Global cruise terminal set for launch

India’s first full-fledged international cruise terminal at the Ernakulam Wharf on Willingdon Island and a 2.10-km-long walkway built by the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) using Central tourism funds are ready for commissioning.

Sagarika, the ₹25.72-crore cruise terminal spread over 12,200 sq.ft., has facilities to handle up to 5,000 tourists arriving in cruise vessels. “Their commissioning, originally slated for April, was postponed due to the lockdown. A date to commission them will shortly be finalised. In the meantime, the port has invited tenders for the operation and maintenance of the paved walkway between KUFOS and Mattancherry BOT Bridge. Altogether, 200 cars can be parked alongside the walkway,” official sources said.

Samudrika, a cruise tourism facilitation centre on the Island, abutting BTP Berth, too was built using Central tourism funds. Besides setting apart space for the two terminals, the port has considerably slashed berthing charges to woo cruise vessels. On their part, India Tourism, Kerala Tourism, and other stakeholders put up stalls selling mementos, brochures, and others on berths when cruise ships call at Kochi, aimed at improving visitor experience.