Indian cruise start-up Cordelia Cruises suspends 2021 inaugural season

Cordelia Cruises has pushed back its start date again due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in India, with no new scheduled launch date announced.

The Indian start-up cruise line had planned to sail its first cruise on May 7th, 2021, but with up to 200,000 COVID-19 cases being recorded daily, there is no likelihood of the government allowing cruises to resume in the country before late 2021.

India has a burgeoning domestic cruise market, as well as being a popular cruise destination for foreign tourists.

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“While we cannot wait to serve our guests and trade partners, our commitment to fight the second wave and bring back safe travel in India remains unshakable,” the cruise line said in a press release.

“We are very confident that with the current initiatives taken by the government of India and state governments, Indians will soon be able to travel safely and create travel memories once again,” it added.

Cordelia Cruises is working closely with the government, shipping authorities, port authority, and travel industry to create a framework for the safe resumption of cruises, based on the experience of cruise lines that have restarted in Singapore and Europe.

Cordelia Cruises positions itself as a premium cruise brand for the domestic cruise market. It is India’s only homegrown mainstream cruise line and the second iteration after Jalesh Cruises was forced to close down last year due to the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Empress of the Seas was sold by Royal Caribbean to Cordelia Cruises

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Cordelia is owned by Waterways Leisure Tourism Private Limited and has said in media material that itaspires to promote and drive the cruise culture in India through “experiences that are stylish, luxurious, and most importantly, inherently Indian.”

The cruise line acquired the former Royal Caribbean International ship Empress of the Seas in December, 2020, and has renamed her Empress. The ship will undergo a thorough refit and refurbishment ahead of her deployment in India.

At the time of writing, Empress remained docked in Port Rashid at the Dubai Cruise Terminal.

Cordelia Cruises new ship Empress in Dubai

Cordelia Cruises’ ship Empress alongside in Dubai

It’s unclear if the ship is being kept here in warm lay-up ahead of a refit at a shipyard in India, or if Cordelia Cruises intends to have the work down to here at a shipyard here in the UAE.

AIDA Cruises has previously used Dubai Drydocks to have some refurbishment work down to AIDAstella.

Cordelia Cruises says it has seen a “truly stupendous” response to its launch in early 2021.

“We have been overwhelmed by the thousands of inquiries and bookings we have received,” the cruise line said.

“We remain eternally grateful for the support we have received from our guests. We are thankful and convey our happiness to our travel partners, who have committed to stand by our decision and to provide a lifetime, safe experience for our guests on the Empress,” it added.

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