3 cruise ships, including ms The World, Phoenix Reisen's Artania, and Ponant's Le Champlain, called at Port Cochin (India) early on Tuesday morning, January 17th, bringing 781 passengers and 860 crew.
The trio berthed at Sagarika, India's first full-fledged international cruise terminal which was commissioned in 2021. A bulk of the cruisers went on shore trips to Kochi city, the Alappuzha backwaters, and popular tourist locales in West Kochi. Most travelers are high-spending senior citizens from abroad.
As of Tuesday, the number of liners that called at Kochi during the fiscal year reached 23 (including 13 domestic cruise ships), exceeding expectations. They brought in 40410 tourists, of which 29878 passengers and 10532 crew.
During the November 2022-May 2023 season, 33 cruise ships were scheduled to call at Kochi, including 20 foreign, official sources revealed.
Foreign cruise ships restarted calling at Indian ports in November 2022. On its part, the Ernakulam DTPC-District Tourism Promotion Council operated a prepaid taxi/auto counter on Tuesday, arranging 400+ vehicles for the cruisers.
"Over the years, cruise vessel operators preferred Kochi to other Indian cruise ports in view of the affable behaviour of all stakeholders. An area measuring three acres in front of the cruise terminal has been developed for parking vehicles [luxury coaches, prepaid autos and taxis to ferry guests who arrive in cruise liners.”
To provide variety in the shopping experience for guests, an experience zone, ‘Kochi Haat’, a replica of ‘Delhi Haat’, is to be set up opposite the cruise terminal, where local artisans/vendors will get a chance to sell handicrafts, Ayurveda and ethnic products, spices, and apparels.
Cochin Port Authority's cruise-tourism-friendly business initiatives led to Kochi emerging as India's most-preferred cruise destination. The port figured prominently in the itinerary of major lines like CCL-Carnival, RCI-Royal Caribbean, and their sister companies.