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Hop aboard at Mumbai for cruise to Phuket

Soon, you may be able to take off on that ideal cruise vacation to Phuket, Caribbean or Hawaii islands, writes Ketaki Ghoge.

india Updated: Oct 22, 2006 16:31 IST

Soon, you may be able to take off on that ideal cruise vacation to sun-drenched Phuket, the Caribbean or Hawaii islands, aboard an international cruise liner from the city's water front.

The Bombay Port Trust — Mumbai's biggest landowner — this month gave an in-principal nod for an International Cruise Terminal on the city's waterfront, close to the Gateway of India.

The proposal was cleared by BPT's board of trustees earlier this month and has now been dashed off to the Ministry of Shipping and the Planning Commission of India for approval.
BPT wants to complete the project and have it operational within the next five years.

The setting up of the International Cruise Terminal along with its allied businesses like restaurants, cafes, and parks is an ambitious project estimated at around Rs 1,500 crore.

It could open up Mumbai's waterfront to international tourists and also provide Mumbaikars alternate picnic destinations with smaller yacht and boats taking trips to nearby scenic beaches.

"The trustees have given in-principle approval to the plan of an International Cruise Terminal. The idea is to set up a Public Limited Company — a Joint Venture (JV) with a private company partnered by BPT," said Prakash Binsale, a trustee of BPT.

Besides setting up the jetty for cruise liners, the plan includes a trans-harbour jetty for destinations like Uran or even to the nearby Sewri fort's flamingo bay.

There will be several restaurants, cafes, a 5-star hotel and marina for smaller yachts and boats and parking space.

Binsale added that BPT was keen on making this terminal and its allied activities a new picnic spot for citizens.

So far, only one cruise liner, Super Star Libra, operates its tours from the Mumbai port to destinations in India and some parts of the Asian continent. There are some 40-odd trips made by Libra from Mumbai.

Though BPT had received enquiries from international cruise liners, nothing had worked out so far due to lack of facilities.
"We have so far worked out only the cost of the jetty at Rs 150 crore. After approval from the ministry we will do a feasibility study and then issue expression of interest," said an official on condition of anonymity since the matter is confidential.