Even as I sit to write this post, I find myself wishing I had Hermione Granger’s time turner so that I could turn back the time to last week and be, once again, onboard the beautiful Jalesh Cruises Karnika. Luxurious staterooms, elegant decor, fine dine restaurants and bars, a food court with options to satisfy different palates and world class entertainment which makes you feel that a weekend is simply not enough! And best of all, this is a floating luxury hotel which makes your journey as beautiful (if not more) as the destination. Setting sail from the International Cruise Terminal at Ballard Pier in South Bombay, Jalesh Cruises is a great option for a weekend getaway for all those families who seek newer options besides the usual Lonavala, Alibaug, Mahabaleshwar and the likes. Read on to know more about India’s Premium cruise line….
About Jalesh Cruises
“Jalesh Cruises is India’s first multi-destination cruise line that has the best of entertainment shows, adventure activities and exotic authentic cuisines packed with international hospitality on the high sea. The cruise is designed & customised especially for the Indian audience and also for the foreigners visiting India to experience the flavour of Indian culture, food & hospitality.”
For many Indians, going on a cruise remains an unfulfilled dream because it means travelling to an international destination to embark on a cruise ship. Jalesh Cruises has changed the game and brought cruising right to our doorstep with it’s luxurious maiden ship, Karnika. With domestic destinations such a Goa, Diu and Ganpatipule, even those who don’t have a passport can go on a cruise holiday. Jalesh cruises also offers itineraries to international destinations such as Dubai, Muskat and Oman. You can check out all the itineraries and cruising dates on their website, jaleshcruises.com.
The Karnika offers four accommodation options to suit various budgets – Interior Stateroom, Oceanview Stateroom, Balcony Stateroom and Mini-Suite. Some of the Mini-Suites have third and fourth berths available as well, which is what we had booked since both our boys were with us. Unlike the cabins on other cruise ships, this one was truly spacious – in fact so spacious that our kids played football in there (but then my boys end up playing football everywhere, even on the sand dunes in the desert)! Not only do you get adequate space in the room, the mini-suite also has a spacious wardrobe as well as a bathtub in the bathroom. You can check out my Instagram stories to see exactly how spacious the room is.
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The biggest issue we’ve faced while on a cruise ship earlier was the lack of good vegetarian food. While there were vegetarian options, they lacked one crucial element – flavour – everything was just so bland and unappetising! Since Jalesh Cruises Karnika caters largely to the Indian audience, the on board gastronomy actually becomes their trump card for Indian travellers. Not only do they have vegetarian options across all cuisines in all restaurants and bars, they also have separate vegetarian and Jain counters! The kids want pizzas and burgers? You have The International Grill. Craving for some Asian stir fries? Check out the Far Eastern Kadhai. Wholesome Indian food? Essence of India. Comforting soups? There’s Kettle & Bun. Sinful desserts? Sugar & Spice is for you. If you want none of those but want to tingle your tastebuds with some chaat or vada pav, Karnika offers that too at Street Food! There is something to tickle everyone’s palate onboard Jalesh Cruises. From a casual self-serve setting at the Food Court to fine dining at Waterfront, Chef’s Table and Chopsitx, they have something for everyone. And if you’ve over-indulged yourself, you can always burn it up at the gym!
My favourite of the lot has to be Chopstix – the Pan Asian fine dine restaurant onboard Karnika. Chef Khumanand Thapa whipped up an incredibly delicious vegetarian meal for us that ended with an assortment of sinful desserts. If you are cruising on the Karnika, I highly recommend having at least one meal at Chopstix.
For the fans of Bacchus, Jalesh Cruises Karnika has 9 (yes, NINE) bars! Of these, the Pool bar and the Oasis Bar are al-fresco ones so you can sip your drink while you gaze out at the endless blue seas. The Marquee Bar & Show Lounge is where the Broadway style entertainment happens while the Dome is an elegant bar that turns into a nightclub as the evening progresses. Players is the bar at the Casino while Connexions is where you can watch live performances by the bands. Mix Bar offers a view of the Atrium and reception area as well as the live performances happening there and Chairman’s club is an exclusive member’s only lounge.
With the plethora of entertainment options on board the Karnika, there is never a dull moment! Broadway style musicals and late night burlesque performances, a night club as well as a DJ belting out party numbers on the open pool-side deck to movie screenings to live performances to games such as Housie and Antakshari to dance and yoga sessions, no matter what the time of the day, you are certainly not going to get bored.
And if you are the one who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle and want to just relax and have a peaceful time, the Serene Spa and Thermal Suites awaits. The Spa has a beautifully curated menu of massages and scrubs such as the unique Quartz Massage and also has a couple’s massage suite for those wanting a romantic experience. The Thermal Suites comprise of a Turkish Hammam, a Herbal Steam room, a Meditation room as well as a Relaxation room.
Kids won’t get bored either onboard Karnika. My kids are happiest spending all day in the pool and not really fussed about other entertainment. Despite that, they enjoyed playing arcade games at the Fun Zone, playing Housie and watching the movie screening. Jalesh Cruises Karnika also has spaces dedicated for kids such as Adventurers & Scouts, Quest and Quest+ where they can play and mingle with other kids while the parents get some couple time together.
With so much to do onboard and packages starting from as low as Rs. 28,800 for two adults for a 2night, 3day cruise (in an interior stateroom), the Jalesh Cruises Karnika truly makes for a great weekend getaway. Not just that, it is also perfect for those wanting their first cruise experience. Or of course, wanting to celebrate a special occasion. In fact, the popularity of Jalesh Cruises can be known from the fact that the day we sailed, there were 1900 checkins (the ship can accommodate 2000 guests) which included 3 corporate groups, a group celebrating someone’s anniversary and two bachelorette groups!
To book a cruise with Jalesh Cruises, check out the cruise list with the destinations and dates here. So, what are you waiting for? Happy Cruising!