The days where nights stretch into sunrises and mornings were filled with entertainment and lip-smacking Indian delicacies. A ship curated for the Indian market to create cruisers.
When the sea calls, you say ahoy and head aboard! The experience is etched in my memory forever, some of which are vivid and beautiful and some blurry with all the crazy nights. India’s most sought-after and popular cruiseline needs no introduction; Cordelia Cruises is a dream to witness and luxury par excellence for the guests. When mornings begin with a soothing scene of the horizon and the sound of the sea bustling right in front of your eyes, it becomes necessary to pack your bags and rush to the beautiful ‘Empress’ for a life-altering experience. Cordelia Cruise’s ‘Big Sea Bash’ was the highlight of the month for me. Being a mountain person, beaches and sea has always been a second on my list, but when the opportunity to be on Cordelia shows up, you quickly grab it!
Cordelia Cruise led by Jurgen Bailom and his team of experts in the field, is a treat for the eyes and the soul. The Indian way of cruising is presented in the most luxurious and structured manner. There is something for everyone aboard, be it kids, youngsters or old age people, you’ll find some kind of activity happening in every nook and corner of the ship.
Get, set, go!
Travelling from Delhi to the Mumbai port, all through the journey I was anticipating many things in excitement. The moment I laid my eyes on the gorgeous Empress, it was a surreal moment. I was awestruck to see my home for the next 3 days, which was taking me on a journey which was so riveting. As we checked in and were walking up the ramp, we could listen to the thumping of ‘dhol’. It was indeed a grand musical welcome that made forced me to shake a leg right at the entrance of the ship. We were greeted with garlands and a ceremonial ‘tika’, which screamed from the very beginning the importance of these small gestures we practice in India.
The ship was an 11-deck beautiful piece of art, with almost everything you need for a wondrous ride. We quickly checked into our cabins and I was completely blown away by how the cabins accommodated all the luxuries of a hotel room. The balcony with a constant view of the sea was a cherry on top. The moment I entered my room my mind wanted to snuggle up in the comfy bed and doze off but the heart wanted to explore the food, and thank god my heart won over. We were right in time for lunch to taste some amazing Indian food with an even better dessert.
Did someone say entertainment!
After filling up our tummies we needed a much-needed stroll on the second top deck of the ship where they had the pool and a 360-degree view of the sea and sky. Soon it was time for our first leg of entertainment, the ‘Balle Balle Show’ which was a musical journey of love, fun and family drama. How much more Indian can it get, where you are witnessing a wedding ceremony and a sangeet with a fabulous dance group on the stage!
Just when I was thinking it was time to head back to the room and sleep, the party for the night began. The night was young and so were the people in spirits. We were welcomed by Oneel Verma, with the popping of the Champaign and the rest of the night was a series of to and fro between the dance floor and the bar. The night stemmed into a visit to the topmost deck to witness the full moon starry night which soon turned into a full-blown picture session.
Party like there is no tomorrow
Still recovering from the previous night, our next day on the ship started bright and early. The moment I stepped out of bed, the only thing that I could hear was the sound of the water and the ship slowly making its way through the deep blue Arabian Sea. That moment was unreal and looked right out of a picture book; I was hooked and sat peacefully on the balcony admiring the beauty in front of my eyes. After soaking up all the goodness of the sea and sky, it was time to get ready for offshore excursions in Goa. We soon docked at the Goa port and were all set to head out and see the Portuguese-inspired streets. I had been to Goa before but not by ship. It was a wonderful experience to step down and look back at the magnanimous beauty docked at the port.
A hot day in Goa, with a visit to churches and local markets to fill up our shopping bags, was the idea. We explored the streets of north Goa and quickly made our way back to the ship where the moonlit celebration was waiting for us. Get ready for some FOMO; because this party was something you just cannot miss. The highlight of the Big Sea Bash was a poolside party with a photo booth made especially to add shine to the night, drinking games to keep the party alive and music that made everyone bring out the inner Jackson in them. Another bonus was the screen on top of the bar for everyone to keep track of the cricket match scores. If anything that Indians enjoy more than food is drinks and cricket, Cordelia ensures a wholesome experience and takes care of all your needs. The party was a charming evening with everyone dressed in white to add a starry spark to the moonlit deck which extended to us heading back to our rooms at sunrise.
Awards and rewards for all!
The next morning was a nice and slow one, with a lavish breakfast platter to choose from followed by a bridge tour where we could see the nose of the ship and know about the inner working of the ship. We had the opportunity to witness the ship moving calmly scraping through the sea into the horizon. I felt like a sailor posing for a picture with the sailor cap and heavy binoculars to see the sea afar.
Entertainment sure does not come to an end on board the Empress, post the bridge tour we saw all the different parts of Indian dance forms coming together on the stage. The performance was thrilling and mesmerizing and the crowd went blazing in many rounds of applause at the Marquee Theatre. After the rewarding performances, we walked all around the ship and explored the library, the spa, and the gym with a view of the sea acting as motivation. There was a gaming zone with a tennis table for kids to enjoy and a casino for the parents to splurge.
After the stroll, it was time for us to get all dressed up for the High Seas Honors Award Ceremony. The evening was a series of awards and rewards for the top travel partners for Cordelia in the market and big announcements. Cordelia is all set for a voyage to the international seas, with Sri Lanka being the first on the list in June 2023. Extending boundaries Cordelia will take the Indian cruisers to the Middle East in June 2024. Towards the end of the awards Jurgen Bailom spoke about the importance of creating a space in the cruise industry in India and the way people have accepted the cruiseline wholeheartedly.
My experience with the cruiseline can be compiled in a series of flashbacks where the sea became my best friend and the Empress was my lady love. For those planning to take the plunge and book their holiday with Cordelia Cruise, don’t think further. They are the best in the market and will cater to all your needs and wants while blessing you with the time of your life.