Costa Cruises begins fourth India sailing season

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on November 13, 2019

Cruiseship Costa Victoria arrived in Kochi on Wednesday, carrying over 2,000 passengers and 800 crew members were on board   -  Thulasi Kakkat

Costa Cruises has commenced its fourth India sailing season from Kochi on Wednesday with the arrival of an Italian cruise ship Costa Victoria from Venice with over 2,000 guests.

The fourth season season that Costa Cruises will be home-porting in Indian waters and is the only international cruise liner in India to offer regular cruises of 3-7 nights cruise itineraries from Mumbai to Kochi; Kochi to Maldives; Mumbai to Maldives and Maldives to Mumbai routes.

The one-way base tariff for the three-day Kochi-Maldives cruise is approximately ₹26,800 for adults and ₹8,200 for those below 18 years of age, inclusive of food and entertainments. The ship can accommodate 2,400 guests and 800 crew members.

M Beena, Chairperson of Cochin Port Trust, told reporters that the port’s full-fledged international cruise terminal, constructed at a cost of ₹25.72 crore, will be commissioned in February. Spread across 12,000 sq ft, terminal will have the facility to handle 5,000 tourists and will bring under one roof personnel of Customs, Bureau of Immigration and CISF, speeding up paper works.

Plans helicopter service

The port, she said, is planning to introduce a regular helicopter service from the terminal to different tourist locales in Kerala. There will also be permanent space to sell artefacts and other items to tourists, aimed at improving visitor experience.

Nalini Gupta, Head of Costa Cruises in India, said the response to cruise tours from Kochi has been on the rise over the years, with the number of tourists (mostly Indians) boarding from the city increasing from 200 in 2016 to 800 this year. Indian Cruise Liner Association has been formed to apprise the Centre of steps that should be taken to promote cruise tourism. The decision of Cochin Port Trust in introducing electric buggy carts to ferry tourists from the berthing terminal to vehicle-parking area is a step in the right direction, she said.

As many as 1.20 million Chinese and 2.30 lakh Indians have travelled in cruise ships last year. The Costa Cruise India has seen a 25 per cent growth in the numbers emanating from Kerala, which include individuals, families and corporate groups, she said.

Published on November 13, 2019

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