Boutique Cruising in India

A Cultural Expedition with 7 Nights Aboard the Ganges Voyager


Embark on a two-week sojourn from Delhi to Varanasi and throughout Rajasthan, including seven nights aboard the British colonial-style Ganges Voyager. Visit Delhi’s medieval walled city, see the stunning Taj Majal at sunrise and sunset, tour the pink city of Jaipur, and enjoy a relaxing week of river cruising between spectacular cities and scenic villages. Savor the sights and sounds of India as you walk through peaceful Moghul-style gardens, ride rickshaws past ancient temples, and witness rural Indian countryside life at its most idyllic. Your grand finale is Varanasi, one of the world’s oldest and most enchanting cities.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.


Day 1
Arrive in Delhi

Arrive to the Delhi international airport where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi
New Delhi, India
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Day 2

After breakfast at your hotel, take a half day tour of "Old Delhi" guided by local street children. Founded by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in 1639, Old Delhi is a colorful blend of historic structures and modern bustle. Your experience takes you into a labyrinthine of alleyways in the Walled City, a peaceful walk at this time of day. Gaze at spectacular havelis (Indian mansions) and discover the latent charm of Shahjahanabad before the evening activity sets in. Afterwards, enjoy some time at your leisure to relax or explore on your own. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi
New Delhi, India
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Day 3
Delhi / Agra

Start the day with an early breakfast at the hotel, then drive to Agra (approximately four hours) where you’ll visit the Agra Fort, a World Heritage site built by Emperor Akbar, and perhaps the best-preserved fort in India. Initially the fort was a military structure, but under the rule of Shah Jahan, Akbar’s grandson, many additions were made. Today these palatial structures are silent witness to the rise and fall of the Imperial Mughal Empire, and excellent examples of Islamic architecture and decoration.

In the afternoon, drive to your hotel and then visit the fabulous Taj Mahal. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Begum, who died giving birth to their fourteenth child in 1631, the Taj Mahal is an exquisite World Heritage site. Legend has it that, following his wife’s death, Shah Jahan’s hair turned gray overnight and he turned his back on running the empire, concentrating instead on the construction of this monument to love. Construction took 22 years and the Taj was completed in 1653 at a speculated cost of 3 million rupees, equivalent to around 70 million US Dollars today. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Day 4
Agra / Jaipur

At sunrise today, visit the Taj Mahal to see the sensational marble sparkling in the dawn light. Return to the hotel for breakfast, then drive to Jaipur. En route, you’ll stop at the 16th century city of Fatehpur Sikri. Lunch will be in Bharatpur, the “Eastern Gateway to Rajasthan,” and then you’ll continue on to Jaipur, with one final stop in Abhaneri along the way. This evening is at your leisure. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Jaipur.

Jai Mahal Palace
Jaipur, India
Days 4 to 5 (2 nights)
Day 5

Following breakfast at the hotel, head out to visit the “Pink City,” the old part of Jaipur that is colored in shades of pink. Within the city, you’ll visit the Hawa Mahal, a unique building, also known as the “Palace of the Winds,” and a Jaipur landmark that was once used by the ladies of the court to watch the daily goings-on in the street below. You’ll also see Amber Fort, known for its artistic elements. With its large ramparts, decorative gates, and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake, which is the main source of water for the Amber Palace. You can take an optional short trek from Amber Fort to Jaigarh Fort (about an hour), and lunch will be at a local restaurant.

This afternoon, explore the city palace, an imposing blend of traditional Rajasthan and Mughal architecture. The vast palace complex occupies one seventh of the walled city of Jaipur. Originally built by Maharaja Jai Singh, additions have been made to the palace complex by many of his successors. The complex is divided into a series of courtyards, sprawling gardens, and interesting buildings. Inside the palace museum, you’ll find displays of Afghan and Persian carpets, miniature paintings, and astronomical manuscripts in Persian and Sanskrit. Adjacent to the city palace is the Jantar Mantar Observatory. Built in the early 1700s by Jai Singh, the 17 astronomical instruments are made of stone and marble. The collection includes a 27.4 meter high sundial with an accuracy of 2 seconds! The central museum, known as Albert Hall, is well worth a visit. Founded in 1876, it houses a large collection of antiques and other interesting artifacts. In the evening, stroll through the local bazaar (market) before returning to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Jai Mahal Palace
Jaipur, India
Days 4 to 5 (2 nights)
Day 6
Jaipur / Kolkata / Ganges Voyager

