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First-of-its-kind cruise service starts between Surat and Diu
New Delhi, April 1, 2021
Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday flagged off the first cruise service from Hazira Port near Surat in South Gujarat to the Union Territory of Diu -- an island off the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat, near the port of Veraval.
In his inaugural address through video conferencing, the Minister said the development of cruise tourism was a focus area of the Union Government.
“I feel very happy to announce that, before 2014, there were 139 cruise calls at the Indian Ports but today we have 450 cruise calls in the country despite the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a steady growth in the number of tourists travelling by cruise services since 2014. The number before 2014 was one lakh and the number of tourists in 2019-20 was 4.5 lakhs,” he added.
The Minister said the Indian coastline held huge potential for the cruise tourism industry and six International cruise terminals were being planned on both the west coast (Mumbai, Goa, Kochi) and east coast (Visakhapatnam, Kolkata, Chennai).
Mandaviya expressed optimism about the development of ferry, RoRo and ROPAX services between South Gujarat and the Saurashtra region. Water transportation is the new future of transportation with state-of-the-art ferry terminals and modern facilities in the cruise services, he added.
The one-way voyage of the cruise service between Surat and Diu would be approximately 13 to 14 hours. The cruise vessel, with 16 cabins, has a capacity of 300 passengers.
The cruise ship will sail two round trips in a week. The ship has a Gaming Lounge, VIP Lounge, Entertainment on Deck and other modern amenities. One side journey will cost Rs 900 + taxes (per head).
In November 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the ‘Hazira-Ghogha’ RoPAX service and within four months, 100,000 passengers and thousands of vehicles utilised the ferry service to save journey time and the cost to travel from Hazira (Surat) to Ghogha (Bhavanagar).
The success of the ferry service has opened the gates for many more routes of water transportation in Gujarat and all over India, Mandaviya added.