I stood at the edge of the deck, the wind whipped my hair, the view of the shore receded till it vanished completely at the horizon. As if on cue, the music went on and many feet tapped in rhythm, it was a perfect start to cruise on Bay of Bengal. It took time to sink in the fact that I was finally on Cordelia Cruise India, The Empress as it is called, secretly thrilled that this was going to be my first experience on a cruise, that too on no ordinary ship but one that belonged to the Royal Caribbean fleet!
It is the Indian Cordelia Cruise now. There are plans to add more to this fleet and place India in top five cruise destinations in the world in the coming years.
Let me check, was I nervous? Feet off the ground, on a floating five star super luxury hotel, on a city in Sea, kind of stuck for three nights and four days. Naah… this was something I was looking forward to since the cruise ship docked in Mumbai port in September 2021. I had the press invite then for the first cruise Mumbai – Diu – Mumbai. Unfortunately the trip was cancelled for some technical reasons or was it due to the infamous Aryan Khan Case?
Whatever… I longed for another trip on the cruise. Lady luck knocked for the second time and here I am… aboard Cordelia Cruise trip for the Vizag – Pudusserry – Chennai trip, along Bay of Bengal, on the east coast of India.
Here is my travel blog on Cordelia Cruise review
Documents Required for Cordelia Cruise India
First things first, let me list the documents required to board Cordelia Cruise. Couple of documents required in addition to your boarding pass that you purchased online are – your Aadhaar Card (For non Indians that would be their passport.) and your vaccination certificate.
On the day of setting sail (8th June), all guests assembled at The Dolphin Hotel in Visakhapatnam, to get the documents verified. The key to our rooms, a card was handed over to us here.
Remember once you are onboard you are in a cashless environment. So if you intend to make purchases when onboard the cruise you have to load the card, which is the room key, here. Keep it safely till the end of the trip. Just before you disembark the ship you can reclaim the unspent money on the card at the reception section of the cruise ship.
One added formality I would suggest is to make negative RTPCR reports compulsory from all the guests. That way all those who are on board form a safe bubble and the crew has least chances of getting infected with COVID.
After this formality we were transported to the port where the cruise had docked. Here the luggage was scanned; all forbidden items detected are confiscated by the security staff. These will be returned when you disembark and leave the dock.
Staterooms of Cordelia Cruise
Now comes the exciting part! Getting to the room that will be home for the next three nights; after all it is the journey which is more exciting in a cruise than the destination itself!
The key to the room has vital information necessary for any emergency while onboard. It mentions the room number. Mine was 9146, which meant it was on the 9th floor. My joy knew no bounds when I entered my Mini Suite. It had a balcony where I spent hours filling in my lungs with clean coastal air and visually devouring the never ending view of Bay of Bengal.
The Mini Suite room has a double bed and sleeper sofa, reasonably comfortable enough for three people if not four. The washroom was stuffed with good toiletries. But honestly the bath cabin was one of the tiniest I have ever seen, practically would be difficult for guests with larger circumference; wise use of space otherwise.
You get a dresser, a TV which I never switched on, hair dryers, 2 lifejackets, a laundry bag and of course trash cans. There is an everyday supply of water bottles, change of bath towels and the stewards do up the rooms every evening.
The vital info in the card is the Muster Station number. In case of fire or any emergency guests have to assemble at this point. All muster stations are on deck 7. The numbers are mentioned on the top beams of the deck roof. Each guest has to assemble at their respective muster point where the rescuers, the crew of the ship, will take over the safety of guests.
Cordelia Cruise price details can be found on its site – Cordelia Cruises. The five categories of rooms are:
– Interior Rooms on Deck 3 and Deck 4
– Ocean View on deck 3, 4, 7 and 8
– Mini Suite on decks 7, 8 and 9 that has a balcony (It was costing 53,057INR per person when I travelled.)
– Suite on decks 7, 8 and 9
– The Chairman’s Suite – just one, that is on deck 8
Access to the swimming pool, fitness center, casino, Cordelia academy for kids and entertainment shows, Breakfast, lunch and dinner included for all of the above.
Cordelia Cruise Ship details
Rooms and staff – The cruise has 680 crew staffers, 796 cabins, 329 inside staterooms, 425 ocean rooms, 63mini suites, 5 suites and one luxury suite. Our trip had 1400 guests onboard, max permissible guests – 1800. We met Denis, who is Captain of the ship and Lydia, the Hotel Director, the first Lady of the ship during the press conference on first day.
Indian Cordelia Cruise Food Review
Waterways Leisure Tourism CEO Jurgen Bailom during the press conference with our media team mentioned the immense amount of research and effort that has gone into crafting the menu that will strike the right chord with Indian guests. He quoted Indians in international cruise liners often complaining about the lack of Indian Cuisine.
It is beyond ‘amazing’ the way food has been arranged for all 1400 guests onboard. Not even at one meal time did we witness any kind of chaos about the quantity and quality of food. The menus have been specially curated for the variable Indian palate, with cultural and dietary considerations.
You have vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Jain and Indo-Chinese food. You can dine at All Day Dining food court in deck 10, which has an array of buffet food stations and cuisines called Essence of India, Far Eastern Kadhai, Sugar & Spice, The International Grill, Hot Clay Tandoor, Kettle & Bun, Jain Haven, Vegetarian Bang Street Food and The Café. Then there are two specialty restaurants – The Starlit and Chopstix in deck 5.
I dined in all of them, enjoying the different experiences, décor and service, in the three days in Cruise. To be honest, I was tempted to have breakfast twice. Keeping all inhibitions aside I broke fast twice on one of the days. My fav was food served at Chopstix. The staff did all they could to make the dining by the window a memorable experience.
