India’s first cruise line to offer Muscat in international itinerary

Conrad Prabhu –
Muscat, Jan 16 –
Jalesh Cruises – billed as India’s first international cruise line – plans to add Muscat’s Port Sultan Qaboos to its regional itinerary when voyages commence to the Arabian Gulf later this year.
The Mumbai-based company — part of Indian conglomerate Essel Group which has investments spanning media, technology, entertainment and commodities — is set to launch operations in April with the deployment of its maiden cruise liner MV Karnika. The latter is the refitted and rebranded avatar of the Pacific Jewel, previously operated by P&O Cruises Australia.
Voyages are planned to commence from Mumbai with stopovers at ports along the west and east coasts of the country, before the ship heads into international waters towards the southeast. Ports of call en route will include Colombo (Sri Lanka), Penang (Malaysia) and Singapore.
Cruises into the Arabian Gulf are envisioned to commence later this year with a maiden voyage from Mumbai to Dubai scheduled in December. Stopovers are planned in Muscat and Abu Dhabi during these eight-day-long sailings, according to Zen Cruises, the parent company of Jalesh Cruises.
Last week, Zen Cruises announced the start of bookings for MV Karnika’s inaugural cruise season out of Mumbai. At a press briefing held in Mumbai, Zen Cruises’ President and CEO Jurgen Bailom said the company was positioning itself as a “pioneer’ for domestic and international cruising holidays targeted at Indian passengers.
“Jalesh Cruises will be a wholesome experience to cruisers who will get the best of culinary experiences, accommodation, wellness and retail therapy, adventure and entertainment, all packed together in one exotic vacation,” local media quoted Bailom as stating.
The refurbished Karnika, which is expected to be the sole member of Zen Cruises’ fleet for now, will offer a blend of Indian and international cuisine and entertainment for guests. Broadway concerts and live music concerts will be part of the onboard entertainment, according to the operators.