People Behind the Cruises Part 2

Bali Hai Cruises is a big company, with staff based in Australia, Benoa, Lembongan and various other sites around Bali. We value our staff, we know that without dedicated team members, our guests won’t have the fabulous experiences they do now.

So this week we are interviewing and introducing you to two key team members; Andrew, the General Manager of Bali Hai Cruises, who is based in Benoa and Chef Agus, who is based on Lembongan and head chef for popular and much loved restaurant Hai Bar & Grill.

Bali Hai Cruises Crew

Chef Agus, how long have you been at Bali Hai/Hai Bar & Grill?

I graduated in 1990, worked in several places including Four Seasons Jimbaran and restaurants in Dubai, Australia and other parts of Bali. I came to Hai Bar & Grill when it first opened really, Sept 23rd, 2013.

Describe your ‘typical’ day.
Ha! There is no typical day. Depending on the business, how many people are staying, and who is coming to the restaurant, that decides what we do. 

The team is important. Everyone plays a part in what we produce in the kitchen. I love cooking seafood, Thai style flavours being my favourite. The menu has changed a lot. We replace dishes with what’s available in the market and what’s fresh. We do limited specials on the menu as well so we can use the great fresh produce available at that time. We are already thinking about a Christmas menu, things like turkey and lamb. I work for one week with one day off and I go back to Bali for that day and night. My family are all there but they do come to visit Lembongan when they can.

Bali Hai Dinner

I know it’s hard to choose, but if you had to, what are your favourite things on the menu and why?

We have a small and simple menu – it’s hand picked and chosen by us to make sure each dish is popular with guests and that it gives our guests the best dining experience. Popular dishes are always steak, grilled prawns, pizza…actually the pizza and our signature style nasi goreng are probably the most popoular. We created a menu concept that is small, fresh and delicious. It’s too hard to choose my favourite!

Chef Agus, you’ve created such a fabulous menu and guest experience, they want to make a movie about your life! Which actor would play you in the movie?

They would have to pick a lot of actors because in the kitchen, everyone is part of the team so the movie would have to be about us all. Everyone is important.

Bali Hai Cruise, Lembongan CuisineCoffe at Lembongan Island, Bali Hai Cruise Coffe time

Andrew, your turn. Time to answer some questions about life in Bali and working for Bali Hai Cruises.

What was your first role in the company?

It was as the diving manager for Bali Hai Diving Adventures. I had just moved back to Bali after a short term in Ambon, Indonesia. I was pretty excited about having the chance to operate my own dive company. Fortunately I had a great team which made it easy and we grew quickly and became a 5 star PADI resort in less than 2 years. We also added a new dive boat and expanded our sphere of operations to other parts of Bali. My underwater air guitar skills also improved massively during this time.

Andrew, The Manager of Bali Hai Cruises

Describe a ‘typical’ work day. (Obviously leave out top secret stuff ha-ha)

Definitely not much secret to report here. There really isn’t a typical day. I always spend the first hour of the day walking and talking to staff and guests as the boarding process takes place. There is a lot going on in the morning so it’s amazing what you pick up by just observing. I check the vessels and see how they are presented and have a scan through the guts of the vessels with our engineers. It
normally gives them a chance to talk directly  to me about things they would like to add or improve. If I am office bound for the day I normally have several meetings either internal or external.  These range from fun subjects like accounts (I actually quite like accounts) to sales, project development, HR meetings or Safety reviews. Safety is without doubt our number one priority so I engage in regular
meetings with our captains about how we can best mitigate potential risks to our clients. Fortunately, we have got a great record and we are working hard to maintain this. On other days I visit Lembongan to see the product up close. This is crucial to see what is happening in the field and to meet staff members working out in the action.

What are some of the incredible changes you have seen at Bali Hai?

Well there have certainly been quite a few in recent years. We have upgraded our accommodation to the revamped name of The Hai Tide Beach Resort. It was hard work but we are really proud of what this has become. We are now number one on Trip Advisor (hope I haven’t tempted fate by now saying this). We also added a new Beach Bar called the Hai Bar and Grill. This has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the most popular eateries in Lembongan.  3 years ago we acquired the Sail Sensation product.
This was more of an opportunistic acquisition but it has enabled us to broaden our market base and gave us the operational flexibility of having another sailing catamaran.  We also added new product to our diving arm of the business Aquanauts, is an underwater helmet diving experience which give people the chance to explore the stunning reef around Lembongan with no training required.

And now for the important question… In a movie about your life, which actor plays you?

Errrr not sure many people would see that movie but probably Simon Pegg (His hair is probably about the same level of Ginger as mine)

Judging from these interviews, and knowing Chef Agus and Andrew, it’s easy to see why guests have such a great experience with Bali Hai Cruises. Our team are dedicated and love what they do…and both Agus and Andrew have a great sense of humour. Both a little too humble about which movie star should play them in a movie however!

Thanks Chef Agus and Andrew for your time this week and I look forward to interviewing more great people from the Bali Hai Cruises family and team.

Happy cruising and exploring!

The Travellist

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