Being one of the most successful cruise-liner to be home ported out of Mumbai, Costa Cruises has announced the fourth season of scheduled cruising out of Mumbai. This November, the cruise-liner is set to deploy Costa Victoria, a 2300 passenger capacity ship. “We are the only international cruiseliner to be returning for an India deployment for the fourth Season. In November 2019, we will be deploying Costa Victoria, a 2300 passenger capacity ship and bigger than Costa neoRiviera & Costa neoClassicas,” Nalini Gupta, Head, Costa Cruise India, informed and added that Costa Cruises witnessed a YoY growth of 50 per cent since it launched Mumbai – Maldives sailing in December 2016. Interestingly, Costa Cruises is the cruiseliner to start home-porting ships to offer cruises from Mumbai to Maldives.
Gupta further added that Costa Cruises is currently the only cruiseliner to offer cruises from Mumbai to Cochin, Cochin to Maldives, Mumbai to Maldives and Maldives to Mumbai. “We saw passengers coming back to us with their friends and family to either repeat the experience or explore our other cruising itineraries from Dubai, Europe, Far East, etc.,” Gupta revealed.
Talking about the market trends, she said that clients are adding cruises as an important bucket list item for every Indian traveller. “However, even with the growing numbers, the market size of Indian cruisers is estimated at around only 180,000 which is a small drop in the large ocean of outbound Indian travellers and global cruise numbers. Presently, India contributes to not even one per cent of the global cruising numbers, which are estimated to reach 30 million in 2019, as per reports by CLIA. As more cruise companies like us homeport ships from ports in India, bringing the cruising concept closer to the Indian traveller, the number of Indian cruisers is estimated to grow by leaps and bounds,” she opined.
Costa Cruises is now looking to aggressively tap the weddings segment from India market. “We were the first cruiseliner to have had an Indian wedding on our Europe sailing, with over 2000 guests travelling to Milan to embark on the cruise. Cruises are in fact one of the most cost effective wedding options, as cruises provide all inclusive wedding packages, with accommodation, entertainment activities to keep guests and kids engaged, multiple venue options that can even accommodate 1000 guests and unlimited beverage packages, all on the ship and at all-inclusive rate. For most of the venue options onboard the ship, unlike hotels, we give the lounges for the different wedding events at a minimal or no extra charge,” she said.
She said that the travel trade segment is the key for Costa Cruise in developing the segment. “We currently take almost about 90 per cent of our bookings from the B2B market. Since cruising is still in its nascent stages of growth, most customers still feel more comfortable booking their cruise through a travel agent, who also many times combines the flight and land package. However, as customers become more aware, it will be important for travel agents to be proactive, know more and serve these knowledgeable customers,” she informed.