Cruise in India

 

With the growth of tourism in India, river cruises are increasingly gaining prominence and popularity with travelers. These cruises are not only a welcome alternative from the usual hubs of entertainment, but with the services and facilities offered on board, and wonderful views that surrounds such a trip, it has become definitely a memorable excursion..

A river cruise is a perfect way to explore this often logistically complicated country. Whether you pick the sacred Ganges or the even wilder Brahmaputra, your river cruise is certain to open your eyes and broaden your world view.

Highlights

  • The Ganges River is widely regarded as the epitome of India’s traditions and lifestyle.
  • Angriya is India’s first domestic luxury cruise.
  • The Brahmaputra River cruises will take you to historic palaces, forts and temples.
  • You can view the performance of the Ganga Aarti on the Ganges River evening cruises.
  • Ensure you double check your documents before taking a cruise trip.

River Cruise in India

India is progressively becoming a key location for luxury travel and luxury cruises. River cruises in India are gaining more popularity because of the diverse cultural legacies, geography and landscape along the banks of popular and historically rich rivers.

The Ganges River is believed to be the oldest in India, and is revered by millions of people all over the world. It originates in the Himalayas and is the starting point for many luxury river cruises. The Brahmaputra in the east offers some of the most thrilling cruising experiences as it make its way through Assam.

In Madhya Pradesh, you are treated to the central Indian heritage in the Narmada cruises, while down south the Godavari showcases the temple culture that is prominent along its banks. Kerala cruises are designed that they provide a wonderful individualized space for the visitors. They are most popular with families and honeymoon couples.

Operating seasons will differ between each cruise. The best time to cruise on the Brahmaputra River is between November and April, while the River Ganges will be between August and September when the water levels are high and the freshened, revived landscapes make this a wonderful time of year to visit.

Cruise in River Ganges in Varanasi

Named after the Hindu goddess, Ganga, the Ganges River is the second largest river on the Indian subcontinent, flowing through some of the most populated regions of India and Bangladesh.

The Ganges is a much-revered and holy river in Hindu culture and is widely regarded as the epitome of India’s traditions and lifestyle.

The Ganges River starts in the Himalayas and empties into the Bay of Bengal, supporting many rural and urban communities along the way. Along its banks, human life is connected to its waters.

Cruise north from Kolkata and explore small villages, meet with the locals, interact with goldsmiths and visit pottery makers.

A boat ride at sunrise

Sunrise boat rides gives the early riser a view of the temples and shrines bathed in a golden hue with Hindu devotees performing their cleansings along the ghats. You also get to see people performing morning sun salutations, chanting, meditations, yoga postures, as well as washing their clothes on the Ganges.

A lot of Indian men, women and children are gathered along the Ganges River. A dip in the Ganges is considered holy and purifying, so many bath in it.

Most are so devout and absorbed in their water ritual, that they can be casual about the tourists’ boats observing and photographing their every move.

Experience an evening aarti

The Ganga Aarti is one of the most beautiful experiences in India. The spiritually uplifting ceremony is performed every evening to honor the River Goddess, Ganga.

The aarti ritual is of high religious significance. Fire is used as an offering to the river. You need to witness the event to actually understand its meaning.

An aarti is a devotional ritual usually made in the form of a lit lamp, and in the case of the Ganges River, a small diya with a candle and flowers float down the river. The purpose of aarti is to show humility and gratitude to the God’s divine form.

Mumbai to Goa Cruise

A cruise along India’s coast is perfect if you want to feed your soul and refresh your body. The warm sun-soaked western coastline and still waters are the perfect treatment for a relaxing Mumbai to Goa cruise.

Here you can explore and uncover nature’s wonders across its beautiful wide ocean and diverse islands along the way.

India’s first Domestic Luxury Cruise

India never really had its very own luxury cruise. But now, you can take a cruise from Mumbai to Goa with India’s first ever domestic luxury passenger cruise ship, Angriya.

Named after the great Angria Bank Coral Reef located near Vijaydurg in Maharashtra, and the first Maratha Navy Admiral, Kanhoji Angre, Angriya packs some state of the art on board luxury, amenities and safety.

The vessel is expected to come loaded with a host of luxury services such as indoor games, round-the-clock cafés and eight different types of restaurants, lounges, recreation room, and even an on-deck pool. The ship can accommodate up to 350 passengers and additional staff.

A joyful ride through the Mumbai-Goa coastline is to be expected. You will also be provided two meals and a brunch. The scenic beauty of the Konkan coastline will keep you mesmerized.

While ensuring that you are given the best assistance on necessary services, the ship's staff will also guide you about the historical relevance of the region.

Schedule and fares

Angriya is set to depart from Mumbai Port at 5 pm on alternate days and reach Goa at 9 am the next day. The cruise line will return to Mumbai Port every alternate day filled with passengers. The 15-hour journey gives passengers plenty of time to enjoy the luxuries and scenery on board.

The price for this cruise starts at US$110. Although it is more expensive compared to other modes of transport, a cruise line is more about experiencing the journey and not just getting to the destination.

A first class flight from Mumbai to Goa offers fewer amenities and comfort yet costs almost the same as a luxury cruise.

Cruises in Goa and Kerala

Goa is one of India's most beloved tourist destinations. Though the Arabian Sea and the miles of golden coastline are popular among tourist, the long and wide beautiful rivers offer an incredible opportunity for river cruises. River cruises in Goa have become a major tourist attraction.

