AMET Shipping may buy another cruise liner next year

Virendra Pandit Ahmedabad | Updated on August 29, 2011


India’s first cruise line AMET Cruises, which is scheduled to launch the first sail from Kochi, on September 24, is likely to acquire another cruise liner next year, followed by cargo ships.

“We are getting good response from corporate circles we have approached so far. In particular, technology major Cognizant has evinced interest. We would be running the service 340 days a year and if we get 90% occupancy, we would buy another ship,” Mr P. Bharathi, CEO and Managing Director, told Business Line here on Monday.

The Chennai-based company, AMET Shipping India Pvt Ltd, had bought the 35-year-old cruise liner from Star Cruise for Rs 100 crore from own internal accruals last year. “We would be initially having three sailings a week and expect to break-even in three to five years,” he added.

The cruise liner, MV AMET Majesty, will initially sail to Maldives, Lakshadweep and the Kochi high seas, up to 30 nautical miles. Tie-ups with corporates for holding their meetings aboard the ship, and with tour operators, are in the process. The company, which would add destinations like Goa and Mumbai later this year, would also launch operations along the western coast next year.

Mr Bharathi said only 90,000 Indians cruised last year, which was less than 1% of the total Indian travellers.

The Academy of Marine Education and Training (AMET), which set up India’s first maritime university, is also using MV AMET Majesty as a training ship for its students, who now number 3,000, he said. The cruise liner has cabins for 750 passengers, and 210 each for crew and cadre.

Mr Rajesh Ramachandran, Vice Chairman, AMET University, said with charges as low as Rs 6,000 per night per passenger, the country’s own cruise liner could attract a large number of middle class tourists. AMET is also talking to the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), the state’s sector regulator, for providing facilities and a terminal for cruise liner, he added.

Published on August 29, 2011

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