Cordelia Cruise pricing, detailed analysis: read before booking - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Cordelia Cruise pricing, detailed analysis: read before booking

India has oceans on its 3 sides and several cities are located right next to sea- Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Goa, Kochi and more. However India didn’t have ocean based tourism. Cruise options were almost none for Indians who wanted to try cruises. Indians had to go to Singapore, HongKong or elsewhere to try cruises.

A few companies did try. There was an Amet Cruise a decade ago. They were operating a small ship with a bathtub sized pool. Looks like they have shut shop now.


In 2019 there was a Jalesh Cruise. Now this same company is taken over by Cordelia Cruise.


I had my first cruise experience in Hong Kong in 2016

Indicative photo. I don't have any photo of Cordelia


Current hotspot in the Indian cruise industry space is Cordelia cruise, who have listed cruise ship tours from Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Kochi etc. If you are thinking about a cruise holiday, you will have some basic questions- what is the total price, is it worth paying more for a more premium room, what else we should keep in mind and so on.


I am trying to answer those questions. I have not tried Cordelia cruise, but I have had my cruise experience in Star Cruise in Hong Kong 6 years ago. I am using that experience as a reference and information available in public domain about Cordelia to give you insights in this post.


Cost of a cruise holiday in India

Your cost is a factor of following things

  1. Room type: Cheapest price you see is of the inside rooms- rooms at the middle of the ship without any window to the ocean. While these are most affordable, they still cost around 30-40k INR per person for 36 hours (2 nights cruise). Interior rooms in Cordelia take up to 4 guests, so if you are booking for just 2 people you may have to share the room with other guests. Effectively it is a dormitory kind of stay. Inside rooms are cleverly priced to be able to advertise a cheap starting price for the cruise, like the cheapest variant of cars. Remember the concept of Decoy pricing? Most passengers will be tempted to pay another 10-20% more and choose a room with an ocean view. More premium rooms with a larger window/balcony or other premium features cost much more. The most expensive category in Cordelia - Chairman’s suite costs 5 times the inside room- around 1.8 lakhs for 2 nights
  2. Duration: While international cruises run for weeks covering several countries, Cordelia’s cruise in India is for a max of 5 nights and min of 2 nights. Obviously you pay more to spend more time on the ship
  3. How early are you booking: If you can commit to a cruise ship some 6 months in advance, you might be paying 10-20% less than someone booking closer to cruise date. While it sounds like you are saving, you lose some if you have to cancel/reschedule and you lose interest and might be subjected to some schedule change.
  4. Optional Extras: While you pay a fixed minimum fee to book, there will be a lot of ways to spend while on board. Sometimes you will face a compulsion to spend on these.
Royal Caribbean charges less if they select a room for you and more if you want to select your cabin. In some cruise companies single person is charged a supplement and assigned entire cabin.

Cordelia cruise price

Note: Below prices are for 2 adult people including 18% GST. You can book a single ticket as well, but almost everyone goes with family and friends and not solo on a cruise. On travel portals you usually see price without tax and tax is added in final stage


Cruise

Duration

Inside Room (Cheapest option)

Ocean view rooms

Most luxurious suite

Mumbai-Goa 1 way, 

2 night

62000 INR

72000 INR onwards

2,45,000 INR

Mumbai-Kochi- Chennai

5 nights

1,45,000 INR

1,60,000 INR onwards

6,00,000 INR

Mumbai-Lakshadweep Kochi

3 nights

84,000 INR

1,03,000 INR onwards

3,60,000 INR

Chennai-Vizag

2 nights

56,000 INR

60,000 INR

94,000 INR






Note: Prices are indicative as seen on Cordelia website at the time of drafting this post for 2 adults. I’ve added 18% extra (GST) to the amount displayed, rounded to the nearest 1000. Price may vary from time to time and depending on room type, how soon you book, seller (where you book) etc. Use above for reference and check the official website for actual pricing for your needs.


What else should you factor in while booking a cruise?

