MV Aquamarine Opens Up High Seas Luxury Cruising for Indian Tourists

Indian travelers will soon get to enjoy the joys of international class cruising on the Indian Ocean onboard MV Aquamarine, the first international cruise ship to homeport in India.
By: Kerala Tourism
 
 
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Dec. 6, 2009 - PRLog -- The luxury liner was officially launched at a ceremony to celebrate its inaugural sailing, by Union Minister for Tourism, Kumari Selja in Kochi today. MV Aquamarine is the first cruise liner to offer cruises targeted at the Indian tourism market. In her speech, the Minister said that there was tremendous scope for cruise tourism in the country, given India’s strong domestic tourism sector and growing middle class and of course, the country’s 7,517 kilometre long coastline. Director of Kerala Tourism, Mr M Sivasankar stated that exotic voyages from Kochi, is a unique product for the Indian market, which is craving for new and exciting experiences. He added that the new development will further boost Kochi’s position as a cruise hub and destination in the area.

MV Aquamarine has a capacity to carry 1,200 passengers and will offer itineraries on the Kochi-Maldives-Kochi and the Kochi-Colombo-Kochi routes, in addition to a one-night high sea-sailing itinerary. Mr Oneil Khosa, Managing Director of Louis Cruises India, while speaking at the aforementioned ceremony underlined the fact that the 2 night/3day itineraries to Maldives and Sri Lanka are considered to be ideal as Indian, are not inclined towards long sailing. Packages start from Rs 5,000 per person per day for a three-night tour package.

Addressing the officials and travel executives who honored the ceremony with their presence, Mr. Louis Loizou, Louis Group Executive Director and Deputy CEO of Louis Cruises expressed the company’s satisfaction for adding Kochi to the list of homeports-the first non-European base for Louis’ twelve-strong fleet. Mr. Loizou thanked the Indian authorities for their warm welcome and noted the endless potential of the Indian tourism market and the Group’s strong belief that cruising will be embraced by Indians and visitors alike.

MV Aquamarine will homeport in Kochi from 2nd December 2009 to 25th April 2010 and will  operate cruise itineraries 3 times a week from Kochi. Around 60,000 Indian tourists are expected to cruise on MV Aquamarine this season. The vessel will make her debut voyage tomorrow, from Kochi to the Maldives. Kerala Tourism has tied up with the company to market and promote cruise tourism from Kochi.

Besides 525 spacious state rooms and suites, which are all above sea level, passengers will also get to enjoy her world class facilities including several restaurants, a swimming pool,  fitness center, massage/sauna facilities, a casino and duty free shopping.  The vessel has also been modified to include a cricket pitch – giving Indian travelers a new experience of playing cricket on the high seas.  Food and entertainment on board will also take in Indian taste and has been modified to include both Indian and European themes.

The 7 deck ship spans 531 ft in length, 83 ft in breadth and has 4 elevators. With a gross tonnage of 25,611, it will cruise the Indian Ocean at 17 knots. MV Aquamarine is owned by Louis Cruises India, a subsidiary of Louis Cruises - the 5th largest cruise operator in the world. The company’s decision to expand its operations to India was to take advantage of the rising Indian tourism market. Louis Cruises India will reach out to a broad target segment in India including families, honeymooners, the corporate sector and MICE.

Apart from hosting a growing number of cruise ships, Kochi also hosted the Volvo Ocean Race last year, marking its entry on the global yachting map.
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