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Leading Global Cruise Players Eager to Sail into Indian Waters

The success of MV Ganga Vilas and other Indian river cruises has attracted global cruise companies to set their sights on India. This success has also motivated Indian entities to consider international routes. Two major global players are currently investigating cruise opportunities along India’s waterways, engaging in discussions with the Ministry of Shipping, Ports, and Waterways (MoPSW) regarding potential routes.

According to an official monitoring these developments, international giants like MSC Cruises, known for Mediterranean voyages, and Royal Caribbean, active in regions like Singapore and Thailand, are aiming to enter the Indian market.

The proposed routes encompass journeys such as Mumbai-Goa, Mumbai-Lakshadweep, Mumbai-Daman & Diu, and Chennai-Sri Lanka, among others. The majority of these routes are centered around Mumbai as the primary hub.

“There are global players that are eyeing operations along the west coast routes and to Sri Lanka. Compared to the east coast, where the sea and waters are relatively rough, the western waters are calmer and hence more popular,” said the official . India is also exploring cruise or waterways travel along India-Bangladesh protocol routes.

The global river cruises market is anticipated to reach approximately $1.71 billion in revenues by 2032, up from $1.45 billion in 2022, reflecting a 2% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2022 and 2032.

In the current landscape, existing cruises continue to thrive. Ministry officials note that MV Ganga Vilas is fully booked until March, with its second journey anticipated soon. Cordelia Cruises has also experienced substantial growth, navigating through ports in Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, Lakshadweep, Diu, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, and three destinations in Sri Lanka—Hambantota, Trincomalee, and Jaffna. Total sailings have exceeded 200, accommodating over 400,000 passengers.

Italian cruise liner Costa has been maintaining a steady course. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, notes an initial surge post Cordelia’s launch, maintaining sustained momentum at a 100% month-on-month rate throughout the year.

The Tourism Ministry forecasts the cruise tourism market to reach a value of INR 35,500 crore by 2041, hosting a passenger count of 4 million. (Source The Business Line)

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