Luxury liner calls at Kochi port

KOCHI, OCT. 7. The tourist season in Kochi may be yet to begin. But the luxury liner that visited the port here today ahead of the International Boat Show signalled a hectic tourist inflow in the months to come.

Royal Princess, the flagship of Princess Cruises, berthed at the Ernakulam wharf at 7.30 a.m. today with more than 1,000 foreign tourists on board. The ship was on a transcontinental cruise, said Unni Menon, branch head of Travel Corporation India Pvt. Ltd., the agency which handled the liner and its tourists here.

About 800 of the passengers visited various points in the city. While a group went on a heritage excursion, another chose to walk down the historical alleys of Fort Kochi. A cultural show of kalaripayattu and kathakali was also organised for the visitors.

The ship arrived here from Mumbai. As many as 135 of the passengers who had got off at Mumbai to visit Agra rejoined the main team here. They were brought from Delhi on a chartered flight.

Royal Princess, a 45,000-tonne liner with 1,200 passenger capacity, left for Port Klang in Malaysia at 1 p.m. The vessel is likely to visit Kochi again in November on its return journey.

Christened by Princess Diana, Royal Princess is still considered one of the most beautiful ships afloat. When floated in 1984, this was the most expensive ship ever built.

Royal Princess has set a new standard in luxury cruising with its sleek silhouette and terraced observation decks both fore and aft.