The shipping ministry hopes to launch the ships by 2023
The government has taken initiatives to build international standard cruise ships -- with the aim to launch them within two years.
Construction works of three cruise ships have begun recently at a dry dock of Karnafuly Ship Builders Ltd, on the bank of Karnaphuli River, in Chittagong.
Each of these vessels will be worth at least Tk77 crore, taking the project cost to a total of Tk231 crore for now, according to officials.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury told Dhaka Tribune that they expect to launch these vessels by 2023. “It will not only expand the country's tourism industry but also will play a special role in the economy.”
“Each of these vessels will have all modern entertainment facilities so that a tourist can spend up to 15 days on a cruise comfortably. Moreover, such cruises exist only in Europe, not even in India. These ships will be able to travel to India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.” he added.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation Chairman Syed Tajul Islam told Dhaka Tribune that according to the contract signed with Karnafuly Ship Builders Ltd, the vessels will be delivered by June 2023.
"Then the International Association of Classification Societies will verify the vessels’ classification before we launch them," he added.
Explaining how they would like to sign contracts with large corporations to provide top-notch services, Islam said: “We are thinking of signing contracts with major private companies such as Sheraton, Pan Pacific Sonargaon, and InterContinental in order to offer world-class cruises to tourists."
On board facilities
According to officials, each cruise ship will have 150 cabins for the passengers and 50 cabins for the crew. Every cabin will have an attached bathroom.
In addition, there will be 20 presidential suits for the passengers.
Each vessel will have all the modern facilities including a 3D cinema hall, two swimming pools, laundry, bar, cafe, helipad, open space, poolside cafe, parlour, kids corner, and food court.
The helipad will allow on board authorities to airlift any passenger to nearby hospitals if they get sick during a cruise.
The movie theatres will accommodate 60 people. They can also be used as conference rooms or for family get-togethers by passengers.
Bangladesh’s first-ever luxury cruise ship 'MV Bay One,' which operates on the Cox's Bazar-Saint Martin route, was launched in December last year.
Karnafuly Ship Builders Ltd had imported the ship, built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, from Japan in September 2020.