05th May 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com
An Indian cruise ship owned and operated by a Chennai-based AMET Shipping India will start calling at Sri Lankan ports in May offering cruises starting at 10,000 Sri Lankan rupees a night, officials said.
The cruise service is being launched not only to cater to tourists but also to train cadets of the maritime university, AMET (Academy of Maritime Education and Training) university group, which owns AMET Shipping India.
AMET Shipping chief executive P Bharathi said the vessel MV Amet Majesty will operate from harbours in India's eastern and western coasts, shifting routes and ports of calls to avoid the region's twin monsoons.
Regular cruise calls will start once the ship, acquired from Star Cruises, is fully refurbished.
The vessel will also provide onboard training for university cadets, Bharathi told a news conference in Colombo.
"The academy has to give placements to 400 cadets a year. So we decided the best option is to go for a cruise ship to train students and bring tourists at the same time."
The vessel will operate from the Indian ports of Chennai, Mumbai, Goa and Cochin.
The ship has 267 cabins and nine decks of which decks 4-9 will be for passengers. It also has duty free shops, a pool, spa, restaurants and night clubs.
Cruise prices start from 10,000 Sri Lankan rupees per person a night which includes meals and entertainment.
Bharathi said Sri Lanka was chosen to launch the cruise service because of its proximity and as India is now the biggest tourist generating market for the island.
Many Sri Lankans also visit India, for sight-seeing, pilgrimage or shopping, he noted.
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