Wanna cruise cosy? Board super luxury

Super luxury cruises have emerged as the latest fad on the Indian tourism circuit.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2005 20:08 IST

As the business industry leaves a dark shadow on the vast coastline, complete with coral reefs and historical landmarks, super luxury cruises have emerged as the latest fad on the Indian tourism circuit.

With the Indian tourism sector earning billions of rupees annually, the super luxury cruises have the potential to rake in more revenue with their competitively attractive offers to select clientele.

Industry leaders like Naresh Rawal believe cruise tourism has a huge potential.

"The cruise tourism is definitely on a rise, we have seen our number growing over the years and with ships coming in India. It should open up gates. I would say that it's a kind of new holiday vacation servicing," claims Rawal, a senior marketing manager with Star Cruise, India.

Recently Star Cruise, a leading cruise line in the Asia-Pacific region launched new Superstar Libra sailings from Mumbai to Goa, the coastal State, known for its sunny beaches.

Rawal adds that they have devised a special market strategy through which they target practically all sections of the Indian society - middle class to higher middle class to higher ups.

"We target various segments. We focus on family segments and others depending on the marketing strategy and the way we expect the strategy to come into play. We have tried to Indianise or get Indian aspects into the ship," says Rawal.

Star Cruise's Superstar Virgo luxury ship has a restaurant, which serves Indian food and vegetarian courses. The Central Government too is doing its bit to promote cruise development in the country by deciding to upgrade various terminals in the country.

The cabotage laws, too, have been eased for the next five years in a move to recognise it as a special segment.

"It has been a fabulous experience. It's one in a lifetime experience. In fact all of us were planning to go to Singapore for the same, but we are lucky to get everything here and that saved us from the trouble of travelling all the way. And it is amazing, it's unbelievable, it has to be seen to be believed," says Gurmeet Singh, a tourist on superstar Libra.

According to an estimate, around 50,000 Indians go cruising every year, both in Indian waters and overseas.

First Published: Dec 01, 2005 15:55 IST