Ever since the dawn of river cruises in Panaji, beginning with the oldest, the Santa Monica, the concept has now become a widely preferred destination among tourists both domestic and foreign. The craze for cruise trips has shot up heavily witnessing an 80 per cent increase in the number of tourists over a period of 15 years.
Before operating cruises, the company used to run water scooters and other water sports activities in Dona Paula and later switched on to river cruises as a result of the increasing demand. The cruise vessel that the Paradise runs is a new vessel and has state-of-the-art facilities such as a Disco on board, a pub and as well as a fully air-conditioned hall.
The travel agents take the tourists to various places, after which they take them on a cruise trip, which always leaves the tourists coming back for more, having enjoyed themselves entirely.
The hotel and the cruise business have in a way benefited each other, as tourists who go on cruises, love coming back, and many a times end up extending their stay in Goa.
Every tourist coming on a trip leaves the cruise with a sense of elation. The cruises also attract Ad filmmakers and rarely even moviemakers, as it provides them with scintillating sceneries and breathtaking views. Other than river cruise for tourists, they also offer cruises on hire for private parties and business meets in the off-seasons.
Entertainment is the most important factor for the promotion of the cruise trips and the job is best done by the trained dance troops, entertainment groups and entertainers that are selected through, thorough examinations and tests, to provide quality entertainment to the tourists on board.
The GTDC’s Santa Monica, stresses more on the culture of Goa and avoids the western mix. Good dance troops and have dances and events which have a flavour of Goan culture. The demand has increased even after the increasing competition from private players and has automatically increased the quality of the service provided by the GTDC. Presently, the GTDC runs three cruises the Santa Monica, the Shantadurga and the Poseidon that are deployed in the peak season to meet the demands.
The troops are hired on a contract basis, on all the cruises. The charges for all the cruises are uniform and affordable. Some of the river cruises operating in Panaji are the Royal Cruises, Paradise, and the Aqua World, the Santa Monica, etc. Other than the cruise liners there are floating casinos that are in the news like the Swastik, the Rio and the Caravella that also operate in Panaji.