Aimed at contributing to India’s cruise tourism, Zen Cruises, a company promoted by Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra’s family office, has announced plans to start cruise services on India’s coastline starting April 17.
Karnika, the first ship under the Jalesh brand, with a capacity to take 1,900-2,000 people on board, will sail from Mumbai to Goa, to begin with.
Mumbai home port
The company, which will operate its services under the Jalesh Cruises brand, has decided to make Mumbai its home port and the ships will be registered in India, thus making it the first India flagged cruise line.
“Jalesh Cruises – meaning ‘Lord of Water’ – is designed to offer a rich experience of Indian culture, hospitality and food to domestic and international travelers,” the company said. In the first year, the cruise line will offer 137 cruises and cater to about 2,50,000 guests and add another vessel by next year. Since Mumbai will be the home port, the Mumbai Port will benefit the most.
“Mumbai Port is converting into a water transport and sea tourism hub. With Zen Cruises making Mumbai its home port, it will contribute a lot to our overall plans. We provided all support. What we had planned to achieve in three to four years, we will achieve it in less than two years,” said Sanjay Bhatia, chairman, Mumbai Port Trust. The state government has assured all support to the new cruise line as it would be calling in multiple ports in the State.
“I am confident that Jalesh will be a gamechanger and beneficial for Maharashtra. We will provide all necessary infrastructure at all the ports they will be calling in the State,” said Ashish Kumar Singh, principal secretary, Maharashtra.
With a multitude of on-board offerings, Jalesh Cruises will be targeting vacationers, corporates, wedding planners and event organisers to offer new experiences customised for the Indian audience.
Jurgen Bailom, president and CEO, Zen Cruises Pvt. Ltd., said, “Zen Cruises is pioneering cruise holidays for Indian passengers in both domestic and international waters. It is an Indian company and will offer all Indian.”
“ Zen Cruises wants to grow the cruise market as a whole in India. Our aim is to touch, delight and fulfil the lives of a million Indians and make them travel worldwide by 2025,” he said.
To give a wholesome experience of vacation to cruise passengers, Jalesh Cruises will also offer on-shore destinations and excursions across Indian port cities including Chennai, Kochi, Mormugoa, Mumbai and Vizag, and later to international locations including Abu Dhabi, Colombo, Dubai, Muscat, Penang, Ras Al Khaimah and Singapore.
The company has initiated bookings for its 2019 itineraries, on its website.