Promising to make Mumbai the “gateway to international cruise tourism in India”, The Mumbai Port Trust will on Saturday host the Genting Dream, a luxury cruise liner, set to sail with over 2,000 passengers. According to the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), this will be the first time passengers can board an international luxury cruise at the city port.
Genting Dream, an 18-deck behemoth manufactured in Germany, will kick off the cruise season, which will go on till May 2017. The shipping ministry, the state and the MbPT have made several policy changes in the last few months to increase ease of doing business for such international cruises, to boost tourism.
“We have given 40 per cent concession to cruise ships coming in and have also given them certainty of berth. Earlier, a cargo ship was given preference over a cruise ship. We have changed that,” MbPT chairman Sanjay Bhatia said Friday. The MbPT has also waived ousting charges levied on incoming cruises that replace a berthed cargo vessel.
The measures have made Mumbai lucrative for cruise firms. According to MbPT, 59 cruise ships have already tied up with them, a sharp increase from 37 during the last season. “If we are successful this time, we will target 100 ships next year,” he said.
The MbPT has also made plans to expand the terminal, with international facilities, to accommodate increase in traffic and has assigned a budget of Rs 225 crore for this. The proposed terminal will take two years to complete and will also serve as a recreational spot for people of the city during the off-season.
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Genting Dream will arrive at Mumbai Port at 5:30 am and will dock for boarding at Ballard Pier Extension terminal for the day before pushing off to Colombo and Singapore thereafter, at 5.45 pm.