Middle East Cruise News

India’s first cruise line makes maiden call in Dubai to start Arabian Gulf season

Karnika, the first cruise ship to be operated by Jalesh Cruises, itself the first-ever domestically owned mainstream cruise line in India, has made her maiden port call in Dubai, marking the start of her Arabian Gulf cruise season.

Karnika arrived in Dubai on Wednesday, docking at the Dubai Cruise Terminal where up to 2,000 guests were given the day to explore the city on a variety of shore excursions.


Karnika alongside at Dubai Cruise Terminal

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Karnika will stay overnight in Dubai and then depart for Abu Dhabi, from which she will operate a 7-night roundtrip cruise to Bahrain, Dubai, Muscat and Khasab.

She’ll call in Dubai twice during this voyage, the second port call, occurring on June 3rd, will also be treated as a turnaround, so passengers can choose to board on that day, for a 4-night roundtrip cruise from Dubai, visiting Muscat and Khasab.

Karnika will also be offering a shorter 3-night roundtrip cruise from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.


The main lobby atrium aboard Karnika (Image courtesy Outlook India)

With prices for this shorter itinerary starting at just AED 770, and with each departure day falling on a Friday, it represents fantastic value and a great opportunity for Middle East cruise passengers to take a short break.

Jalesh Cruises, however, will primarily be targeting its Indian cruise source market, with the majority of guests aboard the ship booking the voyage as a fly-cruise package from Mumbai, New Delhi and other major Indian cities.

“Jalesh Cruises is pioneering cruise holidays for Indian passengers in both domestic and international waters,” says Jurgen Bailom, president and CEO of the cruise line.


Karnika will cruise 29 roundtrip itineraries from Dubai during June, July and September

“As a leading tourism destination, Dubai is continuing to cement its position as the ‘Cruise Hub of the Region’, and the maiden port call of Karnika is an example of that,” said Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, Director, Dubai Cruise Tourism.


Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, Director, Dubai Cruise Tourism

“We are pleased to welcome Jalesh Cruises and all its guests on this maiden voyage into the Arabian Gulf as it homeports in the city,” he added.

Karnika will cruise roundtrip from Dubai a total of 29 times between the beginning of June and mid-September this year.

She will operate 15 4-night roundtrip cruises, and 14 3-night roundtrip cruises from Dubai.


The forward-facing observation lounge aboard Karnika

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And if you think that you’ll have to sacrifice style and comfort for a 3-night cruise that costs less than a one night beach resort stay, think again.

Karnika has multiple bars and restaurants, a spa, state-of-the-art fitness centre, retail promenade, two pools, and even a casino (which only opens when the ship is at sea).


The casino aboard Karnika

Formerly operated by P&O Australia, the 1990-built cruise ship has been thoroughly refurbished and modernised by Jalesh Cruises during a drydocking in Singapore.

The cruise line has also teamed up with some of the biggest names in cruise hospitality to ensure they offer a world-class product in the Dubai and Indian cruise markets.


The Connexions Lounge aboard Karnika

Germany-based Bernhard Schulte Cruise Services will be responsible for all aspects of the ship’s technical management from crewing and maintenance to operations. In addition to Jalesh Cruises, BSCS also handles the technical management of Phoenix Reisen’s fleet.


The Apollo Group will run Karnika’s onboard operations, including food and beverage, housekeeping, guest services, payroll, public health, vendor management and revenue collection.

The Apollo Group includes clients such as OceaniaRegent Seven Seas, and Marella Cruises in its portfolio, reflecting the premium cruise experience that Jalesh Cruises is seeking to offer on-board.

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