Your cruise will take you through the tranquil backwaters and thrill of marine exploration where you can enjoy the spectacular views of the surroundings. You may row down the mesmerizing Mandovi River to relish the exhilarating experience.

Among all the cruising trips in Goa, you cannot escape the dancing boat cruise. This is an hour-long cruise which is fun-filled. You will enjoy the magnificent glimpses of Panjim while dancing to the beats of good music. Sunset cruise in Goa is equally popular where you can experience moonbeams, excitement and thrill.

A cruise of India's Kerala region and into the famous backwaters gives visitors a chance to explore the network of waterways stretching across almost 1200 miles of Kerala's lowlands. Kettuvallams or rice barges converted to houseboats are a unique feature of these backwaters.

As you cruise along, you will see all characteristics of Indian rural life; people washing their clothes, men fishing, children playing, as well as goods being moved along the waterways. It could essentially be said that Kerala's geography combined with its strong culture provides a wonderful introduction to India and its people.

Brahmaputra River Cruise

Although it's associated with India river cruises, the Brahmaputra River passes through several countries and has been given many names.

It is only when it passes through the lush Assam valley in the northeast corner of India that it becomes the Brahmaputra, or 'Son of Brahma,' in tribute to one of the greatest Hindu deities.

While not as famous as the Ganges River, the Brahmaputra River can also take cruise passengers to historic palaces, forts and temples, and offer them a fascinating glimpse into the daily lives of remote tribes whose customs have prevailed for centuries.

The Brahmaputra River Cruise is a fantastic cruise experience for those travelers who wish to get away from the crowds and tourist trap areas. It is an amazing opportunity to explore a rarely visited part of India with the comfort and convenience of cruising.

Cruise Lines and itineraries

The Brahmaputra River cruise season runs from November to April, when the monsoon rains are over, the floods and humidity have receded, leaving the landscape lush and the temperatures warm but bearable.

A handful of UK and US. tour operators offer this river cruise including Saga Cruises, International Expeditions, and Fred River Cruises.

Most popular options are the 7-night Brahmaputra cruises, which are often combined with tours of India's 'Golden Triangle' cities which are Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Pre and post cruise stays in Kolkata can also be arranged; most itineraries include at least one overnight stay there.

Hooghly River Cruise

Branching off the mighty Ganges near the Bangladesh border, the Hooghly River flows 260 km to the sea through a bewildering, intoxicating part of East India, which for the most part, is still off the mainstream tourism radar.

An expedition on the Lower Ganges or Hooghly is one of the prettiest river journeys imaginable. The river travels its way through the lush countryside of West Bengal with its culturally significant towns crammed with temples and palaces.

A rich and vibrant rural life flourishes and there is never a dull moment as you serenely cross this pleasant waterway. Life continues here as it has for generations on farmland rich with banana and mango groves, and rice paddies.

Tiny fishing boats float on the waters, sometimes escorted by rare Ganges dolphins, and villagers regularly bathe and wash clothes in the river, as water buffalo, goats and cows wander the shores.

Hoogly River cruises are the most wonderful way to experience this hidden India. Here you will find the historic European colonies, great palaces and forts as in Murshidabad, the battlefield of Plassey and the many monuments of the medieval Islamic capital of Gaur. A highlight is several delightful and little known Bengali Terracotta temples in the town of Kalna.

You can choose between different cruise operators on the Hooghly, some of which are the Assam Bengal Navigation Company and Pandaw Cruises. Dates of travel are largely dependent by the choice of boat and itinerary you wish to join. The best time to cruise on this river is from October to April.

Tips for Cruising

Like most vacations, river cruises have any number of moving parts, from flight details to your actual river cruise booking, to reservations for hotels, transfers, and maybe even private dinners out or museum appointments. Here are some tips that might help ease your trip.

Double Check Your Documentation

Of all the tips for a smoother river cruising, this is the most important. Double-check absolutely everything related to your trip, from your cruise tickets to flight bookings, hotel reservations, and transfer arrangements.

Make sure names are spelled as stated in your passport, and that dates of birth are inputted correctly.

Manage Your Flights Online

This could be the second-most important tip, and it is such an easy and often overlooked one. Make sure you manage your flights online in advance of your trip. Pull up your booking and ensure your flights are still on the same schedule. Reconfirm your flight arrangements.

Frequently, airline schedules can change between the time of booking and your actual trip.

Pack Light

Resist the urge to over pack. Storage space is limited on most river cruise ships, and the more luggage you take with you, the more you’re going to have to fuss with it at airports, on motor coaches and pre-and-post hotel stays. Keep things to one case and have one carry-on bag if at all possible.

Items to pack

Like most modes of travel, river cruising is an inexact science, susceptible to weather events and other unforeseen circumstances that may impact your travel. Some essential items that you need to pack are basic medicines and toiletries.

It could rain anytime, so carrying an umbrella is a good idea. Sunglasses, sunhat, and sunscreen are also must-brings.

Cruise India with Asia Highlights

The rivers and backwaters of India have started attracting tourists from the world over. Indian river-cruises has started to boom in the last decade or so. With Asia Highlights, you won’t have to worry about booking your own cruises, flight tickets, and hotels as we can do all that for you to ensure a pleasant cruising experience.

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