By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Tourism is one of the main priorities of Azerbaijan which is seriously engaged in the diversification of the economy in order to eventually eliminate oil and gas dependence.
The first tourist sea cruise along the Caspian Sea, “Treasures of the East”, outlined earlier for the summer of 2019 from Baku, is delayed for about a year, cruise company Mosturflot, which will become the tour operator, said.
The reason is the construction of the cruise ship "Peter the Great", which can be launched with a delay of at least a year. According to the latest data, only the sea trials of the vessel can take place this summer.
Nevertheless, interest in tours of the Caspian Sea remains high, stressed Mosturflot.
Alexander Filimonov, spokesman of the tour operator, stated that the company plans to make several cruises around the Caspian Sea until the fall of 2020, and send the motor ship to Sochi for the winter, where it will most likely work as a floating hotel.
The tour program "Treasures of the East", which will be the first such project in the Caspian Sea and will last 11 days and 10 nights, will include stops at the ports of Baku, Azerbaijan, Bandar-Anzali and Noushehr (Iran), Turkmenbashi (Turkmenistan), Aktau (Kazakhstan).
Then the vessel will proceed to the Russian Astrakhan, Makhachkala and Derbent, and the voyage will end in the Azerbaijani capital.
It is reported that on the ship under construction there will be 155 comfortable cabins with a balcony, including 12 of luxury class. Total ship is designed for 310 passengers. Tourists will have access to several restaurants, bars, swimming pool, SPA-center and much more. In fact, the new ship will be a floating five-star hotel.
“Peter the Great” is a cruise passenger ship of the “river-sea” mixed navigation area, the first ship of the project PV300, being built at the “Lotos” shipyard in the Astrakhan region by order of the Moscow Shipping Company signed in August 2016.
The ship is designed to carry passengers on cruise lines on waterways of the European part of Russia (Volga, Neva, Don, Ladoga and Onega lakes, Volga-Baltic Canal, Moscow Canal, Volga-Don Canal), with the possibility of access to the Black, Azov and Caspian Seas.
The length of the vessel is 141 meters, the width is 16.82 meters.
The passenger capacity of the vessel is 310 people, the crew and support staff - 90 people.
In December 2017, the lead ship of the project PV300 was named Peter the Great. The ship’s deadline was initially announced for 2019, however, due to problems encountered during construction, it was announced that the completion date was chenged to 2020. The approximate date of the vessel’s first voyage is June 2020.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz