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4 Ganges Voyager Cruise Reviews

The good: The ship was pleasant and comfortable and we enjoyed being able to visit the small towns and villages along the Ganges. There is a large sun deck in the rear that is a comfortable place to sit and watch the scenery. Our room ... Read More
The good: The ship was pleasant and comfortable and we enjoyed being able to visit the small towns and villages along the Ganges. There is a large sun deck in the rear that is a comfortable place to sit and watch the scenery. Our room had a large floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door and screen, which turned the entire room into a balcony when weather permitted. The staff was just great and took good care of the ship (and us). The bad: There is not enough storage room in the “suite” to accommodate two people. The closet only had three drawers. One suitcase had to remain open in order to access things and the other was used as a side table since it would not fit under the bed. The bathroom was large, but lacking in counter top space. The biggest issue here was that, even though the ship was built in 2015, it lacked the plumbing necessary to enable one to flush paper down the toilet. This is not what we would call “luxurious,” as the ship was advertised. The ugly: As with the previous two reviews, there was a lot of gastrointestinal illness on board, even with frequent hand-washing and sanitizer use. We noticed that the hot food was set out on a buffet without any way of keeping the food at a consistently high temperature. A lot of people complained about lukewarm food. That is when bacteria start to grow, and we suspect that it might be the culprit. That is a shame because the chef made some very interesting and tasty-looking creations, which would have been better served in a chafing dish. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
BUYER BEWARE! On my very recent trip, I found that Vantage’s EXOTIC INDIA, NEPAL & THE SACRID GANGES RIVER TOUR to be anything but exotic. These are the things you can expect: On the advertised 4 day, pre-tour Nepal ... Read More
BUYER BEWARE! On my very recent trip, I found that Vantage’s EXOTIC INDIA, NEPAL & THE SACRID GANGES RIVER TOUR to be anything but exotic. These are the things you can expect: On the advertised 4 day, pre-tour Nepal supplement, you will spend the better part of 2 days just traveling from Delhi to the hotel in Kathmandu and return to Delhi. Once there, due to an earthquake in 2015 and the lack funds for quick rebuilding, there was the worst pollution imaginable. There is thick dust everywhere; the city is like a giant construction site. Most of the historic buildings we had come to see had either been destroyed, were being propped up or slowly worked on. Many locals wear face masks. After a day or so, most everyone on our bus was wheezing and coughing. Roads were broken down and traveling from one place to another was on dirt roads, slow and intolerable. After Nepal we arrived in Delhi. Pollution here was also extremely bad and the poverty was worse. Families were sleeping in the streets covered with blankets during the day while they huddled together over fires to keep warm at night. The streets were toilets for the men. Things were getting worse on our bus as people were getting sicker. We were labeled the ‘hospital bus’. The advertised dinner visit with a local family turned out to be a meal, on an outdoor patio of a Maharaja’s house, on a cold and windy evening, with about 40 of my fellow travelers; not what I expected. I saw very little of Delhi because travel time to and from the hotel. I could have walked faster. Another day of traveling took us to Ranthanbore where we were going on a ‘safari’. On the first evening, I sat through a boring slide show before dinner and after dinner prepared for the pre-dawn wake-up the next day. We weren’t promised to see Bengal tigers, the major enticement for this tour, but our guide seemed to imply that hardly anyone EVER sees them; the brochure doesn’t mention that the estimated number of tigers in this very large park is around 50. I spent the very early and cold morning hours, with my fellow guests, hunting for them. All we saw were a few birds, deer and crocodiles. Some ‘safari’! The next destination was Agra; another half day of traveling. Agra was similar to Delhi, polluted and very poor, same old, same old. One of the main reasons I took this trip was that the Taj Mahal was on my bucket list. The bus left our hotel early in the morning for the visit to the Taj Mahal and, on arrival, it was veiled in low clouds, mist and the ever pollution. No one’s photographs showed its real beauty. I did enjoy going inside the magnificent Taj Mahal where no photographs were allowed. By the time we left, the sky was lighter but certainly not clear. A photographer took individual and group pictures with a faint Taj Mahal in the background. Another long day of traveling took us to Kolkata where we boarded our river boat for a 7 day cruise on the Ganges. The boat was very nice and the crew and staff very friendly like most people we encountered. The cabins were roomy and fairly well appointed. The large viewing windows in the room were excellent, so traveling on the Ganges was enlightening. A negative - the dining room was above the engine room and the noise, from the motor, made having a conversation over a meal almost impossible - while the boat was traveling. As far as the