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India’s Great Sail: The World’s Longest River Cruise To Start From Varanasi

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To upgrade India’s travel experience to the next level, the government is all set to launch the world’s longest river cruise. The cruise journey is set to start from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to Dibrugarh in Assam, through Bangladesh. 

Ahoy India

The Ganga Vilas Cruise will cover a distance of 400 km, the ship will also pass through Kolkata and Dhaka before a final stop in Bogibeel in Dibrugarh. 

Sarbananda Sonowal, minister of ports, shipping, and waterways said, “Ganga Vilas cruise will sail from Varanasi to Dibrugarh in the longest river journey of 50 days covering 27 river systems and visit over 50 tourist sites including World Heritage Sites. This will be the single largest river journey by a single river ship in the world and would put both India and Bangladesh on the river cruise map of the world.”

About the Ship 

The hallmark of the ship is a mid-20th century modern style theme that has 18 suites. The cruise flaunts luxurious furniture and regionally-born lines along some pieces made along the river Ganga. 

With shades of magenta, blue and yellow, the ship aims at showcasing vibrant colors that depict the varying cultures of the regions it will sail through. 

Ganga Vilas - A Swift Sail by Ganga Vilas – Exotic Heritage Group

Keeping the entertainment of the passengers first, it contains panoramic lounges, an observation pavilion, a dining room, and floor-to-ceiling windows for passengers to adore the beauty of the passing river. 

Furthermore, it has an open sundeck and a spa for passengers to lounge and relax in accompanied by scrumptious and mouth-watering delicacies from the various places the ship will travel through. 

Now streaming in India: The world's longest river cruise - Hindustan Times

The cruise has technologies that will assist in the reduction of pollution and noise to allow passengers to have a clean and sustainable travel experience. 

The price of the longest river cruise is yet to be determined on a cost-plus basis. 

The route 

Starting from Varanasi, the ship will reach Pune on the eighth day after crossing Ghazipur, Buxar, and Ramnagar. From Patna, the ship will take approximately 12 days to reach West Bengal’s capital, Kolkata on day 20. 

The very next day it will make a trip to a whole new country, Bangladesh. It will then venture back to India to reach Assam after 15 days. 

The cruise will cover 1100 km in Bangladesh with the help of Indo- the Bangladesh protocol route which helps facilitate trade and transit channels between the two neighboring countries.  

 “The cruises are of different kinds—luxury, expedition, etc. The tourists also come with different mindsets—some want to stay for the full journey while some may move from one point to another. The service will facilitate all kinds of tourists. Moreover, with the amendment to Indian Vessel Act, cruise lines would have a national permit to move seamlessly across states,” added Sonowal.

Aiming to provide onshore and offshore experiences to its passengers, the cruise will also pass-through UNESCO protected Sundarbans. 

Experience of the Cruise 

The highlight of the world’s longest river cruise is the Ganga aarti on the banks of the river Ganga. Moreover, passengers get to gain knowledge about the impression of French and Dutch influences on West Bengal’s architecture. 

The trip is also intended to provide insight into different cultures and beauties of the regions the ship will pass through. 

At Bagerhat, travelers will get to have a taste of Jahan Ali’s 60-dome mosque built during the Bengal sultanate period. 

Simultaneously, the cruise will stop at specific locations for parties with folk music and dance. 

Raj Singh, the chairman of the Antara Luxury River Cruises, the parent of the Ganga Vilas Cruise told Financial Express, “Each experience has been personally vetted and designed by me for fellow enthusiastic travelers. The historical route has been finalized with the support, assistance, and cooperation of the governments of India and Bangladesh, which are working together to ensure seamless travel between the two countries.”

While several other cruises help one see the pinnacles and charmers of India, the Ganga Vilas Cruise is a landmark experience, covering several parts of India in ways more than just passing through them. 

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