Category Archives: Cruises

Agents visit Silver Muse cruise ship docked in Mumbai

Around 10 top travel agents and tour operators visited the ultra-luxury cruise ship Silver Muse that had docked in Mumbai and interacted with Daniel Krupp, Vice President, Silversea, onboard the liner over lunch. They also went around the ship for an inspection after a product presentation to get a first-hand feel of the exclusive experience. The ship departed from Muscat on October 23 and docked in Mumbai on October 26. It will then cruise to Kochi on October 28, going on to Colombo, Rangoon, Phuket, Pulau, Klang and finally arriving in Singapore on November 9. The product is currently promoted in India mainly by Cox & Kings and a couple of other agents.

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Essel Group appoints Jurgen Bailom to head cruise business in India

Essel Group, a multi-faceted business conglomerate, has announced the appointment of industry veteran Jurgen Bailom as President and CEO of the Group’s upcoming cruise line business, Zen Cruises. With his appointment, Essel Group heralds the announcement of India’s premium cruise line with the purchase of its first ship, the Pacific Jewel – a 70,285-ton, 2000 passenger ship from P&O Australia. He will be based in Mumbai. With a career spanning over 30 years in the cruise and hospitality industry, Bailom was President & CEO of Grupo Vidanta Cruises prior to Essel Group. He has also held senior Corporate Director positions within several of Royal Caribbean’s brands such as Sky Seas, TUI and Celebrity Cruises, Island Cruises and most recent as the Chief Operating Officer & Vice President of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Pullmantur. He has also been Vice-President of The Maho Group, Sonesta Collection Resorts, Casinos, Spa & Real Estate, to name a few. Commenting on his appointment, Bailom said, “I’m thrilled to be a part of the Essel Group which has done pioneering work across sectors. India has a 6,632 km long coastline along nine states and two union territories which presents tremendous potential to promote and grow cruise tourism in India. We intend to take the cruise liner experience to a new level for people in India.”  

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Princess Cruises unveils more stand-out features for Sky Princess

Princess Cruises has unveiled new details revealing features onboard its new ship Sky Princess, including a first look at its first-ever Sky Suites. The accommodations are centrally located on the top decks of Sky Princess and feature the largest private balconies ever offered by the line. Measuring 700 square feet, the balconies will provide a private vantage of the ship’s Movie under the Stars screen and create the ultimate space for entertaining. The two suites will also offer a 270-degree panorama and have sleeping capacity for five guests, and more for entertaining — making them ideal for families. “Our two new Sky Suites reflect Princess Cruises’ continued commitment to offer new and expansive accommodations that meet the needs of our guests who wish to explore the world in ultimate comfort,” said Jan Swartz, President, Princess Cruises. She also added that Princess Cruises’ guests could look forward to the roll-out of more new features as the cruise line’s fleet expanded debuting in the Mediterranean in October 2019. The 143,700-ton Sky Princess will include the best of the stunning features found on its three sister ships as well as new offerings that represent an evolution of the current ships’ designs. In addition to the Wake view pool, Sky Princess guests will enjoy two new deep-tank top deck pools, a restorative Retreat Pool, and more jacuzzis than previous Royal-Class ships including two jacuzzis cantilevered over the deep-tank pools. Nishith Saxena, Founder & Director, Cruise Professionals, shared, “Princess Cruises has always been in the forefront of meaningful innovations which enhance customer experience and it is great to see innovations like Ocean Medallions & Sky Suites which are changing the way high-end clients perceive cruising.

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1,62,660 cruise passengers visited India in 2017-18: KJ Alphons

During the year 2017-18, a total of 1,62,660 cruise passengers and 139 cruise ships visited India at six major ports namely Mumbai Port, Chennai Port, Cochin Port, Kolkata Port, New Mangalore Port and Mormugao Port. The government has taken multiple steps to increase the flow of cruise tourists in the country. The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for cruise vessels have been revised and operationalised w.e.f. November 2017 for uniform, redefined processes to be observed by all major ports. Immigration counters have been set up at five major ports visited by cruise ships. The facility of e-visa has been extended to five sea ports namely Mumbai, Goa, New Mangalore, Cochin and Chennai. Cruise tourists arriving with e-visa have been exempted from the requirement of biometric enrolment for a period of three years to facilitate expeditious immigration clearance. The port charges have been reduced and all major ports now charge a uniform single rate of $0.35 per Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) for first 12 hours of stay w.e.f November 3, 2017 and will remain in force for a period of three years. The ports do not levy any priority/ousting/shifting charges for berthing the cruise vessel. Walk-in berthing/preferential berthing to homeport cruise without any extra charge is now available.

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Govt formulates SOPs for cruise and ferry services

The Government has formulated new guidelines in the form of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to handle cruise vessels and cruise passengers. The salient features of these SOPs inter alia includes submission of documents/data electronically, seamless entry and exit process with access control and RFID for vehicles and persons and simplified Port Health Organisation Clearance Procedure. It further provides for e-landing card for shore excursion, doing away with face to face checks except at the first port of entry and last port of exit and allowing carrying of valid photo I-card for Indian cruise passenger on domestic leg instead of the passport. The five major ports – Mumbai Port, Mormugao Port, New Mangalore Port, Cochin Port and Chennai Port receive cruise ships as per the programme of various cruise companies as a port of call. Ferry services are run from Mumbai Port (Gateway of India) to Mandwa & Elephanta, and from Ferry Wharf to Mora, Revas and Karanja. An international cruise terminal is under construction at Mumbai Port at an estimated cost of Rs 300 crores. The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned an amount of Rs 12.50 crores for this project out of which Rs. 5 cores have already been released.

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Hurtigruten celebrates 125 years of exploration by banning plastic

Building on 125 years of Norwegian pioneering heritage, Hurtigruten marked its anniversary by banning single use plastic and throwing the world’s longest plastic free birthday party, extending over 11,000 nautical miles, from Seattle in the west and Hong Kong in the east, to Svalbard in the High North, and along the Norwegian coast. The birthday was celebrated in Hurtigruten ports, destinations, ships and offices, without use of any single use plastic items. “The initiative to ban single use plastic needs to be applauded as this signifies that there are businesses which are conscious of their surroundings and would do all possible to minimise the damage to the environment. Very recently, we have heard that Maharashtra is the first state in India to ban single use plastic – if similar initiatives could also be taken in other cities as well then our cities would not choke on plastic and be more liveable, said Nishith Saxena, Director, Cruise Professionals – the sole GSA for Hurtigruten in India.

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Pandaw Expeditions to debut in India with Kolkata-Farraka river cruise from Dec 23

Pandaw Expeditions has announced the launch of an India river expedition that will take guests on a journey along The Lower Ganges, aboard the stately, Orient Pandaw. The seven-night, Lower Ganges sailing from Kolkata to Farraka, will debut on December 23, 2018, and will offer weekly departures until the end of April 2019. It will re-commence in July 2019 through to April 2020. Marco Rosa, Vice President Sales & Marketing, recently in India to oversee the project announced the appointment of www.travel-reps.com, a market representation & consulting firm, based in New Delhi, as the exclusive, in-market representative for www.pandaw.com to create, develop and implement a sales & marketing mandate and deliver on the objectives for www.pandaw.com from India as a source market. Also speaking on the occasion, Ashish Saran, CEO of www.travel-reps.com, welcomed the decision and said “ We are proud and delighted with this decision and hope to be a worthy in-market partner for www.pandaw.com. We will be responsible to promote and deliver sales from the India marketplace for not only the forthcoming project in West Bengal, India but also the complete fleet of ships operating in South East Asia. There is a high level of interest amongst the travel trade in India and we hope to work collectively to develop the market and deliver on the targets from India.”

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Dubai aims to become major regional maritime tourism hub

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has said that mega projects being implemented in the UAE are reinforcing the country’s profile globally as a model for sustainable growth. HH Sheikh Mohammed’s remarks came as he approved the ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ as the main hub for cruise tourism in Dubai. He also attended the signing ceremony of a strategic partnership agreement between Meraas and Carnival Corporation & plc that aims to transform Dubai into a major regional maritime tourism hub. Under the agreement, signed by His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman, Meraas, and Arnold W Donald, Chief Executive Officer, Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest leisure travel company, the companies will collaborate across several strategic areas including port development, terminal management and new cruise development opportunities at Dubai Harbour and the broader region. Dubai is set to become central to Carnival Corporation’s operations in the region. The agreement mandates Carnival Corporation to assist Meraas in ensuring the cruise terminal meets the highest international standards of the cruise industry, while the relevant authorities will be responsible for security, immigration and customs. The agreement highlights Meraas’ support for Dubai Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to attract 20 million visitors a year to the emirate, and strengthens the company’s contribution to Dubai Plan 2021, the strategic roadmap to establish Dubai among the world’s best cities.  

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Singapore reports growth of 25% in Indian cruise tourists

Singapore-based cruise companies are reporting strong growth in footfall of Indian tourists, with some 127,000 of them having sailed on luxury liners last year, up 25 per cent from 2016. Industry players have also noted a jump in fly-cruise tourists from India. A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said the company believes the Indian market “has potential to grow at double-digit rates”. “We are seeing an increasing number of Indian tourists booking fly-cruise packages to Singapore as the island is a regional hub and port… From Singapore, the tourists are able to visit a number of other countries depending on the cruise package they have booked,” the spokesperson said. A Royal Caribbean spokesperson said the number of Indian guests taking its cruises has increased by 10 per cent to 20 per cent yearly, especially after the arrival of its Voyager Class ships to South-east Asia in 2013. Indian tourists like the convenience of packing for one trip but being able to travel to several countries at one time, the spokesperson added. In 2017, international visitor arrivals in Singapore increased by 6.2 per cent to 17.4 million, with those from India posting the highest growth rate of 16 per cent, according to Singapore Tourism Board.

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Nitin Gadkari inaugurates Drishti Marine’s ferry services in Goa

Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation inaugurated the Mormugao Port Trust and Drishti Marine’s inland ferry services in the port city of Vasco in Goa. The inaugural plaque was unveiled at the newly constructed Airport Ferry Terminal (AFT) at Baina beach. The ferry service is aimed at offering transport to tourists and locals from and to the airport to different parts of Goa. Drishti Marine operates passenger ferry operations on behalf of the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT). It undertook this project and constructed the fully dismantleable and environmental-friendly floating jetty and terminal at Baina Beach. At the inaugural ceremony, Gadkari said, “Our country has a 7,500 km long coastline, which can help the development of our country. The biggest advantage of tourism is that 49 per cent of the capital investment is utilised for job creation. If one wants to travel by road, the cost is Rs. 1.5 (per km), by railways the cost is Re. 1 (per km) and by water the cost is 20 paise (per km). The first phase will see the opening of routes between Vasco and Panaji and will eventually extend to other areas. Phase Two will start from the Airport Ferry Terminal to Baga, Siquerim, as well as Chapora Fort.

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