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Jalesh Cruises creates Incredible India hub

January 10, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Jalesh Cruises launching luxury cruise operations from 17 April is set to establish India and Mumbai as a new hub for cruises. Literally meaning Lord of the Sea, Jalesh Cruises will float its first ship Karnika with a capacity of 2000 passengers from its Mumbai base.  Karnika, with indigenous Indian hospitality, is the first ship to be registered in India, whose cruising industry is taking off at a fast pace.

Jurgen Bailom, President & CEO, Zen Cruises, said: “Zen Cruises is an Indian entity based out of Mumbai. We’re a self sponsored company with a promoter company involved. We have purchased a wonderful ship from Carnival, Australia and are launching our premiere brand Jalesh Cruises. The 100 percent Indian brand believes in upholding the spirit, culture and values of ‘Incredible India’. Thanks to pro-active Government with very supportive port officials, we could launch the venture in six months, instead of normal worldwide average launch time of two years.”

Zen Cruises belongs to Indian businessman Subhash Chandra and his family that has business ventures in media, entertainment, education, packaging, financial services and tourism.  Zen has attracted an investment of 90 million from a partner promoter for Karnika, the first ship of the premium cruise line which will also have an Indian captain.

Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, said: “A year and half ago we’d prepared a roadmap for Indian cruise development with the help of a leading international researcher company. Their reports predicted 900 port callings at Indian ports in 20 years time if we followed certain 30 listed points. We’re impressed and happy. We had 40 callings last year.  Then came Jurgen Bailom, with a proposal to buy two ships, which came as a bonus for Mumbai. Jalesh will make about 200 callings at Mumbai alone, 100 in the first year itself. So our expectation for 5 years is happening in just one year and arrival of further ships will only multiply on port calls.”

Ashish Kumar SIngh, Sanjay Bhatia and Jurgen Bailom at Jalesh Launch press conference

Indian government is converting Mumbai Port Trust into a water transport and cruise hub. A new domestic cruise terminal is operational and an International terminal will be ready by next year. Mumbai Port currently has two births at the port and two offshore container terminals and is ready to build more as the demand rises.

Mr Bailom said: “Karnika has 9 of the best food outlets with one vegetarian and one that serves 100 percent Jain food. It will serve food the Indian way, on banana leaf, eating with hand and masala tea made and served in East, West, North and South Indian style and even street food.  We offer the best of entertainment and service with Broadway shows conceptualised in Las Vegas. We have a tremendous amount of sunbathing area onboard.” Jalesh Cruises will also offer on shore destinations and excursions across Indian international port cities where it calls on.

Zen Cruises has partnered with leading international ship operators for onboard services, IT solutions, shore excursions and retail therapy.

Ashish Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary, Transport and Port Home Department, Government of Maharashtra, said: “The first corporate entity launching India’s maiden cruise liner is going to be a game changer for both India and Maharashtra. Many coasts in the state of Maharashtra will get covered and we’ll extend any help to make it possible. These beautiful ports are unexplored and cruise passengers will have a treat of this pristine coastline.”

India has 7517 kms of coastline with 13 major seaports running along its east, west and south coasts.

Zen has an environmental program called Clean Waves that will help in keeping the ocean waters clean. Mr Bailom said: “We make our own water and cook food onboard. With almost 12,000 meals cooked onboard, nothing will go to the sea Our 4 main diesel engines use low sulphur fuel. In future, we’re going to get shore side power instead of diesel. We’ve one of the safest operations board and the ship is as safe as home.” They also have facilities for senior citizens and differently abled passengers.

Karnika ship will undergo refurbishment in Singapore and will depart Singapore on 8 April to Mumbai via Colombo, Cochin and Goa. It will then become the first ship to be registered and baptised in India. Its maiden sail from Mumbai will be on 17 April 2019. The company has initiated bookings for its 2019 itineraries on its website or directly through its holiday advisors at 1800 266 8927 in addition to its sales business partners.

Zen Cruises owner Subhash Chandra at Jalesh Cruises launch

The maiden voyage has already sold half its load factors. Karnika will make 137 cruises in the first year on short 2 night/3 day itineraries from its Mumbai base. Mr Bailom said: “We’re going to change the way how vacations happen in India with pioneering cruise holidays for Indian passengers in both domestic and international waters. We have plans to connect Chennai, Kochi, Vizag, Colombo, Penang, Muscat, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaima and Singapore. We’ll eventually bring our second, third, fourth and fifth ship and are going to be a big cruise destination in the world.”

Written by Anand & Madhura Katti

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