To attract more Indian tourists, foreign cruise liners such as Royal Caribbean, Costa Cruises, MSC and Celebrity Cruises are offering affordable and shorter cruises. Cruises with India-specific itineraries that are docking at ports such as Mumbai, Goa and Kochi are aiming to cater to Indian tourists looking for economical cruises. These affordable offerings also aim to introduce more Indians to cruises. Some of these economical cruises start for as low as Rs 26,800 for three nights. These ships traverse routes like Mangalore, Kochi and Maldives and make their way back via Colombo and Goa. Tourists can also opt to pay in installments for these trips.
One such economical option is brought to Indian shores by Miami-based Celebrity Cruises in December. The company is going to bring recently-revamped ship, Celebrity Constellation that will take tourists on a 6-8 nights cruise from Mumbai and Kochi to UAE. As mentioned in a report in The Economic Times, the cruise is especially designed for Christmas and New Year celebrations, including the fireworks show in Dubai on NYE.
The cruise package comes with all-inclusive meals and a special Indian fare, along with beverages. Other on board activities starts at $731 or a little over Rs 50,000 per head.
Ratna Chadha, Chief Executive Officer of Tirun Travel Marketing, representatives for Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises says that Indian tourists are more likely to embrace the idea of cruise holiday this winter if the option to sail to foreign locales is given from a port in their own country. The kind of economical cruises offered by these cruise lines have a good chance of capturing the increasing customer base, she added.
Another cruise liner, one of the earlier ones is Costa Cruises from Italy. They have been running sailings from Mumbai to Maldives for the past three years. The response has been encouraging so far and they are planning to explore other additional routes. “Over the last two years, the people who have sailed with us are the middle class. Cruising is now becoming affordable for the common man of India. It is not the reserve of the rich and famous and this was an eye opener for us also,” said Nalini Gupta, head of Costa Cruises in India, as mentioned in the daily.
Costa Cruises also cater offer special vegetarian and Jain meals. The seven-nights Mumbai to Male trip starts at Rs 40,000, while the three-nights Kochi to Male cruise starts at Rs 26,800.
Royal Caribbean is also bringing the Spectrum of the Seas to India in May. It is said to be the largest ship to ever touch base in India.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)