All aboard!

If you have had enough of the mountains, it’s time to explore the sea and what better way to do that but jump on to a luxury cruise liner?

Manpriya Singh 

Amidst the week-old news of Victoria’s Harbour Authority welcoming its eight-millionth cruise ship passenger to their city, there is definitely an explosion in interest when it comes to cruising.  

“And also the fact that India has the 3rd longest coastline in the world. So, we have a natural affinity towards the sea,” opines Nalini Gupta, head of  a cruise company before sharing how they witnessed a huge jump in the number of Indian passengers after starting a Mumbai to Maldives Cruise in 2016. Followed by another popular route—Cochin to Maldives. 

Destination does matter

Though cruising is more oriented towards the experience of the journey, several cruise liners throw in the attraction of docking at interesting ports.  Adds Nalini, “Presently most Indians cruise to Singapore. Indians, in fact, account for 1 per cent of Singapore’s largest source markets for cruising. However, in the recent past seven nights sailings in the Mediterranean region have become very popular.” 

Canal or ocean cruise? 

Ocean, river or canal cruise? Take your pick. Once the basic check list of Indian food and also value for money (even if it’s luxury cruise liners) have been met with, there comes the option of which sort of water body do you want to go sailing in.  “On an average over 1,80,000 Indians travel on a cruise holiday every year,” Karan Anand, head, Relationships of a leading travel agency points to a few statistics. 

Second-time cruisers 

For those who have done short cruises already, “travel to the Caribbean or Europe to explore a wide range of cruise options. Ports in Bahamas and Venice are among the most popular with this segment. These cruises begin at seven-nights and go up to 14-nights,” adds Karan. North Indians are known to prefer holidaying in Goa or Kerala because of the access to beaches, the preference for cruise is just an extension of wanting to get away from land-locked states. 

He adds, “We have seen demand for cruise rise to over 30 per cent in North India compared to the national average of 18-20 per cent.” Considering that cruise figures in the bucket-list of so many millennials, in times to come, it’s going to get much more popular than it has ever been. 


Cruise on celluloid

Titanic

Far more than spectacular pictorials of grand cruises, it’s the movies that make you want to go sailing. Any mention of cruise on celluloid has got to start with Titanic. A great cruise movie of all time and every generation. Even though it finally sinks, that doesn’t stop any of us from taking the voyeuristic, vicarious pleasure of hopping onto the giant grand ship.  

Dil Dhadakne Do

Closer home there’s ace director Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do. A film shot primarily on a luxury cruise liner sailing across European shores is about an uber elite couple who invites friends and family for a 10-day cruise to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. That’s when the drama unfolds and across the different parts of the cruise liner. 

Bitter Moon

One of the reasons why Roman Polanski’s thriller makes it to cruise movies not because the suspense  unfold aboard a cruise but also because the couple starring Hugh Grant and Kristen Scott Thomas are travelling to India. 

The Parent Trap

Shot equally on land, but on the cruise is where the drama unfolds. American winery owner Nicholas “Nick” Parker and British wedding gown designer Elizabeth “Liz” James meet, fall in love, and get married on the Queen Elizabeth 2. 

manpriya@tribunemail.com 

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