Watch the sun setting over the Arabian Sea, taking in the evening breeze and rocked by the gentle waves. If you thought a cruise could burn a hole in your pocket, you could not be more wrong. The bill works out to be a mere Rs 350.
Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation's deluxe mini cruise, Sagara Rani, is a common man's dream come true. The daily cruise that leaves the Marine Drive in Kochi everyday offers an unlimited vista for two hours at an affordable cost.
In case you are planning to voyage as a group, be sure to arrive at the starting point ahead of time. Else you might have to settle for seats scattered all over.
Sagara Rani has two decks. The upper deck can accommodate 90 passengers. The crew can arrange for some plastic chairs in case more passengers turn up. Passengers are served tea and snacks.
Choose a seat at the front of the boat so that the waves and the breeze create a fantastical world for you. The captain also sits on the upper deck.
The lower deck is equipped with a small restaurant, a conference hall and two toilets.
The crew consists of 8 to 10 members. One of them would greet the passengers at the beginning of the journey, offering tidbits about the buildings that dot Kochi's skyline. Then the ship cruises along the Bolghatty Palace and under the Goshree bridges. The Vallarpadom Transshipment Container Terminal, Raman Thuruth, Vypeen Ferry, Cochin Ship Yard and the numerous Chinese nets on the way are sights to behold.
Sagara Rani would then cruise for about 12 kilometres into the sea. On days when the weather is inhospitable, the distance may be cut short to 2 to 3 kilometres.
Sagara Rani is an Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) class cruise vessel. The two boats do not have permission to voyage beyond 15 km into the sea.
Sagara Rani offers various packages for tourists. The normal ticket rate is Rs 350 per person. The rate goes up to Rs 400 on weekends and holidays.