Kochi: Finally, luxury cruise liner 'Nefertiti' is all set to sail in the Arabian waters.
The Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) has started group bookings with the ship expected to get 'Bar licence' in two weeks. The 200-seat vessel is the only one of its kind in the state with its sea-going properties, auditorium, banquet hall, lounge bar, 3D theatre, restaurant, sun deck and children's play area among others.
"Initially, we're accepting only group bookings. The ticket charge for full booking for 180 members will start from Rs 4.5 lakh with the sea sailing alone lasting for a minimum of six hours. It can be rented out for business meetings, marriage functions and hosting parties among others," said a top KSINC official.
Though the vessel was brought here from Goa dockyard in September, it couldn't be deployed due to delay in getting the bar licence and lack of an exclusive jetty to anchor.
"Now the Kerala governmenthas issued the necessary order after amending the Abkari Act. We need to file a fresh application for the bar licence and the entire process is expected to be completed in two weeks," the official said. The Port Trust has also allotted space near the Customs Jetty and the KSINC has started work of a new jetty.
The KSINC authorities are attempting to start the services at the earliest as they incur heavy expense by idling the ship. "Currently, it's anchored at Ernakulam wharf of the Port Trust. Since the ship is registered under the Merchant Shipping Act, it should be manned round-the-clock and other daily maintenance should be done. We suffer nearly Rs 15 lakh loss a month on this account," he said. 'Nefertiti,' named after an Egyptian queen and wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten during the 14th century BC, means beautiful companion.
"The ship can be used for sea voyages ranging from two to 12 hours. The restaurant will be able to accommodate 90 persons and the vessel will have a play area for children. It will also have a 100-seater 3D theatre," the official said.