KOCHI: A friend told Rajesh K S, a tourist guide based in Kochi, to book a ticket to travel on the Classic Paradise vessel. Now, he recommends the trip to everyone who enjoys cruising the sea. More such vessels have resumed operations on Kochi’s backwaters after the Covid restrictions were lifted.
After the dent caused by the pandemic, Kochi’s tourism sector is slowly falling back on track, attracting domestic tourists, especially families that are awaiting a holiday after staying at home for almost two years. Youngsters who love music and socialisation are also keen to take up cruises, says Rajesh.
“Last week I travelled aboard Classic Paradise. The experience was wonderful — 10 km on the lake, and almost six to seven hours in the sea. A member will explain in detail the specialities of islands in Kochi. There are also dancers and MCs on board who encourage every passenger to be part of the show.
The cruise lets 150 passengers aboard at a time. It has a dancing floor and an air-conditioned hall with a premium DJ system. A well-designed upper deck for sight-seeing is available too. A dinner cruise is also in the pipeline, said Javed K K, manager of Neo Classic Cruise and Tours, who has been in the field for more than 17 years.
The other five boats belonging to Classic are conducting services on the backwaters. “There was a rush during Vishu. Now, on weekends, we get more passengers. Our Classic Imperial, which is 50m long, is gearing up to start service. We are expecting good revenue till June, owing to the holidays,” said Javed. Other businessmen are also hopeful now that restrictions have been lifted and tourists have started arriving in groups.
Stalin Benny, who runs Greenix Village, says cruise tourism is making a comeback in Kochi. “We have a cruise, the Mariya Cruise, that ventures into the sea. We have other boats and houseboats operating on the backwaters. There are daily cruises from Marine Drive that pass by Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Vypeen, and Vallarpadam container terminal, and the stop at Pepper Island in Mulavukad for a Samudra Sadya (sea feast). After the sadya, the passengers will be taken back to Marine Drive. The whole package from 11am to 3pm costs only Rs 750 including food,”said Stalin.