1 Your travel to start/end destination and back to your home.

You will need to keep some buffer for your flight delays, delayed return of the ship due to bad weather and other potential impacts to the planned schedule.


2 Impact of schedule change from cruise company

While schedules are announced months in advance and you book one of them, the schedule may change. If the previous cruise is returning late to port, next departure will be delayed. If for a particular cruise very few bookings are received, the company may decide to cancel the cruise and offer some alternate cruise to those who have booked on this canceled cruise. (if the ship is not even one third full, it may not be economical for the company to operate the cruise) Bad weather, covid rules, technical issues, crew shortage and various other issues affect voyage schedules. If you are based in the city where you board the ship then these impacts are easier to handle. But say you are flying from Delhi to Mumbai to board the cruise and now dates are changed, you’ve to own the full risk of re-booking your Delhi Mumbai and return flight ticket. Cruise companies do not have any compensation policy for your loss because of their schedule change. At the max they will offer you a different cruise/date and if you escalate may be an upgrade to the next room type. Cordelia’s ship is 33 years old, reaching the end of its normal life. Not sure how long it will run before breaking down.


Same happens with airlines. If a flight is canceled you will be put on the next flight, which could be the same day or next day. But in cruise, the next cruise could be weeks away.


3. Incidental expenses during the cruise-

Spa treatment, casino, alcohol, food on board, WiFi (20 $ for 2 days). You can easily lose lakhs of rupees in a casino if you don’t exercise control over how much to spend/play/lose. They will give free drinks and other incentives to keep you playing.


4. A 2 night cruise doesn’t mean 48 hours.

Day 1 starts at 6 or 8 PM, Day 2 is at sea, Day 03 you’ll get off the ship say by 8 AM. So effectively 36 odd hours.


5. Local transportation/sightseeing

If you are getting off the ship. If you’re getting off the ship, say at Pondicherry or Kochi etc before proceeding to the next stop you will probably get about 10 hour effective time- so you’ll have to hire a transport and explore the city and be back in the ship a couple of hours before departure time. If you book a land package organized by the cruise company, be ready to shell out a bit more compared to what it would have cost to manage on your own.


In international cruises visa cost for each of the destination would have to be factored extra.


6 Beware of refund rules.

If you can cancel months in advance you will be charged lesser cancellation charges. (25% upto 31 days). 50% if canceling between 30-16 days, If you are canceling within 2 weeks, no refund. Rescheduling is also permitted at an extra fee (5000-10000 INR plus fare difference). Sad part is cancellation/change needs to be done for the entire cabin/PNR. You can’t cancel 2 out of 4 passengers. If that is the possibility you will have to make 2 separate bookings, at the risk of being assigned two separate cabins. Same rule for airlines as well.


7 Covid rules:

I think you would need an RTPCR -ve report to board the cordelia cruise ship. This could be removed once covid is not seen as a risk (many countries are now accepting double vaccinated tourists without asking for test results). Also keep in mind the risk of the entire ship getting quarantined if a few people are found positive. Your return to land plan may be spoiled if govt insists passengers quarantine in the ship itself.


Cordelia Cruise vs Star Cruise comparison

Factor

Star Cruise

Cordelia

Price

I had paid about 24k INR for 2 people for 1 night

2 night cruises cost 55-60k, so a bit more


Price varies by nationality and travel date

Cheaper tickets were available but since my date was fixed, had to pay a bit more

Checked price for different months, difference is too little- like 5%

Inclusions

Meals included, we didn’t have to pay for meals. We skipped Spa, shopping, casino and other paid services.

I think meals are included but cordelia website Inclusion lists accommodation only. Be prepared to spend extra on food. Pricing not listed 

Single supplement

Applicable. Inside room can take 2 people, if one person, pay extra

Not applicable, but you may have to share inside room with others

Documents

Had to show my passport, clear immigration, surrender my passport to the crew, and collect it back while returning. Effectively we left the country, went to international waters and came back

I am told only an Aadhaar card is enough. Assuming no immigration involved for just the high sea and return.


