The India-based (one-ship) operator will not be emerging from a months-long, COVID-caused halt to voyages, according to multiple news media sources in India. Creditors have had the company’s only vessel - the 1590-passenger ship MS Karnika, arrested in Port Mumbai through India’s Admiralty Court.
The ship's skeleton crew that had been onboard since Karnika halted cruises in March 2020 posted on Twitter that they had been left without a resupply of food, fuel, and had not been paid in months.
In 2019, Jalesh Cruises started to offer regularly scheduled voyages from India, billing itself as the first premium line in the region. MS Karnika (fka Crown Princess) was previously operated by Princess and also had sailed for P&O Australia (as Pacific Jewel) and other lines, including AIDA (as AIDAblu).
Jalesh Cruises India is the first Asian cruise shipping company to permanently shut down during the pandemic. It reportedly has been in financial trouble for at least several months. This week, Jalesh had appealed to Indian authorities for help providing for the crew members that remained onboard MS Karnika.
The company offered roundtrips from Indian homeports like Goa (Mormugao) and Mumbai to destinations in India and Sri Lanka, in addition to Middle East cruises.
Five other cruise companies (four in Europe and one in the USA) have announced in recent months they are going out of business or filing for bankruptcy due to financial troubles related to the COVID crisis. Like Jalesh, most are small cruise lines, but the list also includes Cruise & Maritime Voyages/CMV - the UK's 2nd-largest cruise brand.