Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of State for Ports, Transportation, and Waterways, flagged off the first-of-its-kind cruise service from Surat's Hazira Port to Diu via video conference on March 31, 2021.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, the Union Minister announced in his inaugural address that the growth of cruise tourism is a top priority for the Indian government under Prime Minister Modi.
PM Modi had previously launched the ‘Hazira-Ghogha' RoPAX Service in November 2020 to reduce travel time and costs.
Cruise service between Surat and Diu:
- For the cruise between Surat and Diu, the one-way voyage time will be roughly 13 to 14 hours.
- The new cruise will have a capacity of 300 passengers and 16 cabins and will make two weekly round trips.
- The cruise features a VIP lounge, gaming lounge, on-deck entertainment, and other modern amenities.
- A cruise ship side trip would cost Rs. 900 plus taxes (per head)
Boosting the cruise tourism industry in India
During his speech, the union minister claimed that there were 139 cruise calls at the Indian ports in 2014, but that there are now 450 cruise calls in the region, despite the pandemic.
Since 2014, he said, there has been an increase in the number of visitors using cruise services. Before 2014, there were one lakh tourists; in 2019-20, there will be 4.5 lakhs.
Mansukh Mandaviya claimed that the Indian coastline has the potential to encourage cruise tourism and that six international cruise terminals have already been planned on India's east (Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai) and west (Goa, Mumbai, Kochi) coasts.
The minister also expressed optimism for the growth of RoRo, ferry, and ROPAX services between Gujarat's Saurashtra Area and South Gujarat, stating that it is a new era of transportation with ferry terminals and modern cruise amenities.
RoPAX Service Hazira-Ghogha