What to expect from the Cordelia Cruise ship?

The ship used by Cordelia is named Empress of the seas, built in 1989 in France.  The 33 year old ship was recently purchased by Cordelia from Royal Caribbean and still retains the Bahamas flag. The ship is already beyond the average lifespan of cruise ships, which is said to be 30 years. Even the Star Cruise Pieses that I was traveling in Hong Kong was 25 years old. As the ships near the end of their lifespan big cruise companies sell them off to smaller cruise companies who use them only for some short cruises as long as they can operate them economically and then send them for scrapping.


Large cruise ships I saw in Bahamas, 2019

Cordelia is using an old ship named Empress of the seas ship with following facilities

  • Capacity for about 1800 people in about 800 cabins (4 per cabin & 2 per cabin configurations), spread over 11 decks (Floors). To give some context, the world's biggest cruise ship Allure of the seas can seat 5500 passengers, 3 times this ship.
  • A gym, a spa, casino, theater, swimming pool, shops etc for guest entertainment, relaxation (and spending!)
  • An artificial rock climbing setup on Deck 10, Library & room for board games
  • Stages for live shows
  • 5 bars and 3 different restaurants

A guided tour of the ship might be offered to passengers but that will not have any access to technical areas like bridge, engine room etc. You will be explained all the different ways you can spend your money on the bridge.


Room types in Cordelia


#

Room Type

Capacity

Pros

Cons

Price per person

1

Interior rooms/Inside Rooms

4 pax

Deck 3 & 4

Cheapest rooms

No window

Shared accommodation

Around 18000 per person per night onwards

2

Ocean View Rooms

2

Has a small window to see ocean

No balcony

Some rooms have obstructed view of ocean

21000 INR per person per night onwards

3

Mini Suite

2

More space, bigger windows, upper decks

Expensive

30000 INR per person per night

4

Suite

2

Luxurious option, living room, more space, access to premium lounges, priority boarding

Expensive

60000 INR per person per night

5

Chairman’s suite

2

Most luxurious option, living room, access to premium lounges , priority boarding

Most expensive option

Almost 1 lakh INR per person per night


Coredlia was in the news for a drug scandal involving Shah Rukh Khan’s son. Now the matter has died down and they have commenced cruises. If you have never been on a cruise, it might be a good idea to try it out once. But beware of the total cost of your trip, don’t go by what is advertised. Cordelia has smaller ships and less features compared to mega cruise ships operated by say Royal Caribbean. 


To give you a comparison, a 2 day cruise on Royal Caribbean from Miami costs 450 USD for 2 people inclusive of taxes (36000 INR approx.) for December 2022 for inside room. While this amount feels similar to Cordelia or even cheaper in some cases, you have to go all the way to Miami, USA. A 4 day Europe cruise is 36000 INR for 1 person which is cheaper than what Cordelia charges for a similar cruise. Because Cordelia does not have competition they can afford to keep prices high. If you have international travel plans you can hold and explore more options.


My personal thoughts:

As I studied Cordelia's cruise options, pricing and feature I have decided to hold for now. The pricing is at par with international cruises, so I might as well plan one while I travel abroad. I have already had a cruise experience so can wait longer for a better deal in a not so old ship.


Cruise industry suffered a lot during the pandemic. Now the industries are hoping to recover. Hopefully they sustain and do well. 


Official website: https://www.cordeliacruises.com


Disclaimer: I have not taken any cruise on Cordelia like other bloggers. All details sourced from public domain and updated with my personal experience, analysis and thoughts. Use your discretion, refer official sources for latest rules, pricing and other info, as these change from time to time. 


I am hoping someone launches a budget version of cruises - like how budget airlines have made air travel more affordable, Instead of having to pay 30000 INR per day per person for the cheapest accommodation, if we can have a dormitory kind of shared accommodation, basic food and WiFi at a more affordable 4000 to 5000 INR per person per day then lot of people can try short stints of working from the ship or enjoy short holidays without breaking the bank.


Do share your thoughts..

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