Kochi looks more alluring from the sea – watching the pretty coastline lined with Chinese fishing nets and centuries-old buildings glide away as you undertake a cruise along the Arabian Sea.
The Nefertiti Cruise Vessel takes you on this journey, offering an experience worth remembering.
A regal ship
Named after an Egyptian queen, Nefertiti, the ship offers you an ethereal abode as you skim through the surface of the Arabian Sea. An illustration of Queen Nefertiti greets you as you enter the ship. The beautiful Nefertiti was the wife of Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh, who ruled the country during the 1300 BC. Even the male-dominated court bowed to the orders of Nefertiti, who at times even wore the Pharaoh's crown.
Built by the Kerala government, Nefertiti lets tourists discover the beauty of Kochi shores and the sea. Nefertiti starts its journey at 2.30 pm from the Ernakulam wharf at Willingdon Island in Kochi. The ship returns by 8pm.
Nefertiti has two floors – Sistra, an Egyptian musical instrument, and Horus, a mythical protector of Egypt. The interiors have been decked up to match that of a star hotel.
Once seated in the regal Sistra hall, the assistant captain would list out the safety instructions. Once the formalities and a round of refreshments are done, the in-house singers take over the stage and the tourists get to listen to their choice of music.
The banquet hall opens into the veranda from where you get a view of the mainland and countless opportunities to zoom in your camera as the ship cruises past the ever-interesting Fort Kochi, container terminal and the shipyard.
The stairs from the banquet hall leads you to a luxurious restaurant (Horus). There is also counter for those who want to lighten up with a few drinks. However, the alcoholic beverages are not included in the ticket fare.
The restaurant too lets you take in the beauty of the sea, even while sitting within the comforts of a cosy air-conditioned room. However, if you really want to breathe in the sea, you need to step out into the 'Open Terrace' (or bridge deck which is located behind the captain's cabin) to get a 360-degree view.
As Nefertiti completes the 20-nautical mile journey, about 37km from the coast, you can see other ships anchored near the deep sea. It is the never-ending sight of the blue expanse all around you with fishing boats and ships for company.
By around 6pm as the sun begins to set, Nefertiti too resumes its journey back to the shores.
You definitely would not want to miss the view from the top deck – to witness sunset by the sea.
The ship, owned by the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation Ltd (KSINC), was built at the Goa Shipyard.
The ship comprises two halls, play area for kids, corridor, 3-D theatre, veranda, top deck and captain's cabin.
About 200 people can take the journey in the ship along with the captain and 15 crew members. In case of emergencies, the ship has two boats and life rafts.
The ticket trips during the weekends are what make Nefertiti a common man’s companion. Ticket fare for an adult is Rs 3,000 and for kids above five years of age is Rs 2,000. Nefertiti offers space for destination party, corporate meeting, project launch meeting, get-together and school picnics.
"Online tickets are available. A call centre would be set up soon. Ticket cruise are held only on Saturdays. Several corporate companies have come forward to hold meetings at Nefertiti that follows the luxury cruise model in New York," says KSINC managing director Prasanth IAS.
Starts journey at 2.30pm from Ernakulam wharf at Willingdon Island in Kochi
Will be back by 8pm
Tickets can be booked online http://nefertiticruise.com/
Ticket fare: Rs 3,000; kids: Rs 2,000
Mandatory security check ahead of the journey
Govt-approved ID card has to be shown
Special permission should be taken for professional camera while booking tickets.