After Covid hiatus, domestic cruise sector to restart by May

After Covid hiatus, domestic cruise sector to restart by May

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The New York-based Sant Chatwal Group is the latest entrant in India’s cruise industry as it unveils plans to start cruises between Goa, Mumbai, Lakshwadeep, and Sri Lanka under the Cordelia Cruises brand, formerly Jalesh cruises.

Cordelia Cruises has announced that it plans to start sailing from May onwards. The resumption in the domestic cruise sector will not only boost tourism but will also provide employment opportunities for those who were earlier employed on MV Karnika, the vessel operated by Jalesh Cruises.

“Karnika has been scrapped, but Cordelia Cruises has replaced Jalesh and they have taken over the operations,” said Parixit Pai Fondekar, the managing director of Kamaxi Overseas Consultants. “Though the ship Karnika has been scrapped, Cordelia has brought in a new ship from Royal Caribbean International. Bookings have opened up and they are planning to start sailing from the month of May.”

Cordelia Cruises has purchased the cruise vessel, Empress of the Seas, from Royal Caribbean International. The novel coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc in the global economy with the cruise industry being just one of the many victims.

However, sources pointed out that India had just begun to test the waters when the pandemic dealt a knock-out punch to both the firms that started cruises between Goa and Mumbai — Jalesh Cruises and Angriya Cruises.

At present Angriya Cruises is operating as a mid-sea floatel for sailors off Sri Lanka, performing the role of a safe sea bubble for crew embarking and disembarking ships. In a statement, Angriya Cruises said that it hopes to resume operations by mid-2021.

Cordelia Cruises has already contacted Goan seafarers in preparation for the planned cruises in May. A mail seeking Cordelia Cruises’ inputs went unanswered.

“As we speak, we are getting the crew geared up, getting their documentation in place and all their paperwork ready in order to join for the May sailing season. All the staff that was working on Jalesh will move to Cordelia Cruises and the news is that they have bought a second sister ship and that will join shortly,” said Fondekar, who runs a firm to recruit crew for cruise lines.

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