Empress, a cruise ship belonging to Indian cruise line start-up Cordelia Cruises, has docked at the Dubai Cruise Terminal in Port Rashid.
Empress formerly sailed as Empress of the Seas for Royal Caribbean before she was purchased by Cordelia Cruises ahead of a refurbish for the Indian domestic cruise market.
Cordelia Cruises is a re-branded version of Jalesh Cruises, the short-lived but highly successful domestic Indian cruise line that launched in 2019 and sailed several seasons out of Mumbai, visiting popular domestic cruise destinations such as Goa and Cochin.
Jalesh Cruises chose Dubai for its first overseas cruise season, offering fly-cruise packages to the Indian cruise market, while also targetting the large Indian expat population in the Middle East.
That season proved hugely successful and the cruise line had been planning to return to the Middle East before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
The pandemic forced Jalesh Cruises to suspend operations, along with the rest of the global cruise industry, and a few months later the cruise line was forced to file for bankruptcy.
Cordelia Cruises has no official affiliation with Jalesh Cruises, but has the same CEO. When Jalesh closed down, Jurgen Bailom was appointed CEO of Cordelia. He has said that he plans to continue the legacy started by Jalesh.
In a press statement announcing the new cruise line earlier this year, Bailom said he was “continuing the legacy of Jalesh Cruises in upholding the spirit, culture, and value of ‘Incredible India’ and… curating memorable cruise holidays that delight customers”.
Cordelia has not yet indicated whether it will be sailing in the Middle East.
According to its website, the cruise line will be sailing 2- to 7-night itineraries from Mumbai to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, along the coast of India.
The first cruise available for booking departs on June 5th, 2021 – a seven-night itinerary around India and Sri Lanka, but the cruise line has indicated to local media that it plans to launch in May this year.
Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to the cruise line to find out more about Empress’ visit to Dubai.
When she was purchased from Royal Caribbean, Cordelia said the ship would undergo a thorough refurbishment before entering service in the Indian market. She may therefore be in Dubai for a refit, as the ship retains her Royal Caribbean livery.
While some refit and refurbishment work was done on the cruise ship AIDAstella during her cruise season in Dubai, the city’s shipyards are better known for their work on cargo vessels than cruise ships.
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