Then there are 3 specialty restaurants – Chef’s Table, Street Food and International Grill – with limited seating, which makes dining a more exclusive affair, where you will be served a specially crafted menu. Plan well and make advanced reservations for a seat at these places.
There are bars onboard. Guests cannot bring in alcohol from outside. There are special cocktail and mocktail making sessions, Happy Hours for premier guests. Pool Bar, Cas-ino Bar, Cafe Bar, Connexions Bar, The Dome Bar, Marquee Bar, Foodcourt Bar; whew I lost count of them. Drink and be merry seems to be the motto!
So if you are wondering where to have food in Cordelia Cruise you know where to go!
Entertainment onboard Cordelia Cruise
When you are bored of having all the food and you are in the mood for entertainment, there is plenty of that too to choose from.
Every evening the Cordelia newsletter is delivered to rooms. Study it well to plan your activities for the day. It is up to you how you want your cruise trip to be. Their Marquee theatre that can seat 900 guests at a time showcased the talents of several artists including that of Magician Tejas.
The Marquee theatre was my favorite spot to hit after a heavy meal. I watched Balle balle – a musical theatre performance, Romance in Bollywood, Magic show by Tejas, Fablab show and Burlesque. These shows were conducted twice during the trip. Only guests from the deck number mentioned in the daily newsletter can attend the show, which sorts out the rush in the theatre.
Balle balle is a hilarious musical comedy showcasing the chaos of arranged marriages in Indian families. Burlesque is a provocative adults only performance, this is a ticketed event. No photography is permitted during both the programs; due to some copyright issue we were told.
Fablab show is India’s first live science theatre interactive show making science fun and accessible. Chyp, the talking robot, entertained the audience with its quirky one-liners. Tickets sell out fast for this show.
While the magic show by Celebrity Magician Tejas is free, one has to purchase tickets to attend the workshop conducted by him and learn a few tricks. Kids thoroughly enjoyed the Magic show by Tejas, Fablab show (ticketed), I was surprised that I enjoyed the programs like a kid breaking into spontaneous clapping and cheering.
Activities on different Decks of Cordelia Cruise India
There is no end to the various activities in the different decks of the cruise. Everything to keep you entertained and busy is contained in this metal hull. There is every chance that you lose sense of time and day.
Pool Deck 10 – As the name suggests there is a mini swimming pool where tiny tots were seen enjoying. During windy/choppy weather the pool is out of bounds for all guests.
The following activities are spread throughout the day. Check Cordelia Today newsletter to plan out your day. Stretch and Relax, Cordelia Kids Academy, Rock wall climbing, Arts Splash in Kids Academy, and Sundowner Party with DJ and Happy Hours paid one for premium guests.
Spa and Salon – Here I indulged a bit and took their anti-stress head and face massage service. It cost me 26$ plus taxes that came out to 2030 +taxes almost to 2700INR. One has to add the tax bit to the charges mentioned and the bill turns out a bit fat.
Not even once did I see this deck 10 empty! If climbing walls isn’t your type there are more options. Check the library or internet café?
Deck 9 – Every time I headed towards my room I would cross the library which was sparsely crowded. Guess the guests found other activities onboard more interesting.
Deck 8 – The Card Room on this deck seemed full most of the time except during meal times. I wonder how guests strike friendship in such a short time and settle down to a cozy game of cards. Are they playing Rummy and getting chummy? Or maybe they are playing Bridge and trying to bridge the gap!
Deck 7 has an Internet Cafe. It is a paid facility.
Deck 6 – Chairman’s Club, where fun games and quizzes were held with cruise staff.
Connexions, where our press conference was held on the first day of cruise, is also a venue for martini talk and tasting, Musical hits by Musicians and guests on the dance floor.
Casino here seemed full during its operational hours. They don’t allow photography when games are on.
Then there are shops where you can purchase knick knacks, toiletries etc. I have seen kids insisting their parents buy them chocolates onboard. Probably the charm of having a simple chocolate on a cruise trip gives them a high.
Like I mentioned before, eat, drink, make merry, indulge in various activities or just chill out by the decks. There is something for every kind of traveler. How you want to enjoy your day on a cruise and make a memorable experience of cruise travel is up to you, what you choose to do. Read the Cordelia Cruise newsletter well and plan your itinerary for the day.
Did I miss the exercising bit? Well, that is on deck 11. Getting there is an exercise by itself. I spared myself that trouble.
Cordelia Cruise Routes in India
India has 7000+ km of coastline with many ports.
Popular Cordelia Cruise routes on west coast of India are Mumbai-Goa-Mumbai, Mumbai-Kochi-Lakshadweep-Mumbai which is for 5N and 6D, Mumbai-Diu-Mumbai. Due to monsoon rains new routes are being explored in the eastern coast of India.
I was on the Vizag-Pudussery-Chennai cruise route. But unfortunately due to some glitch the halt at Pudussery port wasn’t allowed. Currently the Vizag-Chennai cruise trip for two nights and three days, Cordelia Cruises Chennai High seas are on.
As and when they add more ships to their fleet they plan to have more Cordelia Cruises in newer routes.
(I will update this section on Cordelia Cruise routes in India)
This was my first experience of a cruise trip of three nights and four days. Thanks to Cordelia Cruise for hosting me. I never could imagine the variety onboard. Cordelia Cruise truly does offer something for every type of traveler. It spoiled me to some extent.
Choose to dine on a set schedule each day, or feast at any number of onboard eateries at leisure. Same about – what to wear on a cruise trip? Choose to dress up in your finest formals or sport your casual wear all day long. Keep up your usual fitness routine from home, or take a break and relax. Basic mantra when you are on a cruise is enjoying to the fullest!
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