Let me begin by saying that I have never been on a cruise and that was impetus enough to attend the event organized by Monarch Cruise at The Lailt, New Delhi.
Drama unfolds for the burgeoning Indian traveller; Scene: Coastal waters of India; Enter: Monarch Cruise. Action: Set sail on board Monarch Cruise with the theme being Bollywood and Indian Cricket. Take a bow. Applause, applause, applause.
The cruise scene for the travel enthusiasts is spearheading for tremendous change with a mix of Bollywood and Cricket on board the Superstar Virgo, the ship that is chartered by Monarch Cruise that will revamped to match the first theme of the cruise. Yes, the Indian Bollywood and Cricket theme is only for the maiden trip which will set sail 5th March, 2017. From 2018 the cruise will sail 4 times in a year with different themes that Indians are passionate about. Did I mention that Somesh Jagga, CEO, Monarch Cruise is very clear on the fact that Monarch Cruise is specifically designed to meet the taste and style of the Indian traveller which is of international standards. And it is the only ship doing a turnaround in India.
The whole idea behind introducing this cruise with a dash of Bollywood and Cricket is that we Indians thrive on Bollywood and Cricket is religion for us. Shane Hodges, chairman, Monarch Cruise said, “On-board Monarch cruise you can realize your dream of playing with cricketers, cook with master chefs and shake a leg with DJ Khushi, NYK and Gouri Sharma.” That’s not all; you can engage and learn the art of cooking with celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor and India’s only Michelin star chef Vineet Bhatia. Can you imagine what a big party it will be on board with stars and celebrities and awesome food?
On being asked if the celebrities were comfortable coming on board the Monarch cruise Somesh Jagga, said, “The celebrities were comfortable in collaborating with us and in fact when we approached Aravinda De Silva he said my only condition of joining in is that I be served Sushi every day.” His name is, although yet to be announced formally.
There are many off shore events in the offing with the red carpet launch event taking place in Singapore. After making all the right noises in Singapore as the ship sails for Mumbai, Indians would get the prerogative of welcoming the Monarch Cruise with legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar as he would meet the passengers and join the party. Setting the sail from Singapore and touching the ports of Mumbai, Penang, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo and Cochin there are various packages available to choose from with the price starting at INR 79,990 for a 7 day cruise.
Besides being the first themed cruise in India Monarch Cruise also promises a lot of fun activities on board for its passengers like Talk Shows with cricketers, Bollywood Shows, International Acts, Cooking Demonstrations, Themed Pool Parties, Magic Shows, Shows for Children shows and Cricket Masterclass, Wine tasting, Celebrity Poker Tournaments etc. which come at an additional charge.
All accommodation on board is superlative but as Shane Hodges put it that if you are spending too much time in your room it means we are not doing our jobs well, so I recommend that with such fun activities lined up on board you needn’t spend too much time sleeping. There are 8 categories of accommodation to choose from with a total of 800 cabins. However, with the kind of activities planned for passengers I can say that Shane would have definitely done his job well and not many people will be seen in their rooms for long, for there is so much to see and enjoy on board. And, if you opt for The Monarch Circle you get the rare opportunity to spend quality time with cricketers and celebrities at the Celebrity Pool Bar.
There are 7 F&B outlets on board and with celebrity chefs Sanjeev Kapoor and Vineet Bhatia to take care of your appetite you can just imagine how would it be like in heaven with sumptuous and delicious food that is specifically designed keeping the Indian sensibilities in mind. There is a huge, fully licensed casino on board and will be operating as soon as the ship enters international waters.
And of course all the other facilities like a swimming pool, spa, fitness centre, night clubs, mini golf, bars and private karaoke rooms, kid’s room and library are also there to keep the guests entertained day and night.
India is still in the nascent stage as far as cruising is concerned, with the market being largely untapped and unexplored, I believe it is the right time to introduce Monarch Cruise and of course Indian passenger is set to sail far and wide and ride the waves.