Panaji: All at sea, when it comes to thinking of a new way of ringing in Christmas? `X`Mas at sea` is Goa tourism`s latest offering this festive season. It lets tourists soak in the festival of cheer on a cruise ship.
"The Christmas and New Year midnight boat cruises are a delightful way to spend an evening with close family and friends. What better way to celebrate the good times than with a gala party aboard a boat under the twinkling stars on a cool December night," tourism director Swapnil Naik told Thursday.
The ship or boat, of course, comes bedecked with decorations, jangling silver bells, bright glossy baubles, mistletoe, fireworks and a flute of bubbly.
Goa`s peak tourism season swings right around the two major celebrations of Christmas and New Year, which are marked with both pomp and panache in the coastal state. And the tourism mandarins want to cash in on the festive spirit and showcase it to the thousands of tourists who visit the state during that period.
"Goa is a favourite holiday destination, especially when it comes to Christmas and New Year. The state offers a variety of options to choose from for the discerning visitor to Goa," said Naik.
The parties organised by tourism officials on board the official cruise boat Santa Monica will happen from the bustling period of Dec 25 and Dec 31. The cruise will take the revelling tourists along the lazily flowing Mandovi river, which runs along Panaji right up to the mouth of the Arabian sea, to the beats of live music, dance, food and spirits.
"We have dinner buffets, and dance performances, entertainment, music will be part of the cruise. It will go on till one in the morning," Naik said, adding that Santa Claus contests will lend the boat rides a seasonal touch.
"Visitors pour into Goa to celebrate this festive season and especially to bring in the New Year. We have worked towards creating a wonderful experience for our visitors onboard the Santa Monica boat so that they are able to spend a lovely evening with family and friends and make their visit to Goa memorable in every way," said Nikhil Desai, chairman of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), which is also a part of the organisational scheme of things.
Goa has a nearly 26 percent Christian population and is considered virtually the capital of Christmas festivities in the country. Goa`s tourism season from October to March annually attracts nearly 2.4 million tourists to the region`s sunny shores.