World Wide Cruising

Moderator: Mr. Gopinath Nair | Observer : Mr. Keki Master

Mr. Naresh Rawal | Mr. Nishith Saxena | Ms. Ratna Chadha | Mr. Sidhartha Roy | Mr. Sumit Banerji

Mr. Keki Master

Senior Vice President, J.M.Baxi & Co

Keki Master

Keki Master

J M Baxi and Co
Keki Master has been in the shipping industry since January 1977 with long stints with ship owners and agents. He has a Master of Science degree in Marine Transportation Management from the State University of New York, Maritime College, besides a 2 year Diploma in Shipping from the Narottam Morarjee Institute of Shipping, Mumbai, and a M.Com degree from the University of Bombay.

Since the last 19 years he has been working with J.M.Baxi & Co at Mumbai, now, as the Senior Vice President. Besides other commercial shipping responsibilities, Keki is looking after the all India operations and marketing of cruise lines at all Indian ports. J.M.Baxi & Co. now handle over 95% of all cruise lines calling at Indian ports and have set up a dedicated Cruise Cell to liaise with the international and local cruise companies.

Keki Master was the member of the first government committee for the promotion of cruise tourism set up by the Ministries of Tourism and Shipping to streamline customs, immigration and port procedures to promote the cruise ships’ calls to India. Since then he has been representing on various cruise committees set up by the Indian Government from time to time.

Keki thoroughly enjoys the work that he is doing due to the unstinted support of the J.M.Baxi & Co management who are also very keen to see the growth of cruise tourism at Indian ports. While shipping is his profession, promoting cruise tourism in India is his passion.


Mr. Gopinath Nair

CEO, Tourism DNA

Gopinath Nair

Gopinath Nair

Gopinath Nair is a travel and tourism industry veteran with over 30 years of varied and high quality domain experience.

He has served in senior positions in leading Travel and Tourism companies in India, including American Express TRS (Regional head – South), Cox & Kings (COO – Business Travel), Kuoni Travel Group (Senior Vice President) and the Travel Tours Group (CEO). He is the founder of Tourism DNA – a specialized marketing, representation and consulting organization for the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality sectors.

Gopi has in-depth understanding and knowledge of travel, tour and MICE operations, product development, marketing and business development and all aspects of human resources including recruitment, performance management, training and development. He has successfully handled a number of Incentive and Conference groups to a variety of destinations India and overseas. He is an avid reader and keen student of industry trends and keeps himself abreast of developments in the travel and tourism domain.

Reasons For Joining Ayanaant

When Vikas first spoke to me about Ayanaant, I was quite excited at the prospect of being part of an unique initiative. As someone who has been in the industry for over 3 decades and has seen the dramatic evolution of travel and tourism in India and across the world, and as a keen student of our industry, it is always a pleasure to give something  back to the industry we belong.

One of the key areas of focus for all of us associated with Ayanaant is a need to create a credible and ever evolving platform for thought leadership across the various facets of our industry. I look forward to some stimulating views and discussions at Ayanaant.

I wish Vikas and his team the very best for Ayanaant’s success. I am sure this will be a path breaking event in our industry.


Mr. Naresh Rawal

Vice president, Sales for Star Cruises India and other regions

Naresh Rawal

Naresh Rawal

Star Cruises
Naresh Rawal is the company’s senior in-country leader and responsible for leading the development and implementation of the Star Cruises India strategy. He coordinates business activities, looks in sales and performance of Star Cruises India and other regions under him. Naresh has expanded the presence of Star Cruises through new business acquisition and segments which were untapped.

