Express press service
KOCHI: A friend told Rajesh KS, a tour guide based in Kochi, to book a ticket to travel on the Classic Paradise ship. Now he recommends the trip to anyone who loves sailing at sea. Other such vessels have resumed operations in the backwaters of Kochi after the Covid restrictions were lifted.
After the dent caused by the pandemic, Kochi’s tourism sector is slowly getting back on track, attracting domestic tourists, especially families waiting for a vacation after staying at home for nearly two years. Young people who enjoy music and socializing are also eager to take cruises, Rajesh says.
“Last week, I traveled on board the Classic Paradise. The experience was wonderful – 10 km on the lake and almost six to seven hours in the sea. A member will explain in detail the specialties of the islands in Kochi There are also dancers and MCs on board who encourage every passenger to be part of the show.
The cruise allows 150 passengers to board at a time. It has a dance floor and an air-conditioned room with a high-end DJ system. A well-designed upper deck for sightseeing is also available. A dinner cruise is also in the works, said Javed KK, director of Neo Classic Cruise and Tours, which has been in the business for more than 17 years.
The five other Classic boats perform services on the backwaters. “There was a rush during Vishu. Now on weekends we get more passengers. Our Classic Imperial, which is 50 m long, is preparing to start service. We expect good income until June, due to the holidays,” Javed said. Other business people are also now hoping restrictions have been lifted and tourists have started arriving in groups.
Stalin Benny, who runs Greenix Village, says cruise tourism is making a comeback in Kochi. “We have a cruise, the Mariya Cruise, which ventures out to sea. We have other boats and houseboats operating on the backwaters. There are daily cruises from Marine Drive which go through Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Vypeen and Vallarpadam Container Terminal, and stopping at Pepper Island in Mulavukad for a Samudra Sadya (Sea Festival).After the sadya, passengers will be driven back to Marine Drive.The whole package from 11am to 3pm does not cost only 750 rupees including food,” Stalin said.