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With arrival of luxury cruise liner, hint of revival for tourism sector

“With the arrival of this luxury cruise ship, the domestic tourism sector, which has been grappling with the pandemic, is expected to revive.

Published: 23rd September 2021 06:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2021 05:41 PM   |  A+A-

A troupe from Ambalappuzha performs the martial dance form of velakali to welcome the tourists at Willingdon Island. (Photo | Albin Mathew, EPS)

A troupe from Ambalappuzha performs the martial dance form of velakali to welcome the tourists at Willingdon Island. (Photo | Albin Mathew, EPS)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Severely hit by the pandemic, the state tourism sector saw a ray of hope with the arrival of the luxury cruise liner MV Empress, owned by Cordelia Cruises, with 1,200 guests from Mumbai at Cochin International Cruise Terminal on Wednesday. The cruise liner anchored here around 7.30am.

“With the arrival of this luxury cruise ship, the domestic tourism sector, which has been grappling with the pandemic, is expected to revive. Around 180 passengers who were fully vaccinated were given a city tour adhering to Covid protocol,” said Kerala Tourism deputy director T G Abhilash Kumar.

The tourism department and the Cochin Port Trust arranged a grand welcome for the guests who disembarked in Kochi with a visually and acoustically appealing performance of traditional martial dance form ‘velakali’, ‘panchavadhyam’ and ‘thalappoli’.

“This is the first cruise ship that arrived at the new terminal and also the first one that came to our shores after a year. We are all excited about welcoming the guests and hope that the tourism sector picks up pace from here,” said an official at the terminal.

Melbin, a native of Kochi who enjoyed the voyage with his family, said the cruise liner has all amenities one could find on an international cruise. “It has gyms, different types of swimming pools on each floor and play areas for kids. The food was amazing. The cruise has three types of cabins ­— normal, ocean view and suite,” he said.

He also said travelling on a luxury cruise liner should be a must-do thing on every Malayali’s bucket list. An ocean view room costs between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000 per head.   “A total of 200 tourists ended their voyage in Kochi, and 182 guests were taken for a city tour. A family of 12 members booked for a houseboat excursion. They went to Alappuzha and returned by evening,” said Sanjeev Kumar, CEO of tour operator Voyager Kerala.

“The cruise liner left for Kadamat, Lakshadweep, in the evening. Around 800 tourists from across the state boarded the ship from Kochi to visit Lakshadweep and Mumbai,” he added. The  MV Empress can accommodate up to 1,800 passengers on board at a time. The cruise liner will visit the Kochi port again on October 6.



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