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 Cunard’s  Luxury Cruise Vessel  “Queen Elizabeth” Makes Colombo Maiden Call

Following the plaque exchange on board MV QUEEN ELIZABETH at SLPA. Chairman of SLPA Dr.Priyath B. Wickrama, Managing Director of SLPA Capt.Nihal Keppetipola, Mrs. Patricia Keppetipola, Master of the cruise vessel Capt. Julian Burgess, Director (Operations) SLPA Mr.G.A.Thalagala, Director (Security) Maj.General S.G.Karunarathna, Chief Manager (Marketing & BD) SLPA Mr.Upul Jayathissa, Chief Operations Manager (Conventional Cargo Operations) SLPA Mr.Jayantha Perera , Harbour Master of SLPA Capt.R.A.Jayawickrama, Snr. Deputy Harbour Master of SLPA Capt.A.Hewavitharana,  Capt.L.N.Jayasooriya – officials of the  Shipping Agency Services (Pvt) Ltd. that include Executive Director, Mr.Gihan Nanayakkara – Managing Director, Mr.Hiran Amaratunge – Director and Mrs.Dilkushi Rajapakse – General Manager are also present

On March 30, Cunard Line’s latest luxury Cruise Vessel “MV QUEEN ELIZABETH” made her inaugural call to Colombo, marking the third inaugural vessel call to Colombo made by the cruise liners operated by the parent company Carnival UK within the first quarter of 2012. The vessel left Southampton on the 10th January this year and is scheduled to return to Southampton on the 27th April. Incidentally, “QUEEN ELIZABETH’ followed the inaugural calls by the Cruise Liners “MV ARCADIA” and “MV AURORA”. The agency services for these cruise liners were provided by Messrs. Shipping Agency Services (Pvt) Ltd., a highly reputed Sri Lankan Shipping Company.

Cunard Line is a combinedly-owned British-American company based at Carnival House in Southampton, England, and operated by Carnival UK. It has been a leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic for over a century.

Currently undertaking her 107-day World Cruise, “MV QUEEN ELIZABETH” docked at the Passenger Jetty of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) at 7.00 hrs for a brief stay and departed at 17.30 hrs. for Cochin in India.

A plaque exchange ceremony was held on board “MV QUEEN ELIZABETH in celebration of the inaugural call at the Passenger Jetty of SLPA on the 30th of March, 2012. To mark the significance of this move to the SLPA, plaques were exchanged between the Chairman of SLPA Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama and the Master of the cruise vessel “MV QUEEN ELIZABETH” Capt. Julian Burgess in the presence of senior officials of SLPA and the officials of Messrs. Shipping Agency Services (Pvt) Ltd., including Managing Director, Mr. Gihan Nanayakkara, Executive Director, Capt. L. N Jayasooriya, and General Manager, Mrs. Dilkushi Rajapaksa.

Commenting on the significance of the occasion, Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama, Chairman, SLPA said, “This is the third inaugural vessel call made by the cruise liner Carnival UK in the first quarter of 2012. It is encouraging to note that according to provisional statistics released by the Department of Census and Statistics, Sri Lanka, the GDP has registered an upward trend of 8.3 percent for the year 2011 with the per capita income growing by 15.5 percent. The booming economy of the country resulting from the dawn of peace has created a conducive environment for a boost in the once-lucrative Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka. This trend heralds a new era for the tourism industry in Sri Lanka which is on the threshold of an economic renaissance with huge maritime-related infrastructure development projects in the port sector. In this context, whilst working in tandem with the tourism sector, Sri Lankan ports have vitally important roles to play”.

Expressing his views on the occasion, Capt. Nihal Keppetipola, Managing Director, SLPA said, “I chanced upon some interesting highlights posted by Cruise Market Watch in November last year. According to them, the worldwide cruise market is estimated at $34 billion and the number of prospective Cruise passengers worldwide in 2012 is estimated at 20 million, a 5.6% increase over 2011. Direct spending by passengers and crew at all cruise ports in the world is estimated at $15 billion. Therefore, it is important that our ports and coastal destinations are carefully managed and smartly promoted for the sustainable growth of this important market. It is quite an encouraging piece of news that the representative of Carnival UK, who visited Sri Lanka last December, has predicted the possibility of their luxury vessels calling the Port of Hambantota in the future. I most heartily thank Carnival UK for choosing Colombo as one of their cruise destinations, knowing very well that Colombo will be ready soon with iconic landmarks, world-class dining and unique hospitality to delight the discerning traveler”.


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