Jan 13, 2023By: Srishti Magan
PM Modi flagged off the ship MV Ganga Vilas from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, for a luxury river cruise on January 13. It’s touted as the world’s longest river cruise.
Ganga Vilas will sail across 27 river systems in India and Bangladesh. The 3,200-kms river voyage will end at Dibrugarh, Assam, on March 1.
“Tourists will be able to experience the spiritual, the educational, the well-being, the cultural as well as the richness of the biodiversity of India. From Kashi to Sarnath, from Majuli to Mayong, from Sunderbans to Kaziranga, this cruise packs an experience of a lifetime,” Sarbananda Sonowal, Union minister of ports, shipping, and waterways, said in a press release.
32 tourists from Switzerland will embark from Varanasi on its maiden journey. As per reports, the tourists boarded on January 10, 2023, but PM Modi will officially flag it off on January 13.
The cruise will last 51 days, covering cities like Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Bangladesh's capital Dhaka and Guwahati in Assam.
The cruise will cover over 50 tourist spots including – world heritage spots, national parks, and river ghats. It will also include a tour of the famous Ganga Arti in Varanasi, the ancient Buddhist site of Sarnath; the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, and the mangroves of Sunderbans.
Reports state that the tickets are priced at ₹12.59 lakh per person. While it’s not clear how many people can be accommodated in a suite, reports indicate that Swiss tourists paid a whopping ₹38 lakh per suite. It’s also booked for 2 years and reservations are only available against cancellation, Antara Luxury said.
There are three decks and 18 suites on the luxury cruiser. Reports also state the cruise has a lavish restaurant, spa, sundeck, and a 40-seat restaurant on the main deck.
Antara Cruises, the company that runs the Ganga River cruise, offers 9 other luxury cruises, like the 5-day-long Sunderbans Jungle cruise, with fares starting from ₹1 lakh. The fares for the 4-day-long Incredible Banaras tour start from ₹1.12 lakh.