Visakhapatnam: ‘Entertainment on high seas-‘ a long awaited dream to put Visakhapatnam on the international cruise map, appears to be moving in the right direction, with Cordelia Cruise taking hundreds of fun-loving adventure tourists from the City of Destiny to Chennai and Puducherry.
Cruise liner Express has world-class food courts, swimming pools, casinos and spas docked at Visakhapatnam Port on Wednesday morning. The vessel on its maiden journey from the city to Chennai and Puducherry was booked for 1,200 passengers for the sailing adventure from late in the evening.
Managing director Leisure Time Holiddays V Lokesh told Bizz Buzz that all the passengers were thrilled to go on a voyage to have fun on high seas in a luxury cruise liner after significant improvement in the pandemic situation.
While Leisure Time Holiddays is the travelling agency for the cruise liner, JM Baxi & Co, which had received a seven star cruise liner at Visakhapatnam on a short visit a few years ago, is the handling agent.
Lokesh said they are also receiving a very good response mostly from families and groups for cruise experience as they will operate the cruise liner from Visakhapatnam to Chennai and Puducherry for a three day and night package on June 15 and 22.
As many as 10 buses were deployed to enable boarding for 1,200 people from the star hotel to the cruise liner. “This is our first trip on a ship. We are very much thrilled to go on a voyage with a family of five,” Manisha Das, a software engineer from Bhubaneswar, told Bizz Buzz.
Cordelia Cruise took interest to introduce cruise tourism in this part following cancellation of its regular service between Mumbai and Colombo following uncertainty in the island country.
Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy and State Tourism Minister RK Roja on separate occasions said they are very keen to work hand-in-hand to put Visakhapatnam on the global tourism map. During his recent visit, Union Shipping and Ports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed the authorities of Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) to complete work on the International Marine Cruise Terminal ahead of schedule. Rs103 crore is being spent mostly under the Sagarmala project for constructing the terminal with lounge, immigration, duty-free and souvenir areas and waiting rooms and restaurants by April, 2023.
The cruise terminal project was found feasible by Creative Group following which IIT-Madras designed it. Officials from VPA also studied the terminal models of Panaji, Mumbai and Kochi before finalising the layout.
Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) presently operates a passenger ship from Visakhapatnam to Port Blair. VPA sources said once the terminal is inaugurated, there is huge potential to operate cruise ships on a regular basis to South East Asian countries and connect Visakhapatnam to Kakinada, Puri and Paradip by operating smaller vessels.