship in Lagos recently, the Chairman of SMIL, Mr. Adeyanju Lupede, expressed delight at the prospect of the cruise ship which he believes is capable of discouraging Nigerians from going to Dubai, Paris or other parts of the world for similar cruise experiences.

The Cruise is expected to operate two high-grade luxury yachts in its fleet, both solidly designed with lavish interiors. If you love freedom, privacy, a wide variety of choices, and the feeling that goes with star treatment, Hi-Impact Cruise offers varieties to select from.

“The Hi-Impact cruise is brought in to encourage Nigerians to stay at home, and not going to Dubai or Paris, or anywhere in Europe to cruise for a day. We ensured that all the facilities to make guests comfortable would be inside here. That will be in terms of entertainment; there will be good food and a conducive, well air-conditioned environment,” he enthused.

A sole ship (Eugene 1) has been rolled out to serve as the cruise line’s first passenger ship to kick start operations scheduled to commence in a few months. Towering at a height of 12 meters with a length of 39.15 meters, the interior – depending on the event – will accommodate guests within the 500 to 700 ballpark figure. The four-hour per day experience utilizes the three-deck cruise ship, with each tier serving a different function.

The first deck houses the main hall complete with banquet-style setting, a mini-stage, and a bar. It readily houses about 220 guests in this configuration and offers a limited view of the marine scenery. The palatial stair links the main hall to the interior balcony of the second deck, which is styled in a similar pattern to replicate the décor of the main hall.
Depending on the taste of the guest or nature of the event, an entirely new set can be replicated to suit the need.

The third deck is marked with an ambience of outdoor living regulated by a retracted roof that offers a protective shade from sunlight and rain.
According to Lupede, this portion renders a vantage point to view from, especially at nighttime. For those, who may not indulge in sightseeing, they will have the option of screening movies at any time of their choice using in-house media facilities.

However, mixed feelings still pervades the tourism atmosphere, considering that this is not the first time a cruise ship will be berthing in Lagos. Many will recall that in November 2008, a custom-built yacht, with 102 elegant suites, arrived on the Lagos waters and instantly became the cynosure of all eyes. The yacht, expected to serve as a four-star hotel, was, however, bedevilled by controversies which led to its abandonment and subsequent rusting away on the water-ways.

The four-star N4.5 billion Sunborn Yacht Hotel originally owned by the City of London was conceptualised as a leisure and business centre to service the higher echelon of Lagos society, but never quite delivered on its huge promises before disappearing from the Lagos waterways mysteriously. Its whereabout is still unknown till date.

It is left to be seen if the Hi-Impact Cruise will toe the line of the Sunborn Yacht Hotel or deliver on the solid promise of its promoter who has done marvellously well with Hi-impact Entertainment World on Lagos-Ibadan Express Way.

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