Cruise ship guests visiting a temple during their stay
St Martins : Cruise ship Silver Discoverer, carrying 61 tourists, mostly from US, left for Myanmar on January 31 after visiting world's largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans and St. Martins.
Taufiq Rahman, Chief Executive, Journey Plus said the luxuriously-appointed ship anchored at Mongla port jetty on January 28. On completion of Customs and Immigration formalities, the ship headed for the Sundarbans.
He praised the respective authorities for completing these formalities on board the ship. This is the first time this was done, he said, adding it was very convenient for the guests.
Earlier the ship, owned by Silversea Cruises of US, set sail from Chennai in India where guests embarked. Before heading for Bangladesh the ship touched the Andamans Island, he said.
"Zodiac" boat was taken off the ship which allowed guests to visit off-the-beaten path locations in Sundarbans like Harbaria, Kokilmoni and Hiron Point.
Arriving in St Martin's they visited Adinath Temple, Rakhine village, Buddhist temple, Burmese Primary School till January 31 noon after which the ship sailed for Myanmar.
The tourists were very pleased and hoped to come back again, Taufiq Rahman said.
Silver Discoverer is scheduled to return to Bangladesh on February 12 and 22 with new groups of tourists.
Then starting from Yangon, a group of 72 tourists - mostly from UK - will visit St Martins Island on February 12 and after Sundarbans visit, will return to Chennai.
In the third voyage, the cruise ship will return to the Sundarbans on February 27 with new group of tourists.
In 2017 we handled 162 tourists from 17 countries, the chief executive of Journey Plus said.
Taufiq Rahman said, the visit of cruise ships not only helps promote the image of Bangladesh but also benefits the country as well as the local communities they visit.
During the 2017 visit, the tourists purchased local clothes and handicrafts worth Tk 5 lakh, he said.
The government also earns in the form of visa fees and other charges, he added.
Taufiq Rahman demanded a one-stop place for seeking permission to bring in such cruise ships, instead of running from one government office to another for the same.