An Interesting story out of India this week, where the Azamara Quest Master, Jose Vilarinho blasts the bureaucracy and time delays at the Chennai Port.
At a time when other Asian ports such as Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and several Chinese ports are spending millions on incentives to attract ship visits, seemingly India can’t find scissors sharp enough to cut through the red tape.
The story below appeared in the local Indian press:
CHENNAI, DECEMBER 9:
Azamara Club Cruises, the US-based cruise line owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises, will ignore India in its itinerary if procedures at ports, immigration and Customs are not changed. There is too much bureaucracy and hassles for guest at every level, according to Jose Vilarinho, Master of cruise ship Azamara Quest.
The company will replace Mumbai with Dubai from 2017 onwards if the procedures are not simplified.
While it was a smooth sailing on the water front, it was a nightmare for passengers on the shore side, he told newspersons on board the ship, which berthed at the Chennai port late last night. “If you want to open up for international cruise, you need to get rid of the bureaucracy. In this kind of environment, it is very difficult to bring in a cruise ship. Our guests were made to stand for two hours at the gate to enter ships at ports. This is unacceptable. Certain guests disembarked in a different port and embarked in Chennai. However, they still had to undergo multiple levels of checks,” he said. Guests on Azamara Quest have embarked on a thirteen night ‘Spice Route II and Myanmar’ voyage sailing to Singapore, said Tony Markey, Cruise Director, Azamara Quest.
After Chennai, the ship with 694 passengers and 400 crew including Indians, will visit Port Blair, Andaman Islands, Yangon, Myanmar, Phuket, Langkawi, Penang and Port Klang and Singapore being the final destination.
“Ours is a luxury cruise and if our guests are unhappy with a port of call, we may skip it,” he said. “We have plans to develop our network in India. It all depends on how the procedures and systems change,” he said.
Maybe Larry Pimentel can write a letter to the new Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi? Apparently he is excellent at solving this type of issue!