Cordelia Cruises India to purchase at least 3 ships by 2025 (US$ 1 billion investment)

   June 2, 2022 ,   Cruise Industry

The India-based company Cordelia Cruises announced it was planning to pump in excess of US$ 1 billion by 2025 for acquiring at least 3 cruise ships as the company aims to target the domestic market, which has the world's 3rd-largest coastline of 7500 km.

Cordelia brand's bullish outlook of is in line with the projection of the government of a 10-fold growth for the industry over the next decade.

According to Jurgen Bailom (Waterways Leisure Tourism's CEO), India would do extremely well in the cruise shipping sector. Bailom said he was confident that in the next 5-7 years India would be one of the top 5 cruise destinations of the world, similar to China 5 years ago.

"We have aggressive expansion plans. We want to add at least three cruise vessels by 2025 that could cost over USD 1 billion."  

Cordelia Cruises is owned by Waterways Leisure Tourism (Dream Hotel Group's subsidiary) and controlled by the Indian American hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal.

Asked about financing the expansion, Bailom added the Indian banking system didn't have enough experience in vessel financing but there were "specialist financiers" for cruise liners.

Bailom said they were a proud Indian company and would remain focused on domestic guests. After the COVID lockdown, from September 2021 and now, they already had 1.15-1.18 lakh guests which was a good response.

India aims to increase cruise shipping traffic from 0.4M at present to 4M. The economic potential of cruising is expected to go up from US$ 110M to US$ 5.5BN in the years to come.

Port of Kolkata (Calcutta, India)

In late December 2020, the India-based company Waterways Leisure Tourism Pvt Ltd (Private Limited) announced the purchase of Empress OTS as well as the start of its fully-owned new brand "Cordelia Cruises".

The 1990-built (as "Nordic Empress") cruise ship Empress Of The Seas was a RCG-Royal Caribbean Group-owned vessel previously operated by Pullmantur ( as "Pullmantur Empress"/2008-2016). The liner is currently named "MS Empress" (dubbed "Cordelia Empress") and operated by the 2021-startup Cordelia Cruises India.

In mid-December 2020, RCG sold the ships Empress OTS (30-years-old) and Majesty OTS (28-years-old). A total of 40x Empress OTS cruises (itineraries scheduled between March 6, 2021, and April 16, 2022) were canceled.

Cordelia Empress cruise ship

Empress OTS' canceled 2021-2022 program included voyages in the Eastern-Western Caribbean (7-day roundtrips from PortMiami / March 6 through April 25, 2021), roundtrips from NYC New York to Bermuda (April 5 - August 9, 2021), four 7-day Canada and New England cruises (NYC roundtrips, May 24, June 21, July 19, Aug 16, 2021), 10-11-day Canadian cruises out of Montreal (September 2 - October 4, 2021) and the rest were 7-day Southern Caribbean cruises from homeport San Juan Puerto Rico (November 6, 2021, through April 16, 2022).