Category Archives: Cruises

Zen Cruises to start cruises under Jalesh brand from April 2019

Zen Cruises will launch India’s premium cruise line called ‘Jalesh’ on April 17, 2019 in Mumbai with the purchase of its first ship, the Pacific Jewel – a 70,285-ton, 1,900 passenger ship from P&O Australia. Jurgen Bailom, President & CEO, Zen Cruises, says, “She is a beautiful vessel and looks gorgeous. She will be refurbished by March 2019 and and will be christened on April 19, 2019. We are already taking bookings for sailings from Singapore and more guests will join from Colombo after which she will sail up to Mumbai. We already have a loadfactor of 50 per cent. Each sailing can hold up to 1,900 guests. We have so far sold over 50,000 cabins already.” The company has already started taking bookings for this ship directly via Zen’s website as well as through its sales business partners that have been appointed. “We have already started working with several sales business partners and many more will be added. We want to make it a level-playing field and anyone can become our partner. There are many cruise veterans in the business and we have given pre-allocations. We plan to sell approximately 100,000 cabins in 2019 and are very happy with the results so far. The cruise market in India is so big that there is space for many more cruise lines,” Bailom adds.

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India ranks 12th of all Asian cruise destinations: CLIA

India ranks 12th of all Asian cruise destinations with just 2 per cent of Asia’s total calls, according to a latest report titled ‘Asia Cruise Trends’ commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). India hosted 120 calls at its various ports in 2018, a 6 per cent decline from 2017. 88 of those calls are Transit, or 73 per cent of the total. Mumbai sees the most calls at 48, followed by 32 in Cochin. India’s five year CAGR and five-year growth are 6 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively.

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Zen Cruises partners with American cruise-hotel operator for its domestic cruise

Zen Cruises has announced its collaboration with The Apollo Group, an American custom cruise-hotel operator. Jurgen Bailom, President and CEO, Zen Cruises, said, “Zen Cruises has partnered with global experts from the cruise, entertainment, port and marine industry to bring closer home the grandeur experienced by Indians onboard foreign ships. With their vast knowledge of serving global cruise industry, our strategic partners will offer quality services to domestic passengers, both in terms of innovation and experience.” Zen Cruises’ maiden cruise will sail in Indian waters in 2019 on a 70,285-ton, 2,000 passenger ship. The ship, currently in service under a leading cruise line, globally will be renamed ‘Karnika’ post change of ownership and is set for its first domestic sail from Mumbai under the brand name ‘Jalesh Cruises’ in April 2019. The Apollo Group will be spearheading an array of on-board operations ranging from food and beverage, house-keeping, guest services, payrolls, public health, vendor management and revenue collection, among others. Zen Cruises has also announced its collaboration with a leading ship manager as a marine technology partner for providing on-board environment management, itinerary distance planning, fuel forecasting, compliance and class regulations, supply chain and budgeting, among others. For onboard IT and hardware services, broadcasting, satellite and shoreside link, Zen Cruises has collaborated with IPM Solutions, which specialises in providing seamless connectivity, services and project management for cruise ships across the world. Harding Brothers & Flemingo will offer on-board high-street retail therapy from international brands as part of its collaboration with Zen Cruises. The ship will undergo revitalisation in Singapore with Sembcorp Marine.

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Dream Cruises and Star Cruises appoint Travstarz Global Group as their PSA

Travstarz Global Group has announced their entry into cruises by partnering with Genting Cruise Lines as their new Preferred Sales Agent (PSA) for both Dream Cruises and Star Cruises. Announcing the development, Pankaj Nagpal, MD, Travstarz Global Group, said, “We had been eyeing the cruise business for some time now and are elated with our new partnership with Dream Cruises and Star Cruises. This completes our product portfolio as we will get cruises on our online reservation system in.rezb2b.com which already has flights, hotels, tours, transfers, insurance and visas. “Cruising is definitely picking up at a fast pace in India and we hope to see some robust numbers from our Cruise vertical as well. We already have Vani Singh with us who had been a part of Star Cruises in the past and will help drive this vertical, along with Ramanpreet Singh, our GM – Sales, in North and East India and Hema Manghnani leading the team in Mumbai for West and South India. I would specially like to thank Michael Goh,  Naresh Rawal and the entire Genting C ruise Lines team for their faith and trust in Travstarz and look forward to a long partnership”. Naresh Rawal, VP – Sales, GCL, said, ‘Travstarz is one of the fastest growing B2B company in India and we are very glad to have them onboard with us. We are sure that with their dedicated approach and a strong top leadership, this partnership will prove mutually beneficial for us. We assure our full support to Travstarz Team and wish them luck in this new endeavour.”

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River cruise from Kolkata to Bangladesh and Northeast from March 2019

As cruise tourism gains momentum in India after a successful trial of cargo movement to Bangladesh via the inland waterways protocol route, a transboundary river cruise operation is expected to start from Kolkata in March next year through Sunderbans to Bangladesh first, and then towards the Northeast, a senior official said. SVK Reddy, Member, Inland Waterways Authority of India, during a seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the city recently, said, “Bilateral secretary-level meetings between India and Bangladesh were held in October. It has been decided that one of the river cruise operators would be starting operations from March 2019 from Kolkata through Sunderbans via the protocol route to Bangladesh and then to northeast.” Abdus Samsah, Shipping Secretary, Bangladesh had earlier said that private players will be allowed to operate river cruise between the two countries, which will cover about 1,539 km. Both sides also agreed to allow private operators to run cruise to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Reddy also informed that night navigation facility has been installed up to the Indian border, while Bangladesh is expected to do the same. He said India has agreed to fund up to 80 per cent of the dredging cost in some identified stretches within Bangladesh in the Indo-Bangla protocol route to make it navigable.

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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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