A British ‘beauty’ Aurora made her graceful appearance at the Colombo Port on the February 6, 2017, coming from Mumbai, India. The beautiful passenger vessel will end her long journey at Southampton, England, on April 22, 2017.
This gigantic 889-foot (271m) vessel carries 850 crew members and 2,000 passengers. The passengers are mainly from UK, Oman, Dubai, India, and the majority being from the United Kingdom.
The increasing number of passenger vessels indicates that Sri Lanka is highlighted not only as a popular tourist destination but also as a valuable stop for passenger vessels, having several natural harbours since the ancient times.
On its arrival to Sri Lanka, it carried 1,000 passengers who explored with much enthusiasm of what this paradise island had to offer, enriched with natural resources and cultural elegance.
The visitors on board were given a warm welcome by the Sri Lanka Tourism officials, and were given brochures and information on board by Tourist Information Staff of Sri Lanka Tourism.
The guests had the opportunity of visiting the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Negombo, tea plantations, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, Mount Lavinia Beach, Colombo City attractions and shopping in Colombo, all organized and handled by Luxasia Travel.
They also had a sightseeing tour within the Colombo city limits, with the assistance of Shipping Agency Services (Pvt.) Ltd. The tourists were pleased with the experience of having the opportunity of exploring a different destination which was compact and amazing. The vessel has a galore of exquisite facilities.
Soon after Aurora, another passenger vessel Costa Neo Classica arrived on February 14, 2017 at the Colombo Port, coming from the Maldives. The guests were welcomed by Sri Lanka Tourism officials and were entertained by a cultural dancing troupe. It will sail back to the Maldives on February 24.
Comprising of 600 crew members and the ability of carrying 1,443 passengers, it was built in 1991. During its short stay, the visitors on board were able to explore the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Bentota Beach, and take part on Colombo and a Negombo city tour.
The ground handling was done by Exotic Holidays whilst the local shipping line was Aitken Spence.
The arrival of these passenger vessels will certainly take Sri Lanka to greater heights by promoting the natural and cultural gifts it has to offer, through their explorations.
(The Sunday Leader - 26022017)