After an early checkout this morning, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Kolkata. Upon arrival in Kolkata, you’ll be met and transferred to the Ganges Voyager. In the late afternoon, you’ll be entertained by Baul musicians, whose music represents a long heritage of preaching mysticism through songs in Bengal. Although Bauls constitute only a small fraction of the Bengali population, their influence on the culture of Bengal (Both in India and Bangladesh) is considerable. The Baul tradition has been included in the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. In the evening, enjoy the Cruise Director's Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.

Day 7
Kolkata / Namkhana

Today is a full day of sailing, viewing historic sites and unique landscapes following the Hooghly River to the Bay of Bengal. Your journey brings you to the fishing port of Namkhana, the gateway to the Sundarbans National Park, a World Heritage Site. The Sundarbans are the world’s largest delta mangrove forest and habitat of the famous Royal Bengal tiger. You’ll enjoy a talk and interaction with the Naturalist on the unique ecosystem of the Sundarbans. Dinner and overnight on board the Ganges Voyager.

Day 8
Namkhana / Bony Camp / Bali Island

Anchoring in the Western Sundarbans today is your first foray into this rich and unique mangrove ecosystem. You will scale the Bony Camp Watchtower on an excursion to look for endangered crocodiles, terrapins, and many species of migratory birds. Sailing along the Matla River to the Hero Bhangra Islands, keep a keen eye out for Irrawaddy dolphins and other marine life. After lunch, disembark to visit the serene Nethidopani Watchtower and experience the spectacular nature of these surroundings. Sail onward to Bali Island, a typical village whose inhabitants are engaged in farming, paddy husking, honey packing, and fishing. The Bali Nature & Wildlife Conservation Society in collaboration with the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) helps support the communities living around the tiger reserve, and to encourage them to view wildlife and their environment as an asset rather than a threat. Enjoy a village walk and interact with the villagers engaged in creating handicrafts, visit a local home, and witness a tribal dance. Return to the Ganges Voyager for dinner and overnight.

Day 9
Bali / Sudhanyakhali / Do Banki / Namkhana

With a gorgeous sunrise you’ll climb the Sudhanyakhali Watchtower, the most popular locale to spot the elusive Royal Bengal tiger. This vast habitat provides invigorating possibilities of crocodiles, wild boars, axis deer, and a wide range of migratory and local birds. Afterwards, take a small country boat through the narrow creeks to climb the Do Banki Watchtower and enjoy a canopy walk at an elevation of 20 feet from the ground and about a third of a mile in length, to reveal the riveting flora and fauna. Return to the ship for a late lunch and sail back to Namkhana. Dinner and overnight on board the Ganges Voyager.

Day 10
Namkhana / Kolkata / Chandernagore

Early this morning sail back to Kolkata, enjoying breakfast and lunch on board, and arriving late in the afternoon. Depending on tide timings, the ship will depart during the night or early morning upstream toward Chandernagore, sailing past the city of Kolkata and its iconic bridges. Today you'll enjoy a tea tasting event to explore the different flavors of Indian teas. Dinner and overnight on board the Ganges Voyager.

