Take a cruise on the Ganges River and plunge into fascinating, enticing, surprising, and astonishing India. The river is not only sacred to the Hindus, it is also the lifeline for the millions of inhabitants that depend on it for their daily needs. Washing in the river is done both symbolically to purify and to tend to practical tasks. You'll cross through a region little touched by tourism and experience a deep authenticity within the unique historical sites and stunning landscapes along the way. Discover the cultural heartbeat of the nation: Bustling Kolkata and its memorials and Varanasi, a sacred city that attracts millions of pilgrims a year. Join us on a luxury ship, decked out with canopy-style beds in its cabins, for a trip of a lifetime.
THE CROISIEUROPE DIFFERENCE
- All meals included - DRINKS INCLUDED with meals
- Refined local cuisine
- Headsets are included for excursions
- Official welcome from the captain and crew
- Tour leader or cruise director on board
- Onboard activities and/or lectures
- Travel assistance and repatriation insurance
- All port fees included
- Cruise on board a magnificent, colonial-style ship
- Cruise the Ganges through one of the most fertile and densely populated regions in the world
- Visit fascinating Kolkata
- Varanasi, the sacred city where pilgrims come to find enlightenment
- Wander through small traditional villages
- The fabulous terracotta temples in Kalna
Day 1: Kolkata
Your program will begin according to your time of arrival in Kolkata. If your flight arrives before 6:00 a.m., your program will be: Enjoy a panoramic tour to discover the architectural richness of the city. Kolkata contains numerous colonial-era sites: Raj Bhavan—the official residence of the regional governor—and Council House Street. Afterwards, you will board our ship and have lunch on board. In the afternoon, we will visit the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity, where Mother Theresa lived, prayed, and worked, and where her body was laid to rest in 1997. After we return on board, we’ll introduce our crew at a welcome cocktail. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
Day 2: Kolkata - Bandel - Kalna
Kolkata is a modern, cosmopolitan city with great cultural influence in the country. We’ll enjoy a panoramic tour of the city and visit St. John's Church, the third oldest church in the city. After, we’ll head to the Victoria Memorial, an impressive white marble building that houses a museum maintained by the Ministry of Culture. We'll have lunch on board and begin our cruise along the landscapes once dominated by European colonialism. We’ll set out on small local boats for Bandel to visit the imposing Hooghly Imambara, a Muslim congregation hall and mosque. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
Day 3: Kalna - Matiari
You’ll discover this out-of-the-way village from the seat of a rickshaw. Kalna is home to two circles of 108, small Hindu temples, each of which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. We'll have lunch on board as we continue to cruise the river in the afternoon. Take some time to enjoy the onboard activities or attend a lecture on the region of Bengal. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
Day 4: Matiari - Khushbagh
Join us for a stroll through the charming market town of Matiari, where coppersmiths still work the metal using the techniques passed down from generation to generation. After lunch, we’ll tour the battlefield in Plassey, thought to be one of the most important battles that took place in the 18th century for the control of the Indian subcontinent by the colonial powers. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
Day 5: Khushbagh - Baranagar - Murshidabad
We’ll walk to Khushbagh, the Garden of Happiness, packed with history and beauty. We’ll then visit Baranagar Village to get a good feeling of rural life in the area and explore a bit of authentic India off the beaten path. The village contains hauntingly beautiful clay temples. After lunch, sit back and enjoy the scenery as we pass by tiny villages that dot the banks of the river. We'll then visit Murshidabad, known for its impressive colonial-style architecture. We’ll tour Hazar Duari Palace, known as the Palace of 1000 doors—real and fake. It is now a museum containing fascinating artifacts, including various weapons, oil paintings by Dutch, French, and Italian artists, and marble statues. The vast, brick Katra Masjid, built in just one year in the 18th century, is regarded as the top tourist attraction in the city for its beauty and history. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
Day 6: Murshidabad - Mayapur
Our cruise continues as the wide river transforms progressively into a band of water that glides between mustard plantations, jute shrubs, and mango orchards. While the scenery floats by, your guide will explain the many customs during an onboard lecture on the region. Enjoy lunch on board. Mayapur is the city where the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (known informally around the world as the Hare Krishnas) was founded and has its headquarters. Opened in 1978, the main complex includes a spacious marble temple and a guest house where members can stay and participate in the daily spiritual programs. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
Day 7: Mayapur - Chandernagore - Kolkata
Chandernagore is a former French colony that has been able to preserve its unique identity over the years. We’ll visit the house that once belonged to the governor for the French East India Company in the 18th century. We'll then visit Sacred Heart Church, one of the most beautiful examples of architecture during the French period. Tonight we’ll have our farewell cocktail and dinner and spend the night on board.
Day 8: Kolkata - Varanasi
You’ll disembark this morning before visiting Kolkata. Enjoy a stroll through the splendid flower market under the Howrah Bridge, where Indians buy flowers for worship. Our trek will continue to the ghats along the banks of the Ganges. These are the steps leading to the water where people come to participate in a number of rituals. We'll spend some time visiting the Pareshnath Jain Temple, one of the most important in the city. We’ll pass through the picturesque quarter of Kumortuli, where street potters hone their craft. After lunch, you’ll be transferred to the airport for the flight to Varanasi. On arrival, you’ll check into a 4-star hotel and have dinner.
Day 9: Varanasi
As the sun rises, set out on a cruise to discover the unique rituals the river encounters each day. Then walk in the footsteps of devoted Hindus from one small street to the other before reaching the Alamgir Mosque and Kashi Vishvanath Temple. After our excursion, we’ll return to the hotel for breakfast. In the afternoon, enjoy a tour of the grand Ramnagar Fort, the home of the Maharaja of Varanasi. The museum in the complex exhibits jewel-encrusted chairs, religious manuscripts, and royal costumes, among many other national treasures. After lunch, we’ll set out on an excursion to Sarnath, where Siddhartha Gautama first taught the Dharma, and visit the museum which contains a magnificent collection of Buddhist writings. Hop on a cycle rickshaw for a spin through the bazaar and witness an Aarti ceremony with songs and offerings of light. We’ll have dinner and spend the night at the hotel.
Day 10: Varanasi
Visit the Bharat Mata Mandir (Mother India Temple) which was built in the 1930s and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. You’ll finish up with lunch. End of our services.
Domestic flight from Kolkata to Varanasi and airport taxes - your cruise in the cabin category of your choice - your stay in a 5* Hotel LS in a double room - your cruise with all meals from lunch on the first day to lunch on the final day - drinks at all meals (mineral water + 1 soft drink or 1 beer* or 1 glass of wine* + 1 tea or coffee per person at each meal) - all visits and excursions mentioned in the program - the assistance of English-speaking local guides - the services of our CroisiEurope cruise director on board - travel assistance and repatriation insurance - tips.
Tips: To ensure our customers a more pleasant stay, we’ve included €70 (including tax and VAT) for tips which will be entirely paid to the personnel from the countries to be visited. This amount was determined while taking into consideration the local customs and etiquette.
Transfers to/from departure/arrival points - transfers - cancellation and baggage insurance: 3.8% of the total cost of the trip, per person - Indian visa.