Cruise season begins at NMP

Passengers from cruise vessel Aida Vita being greeted by folk artistes, at cruise lounge of New Mangalore Port in Mangaluru on Monday. DH Photo

With the commencing of cruise season, 'Aida Vita' from Panama became the first luxury cruise ship to berth at New Mangalore Port (NMP) on Monday.

There were 1,154 passengers and 407 crew on-board the cruise ship. The port authorities and agents welcomed the passengers. Passengers at the cruise lounge were welcomed by traditional Yakshagana, 'Pili Vesha', 'Kangeelu' and colourful doll artistes.

New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) Chairman A V Ramana said 24 cruise vessels had confirmed their visit to NMP and a few more were in the pipeline. In previous fiscal, 26 cruise vessels had sailed into the port.  In 2017, a total of 22 cruise vessels with 24,258 passengers had visited the port.

About 400 to 500 passengers visited tourist destinations in the surrounding areas, including Kudroli Gokarnanatha Temple and cashew factory at  Baikampady. Normally, cruise season begins in the month of November and extends up to March. More cruises arrive in December and January, he added.

NMPT with an objective of facilitating a hassle-free movement of cruise passengers, plans to create a dedicated road and a new gate within the port premises. The plan envisages connecting the dedicated road from the cruise lounge to the proposed new gate to manage cruise traffic.

With this, the cruise passengers will not mix with the port traffic and will be a completely different experience for the visiting tourists. A detailed report on the proposal is awaited. The entrance gate will reflect the culture of Karnataka, he said.

The improved services to the passengers include re-furbished cruise terminal with additional facilities such as free Wi-Fi, improved shopping arcade and information kiosk.

Sera, a passenger from Germany, said  she was happy to be in India and love the culture of the land. The 21-day cruise journey is to visit South Asian countries.

"We started from Middle East and reached Goa on Sunday. We had a wonderful experience at Goa. From Mangaluru, we are moving to Kochi, later to Maldives.”

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