Exotic sights, good food & slew of activities- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

Admirers of the ocean and avid travellers alike, we bring you good news! There is now a luxury cruise liner operating between Chennai and Sri Lanka. Indulge in the luxury the Cordelia cruise, the first vessel to sail from Chennai to Sri Lanka, has to offer, while experiencing the beauty of the Emerald Isle.

The ship sailed from the Chennai port to the city of Galle in Southeast Sri Lanka where it made its first stop and then continued to the port of Trincomalee, finally coming back to Chennai on the fourth day of the voyage.

As the cruise ship sailed, the chill in the wind graced our skins, all amidst the azure blue sea. A swarm of people was wandering in ecstasy around the large deck with rustic wooden panels. While some of them were soaking the sun on the black beach chairs laid in neat succession, others chose to swim in the six-feet pool on the deck; all happy faces.

A number of waiters served the tables laid in one corner with colourful drinks and snacks to the guests who had embarked on this four-day journey to Sri Lanka on the newly introduced route of Cordelia Cruises.

A mix of sounds floated in the air — laughter, glee, and undecipherable words — and as you turn and look out at the horizon, trying to catch a glimpse of the land, all you could see was the blue, the never-ending ocean with its majestic waves.

Before the voyage began the guests were transported to the 10-deck cruise liner on a couple of buses. Everything stood still as we boarded the ship for the first time. The wind blew with all its strength and the smell of the sea hung quietly in the air. People scattered in various groups all around the lounge area, waiting for the experience to begin.

As we sailed, the sound of water brought a much-needed calm, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The first two days of our journey was spent in the ocean. If you think two whole days cooped up on a cruise would have been boring, you are quite away from the truth. The ship offered an array of activities.

One had a choice of either chilling at the elegantly decorated Chairman’s Club with leather sofa chairs, televisions and a little bar nestled in the corner, or listen to a live band that performed every evening. If you were looking for something more exciting and daring, the cruise liner also had a casino and offered a slew of activities, including wall climbing, origami classes and even a football session with the staff.

There were many entertaining theatrical performances too. The cruise liner offered all the facilities one would expect in a five-star property. Talking about the food, the facility served five meals a day, starting with breakfast and concluding with sandwiches for midnight cravings. The restaurants, called the Food Court, Chopstix and the Starlight, laid out buffet-style meals for the guests, ranging from potage to an array of desserts, which changed every day.

Enter the Food Court, the barbecued smell of kebabs, aromatics, and other dishes will make you feel hungry. The silent sea adds a touch of serenity to this luxurious dining experience. The rooms were spacious, with a comfortable queen-size bed, a couch, a little walk-in closet, a television, and a balcony with a pair of chairs looking out at the blue waters. As the second day approached, the ship anchored on the shores of Galle, where the guests were greeted by a group of artistes performing a local dance.

The second stop for us was the calm city of Trincomalee, which had a charm similar to a small village, with small shops, city squares, people walking under the mildly soothing sun, and red buses standing on the side of a beach. However, our time on land was limited as we headed back to the cruise, making our way back to the Indian waters. People continued to chill on the decks and walked around, shaking a leg to the dancing rainbow lights as the red neon sign lit up the word ‘Bar’.

With the moon shining above us and our voyage coming to an end, we knew something had changed. Something the sea did to us. It was magic. And just like that, everything turned bright as we landed in Chennai and the only things we were left with were memories, glimpses of luxury and comfort and a longing to head back out on the water again.

Packages starting from `15,000++, inclusive of stay and food. You can order special meals at Chopstix, which will cost you around `1,500 for two

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