Costa Cruises will call its home port of Costa Serena in Mumbai from November 4th and will add a new destination, Lakshadweep, to its route network to celebrate its 75th anniversary. The ship will sail from Mumbai to the high seas, Goa and Lakshadweep.
Sarbandana Sonowal, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, along with Roberto Alberti, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Costa Cruises; Francesco Raffa, Director Asia Region & Growth Markets, Costa Cruises; Alessandro De Masi, Consul General of Italy in Mumbai; Nalini Gupta, Lotus Aero Enterprises, Costa Cruises’ GSA and other senior officials made the announcement at an event in Mumbai today.
Sonowal said: “India has successfully launched the world’s longest river cruise, starting in Benaras, traversing 27 riverbanks and reaching Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh. On this trip, 32 Swiss nationals landed at 50 airports from India. For the second season, we see the interest of many European tourists. This clearly shows what opportunities India offers for coastal, ocean and river cruises. With Costa departing from Mumbai, it will only further strengthen India-Italy bilateral ties. The current infrastructure we have built is state of the art and technologically advanced with a smooth immigration process. We continue to improve the required distances to make cruising travel even easier. ”
Pledged the full support of the Government of India, Sonowal said, “We offer full assistance to cruise ships in porting their ships to Indian ports.” We stand ready to support the further development of our port infrastructure to accommodate large cruise ships. It is a moment of pride for us that Costa is coming back to offer domestic cruises to Indian travelers after its 150th anniversary of the Port of Mumbai.”
He urged Costa Cruises to review cruises from India year-round, depending on weather conditions, and to explore India’s east coast for opportunities.
Costa Serena offers space for 3,780 passengers on 14 decks and has 10 restaurants. For domestic voyages, passengers need their Aadhar card to board the ship. Departures start on November 4th and last until January 1st.
Alberti said: “We have a strong and lasting bond with this wonderful country: we have traveled in India on our ships in the past and many of our colleagues on board are from India.” We select and recruit them through special training schools right in the country. Providing our Indian guests with a unique holiday experience aboard the Costa Serena is very important to us and we very much look forward to starting operations in November. The Costa Serena will be the largest cruise ship offering domestic routes in India. We hope to match pre-pandemic passenger numbers from India with this voyage.”
Gupta is happy Costa is back on the shores of India after a three-year hiatus. “I hope the 2023 cruise will attract more interest from the Indian market as the appetite for cruising has only grown.”