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Luxury cruise liners skip Chennai

Chennai: Despite the official claims, the east coast, particularly the Chennai port, is rather inactive compared to Mumbai or Kochi with regard to receiving luxury cruise liners. Only one ship had visited the Chennai port this year.

Strangely, 40% of the passengers who have booked a cruise from Mumbai are Indians, displaying their affordability to take up high-end sojourn by the sea. The country's relatively low number of cruise port calls is attributed to infrastructure limitations. Mumbai port, which has targeted to receive one lakh passengers - close to 100 cruise liners visiting the port, continues to be the major port city in the country. If a ship arrives at Mumbai, it will sail to other coastal cities on the western side. Cities like Kochi, New Mangalore, Goa and Chennai are included when the luxury ships make an overnight halt.

But, after Mumbai, Cochin is the next big port. In 2016-17, about 47 ships will berth at Cochin Port. Chennai Port saw a liner last month from Colombo and it later headed to Port Blair, Penang, Langkawi, Singapore and Yangon for a fortnight trip.

"The Andamans have always been a holiday destination of choice with our customers. Its pristine beaches have always been highly sought after by holiday-makers. Over the last 2 years we have witnessed significant growth - upwards of 27 per cent in 2016 from 2015," says Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head, Leisure Travel& MICE at Thomas Cook (India) Limited. The firm saw an increase in the demand for packages to the Andamans once the danger of the cyclone had passed. As per the data of December 13, almost 45 passengers landed at Port Blair and on the following day, December 14, this number went up to 48.

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