“Neverland” will sail the Arabian Sea – along the coast of Mumbai from early 2018.
Millions of tourists who visit Mumbai every year from foreign countries and across India will now be able to catch the city’s imposing skyline from the sea almost daily.
Owner of the ship – young entrepreneur Shripriya Dalmia Thirani who is just in her late 30s, says the cruise will ply between Mumbai’s iconic Gateway of India and Chowpatty.
Peter Pan is a fictional character created by Scottish novelist J M Berrie.
Neverland was Peter Pan’s home.
He refused to grow up and hence Neverland is often used as a metaphor for eternal childhood and escapism.
Revealing why she chose Neverland as a name for Mumbai’s first such experience on water, Thirani said “I believe that we now belong to the Peter Pan generation – the one that never wants to grow up. I have always been fascinated by the character and the philosophy that comes with it. I have believed that age is a misnomer. Inside every person is a younger one dying to be let free. I want my ship to bring out the child in every one of us. My cruise ship will not only give people a chance to sail the majestic Arabian Sea but will also open up a brand new world where one can watch a movie on board to check out the glistening stars through a powerful telescope”.
“I’m sure you are familiar with the story of Peter Pan, in which it says, ‘the moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it’. These words also helped me pitch for such a large venture when I have no experience in shipping or cruises. I love the sea – it is my place of endless fairy tales. I wanted people to enjoy the sea in Mumbai like never before and hence I decided to introduce the first very cruise ship. Peter Pan’s words give me courage. The ship’s deck will be my Neverland,” she added.
Interestingly, the cruise ships will also have Mumbai’s first ever floating restaurants.
Passengers will be picked up from designated points across Mumbai’s coastline and taken on board the ship for an “unparalleled dining session coupled with a cruise that would allow people to see the city from the water”.
The ship will docked a few miles into the sea.
Diners and those coming on to enjoy a cruise will be taken on small boats giving them a real feel of sailing on the sea.
Thirani is in the process of first finalising the ship and has travelled across India and countries like Norway, Greece, Turkey, and the Caribbean inspecting available options.
“I want to make one thing clear – this isn’t just for the rich and famous but also for Mumbai’s middle class families. The sea is theirs and so will be my ship,” says Thirani.
Thirani adds that her ships will have the most stringent environmental tests and pollution checks to ensure that marine life thrives around it.
“I love the sea. I have travelled extensively around the world in search of the sea. I will in no way harm what I love the most. It will be pollution free and marine life will receive my utmost care. I will also also have the highest level of security on-board for human safety. Every place in the world – in almost all corners which are by the sea side, make a sensational impact on the minds of locals and tourists by allowing them to enjoy the sea – sit on a deck, sip on some fine wine and have a sumptuous dinner with the best views. Mumbai did not offer that till now,” Thirani adds.
People in Mumbai love going out and experiencing new cuisines.
It is India’s richest city with total wealth of $820 billion.
Mumbai is home to 46,000 millionaires, 28 billionaires compared to 23,000 millionaires, 18 billionaires in Delhi and 7,700 millionaires, 8 billionaires in Bengaluru.
“Mumba’s coastline with the impressive city scape can give a lot of global sea side cities a run for its money. I am certain that once the restaurant begins to operate, lots of new businesses will come up around the sea. Dining on the water will then become a must do for everyone just like it is for tourists who go to Monte Carlo or the French Riviera. I envisage that the ship will open its doors by early 2018. Pre booking will begin in November. The demand for seats is already shooting through the roof with people asking us personally from now itself on how they can book a table,” according to Thirani who is a mother of three, an alumni from The Indian Institute of Learning and Management which is affiliated to the University of Bradford and an MBA from Symbiosis Pune.
It was completely by chance that Thirani came to know about the government’s plan to open up Mumbai’s Eastern seafront.
“I realised it could be an opportunity to turn my dream into a reality. Mumbai’s incredible seafront is a spectacle – always brimming with life, teeming with stories and emotions. I am very thankful to minister Nitin Gadkare and the Mumbai Port Trust for such a forward thinking decision. Mumbai’s seafront will no more be any less than the French or the Italian Riviera,” she said.
So what about the restaurants?
“I have plans of tie ups with some of the world’s top chains and chefs. Indians will no more have to spend lakhs flying to other countries to try out cuisines made by chefs who are like Gods of the kitchen. Instead, I intend to get the world’s top chefs to cook in our backyard. I will have multiple restaurants in multiple levels of the vessel catering various cuisines – both international and local. It will be an eclectic mix of high end fine dining and casual. The food will be of the highest quality and the chefs preparing them will be the world’s finest artists,” she signs off.