Louis Cruises India becomes first cruise company to lease island in Maldives

Monday, 16 November 2009 17:59

Louis Cruises India, (LCI) a subsidiary of Louis Cruise Lines part of Louis Group has leased Kuda Bandos Island in Maldives to berth its luxury cruise ship, M Aquamarine, which will commence operations from Kochi on December 2, 2009, with itineraries of two nights/three days to Maldives and Sri Lanka. The leasing of the island (in a strategic partnership with Maldives Tourism Board) is the first of its kind by a cruise company in Maldives and Louis Group plans to develop a resort on the Island in near future.


While in Maldives, passengers will have a choice of either opting for Male tour or night fishing, resort trip and beach party at Kuda Bandos Island. LCI is currently contemplating whether to charge an additional fee for passengers visiting the Island. According to Oneil Khosa, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Louis Cruises India, the response to MV Aquamarine from the Indian market for this season (December to April 2010) has been huge and they are considering bringing in the ship in October 2010 for the next season. MV Aquamarine setting sail from Kochi is slated to provide a huge boost to the cruise industry in Kerala, and Kerala Tourism is promoting and marketing the segment earnestly. At the recently concluded World Travel Market in London, Kerala Tourism was actively promoting and marketing the itineraries of MV Aquamarine at its stall.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for five years between Louis Cruise India and Kerala Tourism in second week of September 2009 with the common goal to market and promote Cruise Tourism out of Kochi. The MoU was signed between M Sivasankar, Director, Kerala Tourism and Oneil Khosa, Managing Director, Louis Cruises India in the presence of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Minister for Home, Vigilance and Tourism, Kerala and N Ramachandran, Chairman, Cochin Port Trust, in Trivandrum. “With Louis Cruise Lines starting to sail from Kochi, this will attract a lot of inbound visitors to take this up as an add on experience and will further boost the cruise industry of India. The MoU will allow expanded market penetration to promote the product,” stated Dr Venu V, Secretary, Kerala Tourism. He further added, “Exotic voyages from Kochi, is a product to offer to the Indian market, which is craving for new experiences. Louis Cruises India is the only company that will be offering cruises from Kochi targeted at the Indian market.”

Commenting on the leasing of Kuda Bandos Island Khosa said, “We are perhaps the first ones to lease out an island in Maldives for our passengers. Maldives has always been an upscale destination and with the cruise sailing there, it will open up the destination to many Indian travellers.” In order to distribute the cruise itineraries among potential Indian travellers, the company has appointed six Preferred Sales Agents (PSAs) in the Indian market. The six PSA agents include: SOTC, Guidelines Travels Pvt. Ltd., Travel Tours Pvt. Ltd, Great India Tour Company (GITC) and Thomas Cook, Griffon Tours and Travel Pvt. Ltd. LCI also has long term strategy for the Indian market and is also exploring different options to introduce round the year cruising itineraries.

MV Aquamarine hosts 525 cabins with a maximum capacity of 1,250 passengers along with three restaurants, swimming pool, three bars and video arcade. “The product is fine tuned keeping in mind the Indian travellers and their taste, for instance guests will be able to play cricket on board using bowling machines,” mentioned Khosa. He further added, “Indians are generally not inclined towards long sailing and a two-three day package is considered ideal. The value for money packages will offer free sailing for children up to 14 years and will include Indian and European theme entertainment, as well as duty free shopping, spas, casinos and bars, with lots of luxury amenities.”

travelbizmonitor.com

Related news:

Waves of luxury, take Kochi - Maldives cruise on MV Aquamarine

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