India’s first premium cruise line – Cordelia Cruises started sailing on September 16, 2021, from Mumbai port. Yes, the ship had multiple glitches on its first sailing but the cruise management is turning every stone to ensure smooth sailing and zero hiccups for current and future sailings. The Indian Cruise Connoisseurs was hosted by Destination Masters (one of the official Sales Channel Partners for Cordelia Cruises) for the inaugural sailing. So here are a few dos and don’ts if you are planning your cruise holiday with Cordelia Cruises.
Booking the cruise:
Whether you have a single cabin requirement or ten cabins, book with a preferred channel sales partner or their sub-agent network. For instance, our trip was organized by Mumbai-based Destination Masters who helped us with our boarding passes and all the information we needed about the cruise. From cabin bookings to explaining cancellation policy and COVID-requirements; a cruise expert will assist you with any sort of questions related to your cruise holidays. They also help in assisting with last-minute alterations in travel plans and remind you of small things like doing your RT-PCR 72 hours prior to boarding the cruise, meeting point at the cruise terminal to board the cruise, and organizing boarding passes and medical forms.
Also, it’s better to inform beforehand about your cabin preference (interior/ocean-view/balcony/suite) and ask about onboard gratuities, hidden costs – if any, drinks package (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink packages), specialty dining, paid entertainment shows, cruise insurance, spa packages, etc.
Packing for a cruise holiday on Cordelia Cruises:
- Pack an adapter (with multiple ports) as this is an ex-Royal Carribbean ship which was built for the US-market and hence all the plug points are US style Type B.
- Make sure to carry your sunglasses, hats (or caps) and sunblock. It’s a blessing to have a sunny day during your cruise holiday to get those Instagram-worthy shots. However, take care of your eyes and skin as it can sometimes get too hot.
- Carry your first-aid box which includes medicines for fever, headache, bodyache, motion sickness and diarrhea. Though Cordelia Cruises have a fully operational medical center on board Empress ship, it’s always better to carry your own backup.
- Pack your swimwear.
P.S: The swimming pool was closed during our sailing due to the state-government protocol but please check with your travel agent for the latest updates.
- The cruise manual provided by the Cordelia Cruises (which will be provided to you after your booking confirmation) says shampoo and soaps will be provided by the cruise in your cabin. However, if you want, you can carry your preferred shampoo, conditioner and soaps in travel-size bottles. Oh, and don’t forget your toothbrush, toothpaste and comb which are not there in the cabin.
- Dry-cleaning and ironing facilities onboard are chargeable.
- Pack a pair of smart-comfortable footwear for moving around the ship and flipflops for the pool area (in case you go swimming).
- Cruise provides an adequate supply of bottled water and toilet rolls in your cabin, so no worries there.
Your cruise travel expert will provide you with your boarding pass in advance. Make sure to check your Group number and reach the cruise terminal accordingly. Reach at least 30 minutes before time. Though the cruise liner is not checking the baggage weight, it would be preferable to travel with not more than 15 kgs baggage especially from ports like Mumbai where it gets a little clumsy to board the cruise with heavy baggage (though there are porters to help you load the baggage, however, it will delay your boarding time). In fact, for fly & cruise (if you are taking a flight to reach the port destination), you will anyways have to adhere to your 15kgs baggage limit.
Expect some delays at the port to reach the cruise at Mumbai port as the Mumbai Cruise Terminal is under construction (expansion mode).
Onboard Cordelia Cruises:
- The first thing you do when you get on board is to settle down in your cabin with your luggage.
- If your boarding time is around mealtime (breakfast / lunch / dinner) and if you see long queues at the check-in counter, leave your baggage at the help desk (inform the Cordelia team about the same before leaving your baggage) and have your meal. If you want, the team will drop your luggage directly in your cabin too.
- Attend the muster drill for safety.
- The cruise line will provide plenty of hand sanitizers at multiple locations across the ship. But you still might want to pack extra sanitizer, your own masks, sanitizer wipes for the cabin, a plastic bag to put TV remote in, etc. Having the supplies you need will provide a sense of comfort and peace of mind.
- While checking-in, ask for the daily schedule card/bulletin which will help you know about all the entertainment shows, activities with their time and location. It’s the best way to plan your day on the cruise with activities you want to opt for.
- If you are travelling with kids, check out ‘Cordelia Academy’ where they have loads of engaging activities for kids. Recheck the timings with the team at the academy for your convenience.
- Please act responsibly. Avoid eating/chewing tobacco or pan masala. It is ban on the cruise.
- For best seats at the ‘Royal Theatre’ for entertainment shows, reach before the time of the show.
- To avoid rush hour during meals, try having early meals (even 15 minutes can make a huge difference).
- Clear your bill a day before you disembark to avoid long queues on the day of disembarkation.
MOST IMPORTANT, pack some patience and expect the unexpected.
Things are changing quickly, some embarkation ports may be understaffed, and nearly every element of a cruise vacation has been examined, analyzed, and refined to provide a different, safer experience, especially in India where cruise tourism is still quite new. When you board your ship, expect a good time, but also be realistic and don’t expect a completely pre-pandemic experience. Masks may be required at times, social distancing might be annoying, some activities might not be back yet, and some experiences may be different for now. Even if it’s not perfect, a day at sea will always be better than a day on land, pandemic or not.
Last but not the least, read every email you receive from your cruise line or travel agent, periodically check your cruise line’s website for any updates, and make sure you understand the information. If you have questions, ask your travel agent.