Category Archives: Cruises

Mumbai Port to get e-visa facility by Dec 2017

Mumbai Port will soon be among the three Indian ports in the country that will be able to offer e-visa facilities to international cruise passengers. Revealing this, N.S. Rathor, Chairman, Western Region and Regional Chapter Chairman, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), says, “I was part of the meeting between Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, and the Bureau of Immigration officials who have principally agreed to allow the port to offer e-visa facilities by December 2017. Currently, only Mangalore, Goa and Kochi offer this.” Talks are on to offer this service from Chennai seaport soon. Foreigners will then be able to enter India through five seaports — Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Goa and Mangalore — with electronic visa (e-visa), in addition of 16 airports where the facility is available.

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Over 100 UTA member attend Ark Travels’ workshop in Mumbai

Ark Travels recently organised a training workshop for travels agents in Mumbai. The event was organised in collaboration with United Travel Agents (UTA) and witnessed the participation of over 100 travel agents. Agents were informed about the products and services offered by Ark Travels, which included a presentation on Star Cruises, Dream Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises and Club Med, a French resort vacation company. The training workshop is part of Ark Travels’ strategy to connect with their network of agents. The event was organised keeping in mind the current trends and demand for cruise vacations. The highlight of the event was the announcement about Singapore Airlines as the official airline partner for the second edition of ‘The Big Bang Nautical Fiesta’. Kishan Biyani, Managing Director, Ark Travels Pvt Ltd. said, “Today training workshop has become immensely important as industry is witnessing tremendous demand and supply gap. Travel agents are aware about cruise tourism as a segment, but are unable to encash on such a booming travel niche. We intend to start our pan-India training workshop from June 15, 2017.”

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Agents visit NCL’s ‘Seven Seas Voyager’ in Mumbai

About 50 travel agents gathered at Mumbai’s Ballard Pier to get onboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s luxury cruise ship called Seven Seas Voyager that made its way from Bangkok into the Indian Ocean and onwards to Rome. The agents were from Mumbai as well as other cities like New Delhi, Gujarat and even Bengaluru. They did a ship inspection followed by a sit-down lunch at one of the ship’s fine-dining restaurants while interacting with Steve Odell, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Promoted as the most luxurious ship ever built, Regent Seven Seas was docked in Mumbai for two days and had 99 per cent occupancy.

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Celebrity Cruise’s new ship eyes premium market from India to sail the Caribbean

Celebrity Cruises is eyeing the Indian cruise market for its newly introduced ship-Celebrity Edge, which will begin sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Eastern and Western Caribbean region in December 2018. Represented by TIRUN Travel Marketing in India, the cruise line has opened its early bird bookings and is luring the ultra luxury market in India. Talking about the expectations from the India market, Ratna Chadha, Chief Executive, TIRUN Travel Marketing, says, “We are not looking for the masses. It is those customers who see value in our offering and are looking for an experience that only we can offer them. The industry and in general and our distribution partners in particular are required to break the myths surrounding cruising in India. It is only then will people see the value in this segment, which is definitely not a niche product.” The new ship has introduced a new concept of Infinite Staterooms that take the entire room right to the vast sea’s edge, informs, Apple Woo, Head- Sales and Marketing, Celebrity Cruises. The ship offers 1467 staterooms with double occupancy capacity of 2918 out of which 918 are Edge Staterooms with Infinitive verandas. The ship also has 176 suites, an increase to 12 percent from Celebrity’s other ships, adds Woo.