daily tours were concerned, if you liked visiting old temples and hearing about their history, you would enjoy them. There were a few very good tours to local villages where we saw the daily lives of people in these remote areas. Now for the worst part. Even though everyone was from North America, almost all the dishes, except breakfast, were Indian. I liked Indian food before I went on this trip but now I never want to see an Indian restaurant again! One day, almost everyone on the boat became very sick. It was very debilitating. I was still sick after arriving home and finally sought medical attention. After a number of tests, I was diagnosed as having a parasite in my system. I’m still on medication. I never drank the (tap) water and used bottled water for anything that passed my lips so I am confident that it came from the food, especially since almost everyone became sick the same day. Another thing that caused me a problem was that the towels came to the cabin damp (not fully dried). I came home with an eye infection. In no way was the boat up to Western standards; there are many problems that would not allow this boat to be operated in Europe or the US. After reading previous reviews, it would appear that this is not the first season that stomach type problems have been experienced with passengers on past tours. The trip home, from the boat to arriving home, took 35 hours to Eastern U.S; it took many of my fellow travelers, longer. I was impressed with the amount of security at the airports. Before entering an airport, each person had to show a passport and a boarding pass. These were examined and if the boarding pass did not show on the airline manifest, you could not enter the terminal. Armed soldiers were everywhere. Once in the terminal, your luggage and carry-on was screened before proceeding to the next area. You then had to go to the ticket counter to check-in and then through to the gates. Women were on separate lines going through security. I was patted down so often that I felt I was getting a massage. Passing that area, your hand luggage was tagged and your boarding pass was stamped. And you think our security is cumbersome and adequate in the USA? Do you still want to take this tour? Good luck! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This week-long river Ganges cruise was the second half of an APT holiday in India. The first week was an excellent land tour covering Delhi, Agra (for the Taj Mahal) and Jaipur, staying in top class hotels. We then flew to Kolkata and ... Read More
This week-long river Ganges cruise was the second half of an APT holiday in India. The first week was an excellent land tour covering Delhi, Agra (for the Taj Mahal) and Jaipur, staying in top class hotels. We then flew to Kolkata and embarked on the Ganges Voyager. This boat was described in our tour brochure as "the most luxurious vessel of its kind in India". Whilst we found it quite pleasant, we would not describe it as "luxurious". Details: 1) Our cabin (Signature grade on the main deck) was spacious with a very large comfortable bed; a French balcony and two armchairs in front of it. Attractive décor. Always kept immaculate by our excellent stewards. Ample bottled water, constantly replenished. Main downside: very little storage space for clothes. After a week on the move we were all looking forward to unpacking properly and hanging clothes up for the week on board but there was very limited hanging space and just a few small drawers. TV had in-house programmes only, no connection to e.g. satellite news channels. No Wi-Fi in cabin. Bathroom was also roomy but again, short of storage space - very little shelf space. Used toilet paper had to be placed in a bin as the flushing system could not cope with it - not what one would expect on a "luxurious" vessel. 2) The dining room was not particularly attractive, with just two rather dull pictures. Food was generally good but not exceptional. There were no hot plates for keeping buffet dishes warm, consequently food was often not very hot. Waiting staff all very pleasant and willing but not trained to good hotel standards. Main complaint about the dining room: it is directly above the engine and, when the boat was sailing, it was extremely noisy, difficult to make conversation and not very relaxing. On the day of a cookery demonstration we were asked to bring our Vox listening devices (used for shore excursions) so we could hear the chef - an indication of the noise level. 3) Entertainment / activities: about what we expected on a small boat; some attractive local dance shows but not a great deal else - but then people don't expect a big range of activities on this sort of cruise, so no complaints. 4) Service: all staff we came into contact with were very friendly, willing and helpful. A special mention for the crew of the tender taking us ashore each day - they always took special care of us. Some people found the steps on the tender (almost a ladder) a bit difficult but this is not a complaint as we were told before booking that a certain level of fitness was required for this trip. 5) Ports and shore excursions: generally a good variety. I especially enjoyed the walk around a rural village and would have liked more such experiences. I would also have liked the chance to browse around local shops and markets, not just the showrooms aimed at the tourist . Our tour director (who was with us for the first week's land tour as well as the boat) was excellent: not only extremely knowledgeable but also very entertaining in his delivery. 