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Lord of the Water: An Interview with Jurgen Bailom, President & CEO, Jalesh Cruises

The success of India’s first premium cruise line is owing to the tenacity, resilience and innovative thinking of Jurgen Bailom, President & CEO, Jalesh Cruises

With the recent fillip given to Cruise Tourism by the Union Government, India is all set to carve a niche in the Asian market and jumping on to the bandwagon is Jurgen Bailom, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jalesh Cruises, India’s first premium multi-destination cruise line. Bailom’s passion for creating cruise markets worldwide is best elucidated by a quote from Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, by Richard Bach – “The gull sees the farthest who flies highest.” Taking off from the limitless nature of the mind and spirit of the seagull, Bailom, a visionary in the cruise business, has relentlessly pushed boundaries while creating cruise markets in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Italy Peru, Scandinavia, Scotland, the UK, the US and several more across Europe.

A Cruise is Born An accomplished professional, Bailom has worked for international brands, such as Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited and Royal Caribbean International. In 2018, along with Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group, Bailom launched the first Indian multi-destination premium cruise line within a record eight months. An Ironman athlete, Bailom’s tenacity, resilience and innovative thinking led to the creation of an incredible domestic product for the youngest cruisers in the world. His keen perception made him realise the lacklustre state of the Indian market and the fact that most Indian cruise enthusiasts preferred cruises in Southeast Asian countries. Shares Bailom, “Indians love to cruise. In fact, they rank second to China in terms of cruising among Southeast Asian countries. Many Indians in Singapore enjoying a cruise vacation, but when it comes to cruising in their own country, the awareness levels and the demand is quite low.” Encouraged by the insightful perspective of Subhash Chandra, Chairman, Zee & Essel Group, Bailom successfully launched the first Indian multi-destination premium cruise line.

Work Ethics Bailom ascribes his success to his in-depth knowledge of the cruise industry. He has over 30 years of experience in the industry and has rapidly risen in rank in the companies he has served. Before a stint at Grupo Vidanta as President and CEO, Bailom helmed the operations at Royal Caribbean International. He also worked for close to 8 years at the UK-based International Island Cruises. However, Bailom refers to the launch of Karnika on April 17, 2019 as his career milestone. “Karnika, India’s maiden premium cruise ship, exemplifies our dream to make the world a happy place,” he affirms. Speaking affectionately of his work at Jalesh Cruises, he maintains that working with an Indian team has been immensely fulfilling and that Indians are the most technologically sound and innovative individuals he has worked with. Bailom is committed to ethics and excellence in all the activities he undertakes. The company introduced the CleanWaves programme, an initiative to have sustainable cruise operations and to take care of marine biodiversity. From providing a true Indian experience to cruisers through culinary delights, high end gyms, spas and international style Broadway shows, Jalesh Cruises has been the first in the country to innovate domestic cruise tourism in India. Apart from giving tourists an engaging experience on the ship, the cruise line is boosting Indian tourism by exploring new and unique locations like Ganpatipule and Diu, which are yet to be explored as cruising destinations.

Luxury on the Seas Bailom speaks of Jalesh Cruises in glowing terms. As India’s first premium, multi-destination cruise line, Jalesh Cruises provides an authentic Indian experience with delicious local cuisine, luxurious cabins, state-of-the-art gyms, international Broadway shows and opulent spas. Apart from luxurious on-board experience, Jalesh Cruises also provides tours and excursions to off-beat, on-shore destinations for guests. It not only generates employment for the local population, but also protects the marine environment. Despite being a busy person, Bailom never fails to take time out for his family and his other love – golf. An avid golfer, Bailom has played at all the renowned golf courses across the world. His globetrotting experience has also made him proficient in as many as five languages including English, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. The next language on his mind is Hindi as he continues to build the Indian cruise industry in the country.

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