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STB & CLIA to launch cruising accreditation programme in India

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), a US-based cruise industry trade association, in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board in India, has launched its accreditation programme that was developed over the last five years. It is currently being used in Australia, New Zealand, UK and the Europe markets. It is targeted at any travel agent or tour operator who sells cruise packages. Peter Kollar, Head, International Training & Development, CLIA, who was in Mumbai to announce the launch said, “We have opened our membership to the Indian travel trade and it is the first market in Asia that we have done this. We see India with a huge potential as a source market for cruising. The travel agents need to convince the travellers to cruise. For that to happen, they need to believe in cruising and be educated about the segment.” The accreditation, he adds, is comprehensive. “We start off with a general form of accreditation which is learning about basic skills and knowledge that one needs to sell cruising. It then evolves into a more senior level certification called Ambassadors and then a Masters. Its not just for training. Travel agents actually have to also experience cruising. We take them for ship inspections, engagement through events, etc.” Annie Chang, Director, Cruising, Policy & Planning Group, Singapore Tourism Board, added, “We approached CLIA to come to India and offer its membership and accreditation program. We have also worked on the module to customize it to the India market. We know the India market, they don’t. So we not only brought content to this module but also our expertise in the India’s cruising market.”

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29% increase in Indians cruising from Singapore in 2016

In 2016, Singapore reported 1.2 million cruise passengers with a double digit growth of 16 per cent as compared to 2015, out of which 100,000 were from India, an increase of 29 per cent over 2015 figures. Recognising the potential that the segment holds, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) organised the second edition of its India Cruise Forum in Mumbai which was attended by 120 people. “India is a key source market for cruising out of Singapore. STB will continue to work closely with in-market partners to raise awareness of cruising as a great holiday option and sustain the growth of Singapore as a cruising hub in South East Asia. According to a consumer survey conducted in Mumbai, 34% of young Indian families are willing to spend INR 100,000 – 200,000 on a cruise holiday and 98% of the 500 travellers surveyed are open to a cruise from Singapore. There are exciting opportunities ahead and we will continue to partner with our travel trade and cruise partners to grow Singapore’s cruise Industry and promote its strong destination appeal,” said G.B. Srithar, RD SAMEA, STB. The day-long forum featured a thought provoking panel that touched on the challenges and opportunities of Growing India’s Cruise Travel Market, led by G. B. Srithar, Regional Director for South Asia, Middle East & Africa (RD SAMEA), STB with panelists Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations (GSA of Costa Cruise India), Naresh Rawal, Vice President Sales, Genting Cruise Lines – Star Cruises, Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises, Suzanne Perreira, Senior Vice President Sales, Trade Relationships and Communications, Thomas Cook India, Anita Raja, Regional Manager – South India, TIRUN Travel Marketing and Harshali Darpel, Senior Manager – Western …

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Star Cruises announces homeport in Thailand

Star Cruises has announced the new homeport deployment of SuperStar Gemini to Laem Chabang in Thailand. It will be based in Laem Chabang International Terminal beginning 17 December, 2017 through to 27 April, 2018. Ang Moo Lim, President, Star Cruises, said, “We are excited to announce Star Cruises’ return to The Land of Smiles with the deployment of SuperStar Gemini at Laem Chabang. Our long history with Thailand stretches all the way back to 1995 when we first called upon Phuket and,today, we are proud to be able to call Laem Chabangour new home come 17 December this year. Thailand has the largest number of tourists of all ASEAN countries and the two airports of Bangkok serve more than 85 million passengers every year,” added Ang.“This is a perfect location for fly-cruise passengers and we will work closely with inbound agents to package cruises with land vacations – providing tourists yet another reason to visit Thailand.  We will make Bangkok the “Gateway to IndoChina” due to its superior air and tourist infrastructure.” During her deployment, SuperStar Gemini will embark on three-night cruises to Sihanoukville and Ko Samui, departing every Sunday, two-night cruises to Sihanoukville, departing every Wednesday, and two -night cruises to Koh Kong Island, departing every Friday.

