Kochi: Soon you could enjoy high seas cruises from Kochi port to popular tourist destinations like Lakshadweep or Maldives.
Following the success of ‘Nefertiti’, the first sea-going luxury cruise liner in the state rolled out by the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC), the state agency is now eyeing the role of a small-time cruise operator.
"We’re exploring the possibility of conducting cruise trips to tourist destinations like Lakshadweep and Maldives. We’re now getting a lot of enquiries after the success of ‘Nefertiti. The project will be soon taken up at the government level as it requires a set of permissions from various authorities," Prashant Nair, KSINC Managing Director, told DC.
However, the agency won’t be investing in a new cruise ship and would be looking to hire vessels to conduct the services.
"We’re looking at the same business model as that employed by MNCs ‘Uber’ or ‘Oyo’, who plays the role of facilitator rather than owning assets, to generate more revenue. Also Nefertiti is not a long-haul ship and is modelled for conducting events in the waters," the official said.
Meanwhile, the authorities will deploy ‘Nefertiti’ -- the 200-seat vessel featuring lounge bar, auditorium, banquet hall, 3D theatre, restaurant, sun deck and children’s play area among others, in Kozhikode, to cater to demands from the Malabar side.
"The vessel is temporarily withdrawn from service with the monsoon ringing in. We’ll be taking it to Kozhikode once the rainy season is over to cater to demands of the Malabar region," the official said.
The cruise ship will be bestowed with ISO certificate for ‘Quality of Service’ by this month end. The KSINC has started a call centre and online booking facility by tying up with the HDFC Bank.
"We’ve also started a special cell for answering queries and promoting services through the social media," Prasanth Nair said.
While an individual is charged Rs 3,000, group booking (maximum 180 people) will start at Rs 4.5 lakh for sea voyages ranging from six to eight hours.