MV Empress, India's first international cruise, sets sail from Chennai to Sri Lanka | 5 points

Jun 06, 2023 10:58 AM IST

The MV Empress will visit three ports in Sri Lanka before returning to Chennai: Hanbantota, Trincomalee, and Kankesanturei.

On Monday, India launched its first international cruise ship from Chennai to Sri Lanka. The MV Empress, carrying 750 passengers, will visit three ports on the island country during its five-day cruise.

The MV Empress is India’s only International cruise.(Cordelia Cruises)
The MV Empress is India’s only International cruise.(Cordelia Cruises)

Sarbananda Sonowal, the union minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, said, according to an official statement, "With our rich heritage & culture around our coastal region, the potential of cruise tourism in India is immense." He continued that the launch makes affordable and easy access to world-class cruise services a reality, allowing passengers to experience and savour opulent facilities, entertainment, and magnificent views.

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All you need to know about India's first international cruise

1. The MV Empress will visit three ports in Sri Lanka before returning to Chennai: Hambantota, Trincomalee, and Kankesanturei.

2. The tour packages available here are for two nights, three nights, four nights, and five nights, with variable pricing starting at 86,383 (for two persons for three nights).

3. While casino games are prohibited in India, guests on the cruise ship can play them on board. However, the operators say that it will only be played on international seas, NDTV reported. (READ HERE: How the Indian casinos operate?)

3. The MV Empress service was launched from Chennai's International Cruise Terminal which is at a cost of 17.21 crores. It is the outcome of an agreement struck between Chennai Port and M/S Waterways Leisure Tourism Pvt Ltd during the first Incredible India International Cruise Conference in 2022. (MUST READ: MV Ganga Vilas, world's longest river cruise, to cover 50 tourist spots. See pics)

5. The government intends to build three new international cruise ports by 2024, with the number of cruise ships expected to rise from 208 in 2023 to 500 in 2030 and 1100 by 2047. There are also plans to look into additional ferry routes through India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar.

The number of passengers availing cruise services, the government says, is likely to increase from 9.5 lakhs in 2030 to 45 lakhs in 2047. Thus, it is also working to start Gujarat Pilgrimage tours, Cultural and Scenic Tours, Ayurveda Wellness Tours & Heritage Tourism.

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