Cordelia Cruises: Everything You Need To Know

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Cordelia Cruises may not be the most famous name in the world of cruising, but it might just be one of the most interesting new cruise companies to have started operating in the last few years.

Cordelia ship

Cordelia Cruises is a cruise line based in India that specialises in trips along the Indian coast and to Sri Lanka. Cordelia Cruises may be new and small but in a few short years they have built a loyal following and they have big plans for the future.

How many ships does Cordelia Cruises have?

Cordelia Cruises has just one ship! Yep, I was surprised too, but they are a new company and the first sailing of a Cordelia Cruise ship was in September 2021. 

The Cordelia Cruise ship is known as ‘Empress’ but it had another life before becoming the first ship in the Cordelia fleet.

The ship was first launched in 1990 by Royal Caribbean International and was named Nordic Empress before being rebranded as Empress of the Seas.

Empress of the seas
Empress of the Seas
Credit: Jsausley, CC BY-SA 4.0

Nordic Empress was the first mainstream cruise ship designed specifically for the 3- and 4-day cruise market and this ties in nicely with the short holidays that are being offered by Cordelia Cruises.

Empress of the Seas was purchased by Cordelia Cruises in December 2020. As well as changing the name to simply Empress, the ship underwent an extensive refurbishment and now has a huge Cordelia Cruises logo on her hull. 

Will there be any more Cordelia Cruise Ships?

While the Cordelia Cruise fleet is currently just one ship, the company has intentions to expand in the near future. They have announced plans to invest over US$ 1 billion by 2025 in order to acquire at least another three cruise ships. 

The company hopes to take advantage of huge projected growth in the cruise industry over the next decade and has plenty of opportunities for expansion given that India has the world’s 3rd-largest coastline of over 7500 km (4660 miles). 

CEO Jurgen Bailom has said he’s confident that in the next 5-7 years India will be one of the top 5 cruise destinations of the world…

“We have aggressive expansion plans. We want to add at least three cruise vessels by 2025 that could cost over USD 1 billion.”  

Cordelia was the first Indian cruise brand to set sail internationally when it first sailed to Sri Lanka in June 2023. Cordelia has positioned itself as a direct competitor to Costa Cruises, the Italian cruise line that homeports annually in Mumbai.

Cordelia Cruises has definitely made an impressive start in its first few years and their one cruise ship has carried more than 400,000 passengers since it was launched in September 2021. 

It plans to take advantage of India’s huge coastline and turn the country into a global cruise destination and has already announced new routes to Dubai and the Middle East.

Is food free on Cordelia Cruises?

When you travel with Cordelia Cruises, the fare includes complimentary dining for all of your meals in either of the main restaurants on the ship – Starlight and Food Court. Both of these restaurants offer more than 15 types of cuisine.

The food onboard is tailored to the primarily Indian clientele and is designed with the tastes and preferences of Indian travellers in mind. 

Indian food

All food served on board is Halal and no beef or pork is cooked on the ship. There are also vegetarian options and Jain food at all of the restaurants. 

If you want to eat at the specialty dining restaurants – Chopstix & International Grill – you will need to pay extra. 

To see what lunch is like on Coredial Cruises, take a look at this video…

Is drink free on Cordelia Cruises?

Drinks are not free on Cordelia Cruises. You will need to pay for your own drinks whether they are alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages. 

In your cabin, you’ll be given some complimentary bottles of water. How many you get will depend on the ticket that you have purchased. Standard passengers get 1 litre of water included per person per day while Upper get three 500ml bottles each day. Premier passengers can enjoy four 500ml bottles of water each day. 

If you need more water than this you can buy bottles of water for Rs.100 or drink the desalinated water provided free in the restaurants.  

Where do Cordelia Cruises depart from?

Most Cordelia Cruises depart from Mumbai but it’s also possible to travel from Chennai, Kochi and Goa.

The most frequent voyage you can take with Cordelia Cruises leaves from Mumbai. The ship will call at places like Lakshadweep, Kochi and Goa. 

At certain times of the year (June-September), the Empress relocates to Chennai where it embarks on International cruises to Sri Lanka.  

Where do Cordelia Cruises depart from?

Where can you visit on a Cordelia Cruise?

At the moment you are able to visit various ports in India on a Cordelia Cruise, as well as take a trip to Sri Lanka. Some of the places that you can visit include:

Lakshadweep is a beautiful archipelago of coral atolls and islands nestled in the Arabian Sea. This tropical paradise is known for its powdery white sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and rich marine life.

The islands are great for activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, and kayaking. The rich marine life and breathtaking underwater landscapes make Lakshadweep a diver’s paradise.


Kochi (Cochin) is a vibrant city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It’s a melting pot of cultures, with eclectic architecture that has been influenced by its colonial past.

You’ll find ancient churches, synagogues, and Portuguese and Dutch-inspired buildings alongside bustling markets and modern infrastructure. 


Goa, on the western coast of India, is famous for its vibrant beach parties, rich culture, and laid-back atmosphere.

This stunning coastline along the Arabian Sea boasts a mix of pristine beaches, historic temples, and bustling markets. 


