Cruises - dreams on the sea

Published: Destination, Horizon, The Assam Tribune

The Monday morning corporate meeting, which I usually skip or yawn my way through, turned out to be a pleasant surprise. A Norwegian Cruise Company, with an eye on outbound tours from India, came to advertise their product. The presentation so enamoured me that I have sworn to go on one in my lifetime, preferably to Antarctica or the Mediterranean. The price tags attached (more than a lakh, each), got me surfing the more plausible (read ‘affordable’) options in India.

Away from the chafing grind of corporate life, the blazing horns and the traffic jams, the need to be reaching somewhere, doing something – come abroad a weeklong vacation on the sea, with the azure sky, the jingle of waves and sea-gulls, to give you company. The fantasy feels complete with a loved one right beside you, and whether you are honeymooners or bonded in matrimony for years, such a vacation is bound to be your romantic best. Infact, these luxury vessels are designed keeping family and corporate vacations in mind.

In India, the Star Cruises is the only private luxury cruise liner that hosts enticing cruise vacations in the Arabian sea, hemming the shores of Mumbai, Goa and Lakshadweep. The fleet, called Super Star Libra, is made of vessels, each a 216 m (713 ft) long and a mini city of sorts, on sail. It has Indian, Chinese and Continental restaurants, lounge bars, poolside bars, ice-cream parlours to give your gastronomic demands a variety and constant replenishment. There is an outdoor swimming pool, outdoor golf driving range, Jacuzzi, basketball court and jogging track to keep your muscles waxed. Add to it the Deluxe and Executive Rooms with view of the ocean, discotheque, live music and performances at lounges, onboard shopping arcade, photo gallery, cyber cafĂ©, beauty salon, children’s playrooms to fill up those hours when you are not staring into the deep blue sea or into each other’s eyes.

Entire families, bachelor groups and the likes, are thus, left with options more than many. Lately, Corporate Houses are beginning to reckon it as a veritable haven for Conferences and team-building vacations.

I found these two cruises affordable and lip-smacking – the 4 Days/3 Nights Lakshadweep and Goa cruise rated between Rs. 17,000-Rs. 65,000 and the 3 Days/2 Nights Goa and Mumbai rated between Rs.12,000-Rs.43,000. These rates include breakfast and two meals rates, per person and they vary according to the type of cabins booked. Besides, there is an extra surcharge of Rs. 2800 during festivals (Diwali, Christmas, New Year, Summer holidays). It is recommended that you book your seats through some well-known and trusted travel agent so that you can have special rates and discounts. The 4 Nights Cochin-Goa Cruise mapping Mumbai, Cochin, Goa, Mumbai, also sounded interesting. But I could not find the rates. Most of them are either Sunday or Saturday departure, ideal for weekends.

The other destinations where Star Cruises host cruise vacations are Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, China, Taiwan, Honk Kong, Cambodia, Australia and Indonesia. The Superstar Libra also has a 2 days, 3 days and 5 days cruise from Mumbai, which starts from Singapore after calling at Phuket in Thailand, Chennai and Colombo on the way. There are myriad International Luxury Cruise liners that sail through some of the most exotic cities of the world like Rome, Florence, Venice, Miami, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne and many more. For you to have a sneak peek at the International cruising scenario, I picked some rates from one of the tour Operators. They have 4 Nights Carribbean Cruises starting from $189, 4 Nights Mexico Cruise starting from $199, 7 Nights Europe Cruise from $529. These were average rates per person and were inclusive of accommodation, all meals, soft drinks and selected on board activities. Bookings, however, have to be made well in advance and the rates seemingly vary according to availability and seasons.

The Indian Government also has its cruising vessels, like the one between Kolkata and Andaman & Nicober Islands. But, when you are buying yourself a ‘dream’, splurging on a luxury vessel is truly worth it! I am already ‘dreaming’ and I promise to come back and eulogize every bit of it here in my little space of Horizon. I am sure one article would not suffice and the To-be-Continued’s will never seem to end!

Till next time, keep planning vacations! Don’t watch Saturdays roll into Sundays and Mondays, live your weekends!


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