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DAWN: 05:41
SUNRISE: 07:19
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News Code: 779


Malaysia: Star Cruise opens Halal restaurant for Muslims

Holidays aboard a cruise ship are hardly new in the tourism industry, but somehow, it has yet to attract much attention from Muslim tourists, particularly from Malaysia.

Many factors are taken into account during the planning of a holiday, and for Muslims, the issue of halal food is a major factor and the lack of interest in cruise vacations stems from the uncertainty surrounding halal food served aboard cruise ships.

Doubts about the food are not completely baseless as there has been no certification so far by any authority on halal food served on cruise ships although cruise operators do give their assurance.

Muslims in Malaysia are also attuned to ensuring that their food and beverages are certified halal by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, also known as Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim).

Recently, this writer and 70 other media members were given the opportunity to join the luxury ship SuperStar Libra on a cruise that not only covered the Pulau Pinang-Phuket-Krabi route but also established a halal restaurant onboard the ship.

The event was jointly organised by tour agencies, namely Malaysian Harmony Tour and Travel (MHTT), Star Cruises Travel Service (M) Sdn Bhd (Star Cruise) and Santai Travel, to introduce and inform Muslim tourists in the country about the certified halal food available on board the luxury liner.

Our four-day, three-night cruise was filled with excitement and entertainment led by Datuk Aznil Nawawi or Pak Nil, a popular local celebrity and television personality.

Keeping The Food Halal

Consuming only halal food is a strict practice among Muslims, and the credibility of the chef or cook who is preparing the food is also taken into account.

Muslims also need the assurance of adherence to halal principles on raw foods that are being used in the cooking of chicken and meat.

Apart from that, patrons of Muslim restaurant also want to ensure that food enhancers or flavours and even the pots, pans and plates are in line with halal requirements. In fact, the utensils should not be mixed with those used in the preparation of non-halal food.