Cordelia Cruises Bets Big as Indians Take to the Seas

The governments push to encourage cruise tourism has resulted in Cordelia Cruises betting big on India. The cruise company is also eyeing unique experiences on their cruise travels.

By Sam
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Cordelia Expects More Indians to Take to the Seas

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Domestic cruise company Cordelia Cruises is banking on new opportunities in the industry, backed by the government’s push to develop India's waterways. The company, sailing on calm seas, plans to add two new ships by next year’s end. Cordelia's optimism is backed by an envious occupancy rate of 97 per cent.

Cordelia Exterior

The company is now planing to sail to bigger waters. Jurgen Bailom, head of Cordelia’s parent company, Waterways Leisure Tourism, said the company plans longer cruises to Asian, Australian, and East African destinations in the coming months.

Hindu Businessline quoted Bailom as saying that in fiscal year 2024, Cordelia surpassed 100 sailings. “We offered short cruises twice a week, carrying over 500,000 passengers. This is a massive jump for us. Throughout these sailings, our occupancy rate hovered around 97 per cent for each trip,” he said.

For the 2022-2023 season, India witnessed over 227 cruise ship calls and close to 5 lakh  passengers. Mumbai alone expects 28 international arrivals this season. Over an above this, Cordelia’s domestic ship, the Empress, will make 80 port calls in India during 2023-24, which is nearly double of last year.

For the Indian market, Cordelia is looking at cashing in on new experiences. “Families and individual travellers make up 65 per cent, but we’ve seen a surge in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) segment. We’ve even had requests for on-board weddings and recently hosted a fashion show on-board,” said Bailom

Cordelia Deck

Encouraged by this growth, Cordelia plans to add one new ship by the end of this year , followed by another in 2025. Its strategy is two-fold: increasing frequencies on existing routes, and introducing new domestic and international itineraries.

“Our most popular destinations are Goa, Kochi, and Lakshadweep. Given the strong demand for Lakshadweep, we’ll work with the government to explore additional islands accessible by cruise ship. We’ll also add routes from Mumbai and Kochi to Colombo, Maldives, Dubai and Singapore, along with itineraries from Chennai to Sri Lanka, Visakhapatnam, and Pondicherry. Internationally, we’ll introduce month-long cruises to Australia, Seychelles, and parts of Europe,” he said.

Cordelia Room

River cruise market has been booming globally and is expected to reach $1.71 billion by 2032. The tourism ministry is hopeful that the cruise tourism market would be worth ₹35,000 crore by 2041, accommodating around 40 lakh passengers.

However for companies like Cordelia infrastructure development hold the key. “Unlike international markets where multiple large ships dock at a port, India isn’t there yet. Existing ports require upgrades, and others need to become operational. These ports were originally built for cargo, so passenger-friendly adaptations are necessary, ” Bailom said.

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