A memorable sail in the sea!

Cordelia cruise docked in Visakhapatnam(Left Top); Plush interiors of The Empress(Left Bottom); Live band at Cordelia Cruise (Right)
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Cordelia cruise docked in Visakhapatnam(Left Top); Plush interiors of The Empress(Left Bottom); Live band at Cordelia Cruise (Right)

Highlights

It was a sultry noon when the children fell asleep clinging on to the shoulders of their protective moms and dads as they made their way to the berth.

It was a sultry noon when the children fell asleep clinging on to the shoulders of their protective moms and dads as they made their way to the berth.

There was a restless hum at the luggage scanning point as curious passengers sought directions to board the towering ship ahead.

With excitement writ large on their faces, they climb up the long stairway to begin their itinerary, while some of them resume their sail after taking a break.

Just as they reach the entrance, women clad in saree usher them in onboard the imposing Cordelia cruise liner 'The Empress', holding a plate of rose petals, applying tilak on the forehead, flashing a smile.

Once boarded, the 11-decked cruise unfurls a new world in varied layers, shutting the cacophony of mundane life away. Surrounded by the east coast, life moves on at a slow pace or rather 'sea pace' leaving a calming effect as the vessel slices through the Bay of Bengal.

From spa to salon, multiple restaurants to bars, night club to lounges, adventure activities and shopping, the ship takes the avatar of a 'mini city' on the seas.

Reaching the shores of Visakhapatnam on June 15 after making its trip to Chennai, the voyage provided a unique holiday experience to over 1,900 travellers onboard.

Packed with a plenty of entertainment options such as 'balle balle', live shows, movies, DJ parties, Indian cine magic, casino, stand-up comedy gigs and magic shows, the list seems to be a lengthy one for those who prefer to indulge in amid high seas. The Empress, unique in beauty and splendour, has something to offer at each deck. With a dash of sugar and a bit of spice, the food pavilions bring in assorted cuisines catering to both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diners.

For many travellers, who were bogged down by cutting off their social life and staying indoors for long due to the coronavirus pandemic, the cruise offered a whiff of fresh air.

After concluding his journey in Visakhapatnam, E Madhusudan Reddy, a psychologist from Tirupati, says, "It's our maiden voyage. Along with my wife, my parents and children enjoyed every moment of the trip without any hassle. The journey is sure to remain etched in our memory for the rest of our life."

What makes the voyage delightful is the 'inclusiveness' it facilitates and the manner it accentuates the entertainment quotient to a new level. For discerning travellers, the journey sets them free. "The best part is the cleanliness and hygiene maintenance onboard. Another appreciable factor is that the cruise has something to entertain diverse age groups. Workshops on Science and magic engrossed the children, while theatres, recreational spaces and live shows drew the attention of the elders. With so many options on the cards, there was no trace of boredom at all," shares Mohammed Sadiq, 39th ward corporator, GVMC.

Apart from the elderly, newly wedded couples and the family members with children, a few differently-abled persons were seen onboard.

But yes, travellers venturing for the first time need guidance to reach their respective suites and other decks as the cruise appears to be a 'padmavyuham' for a newcomer wherein the way out is tough to access.

Although the maiden voyage of the cruise liner from Visakhapatnam to Chennai and Puducherry experienced hiccups as permission was denied for anchorage at Puducherry territorial waters for varied reasons. It, however, did not dissuade the ardent travellers from sailing off the coast with a fresh itinerary that excludes shore excursion in the Union Territory.

Sharing the schedule with The Hans India, managing director of Leisure Time Holidday V Lokesh, says, "The last sailing from Vizag is scheduled on September 21. It will reach Chennai on September 24 and leave for Kochi the same day. Next, the cruise will be sailing towards Lakshadweep, Goa, Mumbai and Kochi."

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