Chennai, oh! Tourists line up to book cabins on the ‘Empress’ cruise ship


Going on a cruise is usually at the top of every holidaymaker’s list, and news of a luxury liner set to sail from Vizag to Chennai next month has holidaymakers in the city sitting up and taking notice.

Tour operators and tour operators in the city are reporting a steady increase in bookings and inquiries for travel aboard “Empress,” which will be operated by Cordelia Cruises. The ship will make three round trips between Vizag and Chennai and depart from Visakhapatnam port on June 8, 15 and 22. The ship will carry up to 1,800 passengers.

The cruise will depart from the city on day 1 and reach Pondicherry on day 3, where tourists will be disembarked and taken for sightseeing until evening. At 7:00 p.m., they will return to the ship, which will resume its journey to Chennai and reach there the next morning.

In the return direction, the two-night cruise ship will depart from Chennai on Day 1 and spend Day 2 at sea. It will arrive in Visakhapatnam on Day 3.

“Cruises are for family outings as there will be separate play areas for children, swimming pools, food and entertainment. There is a misconception that they are not suitable for families as there are casinos and bars on board the ship. This is not the case. The tour package includes catering costs and tourists will only have to pay if they order international cuisine,” says Raja Ramesh Balla, CEO of Aakasa Veedhilo, a tour operator in the city.

“Boost for tourism”

“We just started taking bookings three days ago and have already booked 200 cabins,” says Holiday World’s K. Vijay Mohan, who is also president of Tours and Travels Association of Andhra (TTAA). “A total of 500 cabins have been booked by our association members so far. Each cabin can accommodate 2/3/4 passengers depending on its size. The cruise liner, which was scheduled to leave Chennai on June 20 and from Vizag in Chennai on June 22, has already been chartered,” the TTAA Chairman said.

“We have 270 bookings and many more inquiries coming in. Tourism has opened up after almost two years and travel enthusiasts are eager to go. We get calls from tour operators in Chennai to arrange taxis for local sightseeing tours in Vizag for their guests. The cruise liner will drive tourism growth in Vizag,” says P. Muralikrishna, MD of Travel IQ.

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