Mumbai, Aug 1 (IANS) Italian luxury cruise liner Costa Cruises in collaboration with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and Mumbai Port Trust announced the launch of India’s first domestic luxury cruise on the Mumbai-Kochi sector starting from November, officials said here on Tuesday.
The launch comes a year after Carnival Asia – which operates Costa Cruises – brought the first luxury cruise to India by launching a Mumbai-Maldives cruise on its Costa NeoClassica ship.
Speaking at the launch, Maharashtra Tourism Minister Jaykumar Raval said that Indians are increasingly embracing luxury and leisure lifestyles and the domestic cruise tourism industry is estimated to grow to 1.50 million by 2031.
The Mumbai-Kochi cruise will take four nights, the Cochin-Maldives cruise will be three nights, besides the existing option of Mumbai-Maldives via Kochi for seven nights.
The Costa NeoClassic has a total of 654 cabins including sea-view and suites with private balconies, a casino, theatre, discotheque, ballroom grand bar, gym with treatment rooms, sauna, jacuzzi and steam, an outdoor jogging track and two swimming pools, besides a huge duty free shopping arcade, said Carnival Asia President Buhdy Bok.
Enhancing the cruising experience for Indians will be a library, Italian regional gastronomical experiences with vegetarian, non-vegetarian cuisine and even a Jain menu, besides the original famous Neapolitan Pizzas at Pizzeria ‘Pummid’Oro’
Top government officials including MTDC MD Vijay Waghmare, MbPT Chairman Sanjay Bhatia, Costa Cruises representative and MD of Lotus Destinations Nalini Gupta, and Valsa Nair-Singh, Principal Secretary, GAD, Maharashtra government were present.