Hambantota is a bustling port city on the southern coast of Sri Lanka it is the perfect place for Cordelia Cruises to visit thanks to having one of the largest and busiest deep-water ports in Sri Lanka.

The city has some really interesting temples, ruins and traditional festivals. It’s also surrounded by natural beauty, with picturesque beaches, lush wetlands, the famous Yala National Park where you can spot diverse wildlife, including leopards and elephants.


Trincomalee is a coastal city situated on the northeastern coast of Sri Lanka. It is renowned for its stunning natural harbour, one of the largest and deepest in the world, and its pristine beaches, such as Nilaveli and Uppuveli.

The city has some ancient temples, including Koneswaram Temple, which is right by the sea. The warm waters of Trincomalee are good for water sports, whale watching, and dolphin spotting.


From June 2024 Cordelia Cruises will begin a series of cruises to Dubai and the Middle East. These cruises will sail from Mumbai initially but there will also be the opportunity to take short round-trip cruises from Dubai visiting places like Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar.

If you fancy a longer cruise there will be a 12-day option that departs from Dubai, sails down the west coast of India, visits Sri Lanka and ends its voyage in Chennai.


Who owns Cordelia Cruise?

Cordelia Cruises is owned by Waterways Leisure Tourism Private Ltd. This is a private company registered in Delhi, India.

The directors of Waterways Leisure Tourism Private Limited are listed as Nilesh Madhukar Chandole and Aditya Gupta.

Mr. Jurgen Bailom is the President and CEO of Waterways Leisure Tourism. He has a wealth of experience in the cruise industry which he has used to successfully launch a new cruise experience in India. 

He played an important role in the selection of the first ship, its refurbishment, and developing an experience tailored to the needs of Indian travellers. For example, cruises include celebrations of Navratri and Diwali on board the Empress, along with cuisine and entertainment tailored to Indian tastes.

What are the different room types on a Cordelia Cruise?

There are a few different room types on a Cordlia Cruise. Of course, they come with different price tags attached. Here is a quick overview of the different types of room that you can choose onboard the Empress

Interior Stateroom

The Interior Staterooms are the most budget-friendly option but include everything you need with a bathroom, television, safe and twin beds that can be converted to a queen size bed.

Interior Stateroom

Oceanview Stateroom

These private and cosy cabins are similar to the Interior Stateroom but have an all-important sea view! If you worry about feeling claustrophobic in a windowless room, then paying extra for a window can be worth it.

Oceanview Stateroom

Mini Suite

This room is a bit more luxurious with a private balcony for you to sit back and enjoy panoramic views of the ocean. There are no standard balcony cabins on Cordelia Cruises ship, so if you want outside space, then a Mini Suite is the entry grade.

Mini Suite


Things take a step up in luxuriousness with the Suites and Chairman’s suite. Both of these come with a range of extra perks:

  • Priority embarkation and disembarkation
  • Porter services 
  • Sparkling wine and fruit basket 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary laundry
  • Reserved section at the theatre
  • Complimentary Bridge Tour
  • Butler service
  • Breakfast & lunch at the specialty restaurant
  • Evening cocktais with the Captain

The Chairman’s Suite is the best room on the ship with a living room, a private dining area, a private sun-deck balcony and even a Jacuzzi!

How much do Cordelia Cruises cost?

The cost of a Cordelia Cruise will vary depending on the length of the cruise that you choose to go on and on the class of cabin. At the time of writing, it’s possible to take a 2-night cruise for Rs 52,496 (approx 630 USD). This price covers two people so it’s around $150 USD per person per night.

It’s always worth keeping an eye out for the latest offers which you can find on the Cordelia Cruises promotion page

They have a wide range of deals like kids go free, 5 nights for the price of 4, and free room upgrades so it’s worth having a look at what kind of deals you are able to take advantage of. 

How to book Cordelia Cruises?

The best way to book Cordelia Cruises is directly with the company itself. They have an easy-to-use website that allows you to search upcoming cruises based upon a number of handy filters like departure location, date or destination. 

It’s also possible to book using various travel agents like Thomas Cook India or Akbar Travels. It’s always a good idea to compare prices from a few different places before committing to purchase your cruise. 


Don’t miss these hot cruise offers…

Are Cordelia Cruises good?

Most people who have travelled with Cordelia Cruises have enjoyed their experience. From over 800 Google reviews, the cruise liner gets an average of 4 out of 5 stars. 

People generally enjoy the atmosphere on board, like the food and feel that the experience is luxurious. 

The most common complaints are to do with the lack of free water, the fact many onboard activities are chargeable, the expensive internet or to do with itinerary changes. Some people also feel that the ship is showing its age. 

Cordelia Cruises dining room

Bottom Line

So there you have it! Hopefully, this post has told you all you need to know about Cordelia Cruises. It’s an exciting new cruising option and they clearly have big plans for expansion in the future. 

It’s great to see new areas of the world opening up to cruise ships and Cordelia Cruises offers a particularly good cruise option for anyone who lives in India. 

Cordelia Cruises has only been going for three years but has quickly expanded its route option and it seems like the next few years will see even more options added. 

So, If you have ever wanted to explore India’s coast by cruise ship then Cordelia Cruises may well be the way to go.

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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