AZAMARA Club Cruise yesterday kicked off its first India cruise this season with the Azamara Quest embarking on the 13-night Spice Route Voyage from Mumbai.
It will pass through Goa, Kochi, Maldives, Colombo, Galle and Chennai.
Through the cruise line’s AzAmazing Evenings destination immersion programme, guests will be able to explore a marketplace featuring tea and toddy shops, an astrologer, a potter, a cane weaver and a mehendi (hand-art) artist in Kochi. They will also witness performances of traditional Kerala dance forms, mohiniyattam and kalaripayattu.
“The cruise will allow passengers an opportunity to soak in the culture of South Asia and explore tropical beaches, colonial outposts and a wealth of world heritage sites,” said Ratna Chadha, chief executive of Tirun Travel Marketing, the exclusive India representative for Azamara Club Cruises.
In Azamara Quest’s second run starting December 9, the cruise line will set sail from Chennai for another 13-night voyage, this time crossing the Bay of Bengal to the Andaman Islands, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
"There is a good demand for cruise holidays to shorthaul destinations like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. However, cruise holidays still form a small part of the Indian outbound market,” said Guldeep Singh Sahni, managing director, Weldon Tours & Travels.
“Cruise tourism in India will grow in a big way if a cruise liner can deploy a ship locally. For this, port infrastructure needs to be developed.”
* This article originally stated that the sailings are the first ever from India, as advised by the company's India representative. This was incorrect and has been edited for accuracy.