The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Warid Throws Lacklustre Valentine Cruise

Usually a 'love boat' is supposed to be more than an evening ride on water. It is supposed to be spectacular.

It is supposed to take the couples' breath away; make them fall in love once again. However, Warid's Forever Valentine Cruise last Thursday failed to live up to the billing. Or was it because the idea of love boats has lost steam? I mean even the Sanyu FM one which used to be the talk of town is no longer the in-thing.

For this year's Valentine's day, Warid wanted to do something special for lovers. With the telecom company running a new promotion dubbed Forever Bonus, the company decided to give back to customers with the cruise. For one to be part, customers had to subscribe to the profile and enter into a draw where they would be called if they had won.

David Nsiyona, the telecom's Head of Retail Sales and Distribution, noted before setoff: "From the first minute that a couple steps on board, they will be able to shed the worries of their day-to-day life and find themselves transported into a life of luxury and leisure".

However, the story turned out to be different. Thirty winners were expected for the cruise, each coming with a date. But on the d-day, only four couples turned up at the Warid headquarters where the buses were waiting to ferry them to Munyonyo. On arrival at Speke Resort Munyonyo, there was a mini cocktail but it lacked any spark. It was just drinks on a table and many couldn't tell what it was.

On the boat, one could hardly feel any love in the air. It lacked that whole intimate feeling. The only plus the organizers had was using the MV Amani Earth Wise boat, currently the best passenger boat, which doesn't come cheap. The black and red decorations weren't bad and if someone had picked up a love ballads CD from a music kiosk in Wandegeya on their way, they would have been paid more than Code 9 band, which was tasked with serving up the love ballads.

On the flip side, none of the couples was cozy or looked like they were out on a Valentine's day date. The ones who did would have been arrested by fashion police for what they wore. Then the rest of the members on board were Warid staff, media personnel, a camera crew from African Imagez and the band. Perhaps the bad weather on Thursday scared the lovers away!

Somehow, it didn't feel like a love boat cruise. It was like an office party and Warid further soiled everything at the climax. All the winning parties had been promised they would get into another draw where they would win smart phones. They were given wallets, instead. This left a sour taste as they headed back to Kampala with frowns instead of smiles.

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