The new Indian cruise ship now offers tour packages from Mumbai to Dubai and within Gulf countries Image Credit: DTCM

Dubai: Dubai has welcomed India’s first premium cruise liner, ‘Karnika’ by Jalesh Cruises, to Mina Rashid as its home port for the season. Karnika is Jalesh Cruises’s first liner to homeport in the region, marking a significant milestone for both the Indian domestic and international cruise industry.

Tourists from India and also from Gulf countries especially from UAE and Muscat are now able to avail themselves of short cruise tours on Karnika.

In celebration of this significant occasion, a traditional ‘Plaques and Keys Exchange’ ceremony was hosted on board in the presence of the ship’s captain and key industry stakeholders from the Dubai Cruise Committee.

When do they start

The vessel will commence the operation of regular Arabian Gulf itineraries from June to mid-September 2019, entertaining both residents and visitors of Dubai. Cruise aficionados can choose from two itineraries a week with Dubai as the home port; the Friday itinerary is set to cover Abu Dhabi and Bahrain while the Monday itinerary will include Muscat and Khasab.

For as low as Dh2091 per person, you could go on a luxury cruise starting from Dubai, going through Muscat in Oman, ending up on Mumbai's shores in India. There are also shorter tours that feature key sites to visit in the various ports.

Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannai, CEO of P&O Marinas and Mina Rashid CEO, said: “Proving its position as the Middle East’s leading cruise destination, the Karnika’s arrival highlights the value proposition Mina Rashid offers to luxury cruise lines globally. Our world-class quality services have exhibited Mina Rashid to be the preferred tourist destination observing a 172 per cent increase in visitors between 2014 and 2018.”

Jamal Alfalasi, Director of Dubai Cruise Tourism, said: “We are delighted to welcome India’s first premium cruise liner ‘Karnika’ to Dubai for its maiden voyage into the Arabian Gulf. Our support for Jalesh Cruises further cements the enduring bond that exists between India and the Emirate, underpinning our continued commitment to Dubai’s top performing source market which brought in more than 564,836 visitors during Q1 of 2019. We look forward to providing travellers from across the Indian subcontinent with even more compelling reasons to visit and revisit Dubai with friends and family, as we continue to position the emirate as the cruise hub of the region.”

Jurgen Bailom, President & CEO, Jalesh Cruises, said: “It is an honour and a privilege for us at Jalesh Cruises to bring India’s first premium ship Karnika to her second home, Dubai. Karnika is equipped with international level cruise amenities. A beautiful ship designed to enthrall both domestic and international guests with the famed Indian hospitality, our ship will make it possible for both Indians living in Dubai and locals to experience a cruise vacation with a high level of customisation that will delight all those who sail aboard her.”

All you need to know about Karnika

Weighing 70,285 gross tonnes, Jalesh Cruises’s ‘Karnika’ ship sailed its maiden voyage from Mumbai to Goa in April and has since made 15 trips around India. The ship set off on its first international cruise from Mumbai to Dubai in May and will port in the emirate until mid-September.

On board the ship, passengers can enjoy a selection of cuisines and world class entertainment, as well as a variety of adventure and relaxation options. The ship also offers Broadway shows, Burlesque performances, music and dance nights, movie screenings and adventure activities keeping guests entertained at sea. Additionally, while in port, the cruise offers many different land-based excursions in different locations for passengers looking to explore the surrounding areas.