Aitken Spence Travels welcomes three cruise ships in a single day to port of Colombo

Aitken Spence Travels, Sri Lanka’s premier destination management company, welcomes simultaneous arrivals of three cruise ships—Vasco Da Gama, Mein Schiff 5, and MS Seven Seas Navigator on the 10th of December 2023, at the port of Colombo. Vasco Da Gama and Mein Schiff 5 will dock at the Colombo port by 7.00am and MS Seven Seas Navigator will dock at 1.30pm 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 in 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 marks 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 operation 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 December 17th. 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 lineup 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.

Commenting on this significant achievement Mr. Nalin Jayasundera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels stated that “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 twelve 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”.

Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena, Jt. Deputy Chairperson and Jt. Managing Director of Aitken Spence and Head of Tourism and Leisure for the Group, commented that “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 & 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.

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