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Star Flyer sails into Kochi with 88 tourists

Staff Reporter

A portion of `Kaho Na Pyaar Hai' was shot on board the vessel



BEFORE THE NEXT JOURNEY BEGINS: Sailing ship Star Flyer that called at Kochi on Tuesday. Photo: H. Vibhu

KOCHI : Star Flyer, the ship which was a turning point in the career of Hrithik Roshan and Ameesha Patel, sailed into Kochi on Tuesday, with 88 tourists.

The huge sailing ship, that resembles Indian Navy's INS Tarangini, is on its 37-day journey from Phuket (in Thailand) to Athens. "The actors and crew sailed with us from Mumbai to Thailand, for shooting on-board scenes of `Kaho Na Pyaar Hai'," said Peter Kissner, cruise director of the vessel. "They even staged dance and music programmes for our guests, who were not used to such dance numbers in movies. It is great to note that the vessel provided a boost to their film career," he said.

Out in Kochi on Tuesday evening, a good number of passengers grouped together to witness a `Kathakali' performance on board the vessel. A henna-painting artiste too was arranged, to make the guests feel at home. The vessel will leave for Goa on Wednesday afternoon, from the Cochin Port Trust's BTP berth.

Mr. Kissner showed us around the vessel and spoke of how the vessel (and its passengers) are different from those of conventional cruise liners, many of which are compared to floating luxury hotels. "The vessel does not have casinos, shopping malls or Las Vegas shows. We provide the ambience of a private yacht. Passengers can assist us in sailing, steering and rigging the vessel."

Most of the passengers seek privacy and do not look for recreational activities on board. They spend their time enjoying the sea around them, listening to the piano in the ship's lobby or reading books. Sometimes, the crew stage events on board. Out in the Mediterranean, water sports are arranged.

It is interesting to note that Star Flyer sails faster (10 to 14 knots) when the engine is turned off (and the wind steers the vessel) than when the engine is turned on (around 9.5 knots). The tall-ship can accommodate a total of 170 passengers.

Two of its passengers from Australia — Terry Miners and his wife Maurine — had returned to the vessel after a shopping stint in Kochi city, when we ran into them. At first, they wanted to know the latest on the Cricket World Cup front. "Kochi's a lovely city. That huge cruise vessels like Queen Mary II and Queen Elizabeth II called at here recently shows how friendly Kochi port is," they said.

The Luxembourg-registered ship belongs to the fleet of Star Clippers and resembles clippers in use in the 1850s. The passengers include Americans, Germans, Brits and the Swiss. Twenty of its crew are from Goa, working in the engine and deck departments.

Manager of Travel Corporation of India and ground handlers of the vessel P. Sanjeev Kumar said that more ships would call at Kochi if there are better berthing facilities. "A cruise terminal with proper infra-structure is the need of the hour," he said.

He said that Star Clipper, another sail ship of the company, would call at Kochi on October.

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