On the same day that Costa Cruises’ two ships met for the first time in port in Cochin, the cruise line announced that it was seriously considering launching a new cruise ship solely for the Indian cruise market.
Costa Luminosa and Costa Venezia met in port for the first time Friday, a double port call that was also the first ever for Costa in Cochin, a popular cruise destination on international cruise line’s Indian itineraries.
Costa Venezia also embarked around 100 Indian guests for an eight night itinerary from Kochi to Singapore via Colombo, Langkawi and Port Klang, according to Nalini Gupta, managing director of Lotus Destinations, a representative of Costa Cruises in India.
Costa Luminosa, meanwhile, is on a 109 night world cruise itinerary and will call in Dubai on April 11th.
“All the possibilities exist for Costa Cruises to launch a ship exclusively for the Indian market. It all depends how the market matures and Costa will be happy to look at that option,” said Gupta.
“Indians contribute 1.2% of the overall cruise market business – we have about 160,000 to 165,000 Indians cruising around the world,” she added.
Costa Cruises homeport Costa Victoria in Mumbai annually, offering cruises from the city the Maldives, but the cruise line has never built a ship specifically for this market.
The global cruise market is around 28-million cruise passengers annually, underscoring the vast potential for further penetration in the Indian cruise market – something it shares with the fast-growing Middle East cruise sector.
According to Gupta, wealthy Indian travellers go to Alaska or South America, while middle class Indian cruise tourists go to Singapore or Dubai. The Indian cruise passengers is an international traveller, she says.
“I think Keralites are actually, natural cruisers, they cruise all over the world so even when we introduced cruises to the Maldives we had a very good response,” she told ANI.
“When Costa brings ships to Indian ports, it shows their commitment and from my side, I always tell the headquarters that they need to look at India very closely and do what they can because people will travel. So, bringing ships is our first step to towards increasing tourism and increasing cruising,” she said.
Costa’s announcement comes amid a flurry of new activity in the local Indian cruise market. Late last year, India’s first-ever domestic cruise line Angriya Cruises was launched, offering low-cost itineraries between Mumbai and Goa, while a new premium Indian cruise line Jalesh Cruises will launch.
Jalesh Cruises’ itineraries will include cruises from Mumbai to Dubai, as well as Abu Dhabi roundtrip cruises, the cheapest available in the Arabian Gulf.
Categories: Middle East Cruise News