Mumbai: Starting this December, travellers will for the first time ever, be able to embark on a cruise from right here in India. Europe’s number 1 cruising company, Costa Cruises, is launching the Costa neoClassica in India, which will be homeporting in Mumbai from December 2016. Costa neoClassica will perform a series of weekly sailings from 16th Dec 2016 – 18th March 2017.
On this brand new, 7-night itinerary, you can cruise from Mumbai to Maldives over 7 nights, or begin the cruise in Maldives and cruise from Male to Mumbai, also 7 nights. The ship will sail along India’s South-Western coast, with stops at Cochin and Mangalore on the way to Maldives, and will sail via Colombo and Goa on the way to Mumbai.
Since Costa announced the launch of the Mumbai-Maldives, they have seen a surge of bookings for December, especially for the Christmas and New Years Eve sailings. There has also been a lot of interest from corporates who are looking to book large groups in the first quarter of 2017. Theme-based bookings seem to be a trend, with large groups who are keen to experience a special kind of holiday. For example, there is a health-themed/yoga sailing on this route which is gaining a lot of interest. There have also been large group bookings from senior citizens. Costa has also seen early interest from companies with themes or wedding parties who are looking to charter the entire ship for this itinerary. However, due to lack of availability, this is likely to be a possibility only during the next season or for Costa’s other destinations. And finally, there is also a lot of interest in this sailing from Costa’s European clientele who see the Mumbai-Maldives sailing as a nice gateway into or out of India.
Ms. Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations (GSA of Costa Cruises India) says that “The cruises will have an international flavour in terms of the mix of people on the ship, which will be a nice way for travellers to experience the world”.
Costa neoClassica will be the very first large cruise ship that cruises between Mumbai and the Maldives. This classic cruise ship has a total of 654 cabins (with a capacity for 1700 passengers), including ocean view cabins and suites with private balconies. Fully-equipped with a Casino, Theatre, Disco, Ballroom, Grand Bar, it aims to provide plenty in entertainment. The wellness centre is spread across 1,300 sq. m with a gym, treatment rooms, sauna and steam room. It also has an outdoor jogging track, 4 Jacuzzis and 2 swimming pools. For those who would like to go shopping, the cruise ship has a huge duty free shopping centre, and also offers a wide selection of books in the library for those who love to unwind with a book. Enhancing the cruising experience further is the gastronomy: the food & wine on offer is based on Italian regional menus with a choice of dishes representing different regions of Italy and proudly reflecting the country’s rich and unrivalled culinary heritage. In addition to this vast range, guests can also take advantage of tasty vegetarian and vegan dishes. On board Costa neoClassica, guests will also have the chance to taste the real original Neapolitan pizza at Pizzeria “Pummid’oro”: thanks to an agreement with the Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo, Costa Cruises offers pizza prepared using only sourdough and selected ingredients such as San Marzano DOP tomato. In addition, cruisers will be able to enjoy a variety of Indian cuisine and the restaurants on board are fully equipped to cater to special diet requirements of Indians, which includes Jain food.