This is the fourth season Costa Cruises is homeporting a ship from Mumbai. Costa Victoria offers 964 cabins that can accommodate a maximum of 2,394 guests, looked after by a crew of 790.
Costa Cruises is the only international cruise company offering regular cruises from Mumbai to Kochi, Kochi to Maldives, Mumbai to Maldives and Maldives to Mumbai.
The seven-night itinerary starts in Mumbai, with an overnight stay before sailing to New Mangalore, and then to Kochi, where an excursion on board a houseboat in the tropical canals of the inner area of the city, is offered.
After a day of sailing, Costa Victoria then calls in Male for an overnight for guests to relax on the white beaches of the Maldives, before returning home.
Overnight in the Maldives
The itinerary in the reverse direction includes a two-day call to enjoy the white beaches and coral reef of the Maldives. The vessel moves to Sri Lanka, and includes a visit to the Pinnawela elephant orphanage, one of the island’s major attractions.
Then it is on to the Indian leg, with a stop in Goa, known for its beaches and architecture, and finally Mumbai, where the vessel overnights to allow guests to fully savour the capital of Maharashtra state.
‘Cruise tourism is currently one of the fastest developing verticals in the tourism sector in India,’ said Shipping minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who presided over the launch of Costa Victoria’s Indian season.
‘Over the years, cruise tourism has been recognised as an active component in the economic growth of a country, and we also see it as a major source of employment and a significant multiplier effect on employment in related sectors,’ he added.
India looking for more homeporting ships
Sanjay Bhatia, chairman of Mumbai Port Trust, added, ‘This is the ideal time for cruise ships to come to India as the government authorities are taking proactive steps to finally use our long coastline. We are looking forward to homeporting many more ships and building the Mumbai port as a leading port of India.’
Bhatia said Costa Cruise’s India office had seen high interest in the three-to-four-nights itineraries in the previous three seasons, but that this year, there had been a significant increase in bookings on the seven-night Mumbai to Maldives and Maldives to Mumbai sailings.
Longer cruises proving popular
‘This is a positive sign, indicating that the Indian traveller is now willing to explore cruises of a longer duration,’ he said. ‘The booked clients are a combination of individual travellers, corporate groups, large families and weddings, showcasing the diversity of the Indian market.’
Nalini Gupta, managing director of Lotus Aero Enterprises, India representatives of Costa Cruises, said, ‘We are very excited to celebrate the success of our past three Mumbai-Maldives sailing seasons.
‘Today, cruise ships cater to multiple segments of travellers with their diverse facilities and amenities onboard. I am confident that this mode of holidaying will provide an exclusive way of travel for visitors seeking to discover new avenues of tourism,’ she added.