EU's top cruise firm Costa floats into India, to sail from Mumbai on Dec 1
"We are delighted to bring cruising to Indians at their doorstep. For many travellers, the holiday often starts after some sort of a long journey. Now like never before, Indians will have the opportunity to start holidaying right from their doorstep - from India's largest metropolis Mumbai," Costa Group Asia President Buhdy Bok told reporters here.
Costa neoClassica, a luxury cruise ship operated by the Italian company, will perform a series of weekly sailings from December 16, 2016 to March 18, 2017. The ship, which can accommodate 1,680 passengers and 590 crew members, will begin sailing from Mumbai and go to enchanting destinations within India like Goa and Kochi and also to popular holiday hotspots the Maldives and Colombo.
Bok said the giant vessel, which has 654 cabins, including sea view ones, and suites with private balconies, will undertake seven sailings from December to March.The main target customers of Costa Cruises in India are affluent people of over 30 years, honeymooners, meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) groups and wedding gatherings, Bok said.
On expanding Costa Cruises from India, he said, "We will review the first season and the response on booking before taking a call on expansion. However, we are keen to expand our fly cruises for the Indian audiences."
Costa Cruises Head of India operations Nalini Gupta said initially the company will target audiences from the bigger cities. Going forward, it would like to enter the tier II and III cities, where there is a sizable affluent audience as well.
"The fact that Indians can now embark directly from Mumbai, not only makes the process hassle-free and visa-free, but also saves time and cost for travellers," she said.
The Italian company, part of Carnival Corporation, has a total of 15 ships in service offering cruise vacations through 137 different itineraries, 261 destinations and 60 embarkation ports.