We can’t help having a romanticised view of life at sea. Writers have woven numerous tales about the subject. And, in the last two decades, exploits of sea adventurers such as Peter Blake have been getting widespread coverage in the international media.
But, whether people dare to live out their fantasies about living on a ship depends on their traditional view of sailing.
In the West, where a day is reserved even for pirates (‘Talk Like A Pirate Day’), people are open to a long sojourn on a cruise liner. In contrast, most sea-loving Indians prefer shorter stays.
Keeping this in mind, Louis Cruises will anchor its cruise liner MV Aquamarine at Cochin harbour, a vantage point for organising short voyages to Colombo and the Maldives. “Other reasons include Kerala’s reputation as a tourist destination, and the encouragement extended by the State Government,” says Vijay Puthran, who heads sales and marketing at Louis Cruises India.
Both the Cochin-Maldives and Cochin-Colombo voyages are three-nighters. A one-nighter cruise on the high seas is aimed at those looking for a quick vacation.
MV Aquamarine, which operates on the Mediterranean waters, will drop anchor at Cochin in the fag-end of November and sail out of the harbour on December 2. When the Indian season ends on April 25, she will resume duties in Europe.
The charge for one night is Rs. 5,000 per person. A child (up to age 14) accompanied by an older person travels free. The package includes fine food, Indian- and European-theme entertainment and luxurious amenities. “We are providing two things close to the Indian heart — cricket and film song and dance. Both will be live — we are introducing on-board cricket, made lively by the use of bowling machines; and e are getting stars from the Hindi and Southern film industries for live shows,” says Puthran.
At Maldives, voyagers can use Louis Cruises’ facility for water sports. Asked about the decision to include Colombo in the company’s business plans, Puthran says the land is conducive and safe for tourism.
Accommodation 525 cabins
Capacity 1,250 passengers
Amenities Three restaurants, three bars, swimming pool, spa, heath club, casinos, video arcade, on-board cricket, live entertainment and duty-free shopping.