Goa to Mumbai-by cruise

Kishore Ambuly

I had long cherished a dream of sailing in the open sea in a cruise ship hopping  from one port to another. I used to browse through ads of cruise trips in the print media and the net but found out to my dismay that options of taking a cruise from Indian ports are  very limited. So when I came across newspaper reports on launching  of a luxury cruise service between Mumbai and Goa in October, 2018 I asked my daughter who stays in Mumbai  to plan for a trip. Tickets for Mumbai Goa were sold out so she booked tickets for return trip from Goa to Mumbai . We went to Mumbai and my daughter and son in law joined us for the trip to Goa.

We left Mumbai on one sunny April afternoon and reached Goa airport in about an hour. We enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Zuari and Mandovi rivers and the backwaters of Arabian sea on our way to the hotel. We spent a couple of days in Goa doing the usual beach hopping and dolphin and crocodile tours . Although it was summer season the hotels were overbooked and the beaches were crowded. Goa was always a major tourist attraction but recent improvements in connectivity and the hospitality infrastructure has boosted tourism in Goa to an unprecedented level. While we enjoyed our stay in Goa we were looking forward to the return journey by cruise.

On the appointed day we left hotel for the Marmugaoharbour  in Vasco, Goa and reached the cruise terminal an hour ahead of the scheduled boarding time. After security checks we were taken by a coach to the cruise liner anchored in the sea. The cruise liner  is named KanhojiAngre after the legendary Maratha  warrior who had fought and won naval battles against European trading companies.As soon as we boarded the ship we were given welcome drinks along with snacks. While eating we watched  a video on big screen giving details of the ship and the do's and don's of ship journey. Then we were taken to our rooms. The room was a pleasant surprise. Contrary to our expectations, it was quite spacious, well furnished and had  an attached bathroom.After freshening up we went to the open deck on the port side that is the back side of the ship. On one end of the deck there is a swimming pool just overlooking the sea giving the impression of the pool merging with the sea like the infinity pools we see in 5 star beach hotels. There are comfortable sofas and lounge chairs in the rest of the deck. As we took our seats the ship started moving guided by a small pilot ship/barge. We saw the Goa coast line slowly recede in the back ground but the ship did not go in to the deep sea. After covering some distance it started cruising along the Konkan coast line. The ship moved past  small fishing boats venturing in to the sea. We were captivated by the sights of  majestic forts and  old light houses on the coast  as also some big prehistoric  rock formations rising up from the sea. Then it was time for the sun set. We went to the open deck on the star board side (front side)  of the ship to watch the sun set on the western horizon. We  had seen so many sun sets before but it was an incredible experience to see the sun set from a moving ship. It was as if we were moving towards the sun trying to catch up with it before it dippedin to the sea. 

Then we were taken around the ship in small batches..At  131 meters from one end to another and with seven decks/levels it was a very big ship.The original ship was built in Japan and operated from Tokyo. It was refurbished for use as a cruise liner in India. The ship  can accommodate 300 odd  passengers in different categories of double bed rooms and dormitories. Apart from two big restaurants it has got two small deck side bars.We saw how the ship is navigated from the control room. After the rounds we again gathered on the ship deck to watch a live band perform on a make shift stage. It was wonderful listening to songs old and new while gazing at the stars shining on the clear sky above. For youngsters there is a discotheque to shake their legs. Once the live band performance was over we went to the restaurant for a buffet dinner. The food was reasonably good. Then we went to our rooms to spend the rest of the night. The rumble of the engine room, the vibrations and the roll of the ship lulled us in to sleep. While we were asleep, the officers and support staff were toiling at the bridge and the engine room to keep us safe and comfortable. 

We woke up late next morning and went to the upper deck. We saw the Mumbai coast line with ships and boats anchored away from the port ahead. The ship slowed down and gradually came to a halt . We took a hurried break fast and then came up to the upper deck with our luggage. We  disembarked from the ship and boarded a small ferry boat which took us to the cruise terminal at Mumbai port. That was the end of a wonderful journey memories of which we will carry forward for days to come.

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