Sailing away with cricket and Bollywood celebrities

People travel around the world to explore different places and experience luxurious lifestyles aboard cruise ships, but what if you could actually sail alongside cricket and Bollywood icons?

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar during the announcement of the opening of bookings for the Monarch Cruise in Mumbai.   -  PTI

People travel around the world to explore different places and experience luxurious lifestyles aboard cruise ships, but what if you could actually sail alongside cricket and Bollywood icons? Monarch Cruise is giving everyone an opportunity to do just that. At a glittering ceremony in Mumbai on Wednesday, cricket legend and brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar launched the world's first ever themed-based luxury Monarch Cruise featuring the best of cricket and Bollywood.

Elaborating on the unique concept, Monarch Cruise CEO Somesh Jagga said, “When we looked at this part of the world, we tried to identify which are the two biggest interests that Indians have, and cricketer Shane Lee had this idea of doing cricket and Bollywood. Going forward, Monarch Cruise wants to bring more theme-based cruises to India. So this is just the beginning. The Cricket and Bollywood cruise was designed just to give the Indian market a luxury experience they have not seen before.”

Starting March 2017, the cruise will offer seven different itineraries with four 7-day legs, two 13-day legs, and one 26-day experience for cruise enthusiasts. The journey will include destinations in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

Commenting on the experience, Tendulkar said, “It’s a great opportunity for Indians because they like to travel; they like to spend money. And this money is definitely worth spending. We want to create a special, memorable trip for everyone onboard...where the cricketers will conduct master-classes and chat shows every evening for the tourists. Brett Lee is apparently ready to bowl in the nets, and Shane Warne too might roll his arm over! And with Bollywood superstars, comedians and DJs also performing, its going to be an all-round show.”

Apart from Tendulkar, Monarch Cruise also named Aussie cricket greats Shane Warne and Brett Lee as brand ambassadors. They will join Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara, stand-up comedian Vir Das, DJ Kushi, rapper Badshah, famed Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and a host of other personalities.

So, can passengers actually dream of bowling to Tendulkar or Brendon McCullum on the ship? Talking about the possibility of conducting exhibition T20 matches, Jagga said, “Yes. We are already in talks with different leagues. The idea of a cricket and Bollywood cruise is to bring passengers up close and personal with the players whom they have only witnessed in stadiums and not got a chance to rub shoulders with. And take selfies too!”

Josh Hill, vice-chairman of Monarch Cruise, added, “Passengers will have the opportunity to either get Brett Lee to bowl a few balls at them or bowl to Brendon McCullum - the ball could end up in the middle of the ocean! So just being able to interact with these legends of the game in some way will be an amazing experience.”

Bookings for the cruise are now open; cabins starting from 79,990 per person may be purchased at www.monarchcruise.com