Wildlife enthusiast cruise is the latest attraction in the fast growing themed cruise segment in Andhra Pradesh. The guided visits to the state’s many renowned wildlife sanctuaries and national parks allow passengers to soak in the biodiversity and participate in conservation activities. 

Similar are the cruise packages designed to tap the abundant adventure sports options offered by the state, including water sports such as scuba diving and snorkelling in the Bay of Bengal, trekking and rock climbing in the Eastern Ghats, and river rafting on the Godavari and Krishna rivers. 

Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) is pulling out all stops to promote special interest cruises as part of its efforts to become a prime cruise destination.

“This involves designing bespoke cruise experiences that leverage the unique and diverse attractions of Andhra Pradesh, specifically targeting wildlife enthusiasts, adventure sports aficionados, and culinary tourists,’’ Madhaiyaan Angamuthu, Chairperson, VPA, says.

“As the global interest in cruise tourism continues to ascend, Visakhapatnam Port is uniquely positioned to emerge as a leading cruise destination within India. The insights garnered from the discussions at the 15th task force meeting on cruise tourism provide a robust foundation for formulating a comprehensive strategy to elevate and amplify cruise tourism in Visakhapatnam,’’ he adds. 

To enhance the service chain of the cruise industry, alongside invigorating the local economy, former crew members are being encouraged and supported to set up local businesses that are in line with the needs and dynamics of the cruise sector. 

“This initiative is designed to leverage the expertise and experience gained by these individuals during their tenure on cruise ships, thereby fostering a robust ecosystem of locally owned businesses that cater to various aspects of cruise operations and passenger experiences,’’ Angamuthu explains. 

Last year, the ₹96-crore Vizag International Cruise Terminal (VICT) was inaugurated, equipped with world-class infrastructure to boost cruise tourism in this port city.

VICT, developed jointly by VPA and the central tourism ministry, can handle 2,000-passenger cruise ships. The port, in association with cruise lines and Chennai Port and the Puducherry government, has made VICT a cruise port of call, he says.