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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.

Not as luxurious as expected

Ganges Voyager Cruise Review by Glasgowtraveller

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2016
  • Destination: Asia River
  • Cabin Type: Signature Suite with French Balcony
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.
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