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Norwegian Star enters Indian shores

Norwegian Star, one of the flagship vessels of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), made her triumphant arrival to the Indian region as part of Norwegian Cruise Line’s voyages in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Manoj Singh, Country Head, India – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, says, “The return of the newly-refurbished Norwegian Star to India reinforces our commitment to the Asian region, following the opening of our India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and China offices last year. We have always viewed this region as a hot bed for growth and have planned to roll out some incredible offerings for the region in the coming months. One of those offerings include Norwegian Cruise Line’s most innovative ship to date, the Norwegian Joy which had been developed especially with the Chinese market in mind. We plan on introducing this new ship in July 2017.” Other key initiatives include the coming of Norwegian Jewel to the Asia Pacific region starting from November 2017, home porting in Australia with an exciting array of domestic and Trans-Tasman sailings. Norwegian Jewel’s sensational 2018/19 Asia itineraries will be announced in the coming months and seek to provide travelers a diverse selection of experiences in line with the brands signature Freestyle Cruising concept. NCLH’s premium cruise brands, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas are also operating Asian itineraries this year. Meanwhile, Seven Seas Voyager, one of the most luxurious ships in NCLH’s ultra-premium all-inclusive Regent Seven Seas brand is also based in Asia until April this year, fresh from an extensive 25-day refurbishment in November as part of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ $125 million fleet-wide refurbishment program.

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APT & IGAT introduce cruises for Vietnam, Cambodia and Europe in India

Australian Pacific Touring (APT), represented by InterGlobe AirTransport (IGAT) as its exclusive sales agency in India for luxury cruise and tours, introduced its premium products for river cruising in Vietnam, Cambodia and Europe. The product education through roadshows for the travel agents began in New Delhi and will be followed by Bengaluru and Mumbai on March 22 and March 23 respectively. IGAT is responsible to market and promote these products in the India market to their vast network of travel partners through roadshows, educational workshops and product presentations. Sunil Talreja, Vice President-International Passenger Sales, InterGlobe Air Transport, said, “This is a new venture for us and we are very excited about it. I feel the reach that we can provide to APT with our pan-India network is unmatched. Initially we will focus on large markets of the metro cities namely Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. It is not a run of the mill product and we intend to spread awareness and identify our uniqueness in te market as the first step.” According to Craig James, Strategic Parterships Manager, APT Global Head Office, India is a multi generational market and there is a lot of scope to educate the segments on river cruising which is very different from an ocean cruise. “The Magnificent Europe is one the most popular products which is from Amsterdam to Budapest for 14 nights and 15 days. We are unique as we offer three royal experiences that money can’t buy, once in a lifetime opportunity which includes an exclusive invitation to the Namady Castle, day trip on Majestic Imperator and a cocktail reception and concert at Vienna’s High Baroque-style City Palace,” said James.

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New policy underway to boost cruising in India

A new cruise tourism policy is underway to position India on the global map for cruising and efforts are on to identify such circuits, besides a slew of steps, to boost infrastructure, informed Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Government of India. “A high-level task force has been appointed and top global consultants are drawing up blueprint for it,” said Gadkari. Five circuits each are being identified for international and domestic cruise services and a report is likely by May this year. Steps to promote cruise tour include relaxation of policies and developing infrastructure. “The government is very keen to promote cruise tourism as India has vast opportunities,” added Gadkari. India saw 1.76 lakh cruise passengers in 2016-17, a merely 0.5 per cent of the global pie. Domestic cruise passengers are estimated to grow to 1.5 million by 2031-32. Of the 12 major ports, only five namely Mumbai, Goa, Cochin, New Mangalore and Chennai have facilities to berth international cruise ships. One of the circuits identified so far is coastal circuit for development of coastal tourism infrastructure. A decision has also been taken to have passenger terminals at all major ports to cater to cruise tourists. The government is developing a modern 2 lakh square feet terminal in Mumbai at an estimated cost of Rs 225 crore to make it a landmark destination, which will have infrastructure to accommodate cruise ships with size for 4,000 passengers. The project includes hospitality, retail, shopping, restaurants and will allow general visitors during non-cruise seasons.   Source: The New Indian Express/ PTI

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