In a significant event aimed at boosting cruise tourism in India, the first-ever international cruise liner in India, Costa Serena is all set to begin its domestic sailings this season. This event is scheduled to take place in Mumbai today and is a part of the ‘Dekho Apna Desh‘ initiative, aimed at encouraging middle-class tourists to explore more domestic travel options.
The Costa cruise voyages are scheduled to commence on November 4 and will continue operating until January 1.
Costa Cruises is expected to ferry around 45,000 passengers during its upcoming two-month voyages. This development offers an international cruising experience for Indians and also marks a significant step towards establishing India as a premier cruise destination. It also underscores the growing confidence of international cruise liners in India’s burgeoning cruise potential.
Costa Cruises had previously announced the domestic sailings of Costa Serena in November and December 2023. The cruise liner boasts a passenger capacity of 3,780 individuals spread across its 14 decks and offers a diverse selection of 10 restaurants. To board these domestic sailings, passengers are required to present their Aadhar Card as part of the boarding process.
Launching the domestic sailings for Costa Serena today, the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister Sonowal emphasised on the government’s commitment to putting India on the global cruising map. During the recently concluded Global Maritime India Summit 2023, discussions also revolved around the ambitious goal of attracting 50 million cruise passengers to India by 2047. Given India’s immense potential in the maritime sector, this target is easily achievable, said Sonowal.
This year, India also achieved a significant milestone with the launch of the world’s longest river cruise, MV Ganga Vilas, which embarked on a journey from Varanasi, traversing 27 riverfronts to reach Dibrugarh in Assam, with a portion of the route extending through Bangladesh. Notably, this journey attracted the interest of 32 Swiss nationals and piqued the curiosity of both international and domestic tourists about cruising on Indian rivers.
Speaking at the Global Maritime Summit, Minister Sonowal highlighted the cutting-edge infrastructure, advanced technology, and streamlined immigration procedures that have been put in place to enhance the cruise travel experience in India.In addition to Costa, three more international cruise liners will also begin their domestic sailings in India between November and December 2023.
To boost cruise tourism in India, the Government of India had entered into an agreement with these four globally renowned cruise lines, including Costa, setting a vision for 2041. According to a senior official from the Cochin Port Authority, these cruise ships collectively dominate 80 per cent of the cruise market.
A part of the Carnival Corporation & plc Group, Costa Cruises has 10 ships in service. With headquarters in Genoa and operations at global level, Costa sails mainly on routes in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, North and Central America, South America, the Arab Emirates and the Far East. Costa Cruises had pioneered the introduction of the Mumbai to Maldives itineraries in 2016 and sailed this itinerary until 2020, from Dec to March.