Overall a true expert in strategic consulting, brand management, brand development and  excelled knowledge in developing strategies to promote online & offline  traffic.
Genting Hong Kong, formerly known as Star Cruises Limited, is a leading global leisure, entertainment and hospitality enterprise, with core competences in both land and sea-based businesses:

  1. Star Cruises – Asia-Pacific
  2. Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) – A 50% joint ownership alongside Apollo and TPG
  3. Resorts World Manila (RWM) – Manila, Philippines; joint partnership with Alliance Global Group under Travellers International

A pioneer in its own right, Genting Hong Kong was incorporated in September 1993, operating its fleet under Star Cruises, to take on a bold initiative to grow the Asia-Pacific region as an international cruise destination. Star Cruises together with NCL is the third largest cruise operator in the world, with a combined fleet of 18 ships cruising to over 200 destinations, offering approximately 35,000 lower berths.
Resorts World Manila is Genting Hong Kong’s first foray in a land-based attraction. RWM opened its doors to the public in August 2009, and is one of the premier leisure brands under the Genting Group, representing a flagship integrated leisure and entertainment complex featuring 3 hotels including a six star all-suite Maxims Hotel, an iconic shopping mall, 4 high-end cinemas and a multi-purpose performing arts theatre.
Genting Hong Kong’s mission statement is to create world class entertainment and leisure experiences for their visitors.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, Genting Hong Kong has a presence in more than 20 locations worldwide with offices and representation in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.
Genting Hong Kong is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and is traded on the Quotation and Execution System for Trading of the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited. The Company recently changed its ticker symbol from “STRC SP” to “GENHK SP” on 30 November 2009.


Mr. Nishith Saxena

Director, Cruise Professionals

Nishith Saxena

Nishith Saxena

Cruise Professionals
Born & brought up in a very cosmopolitan environment with a middle class back ground, Nishith Saxena has always been interested in doing something different than what his siblings aspired for in life. He chose to acquire a degree in Hotel Management from Institute of Hotel Management, Pusa and got into the hotel industry specializing in F&B Service in 1989 as his first assignment. As the months progressed, he found himself better suited for Sales & Marketing than hotel operations.

Nishith joined Discover the World Marketing in 1992 as Sales Executive, which at that time was representing & marketing several airlines, one cruise line, a few international hotel chains & one car rental company. This was his first foray into international business and he learnt the nuances of international business in the next 9 years he spent there in various roles, before quitting as Manager – Sales Support India. In 2000 he got an opportunity to join Princess Cruises as the Country Head under parent company – P&O Travel India Limited and establish this premium cruise brand in India over the next four years.

“My association with Interglobe Enterprises, which started in September 2004 as Head-InterGlobe Cruises, was the most fulfilling experience as this helped me enormously and completed me as a true professional with a bigger vision over the next four years. Finally, due to compelling circumstances and enormous opportunities which lay ahead, I decided to spread my wings as an entrepreneur in November 2008 to start Cruise Professionals, focusing on Cruise Consulting, Manning & Representation businesses. Today, in our fifth year, we are doing exceptionally well in these areas and have earned an enviable reputation in the cruise line representation business with a portfolio of some of the world’s most reputed brands in the premium segment cruising including Cunard, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises-UK & P&O Cruises-Australia.”

Cruise industry is developing at an extremely fast pace but remains only a small percentage of the wider global holiday market. The opportunities are endless as the favorable demographic trends support continued growth for the cruise travel on a global basis. Cruise Professionals is slated to ride this growth wave in the years to come through leading consulting initiatives, constant enhancement in service delivery and usage of cutting edge distribution technology. At no point in time does the Lead Team lose sight of the original strengths, service with humility and core industrious values.

Their mission is to deliver exceptional vacation experiences through the world’s best-known and unique cruise brands that cater to a variety of different lifestyles and budgets, all at an outstanding value unrivaled on land or at sea, coupled with enhancing India’s image in the global cruise business in terms of revenue & value contribution.


Ms. Ratna Chadha

Chief Executive Officer, Tirun Travel Marketing

Ratna Chadha

Ratna Chadha

The Chief Executive of TIRUN Travel Marketing, Ms. Ratna Chadha has been at the helm of introducing various global travel products and revolutionizing the concept of cruise vacations in India over the past two decades.

