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Sarbananda Sonowal Set to Flag Off Costa Serena: A Pioneering Moment for India’s Cruise Industry

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Mumbai, India : In a significant milestone for India’s burgeoning cruise industry, Sarbananda Sonowal, the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, is poised to launch the domestic sailing of the first International Cruise Liner ‘Costa Serena’ in Mumbai on Friday 03 November 2023. This marks a momentous step in promoting domestic tourism, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative, encouraging middle-class travelers to explore their own country.
India’s aim to set sail with 50 million cruise passengers by 2047 was at the forefront of discussions during the recent Global Maritime India Summit 2023, organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways. This ambitious goal seems well within reach, given India’s immense potential in the cruising sector.
Costa Cruises is all set to host approximately 45,000 passengers during its next two months of voyages. These travelers would typically have booked international cruises, making it an exceptional opportunity for Indians to experience international cruising within their home waters.
Sarbananda Sonowal Set to Flag Off Costa Serena A Pioneering Moment for India's Cruise Industry Maritime News India

Costa Serena: Past and Present

Costa Serena, operated by Costa Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc, first sailed into India’s waters back in 2009. Quickly becoming a favorite among cruisers, it offered diverse itineraries, including trips to Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, and Chennai.
In 2012, Costa Cruises temporarily suspended its Indian operations due to a decrease in demand. The company, however, never lost sight of the Indian market and has finally made a comeback this year with a concrete plan to reignite the Indian cruise industry.

The Benefits of Costa Serena

Costa Serena offered passengers a range of advantages, including a variety of itineraries to India’s most popular tourist destinations, a diverse selection of accommodations, dining options spanning international cuisine and Indian specialties, a wide array of entertainment choices, and various recreational facilities.

Past Challenges and the Road Ahead

The earlier suspension of Costa Serena’s operations in India was influenced by several factors. The Indian cruise market was relatively underdeveloped, with limited awareness among Indian consumers, high cruise costs, and restrictive government regulations. Overcoming these challenges, including the high cost of cruising, raising consumer awareness, and addressing regulatory concerns, will be imperative for Costa Cruises as it resumes its operations in India.
In summary, the return of Costa Serena to India is a testament to the growing popularity of cruising among Indian travelers, coupled with the Indian government’s commitment to developing cruise infrastructure and relaxing some regulatory restrictions. While the challenges are not to be underestimated, this milestone is undoubtedly a promising one for the Indian cruise industry.

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