6) The ship in general: pleasant enough but not particularly impressive in décor. (We were on La Marguerite on the Mekong two years, with Travel Marvel, the cheaper branch of APT and we thought that boat was much more attractive, with superb food and beautifully dressed staff.) The sundeck was comfortable but the lounge somehow lacked atmosphere. Very few people bothered to gather there in the evenings after dinner. Unfortunately the main problem during the week was illness. There were 16 in our tour group (8 British, 8 Australian). Nobody had been ill during the first week on the land tour, but, within a couple of days of joining the boat, people were becoming ill with vomiting and diarrhoea. 13 of the 16 in our group got it, some just for 24 hours but others for up to four days, some quite seriously ill. It was a similar proportion in the other group on board. I can't speak for absolutely everyone but I know that we and our friends never drank the tap water and we were scrupulous about hand-washing and sanitising - but to no avail. It is possible there are issues that need to be addressed here. Despite the illness and the lack of "luxury" this was nevertheless an enjoyable trip and I would recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We sailed the Ganges River after 2 weeks of a bus tour of India (Delhi, Jaipur, Agra) and a pre-trip to Kathmandu, Nepal. We were picturing a luxurious boat from the pictures of the all-suite ship in our Vantage catalog and looked forward ... Read More
We sailed the Ganges River after 2 weeks of a bus tour of India (Delhi, Jaipur, Agra) and a pre-trip to Kathmandu, Nepal. We were picturing a luxurious boat from the pictures of the all-suite ship in our Vantage catalog and looked forward to a restful sail after 2 weeks of bus riding! We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise--especially the tours of the small villages and farms along the river. It was wonderful to walk among the local people and see how they lived their daily lives. And they were as fascinated with us as we were with them! Children lined the banks of the river to wave as the sailed by. We had 3 local guides that went ashore with us who were extremely helpful and informative about the lives, the culture, the farming---they also did food, sari and henna demonstrations on board for us. The the word "luxury" does not come to mind when thinking about the sailing on the Ganges Voyager. We stayed in the Viceroy suite...(one of the larger suites) it was really beautifully decorated with ornate furniture and paintings on the walls but not nearly as large as the pictures make it seem. The extra sitting/bench area was basically wasted space as it wasn't practical and could better have been used for storage! The bed was large and comfortable and we slept well!! "Suite" is really a misnomer---it's merely a much larger cabin than you usually find aboard cruise ships. There was very little room for storage --- one small closet enough for one! (suitcases did NOT fit under the bed) There is a large desk, a bar area and a sitting area (that really was NOT comfortable) and a small table and chairs. The bathroom was much larger than those in a regular cabin. The lounge area indoors and outdoors was filled with ornate furniture and pillows. Lectures and movies were held in the indoor lounge and bar area. The outdoor area was perfect for reading and just sitting and viewing as we sailed the Ganges. The dining room was small but sufficient for our small group (our group of about 40 were the only ones onboard). Breakfast and lunch consisted of hot and cold offerings with a good variety of Indian and American foods. Dinners were not so good as the choices were limited--ordering beef or pork was definitely a mistake as it was using vary tough. Sauces seemed to lack flavor. The small wait staff was inexperienced and frequently mixed up orders. Our country boat that served as a tender to shore was an OLD wooden boat in need of a good paint job, with an unsteady wooden ladder that mostly 'seniors' needed to climb down to get into the tender each time and a bamboo gangplank to walk to shore. It certainly added a touch of 'quaintness' to the experience (and we didn't lose anybody overboard !!) The biggest problem aboard our cruise was the illness that spread rapidly once we were onboard. We had been together for 2 weeks before boarding the ship and although a few of our group had been ill with a 24 'thing'--more than half of the group became VERY sick once we set sail and several people NEVER were able to take even one excursion off the ship. Hopefully the many letters our group sent to the main Vantage office in Boston has resulted in some changes and has reached the Haimark staff. Some type of "noro" illness definitely was onboard our journey although Vantage and the Haimark personnel refused to accept this. We believe that lack of the sanitary conditions in handling waste was the reason for the rapid spread of illness. My only advice (as one who did not get sick on board) is bring lots of sanitizer, Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands! (ALSO remember you CANNOT drink the water!!) We carried small bottles of sanitizer in every pocket and handi-wipes. We used them constantly after touching handrails and doorknobs. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Ganges Voyager Ratings
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