Now, enjoy the high seas of southern Bay of Bengal in a cruise from Chennai to Puducherry and Visakhapatnam - the first ever luxury cruise line from Tamil Nadu. The Empress of the Seas — India's premium cruise — is all set to sail from Chennai on June 4, with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, MK Stalin, inaugurating the service.

Sandeep Nanduri, Managing Director, TN Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), in a social media post said, “TTDC in partnership with Cordelia Cruises is all set to welcome and launch the first ever luxury cruise line from Tamil Nadu. All set to sail from Chennai on June 4th 2022”

The cruise ship will truly be a 'City on the Seas', with 11 decks, 10 restaurants and bars; five captivating shows; the highest rock climbing wall at sea and over 20 other exciting activities. With exquisite meals, fantastic shows, extravagant activities to be part of and so forth, there’s no end to the thrill, when it comes to cruising with Empress of the Seas, the post added.

Empress of the Seas entered service with then-Royal Caribbean International in 1990, transferred to Pullmantur Cruises in 2008, and then returned to Royal Caribbean International in 2016. In December 2020, she was retired from the Royal Caribbean fleet and sold to Cordelia Cruises, according to secondary information.

The Chennai port provides ‘arrival’ berthing for cruise vessels with 24x7 navigational facilities. The cruise-cum-passenger terminal and the terminal at West Quay IV in Ambedkar Dock has facilities to handle all types of cruise vessels up to 12 m draught.

Tamil Nadu’s Tourism Minister M Mathiventhan, in his speech at the Incredible India International Cruise Conference held in May, said the State plans to develop ports of Chennai and Thoothukudi as international cruise destinations. Both these ports have cruise terminals and all the other infrastructure facilities for handling domestic and international cruises.

Cruise tourism is one of the most vibrant and rapidly expanding segments of the global leisure industry. Tamil Nadu, with its vast and beautiful coastline, virgin forests, unspoiled idyllic islands, and rich cultural heritage, has enormous potential to become a magnificent cruise tourist destination, he said.