MUMBAI: Marking the beginning of cruise tourism in India, the first luxury cruise liner ‘Costa neoClassica’ set sail towards Maldives capital Male from Mumbai harbour on Friday night. Costa neoClassica is owned and operated by top European cruise company Costa Crociere, which is also Italy’s largest travel group and is operated under the brand name Costa Cruise.
Costa Cruise India has announced three, four and seven night cruise trips. The cruise from Mumbai to Cochin is a four-night tour, and Cochin-Male is again a three-night tour. A seven-night tour between Mumbai and Male is also available. “The tours have been planned for November to March this year. Some of the initial tours have all been sold off,” said Nalini Gupta, country head, Costa Cruise India.
“Indian customers are very price sensitive. Hence, the tours have been designed keeping in view their choices,” Nalini said, adding that while a night’s stay at a star hotel in Male would cost around $500, the cruise offer an three-night stay with an equivalent experience at a price lower than that.
Costa neoClassica, which has 650 cabins and has a potential to carry 1,700 passengers, has all the amenities of a typical luxury cruise ship such as luxury rooms, spa, casino, restaurants, swimming pool, jacuzzi, discos and theatres. Also available are various short local tours wherever the cruise liner docks.
The lowest cost of a three-night package begins from Rs 24,000 per person, while the lowest price for a seven-night tour is pegged at Rs 49,000.
Another luxury cruise liner
Maharashtra Tourism Minister Jayprakash Rawal announced that a similar yet smaller cruise tour of a couple of days between Mumbai and Goa would be started next month. The tour is expected to begin on December 25. “Cruise tourism is the fastest growing sector and it is expected to create more jobs while making a value addition of Rs 32,500 crore to the national economy,” Rawal said. Costa neoClassica has chosen Mumbai as its home port.