Creating a Cruise Destination

Nov 23 2023

Offering authentic, local, sustainable experiences in every port that we operate has not only been part of our core ethos, but also our passion. After working for several years with local associates, when we decided to establish our own brand in Maldives, creating new experiences for guests and venturing into other locations within the archipelago was top in on the priority list of the young and exuberant LotusDMC Maldives.

Male, the capital of Maldives, is predominantly where most of the cruise ships call, but Maldives is much beyond Male.  Though scattered over 1000 Islands in 27 atolls, each atoll has its own unique characteristics. While we had moved up to the northernmost atoll, theHaa Alif atoll and created programs and operated Fred Olson Cruise Lines & Holland America Line in Uligamu near Utheem, south was always elusive. Our plans for exploring the southern tip of Maldives somehow always remained elusive, and that is the time when Silversea Cruises was planning to have the Silver Shadow call as part of the world cruise into Hithadhoo, located in the southernmost atoll of Maldives, Addu – which houses the Gan International Airport.  The sole international flight in & out of GAN then, was from Sri Lanka which operated 3 times a week from Colombo, which is about 540 kms away and about an hour and half flight from Male crossing the equator.

It was ‘lockdown’ time during the pandemic, and travel was at a full stop worldwide. Leave alone giving a proposal for a new port to our cruise partner, we could not even consider offering an excursion option in regular ports without doing a team inspection and conducting internal operational feasibility check.  No cruise ship had ever operated full-fledged excursions in the atoll, thoughHithadoo had one call of Astor and Phoenix Reisen in its log. We utilized the lockdown time in doing research in every possible way, getting literature, searching online, and connecting with people in the region. As the lockdown was lifted and skies once again opened for flights, we flew into Gan on the first opportunity. Following all new travel protocols like vaccinations, self-declarations, health forms, masks PPE Kits, sanitizers etc., we landed in the quaint, small, but historic airport of GAN, which once had a crushed coral runway. The next few days were spent in putting the right script on the empty canvas.  We met up with various people, interacted and held meetings  right from the Mayor of the atoll to the Council Members, Women’s Council, elderly locals, tourism enthusiasts and professionals, schools, lecturers, naturalists training locals for guiding, exploring each Island, visiting the heard and the unheard places, the known and the unknown sights and gaining as much information possible while tasting local delicacies and understanding the local cuisine, apart from meeting possible vendors and support system.  We used perhaps every mode of transport available in the not-so-travelled serene picturesque Islands, travelling by taxi, bus, Dhoni (traditional local motor boat), speedboats, bicycles, buggies and also by foot while getting drenched in sweat  in the hot and humid climate and at times getting drenched in the occasional but unexpected showers.




LOTUS DESTINATIONS PVT. Cochin, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Colombo, Malé, Berlin




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