Ms. Chadha has over 35 years of experience within the travel industry, having worked with various leading travel brands during her career. An honours graduate from India’s premiere educational institute, Lady Shri Ram College, . Chadha initiated her career when she was selected as a management trainee by ITC’s Welcomgroup Hotels division, in 1977. Successfully spending a decade in various roles within this chain of hotels, she is now the honory president of the alumni association of the Welcomgroup Management Institute, New Delhi.

By 1991, the entrepreneurial spirit in Ms. Chadha surfaced and along with her husband, Mr. Gautam Chadha, they established the franchise of Discover the World Marketing (DTWM) in India, representing global travel brands in the country including Hertz, US Airways, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn Hotels, Universal Studios and subsequently Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in 1993. In her initial capacity as Director of Sales and Marketing, Ms. Chadha spearheaded the strategic development of all brands and drove all sales channels, leading to year-on-year growth and industry ‘benchmarks’ of service quality across products. By 2001, DTWM-India was rechristened as TIRUN Travel Marketing, from there on focusing exclusively on cruise vacations promoting the three cruise brands within the umbrella of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. In 2012, Ms Chadha assumed the role of chief executive of TIRUN Travel Marketing.

This year marks 20 years of partnership between TIRUN Travel Marketing and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in India. The success of this continued relationship and growth of the number of Indian travellers experiencing cruise vacations, is a reflection of Ms. Chadha’s acumen and leadership, with the promise of more exciting opportunities for Indian vacationers to come. TIRUN Travel Marketing is currently headquartered out of New Delhi, with a network of five proprietary offices in New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai, and preferred partnerships in Hyderabad and Kolkata, thereby comprehensively covering all the major source markets throughout India


Mr. Sidhartha Roy

Senior Vice President Business Development, AMA Waterways

Siddharth Roy

Siddharth Roy

Sidhartha Roy took over as Senior Vice President – Business Development in Indian Travel Promotion Company and TRN Marketing and brings with him 35 years of experience in marketing in service businesses, ie. ITC Hotels, Accor, Hyatt, Jet Airways, Mudra and Rediffusion; these included leadership roles as well. An alumnus of the 1982-84 batch from IIM, Calcutta, Roy was till recently associated with Travel House as Vice President – Marketing for just under 5 years.

Some among Sidhartha’s career high points include repositioning of the “Regency Club” in the Hyatt Regency in New Delhi as Director of Marketing in 1992. This phase also included launch of novel fine dining experiences including The Aangan and La Piaza.

Elsewhere in his short stint with Jet Airways as Associate Vice President in 1996 his primary initiative was laying the foundations for a ‘loyalty program’ branded as – Jet Privilege.

Sidhartha spent close to 6 years in advertising and integrated marketing in Mudra and Redifussion as the Head of the businesses based in New Delhi. He drove the launch of Nalli Sarees retail in New Delhi and led the introduction of the Canon brand in India with new concepts in photo-imaging and photographic equipment as a custodian. Piloting the early launch phase of brand Airtel and guiding the product portfolio of Maruti in India were among the other great moments of his work life.

“I have always tried to rewire with life and its trappings. That is one way of constant renewal, which is nature’s true law”

AMA Waterways, a luxury River Cruise Line, was founded in 2002 with the sole objective of offering the most exclusive guest experience. During the decade to date, this motivation was fulfilled with the launch of custom designed ships, thoughtful amenities and attentive service. Award winning culinary offerings, high speed Wi-Fi connectivity, guided bicycle tours and shore excursions with personal head sets only add to attention to detail and customer ecstasy. The time to socialize was never ignored since each vessel is designed to host no more than 170 to 200 guests.

AMA Waterways sailing routes include great rivers of Europe like the Danube, the Rhine, the Seine, the Volga and others. The company offers travelers the additional choice of cruising on the Chobe river in Africa or even the Mekong river that connects Vietnam and Cambodia.

