Tourists from all over the world visit Goa. But it’s like a weekend trip from Mumbai, or Bombay, as the city was earlier called. Hordes of visitors come to India’s sunshine state from the country’s financial capital almost every weekend, no matter what the time of the year. They take the road, train, and even fly down to Goa, which is just an hour away by flight. Now there is a new way to reach Goa from Mumbai – cruise.
India’s Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced recently the launch of a ferry service between Mumbai and Goa. In fact, the service has already started since the first week of December 2017. Demand is expected to be very high, and so Goa hotels have been asked to construct floating jetties so that the passengers can be transferred to the shore. Goa certainly needs more jetties. Till that time, the existing facilities will be used.
Fully air-conditioned luxury liners are plying between the two places already with capacity to carry between 200 and 300 passengers in each trip. On way, the cruises are stopping at Dighi in Raigad, Dabhol and Jaigad in Ratnagiri, Vijay Durg and Malvan before docking at Panjim in Goa. Passenger ferry services are also being planned.
Gadkari says cruising is going to reduce pollution, besides providing a unique experience to tourists. It’s certainly a sexier way of visiting Goa. The Konkan coast is very pretty, so the passengers are sure to have a great time.
This is, of course, not the first time cruises are running between the two places. There were steamers chugging between Mumbai and Goa in the 1960s. More comfortable vessels from Scandinavia were introduced during the 90s. But the services were stopped. There have been plans to revive the sea link since 2014.
Indians and Cruises
There is huge demand for cruise vacations in India. Hundreds of Indians take a cruise from Singapore and other Asian cities every year. There is river cruising too in the country from Kolkata. One cruise even goes up to Varanasi. And of course, there are cruises between the mainland, from Kolkata, Visakhapatnam and Chennai to Port Blair in Andaman. But these are passenger ships that are decades old. India needs to launch new vessels to replace the old ones.
Luxury Liners Arrive In India
But things are beginning to change. A luxury global liner, such as Star Cruises is offering cruises between Mumbai, Goa, Kerala and Lakshadweep on board SuperStar Libra, SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Aquarius and Star Pisces.
Costa Cruises too is offering a cruise to Maldives from Mumbai through Kochi in Kerala on board the Costa neoClassica that has 654 cabins for 1,700 passengers. Costa is running two cruises – a 7 night cruise, and a shorter 4 night cruise. On board, there is a library, discotheque, casino, theater, ballroom, steam room, Jacuzzi, sauna, gym, swimming pools, treatment rooms, wellness centers, bars, and many dining options. The cruises will run between November and March every year.