Costa Cruises revealed it will deploy Costa Serena to India in late 2023 for a series of domestic cruises geared to the local Indian market. The ship will become the largest ever to operate India-only itineraries.
Food, Fun Will Be Customized For Indian Guests
International-style cruising will soon be offered to the domestic market in India as Costa Cruises’ 3,780-guest Costa Serena will operate an eight-week series of sailings to popular Indian destinations.
Two-, three-, and five-day cruises will call at Mumbai, Cochin, and Goa, plus Lakshadweep, a tropical archipelago off the coast of Kerala, in the far southwest of the country. A total of 23 sailings in India will operate from November 4, 2023, to January 1, 2024.
While Costa Serena, a Concordia-class ship that launched in 2007, features Italian flair, the line said that food and entertainment will be customized to the tastes of Indian guests. The cruises will be operated in collaboration with Lotus Aero Enterprises, Costa’s general sales agent in India.
“We have a strong and lasting bond with this wonderful country, we have already sailed our ships in India in the past, and many of our onboard colleagues are from India. We select and recruit them through dedicated training schools based right in the country,” said Roberto Alberti, Costa Cruises’ senior vice president and chief commercial officer.
“We are strongly committed in offering our Indian guests a unique holiday experience onboard Costa Serena and we are truly looking forward to starting our operations in November. Costa Serena will be the largest cruise ship to operate domestic itineraries in India,” he added.
Costa Serena’s itineraries are designed to provide Indian guests the opportunity to discover some of their country’s most beautiful locations. Lakshadweep, for instance, in known for its coral reefs, while Goa is famous for its beaches, architecture, and spice plantations.
The announcement of the deployment was made in Mumbai on June 19 by Costa Cruises, one of Carnival Corporation’s brands.
Sarbananda Sonowal, India’s Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, said, “India’s waterways are a treasure trove waiting to be explored by tourists; our country is filled with scenic locales and beautiful destinations.”
The 14-deck ship has 1,500 cabins, with about a third offering balconies, four pools, programs for children and teens, a spa, and multiple dining venues.
In India, Costa Serena’s sailings are intended to be a draw for families and couples, who can plan vacations around traditional Indian Diwali holiday celebrations that begin in mid-November. The cruises are also an option for wedding ceremonies and other special events.
Ship Now Operating Charters in Asia
Costa Serena is currently sailing in Asia, offering cruises that, like the India program, are targeted to local markets. Starting this month and continuing to September 2023, the ship is sailing charter cruises operated in cooperation with local Asian partners.
Six cruises in June are dedicated to the South Korean market, and from July to September, another 24 cruises are planned for the Taiwan market. Japanese ports figure prominently on these itineraries.
Costa Serena’s deployment to the destinations signaled the line’s return to Asia, which Costa Cruises announced early this year. Departures are from the ports of Busan, Sokcho, and Pohang in South Korea, and Keelung, Taiwan.
While no other international cruise line currently offers a domestic cruise program in India, the country is typically included on world cruises. Costa Cruises’ Costa Deliziosa, which recently concluded her 2023 world cruise, called at Mumbai.
In 2024, Azamara’s 155-night world cruise aboard Azamara Onward will call at Mumbai, and Silversea Cruises’ Silver Dawn also will visit the Indian west coast city on her 136-day world cruise in 2025.