Kochi: Mega Luxury Cruise Vessel ‘M.V. Ovation of the Seas’ was given a warm welcome with flowers, sindhoor and chendamelam when it called at the Cochin Port for a two-day stop-over recently in its circuit of Dubai-Muscat-Kochi-Penang-Singapore.
Carrying 4000 passengers and 1649 crew, ‘M V Ovation of the Seas’ is a brand new ship of the Royal Caribbean Lines which was floated out in April this year. It is 348 m long and is in the second largest class of cruise vessel.
A brief plaque exchange ceremony was held to commemorate the inaugural call. G Senthilvel, Chairman, Cochin Port; Dr. C Unnikrishnan Nair, Traffic Manager, Cochin Port; Sethuraman, IPS, FRRO (Bureau of Immigration); M M Haseeja, Union Ministry of Shipping; Mohamed Farouk, Asst. Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India; Thomas Korah, Joint Director, Kerala Tourism Department and other officials were present at the function. Senior officials of Kerala Tourism and India Tourism were also present to help the tourists for the local visits.
Officials from the Union Ministries of Shipping and Tourism, had specially come from New Delhi to welcome the cruise vessel as part of the Government of India’s measures to promote `Cruise Tourism.' It may be noted that a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Cruise Shipping was notified by the Union Ministry of Tourism during the Maritime India Summit held during April, 2016. The Port had arranged pre-paid taxis and auto rickshaws for the tourists.
The Port facilitated setting up of 30 stalls displaying and selling ethnic items, including exquisite coir carpets, paintings, metal ware and cotton goods from Erode which caught the fancy of the tourists immensely. A special stall was dedicated for selling products by Tribal Welfare Department. The tourists visited various parts of Kochi and about 500 tourists went to Alappuzha for the houseboat ride.