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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Luxury liner calls on Tuticorin

For an 18-hour halt, the luxury cruise liner, M.V. Spirit of Adventure, carrying 268 tourists (all Britons) and 206 crew members, arrived at Tuticorin port on Tuesday.

The 139 metre long and 17.5 metre wide vessel, owned by Saga Group based in the United Kingdom and registered at Bahamas, was equipped with 206 cabins spread over six passenger decks, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a hospital, cafeterias, library with a collection of 3,000 books and health clubs.

The District Tourism Officer, T Chellappa, and the Public Relations Officer of the Tuticorin Port Trust, Arunachalam, received the tourists at Berth 8 in a traditional manner to the accompaniment of `Nagaswaram,' before they embarked upon a sightseeing trip to the Nellaiappar Temple and ancient Cathedrals in Tirunelveli district and a fruit farm at Sawyerpuram in Tuticorin district.

A bullock cart drive was organised at the fruit farm for the tourists.

Hardman, a cafeteria owner from Manchester, was ecstatic about the trip to India. "The cultural diversity, food and pristine locations in the country were fantastic," he said.

This set of tourists, who boarded the ship at Port Sultan Qaboos in Muscat on November 8, touched the Indian coast in Mumbai on November 12.

It was followed by visits to Goa, Mangalore and Kochi before reaching Tuticorin.

Martin Breen, captain, echoed the tourist's words. "Even the entry into India was something to cherish since Mumbai skyline looked majestic from the sea, which simply cannot be matched, if one enters the city by other means of transport," he said.

The vessel will sail to Colombo in the early hours of Wednesday, where a fresh set of tourists will join.

The Tuticorin Port Trust gave a 33 per cent concession on berth hire charges to the vessel, to promote cruise tourism in the region

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