Day 11
Chandernagore / Bansberia

Situated on the banks of the Hooghly River, Chandernagore was once a French colony, so it has a unique blend of Bengali and French culture. Distinctive Indo-French architecture can be found in tucked away corners, and its historical elements give it a charm that’s different than other towns in West Bengal. After breakfast, visit the “Prabartak Seva Niketan,” a shelter for destitute children established in 1943 with a vision to provide education and rehabilitation of girls; it’s one of the oldest such institutes in India. The children are also trained in yoga, music, dance, and handicrafts. IAfterwards, you’ll explore the French colonial buildings along the promenade. Back onboard the boat, you’ll witness ever increasing meanders and rolling fields of crops and local industries as you sail to Bansberia, a quaint village said to have derived its name from the legend that a fort was built by the landlord’s son after clearing a bamboo (locally called bans) grove. In the late afternoon, enjoy a short walk to visit the Haneswari Temple, known for its unique Ratna architectural style of 12 minars or Ratnas, each shaped like a lotus bud, and the inner layout following human anatomy. You’ll also see in the complex the Ananta Basudeb temple, a terracotta temple constructed in the traditional Ekaratna style with curved cornices and richly carved panels depicting gods and goddess. Prior to dinner you’ll have the opportunity to witness a traditional Hindu Deepdan ceremony celebration and a dance performance.

Day 12
Bansberia / Bandel / Serampore / Bally Bridge

Sailing from a French enclave to a Portuguese settlement, you’ll enjoy breakfast while traversing the landscape to Bandel (“wharf” in Bengali), where you’ll visit the Hooghly Imambara, one of the famous Shiya pilgrimage centers in West Bengal and built in 1841. The two-story building and surrounding rooms provide housing for pilgrims as well as classrooms. The structure contains a Victorian-era clock with a winding key weighing 44 lbs, along with large Persian chandeliers and lamps lighting the Imambara's stunning hallways and passages. The journey continues to an erstwhile Danish colony, Serampore, where you’ll enjoy a late afternoon walk in the old quarters to see several Danish heritage monuments. Serampore was a popular stop for Danish and English traders in 1786 and a British innkeeper called James Parr opened the Denmark Tavern & Hotel, popularly called the Danish Tavern, which became a favorite among Europeans. You’ll also visit St. Olav’s Church, locally known as the Danish Church, which was constructed by the Danish Management between 1755 and 1845, and ride the “Toto,” an e-rickshaw, to visit a textile factory that is known for its block printing. Enjoy dinner onboard as you sail toward Bally Bridge.

Day 13
Disembark / Varanasi

After an early breakfast on board the ship, transfer to the Kolkata airport for your flight to Varanasi. Situated on the banks of the Ganges River, Varanasi is a pilgrimage site for Hindus, and one of the world’s oldest cities. It’s a place where pilgrims come to wash away their sins, artisans create renowned silk-weaving and brocades, and visitors can witness intimate rituals of life and death. Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to your hotel for check-in and lunch. In the late afternoon, you’ll explore the enchanting life throughout the streets of Varanasi by rickshaw. Later, walk along the Ghats (riverbank) and witness the evening “Aarti” ritual on the Ganges from a boat. Overnight at hotel.

Day 14
Varanasi / Delhi

Head out early this morning for a sunrise boat tour on the Ganges to witness the rituals performed as the sun comes up and the incredible scenes along the holy river. Return to the hotel for breakfast and spend the morning at your leisure or take an optional visit to a silk factory where a group of skillful weavers work together. After an early lunch at the hotel, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight to Delhi. In Delhi, transfer to the Radisson Blu Plaza hotel where you can use the day room before heading to the airport for homeward-bound flights.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The cruise itinerary maybe readjusted due to local conditions and days of the week, in order to avoid closure of monuments/museums. Last minute sailing adjustments may also occur. The schedule may shift due to the weather or to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. The exact time for each activity will be announced or posted by the onboard tour staff.



Visit several World Heritage sites including the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal
Explore the unique ecosystems of the Sundarbans, habitat of the Royal Bengal tiger
Witness traditional craft-making techniques, visit a local home, watch a tribal dance
See rural India's scenic river banks and idyllic country life
Witness the evening "Aarti" ritual on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi
Enjoy spacious observation decks, spa treatments, delicious cuisine, and nightly entertainment on the Ganges Voyager


Length: 14 days
Cost From: $9225  
Arrive: Delhi, India
Depart: Delhi, India
Lodging: 6 nights hotels, 7 nights aboard a premier river vessel
Meals: All meals included except one lunch
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Photography, River Cruising
Trip Level:

14-days of cultural exploration, walking tours, boat and rickshaw rides

Other Trips You Might be Interested in: