Category Archives: Cruises

Ark with Star Cruises hosts 400+ agents onboard Gemini

Ark Travels, the Preferred Sales Agent for Star Cruises in India, recently hosted its annual get together titled ‘Big Bang Nautical Fiesta’ from August 13-16, 2017 onboard SuperStar Gemini. More than 400 of its travel agent partners were hosted for this event who came from all over India including smaller cities like Indore, Surat, Rajkot and Karimnagar near Hyderabad. The three-night itinerary included Singapore-Penang-Port Klang-Singapore. Kishan Biyani, Managing Director, ARK Travels, says, “The idea for this annual event was to start with two days which was held at Lavasa, to three days this year, and five days in 2018. This event is to say thank you to all our partners. We started nine years ago and with their support we have grown tremendously over the years. This event was to also showcase not just the cruising experience but also to show the partners what charters can offer. They deliver more value to the customer at almost the same price. Next year you will see a lot more charters in co-operation with Star Cruises. It could be from Bangkok or Malaysia.” For the forthcoming travel season, Ark Travels will be focusing on promoting other Star Cruises ships like SuperStar Libra (ex-Port Klang) and SuperStar Virgo (ex-Shanghai). Naresh Rawal, VP Sales – India, South Asia, Russia, Middle East and South Africa at Star Cruises, also announced at the event that the event will be held onboard Dream Cruises, one of the most spacious ships in Asia. “This year we started with a contemporary brand – Star Cruises. Next year we plan to have the event on Dream Cruises. The year after that, Crystal Cruises!” Rawal revealed.

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MTDC, MPT, MoS announce collective focus on cruise tourism

Mumbai witnessed the gathering of a high-level delegation from different ministries and government authorities who announced their collective plan and focus to develop cruise tourism. Sharing their perspectives were: Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping, Government of India; JaykumarRawal, Minister of Tourism Government of Maharashtra; Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust; Vijay Waghmare, MD, MTDC; and David Dingle, Chairman, Carnival UK. Titled ‘Dawn of Cruise in India’ the seminar was aimed at encouraging cruise tourism in India, more specifically Mumbai, by improving infrastructure, facilitating quick and easy movement of cruise passengers, and easing taxation for cruise companies. Gadkari identified the reasons why cruise tourism had not taken off in India. As one of the initial steps, all relevant government agencies such as port authorities, security agencies, immigration authorities, customs, and port health authorities were identified and formed a task force to first assess the current condition and then look at the global best practices. Speaking at the conference, Rawal said, “Maharashtra is pleased to be the homeport of choice for cruises in India. The association with the shipping Ministry mutually assist to formulate policies to support Maharashtra’s position as a cruise hub. Therefore, there is huge potential for cruise tourism among domestic as well as international travelers. Cruise tourism will assist to earn huge foreign exchange and generate job opportunities.”

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RCI’s ‘Navigator of the Seas’ replaces Mexican with Indian menu

Indian travellers will now be able to enjoy Indian cuisine at the Sabor Indian Cuisine, the premium restaurant in Royal Caribbean International’s cruise ship Navigator of the Seas. Sabor, which originally featured a Mexican cuisine. Sabor will be available for 2017 European sailings only and can only be booked onboard. In recent months, the number of Indian guests on the Royal Caribbean sailings has increased exponentially which motivated RCI to change Sabor’s menu. Commenting on the decision, Ratna Chadha, Chief Executive, TIRUN said, “The number of Indian travellers onboard Royal Caribbean International has increased considerably. RCI decided to have a menu that comprises dishes reflecting the culinary heritage of India. Inspired by the flavors of the country, cuisine at Sabor has been kept as diverse as the region’s expansive culture.” All sailings of the Navigator of the Seas will leave from Southampton till October 2017, with itineraries distributed across different durations from five days to 14 days sailings, which are popular with Indians. The cruise ship will sail though England, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Italy and more.

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Spain Tourism and Griffon conduct workshop for Mumbai agents

The Tourism Office of Spain in Mumbai along with Pullmantur Cruises, represented by its GSA in India Griffon, conducted a workshop in Mumbai for a few select travel agents. While Ignacio Ducasse, Director and Tourism Counsellor, Tourism Office of Spain in Mumbai, spoke on the Canary Islands of Spain, Vivek Jain, Managing Director, Griffon, gave a presentation on the winter sailings of Pullmantur’s Horizon and Sovereign cruise liners starting this November. The Canary Islands are the seven islands of Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro in Spain.

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Cruise Club appointed as CLIA’s first Executive Partner in Asia

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia and Cruise Club Vacations announced their partnership whereby Cruise Club Vacations has been appointed as the first Executive Partner (travel and tourism) for CLIA in Asia. Commenting on the appointment, Tarique Hussain, Director, Cruise Club, said, “By appointing Cruise Club as the first Executive Partner (Travel & Tourism) for CLIA in Asia, the partnership recognises the contribution Cruise Club has made in the Indian industry in training and empowering travel agents to grow their cruise business from India. Our appointment with CLIA further endorses the opportunities in the market and reinforces our focus on training our travel partners in India.” He further elaborated that India is one of the fastest growing source markets for cruise lines and Indian guests are now expanding their horizons from mainstream and popular cruises and moving to exploring luxury, expedition, river and small ship cruising as well. Peter Kollar, Head of International Training & Development, CLIA, added, “CLIA is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association and is dedicated to promoting the cruise travel experience; educate and train its travel agent members and promote and explain the value, desirability and affordability of a cruise holiday. We value the focus on training that Cruise Club brings and through this partnership, Cruise Club will work with us and represent CLIA at regional cruise trainings, along with introducing it to the Indian travel industry.”

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Global Anchor Cruises partners with CLIA to train & accredit their travel partners

Recognising the potential in the Indian outbound cruise market, Global Anchor Cruises has partnered with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, to impart cruise training and offer CLIA’s accreditation programme to Indian agents. Ian Banerjee, Partner Global Anchor Cruises, says, “I am happy that we are associated with CLIA to impart its world-class cruise training and accreditation programme to Indian agents and ensure that they are well equipped to meet the arising demand for cruise products and sales knowledge. Global Anchor Cruises will now promote the CLIA membership to all current and new travel partners. As a member of CLIA Asia agents become an active partner in a global organisation representing the fastest growing segment of the travel industry.” CLIA Asia’s Managing Director, Joel Katz, says, “India’s cruise market is the youngest in the world with an average passenger age of 37, and continues to grow with more passengers now coming from tier-two and even tier-three cities. Global Anchor Cruises understands, as we do, that a well-educated cruise travel agent is paramount to the growth of cruise in the region, and together we are dedicated to ensuring that this education is available to all agents across the Indian landscape.” CLIA recently entered the Indian market, providing travel agent members in India who join CLIA access to an extensive range of cruise industry training at no further costs outside the annual membership fee. A membership in CLIA will allow agents exclusive access to the CLIA Accreditation Program, the industry benchmark for consultants wishing to specialize in the cruise sector. It will also extend unlimited usage of the CLIA Learning Academy, including cruise sector training, destination …

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Cruise tourism action plan in 4 months

The Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Ministry of Shipping will prepare an action plan for development of cruise tourism in India. MOT intends to promote cruise shipping and tourism in a big way and will be an important element of the Incredible India 2.0 campaign. The Netherlands-based consultant Bermello Ajmali has prepared a report on cruise tourism in India, which has a low penetration rate in the sector. During the National Workshop on Cruise Tourism conducted by MOT and Ministry of Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Government of India, said, “The report prepared on cruise tourism by the foreign consultant will be discussed and the action plan will be ready in next 3-4 months. Next year is going to be very good for cruise tourism in India.” At present, India has a very small share in world cruise tourism market, as against 23 million passengers globally in 2016. Various stakeholders from the ministry of tourism, Shipping ministry, Bureau of Immigration, Central industrial Security Force (CISF), department of Revenue (Customs) and policy consultants etc. came together to discuss the nuances of the action plan to be put in place. Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister for Tourism, Government of India, said that cruise tourism will be a game changer for tourism sector as it helps in foreign exchange earnings as well as job creation. Rashmi Verma, Secretary-tourism, Government of India, informed that in 2013-14 only 103 cruise ships visited India which increased to 158 in 2016-17 and in 2013-14, 80,645 cruise passengers disembarked in India which grew to 191,725 passengers in 2016-17. She said, “This workshop is a landmark in promotion of cruise tourism in India and …

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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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