River cruising is now the unique way to travel through the cultural heritage of Europe that is embodied by its cities like Prague, Budapest, Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne, Basel or Lisbon and Madrid to name a few. Select wine cruises through Europe compliment this entire heady, one-of-a-kind experience. AMA waterways has taken care to create vacations that are not hurried but leisurely.

Owing to this effort therefore, during the last 4 years, AMA Waterways has consistently won awards of excellence. To name a few, these are Best River Cruise Ship 2008, Travel Weekly Magellan Award 2009, Readers Choice award, 2010 / 2011 Travel Age West Wave Award for Best overall River Cruise Line and the Virtuoso award given in Las Vegas in 2012.

It is this leadership achieved since its inception that has helped AMA Waterways to dominate the marketplace. The launch of this exclusive and aspirational offering out of India only underlines the company’s desire to acquire a share of the Indian outbound travel market. The young Indian, the independent and successful woman or even the well heeled, all form part of that 14 mn marketplace that seeks to explore. The strategic intent of AMA Waterways is to ‘WoW’ this market.

“It is our view that the hallmark of a true global brand is its ability to draw and keep customers across borders. AMA Waterways having created a strong customer franchise in Europe and America now has set its sights in reaching out to the discerning Indian customer who appreciate incomparable luxury, to experience its service offering.

We are sure as we believe, the symposium will underline the unique engagement that AMA Waterways seeks with the true Indian vacation enthusiast. Welcome aboard.”


Mr. Sumit Banerji

Founder & Country Head – India & South Asia, Cruise Masters

Sumit Banerji

Sumit Banerji

Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Cruise Masters, a venture conceptualized and launched by Sumit banerji in March 2011 with the support of Indo Asia Leisure Services Group, represents & promotes the brand and business of a select non-competing international luxury ocean and river cruise operators in India & South Asia. Having successfully developed various international ocean cruise brands in the mass & premium segments of the cruise industry in a span of just 15 years (Star Cruises & Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line & Celebrity Cruises), Sumit felt it’s time to target the development of luxury & niche cruise brands in my territory of expertise – India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Nepal. Thus, Cruise Masters was formed. Cruise Masters serve as International Representative / GSA of the following world-renowned operators:

Regent Seven Seas Cruises : With a fleet of only 3 mid-size ships, Regent Seven Seas Cruises offer suite-only accommodation and “most-inclusive” cruise vacation worldwide for clientele seeking “exclusivity”, “space” & “experiential cruise vacation”. Guests booking their vacation get “inclusions” of unlimited shore excursions, free flow of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage on-board, 1-night accommodation in a luxury hotel prior to ship embarkation, dining at specialty restaurants and course-by-course in-suite dining; interactive sessions with renowned guest lecturers and varied entertainment like nine-piece signature orchestra, cirque-style performances & rousing cabaret shows. Regent Seven Seas Cruises has won many accolades including Conde Nast Traveller (2012) award for “Best Cabins” & “The Platinum Circle”, Luxury Travel Advisor Award (2012) for “Best Cruise Line for Luxury Ocean Cruises” and Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Award (2011) for “Best Cabins – Small Ship”.

New Century Cruises : With a fleet of 7 modern boats, some with 6-storey high atrium lobby, glass bubble elevators, indoor swimming pool & 4D movie theatre, New Century Cruises offer the most modern and luxurious 3 nights or 4 nights river cruise experience through the beautiful gorges of Yangtze River (China). All cabins have private balcony, with cabin size ranging between 22 sq.m. & 106 sq.m. Boat capacity ranges from 186 to 398 guests.

Heritage Line : A boutique luxury cruise operator on the Mekong River, the fleet of 2 boats with colonial avant-garde French and Indo-British design and capacity for just upto 54 guests, offers itinerary covering Vietnam & Cambodia between Ho Chi Minh City and Seam Reap.


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