Sarbananda Sonowal flags off Costa Serena’s maiden domestic operations from Mumbai
The maiden domestic sailing of the Costa Serena, an international cruise ship, was officially launched in Mumbai by Sarbananda Sonowal, the Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways.
Starting today until 11 January 2023 Costa Serena is set to home port in Mumbai operating on a newly created program of 2,3,5 nights itineraries from Mumbai and Kochi, Goa and the beautiful Island of Agatti in Lakshadweep.
Besides the Minister, T K Ramachandran, Secretary, MoPSW, Francesco Raffa, Director Asia Region & Growth Markets, Costa Cruises, Nalini Gupta, Lotus Aero Enterprises, GSA of Costa Cruises, and other senior Officials attended the on-board event.
Speaking on the Occasion, Sonowal, said, “We are offering our full support to the cruise line to home port their ships at Indian ports. We are ready to support further development of our port infrastructure to accommodate large cruise ships. It is a moment of pride for us that when the Mumbai Port completes 150 years, we have Costa coming back to offer domestic cruising options to Indian travellers.”
“There are guaranteed berths to cruise ships, removal of ousting charges, concessional uniform single rate for all major ports, volume discounts in cruise tariff up to 30 per cent for domestic cruise ships, waiver of cabotage for foreign cruise vessels, uniform standard operating procedures for customs, immigrations, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), ports, upgradation and modernisation of cruise terminals with enhanced passenger facilities,” he said.
Raffa in his speech said, “We are extremely happy to sail again in India where we’ve been operating since 2016. We are bringing to our Indian guests authentic Italian hospitality with a local personalization in terms of food and entertainment. India is an important market for Costa, both for our established Fly&Cruise programs to Dubai and the Mediterranean and our newly introduced local operations sailing domestically. We are grateful to the Indian government for the efforts to support the domestic tourism and on infrastructures development. India is working to develop the cruise industry and we are excited to sail together towards the vision of the Indian government.”
Costa Serena has a total of 1500 cabins, 505 of which have private balconies, and 14 passenger decks. To make the most of their cruise on board, guests can choose from a wellness centre and a gym with a sea view, a beauty salon, a theatre, restaurants serving Indian and international cuisine, bars, 4 swimming pools, 2 of which have self-propelled glass roofs, a shopping area, and a kids’ club for children and teenagers. Costa Serena sailings in India are ideal for both families and couples. The cruises are also a great option for wedding ceremonies, groups, and corporate incentive travel, thanks to the ship being able to offer reserved areas and services.
“I am happy that Costa is back to the Indian shores with dedicated domestic itineraries after a temporary pause. We are looking forward to a great season ahead. With Costa there will be the opportunity of easily accessible cruises with just their Aadhaar card. It will give Indian guests the opportunity to discover the country’s most beautiful locations from a unique point of view. Indians will be able to easily access an experience of vacationing right from home without the hassle of visas, and flights while still getting that international holiday experience with the Indian touch,” said Gupta.