Aitken Spence Travels Welcomes Three Cruise Ships in a Single Day at Colombo Port

Aitken Spence Travels welcomes three cruise ships in a single day at Colombo Port

MS Seven Seas Navigator

Some of the tourists who arrived via one of the cruises 

Aitken Spence Travels yesterday welcomed simultaneous arrivals of three cruise ships—Vasco Da Gama, Mein Schiff 5 and MS Seven Seas Navigator at the port of Colombo.

Vasco Da Gama and Mein Schiff 5 arrived at the Colombo port at 7.00 a.m. and MS Seven Seas Navigator docked at 1.30 p.m. with approximately 4,000 passengers from all three vessels on a single day.

The cruise season began last month with the arrival of ‘Resilient Lady’ from Virgin Voyages, a part of Sir Richard Branson’s renowned group. The visit of Marella Discovery 2 that arrived early had special significance, marking its first return to Sri Lanka post-COVID and the first turnaround operation in the country. Operated by TUI, this cruise brought three flights to Colombo for disembarking cruise passengers.

Notably, the Vasco Da Gama cruise marked its maiden call to Sri Lankan shores allowing its passengers an opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant city of Colombo before continuing their voyage to the Trincomalee port. They will explore the wonders of Minneriya, Dambulla, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, and the enchanting sights of the East Coast. Further, this cruise will have turnaround operations in Male, Maldives.

The seamless arrangement of hosting three cruise ships at the same time all in one day is a testament to Aitken Spence Travels’ exceptional ability to cater to the diverse desires of large groups of concurrent visitors.

As the month progresses, the company looks forward to the arrival of MS Nautica on 17 December. This vessel is set to navigate the waters of Sri Lanka for three days, making stops at the ports of Colombo and Hambantota.

Aitken Spence Travels is committed to providing an extensive array of curated excursions, inviting all visitors to indulge in the diverse landscapes and rich culture of Sri Lanka. The line-up of 14 cruise calls to the ports of Colombo, Hambantota and Trincomalee with the various cruise agents will continue till the end of December 2023 bringing in seas of tourists to the country.

Aitken Spence Travels Managing Director Nalin Jayasundera said: “We are hoping to serve over 10,000 cruise passengers throughout these two months. We are delighted that all these cruise operators are selecting Sri Lanka as part of their cruise itineraries. We have been aggressively promoting the destination and continuously working with the operators to build confidence on the destination for them to pick Sri Lanka. This is not an easy task as we need to be competitive, offering our prices almost 12 months ahead. Once this happens, we cannot revise our rates for any reason despite our operating environmental changes such as taxes, increased entrance fees etc. Our focus is to popularise the destination to attract more cruises.”

Aitken Spence Jt. Deputy Chairperson and Jt. Managing Director Stasshani Jayawardena said: “We are hopeful that the Government would develop infrastructure of the Colombo port to be a cruise hub enabling us to compete with international ports in the region and attract a greater number of cruises contributing to the growth of Sri Lanka’s tourism sector. We are confident and grateful to the Government, Dept. of Immigration and Emigration Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Sri Lanka Customs, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, the Tri forces and the Port Agency Services along with all other stakeholders that were supportive and instrumental to help our clients get the best guest experience in Sri Lanka.”

The company’s commitment towards cruise calls will continue until the end of April 2024. The positive impacts of these cruise calls are benefiting a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including transporters, hoteliers, wildlife parks, jeep drivers, excursion providers, cultural show artists, guides, and much more contributing to the industry positively.

Mein Schiff 5

Vasco Da Gama

(Source: Daily Mirror)