Celebrity Edge to kick off cruise ship season today, tourism to ride wave
Ship with 2,780 passengers & 1,273 crew members, will dock at Sagarika terminal at 7.30am
KOCHI: As Kochi Port’s Sagarika cruise terminal prepares to welcome its first cruise ship of the season on Saturday, the tourism industry is upbeat with all allied sectors expected to benefit.
Celebrity Edge, operated by Celebrity Cruises, will enter the outer waters of Kochi Port at 6am on Saturday and dock at the terminal by 7.30am. The ship, with 2,780 passengers and 1,273 crew members, will set sail for Colombo, Sri Lanka, by 5pm. The passengers – mostly hailing from America, Australia and Canada – will embark on a guided sightseeing tour in and around Kochi.
Celebrity Cruises has engaged around eight operators in the city to facilitate local tours. Around 200 tourists will proceed to Alappuzha to explore the backwaters and a tour operator has engaged some houseboats and boats for the visiting tourists.
Another group, comprising around 100 tourists, will travel to Vaikom to explore village tourism. Operators have arranged a kalaripayattu and kathakali performance at Fort Kochi. Around 200 tourists will take the Fort Kochi-Mattanchery heritage walk, while another batch will take a backwater cruise in Kochi.
Tour operators have engaged 60 vehicles, including luxury buses and and cabs, for the tourists. Around 50% of tourists are booked for the guided tours, while others will avail the prepaid taxi facility of DTPC. Around 200 taxi cabs and 400 auto rickshaws are on standby to take tourists on a tour of the city.
The 306m-long Celebrity Edge has 15 decks and offers modern facilities. The vessel, which set sail from Dubai on November 13 had docked at Mumbai on November 16. From Colombo it will proceed to Phuket, Thailand. The 12-day voyage will conclude at Singapore on November 25.
According to Kochi Port Authority, 31 foreign cruise vessels have confirmed their visit to Kochi this season, which will extend up to May 31. The next vessel, Azamara Journey, will dock at the port on November 26. Meanwhile, domestic operators have booked 20 trips this season. These include Cordelia Cruise and Costa Serena. The first visit of Costa Serena has been scheduled for November 28.
The passengers – mostly hailing from America, Australia and Canada – will embark on a guided sightseeing tour in and around Kochi