A pioneering small ship cruise between Varanasi and Patna on India’s sacred river, combined with a visit to the colonial capital of Calcutta staying at 5-star hotels
Day 1 - Flight
Days 2 & 3 - Kolkata
Day 4 - Patna/Start of Cruise
Day 5 - Maner/Goghra
Day 6 - Buxar
Day 7 - Ghazipur
Day 8 - Varanasi/Sarnath
Day 9 - Chunar/Ramnagar
Day 10 - Varanasi
Day 11 - Delhi
Day 12 - Return Flight
Travellers familiar with India will know that cruising is the perfect way to enjoy this magical country. Far away from the frenetic roads, life on board offers a grandeur of scenery and a tranquillity that is unique. So, a cruise on India’s most famous river presents an opportunity not to be missed, viewing this great river from the water.
At holy Varanasi visit the various Ghats where the living seek purification and the dead salvation. Lining the Ganges with a collision of colours and an assault on the senses, this is one of the seven Hindu holy cities with temples jostling for space in its tangle of ancient streets. Sailing between here and Patna is a journey through history and Hinduism. From Mughal tombs and a Maharaja’s palace, to bathing ghats and relics of the British Raj, it is exotic and chaotic, in fairly equal measure.
Our cruising partner, Assam Bengal Navigation, has now successfully pioneered this cruise between Varanasi and Patna, quiet and remote parts of the river contrasting with hectic Varanasi. Cruises operate only during August and September when water levels are at their best for cruising.
Culture & Riverscapes
Free Cabin Selection
Small Ship Sailing
Full Board on Cruise
No Single Supplement
Group Size: 6 – 22
Day 1 Fly overnight from your chosen airport to Kolkata.
Day 2 Transfer to the 5-star Oberoi Grand for two nights. Welcome drink and dinner. (D)
Day 3 Cruise on the Hoogly River. Visit the flower and book market, Jain temple, Victoria Memorial, St. John’s Church and a panoramic drive around colonial Calcutta. (B)
Day 4 Fly to Patna and embark on the RV Rajmahal for a seven-night cruise. (B, D)
Day 5 Cruise upstream to Maner to visit a small Moghul tomb. Pass the confluence with the River Sone to the busy port of Doriganj. Moor overnight near the River Goghra. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Sail past Ballia towards Buxar, famous for the battle in 1764, which together with Plassey, laid the foundations of the British Raj. Visit the memorial on the battlefield and the old East India Company cemetery. Rickshaw ride to the ghats of Buxar. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Cruise past Chausa to Ghazipur, centre for legal opium production. Visit the tomb of Lord Cornwallis, responsible for the British defeat at Yorktown. (B, L, D)
Day 8 Set sail for Varanasi. Boisterous, flamboyant, frenetic and many more adjectives are used to catch the essence of Varanasi. Visit Sarnath, where Buddha preached and the archaeological museum with the ‘Ashokan Lion’, inspiration for the Indian flag. (B, L, D)
Day 9 Sail to Chunar to visit the old British cemetery, Mughal fort and tombs. Enjoy carpet weaving and Chunar pottery demonstrations, before calling at Ramnagar to visit the Maharaja’s palace, museum and Durbar Hall. (B, L, D)
Day 10 Morning boat ride on the Ganges to see the colourful bathing ghats. Walking tour of Varanasi. Evening Aarti ceremony on the Ganges. (B, L, D)
Day 11 Disembark and fly to Delhi for overnight at the 5-star ITC Maurya. (B)
Day 12 Return flight. (B)
Alcohol is not available between Patna and Buxar due to local state regulations.
Cruises operate only during August and September when water levels are at their best for cruising.
A 5-star heritage hotel with a fusion of classical Victorian and traditional Indian style architecture. Restaurants, bar, indoor pool, gym and WiFi (free). 209 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and TV.
A 5-star hotel named after the famous 'Mauryan' dynasty. Restaurants, bar, gym, pool, spa and WiFi (chargeable). 438 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, satellite and tea/coffee making facilities.
Time to relax or see even more of India!
No one can cover all of India on one tour, so why not make the most of your time in India by choosing further experiences?
We invite you to customise your tour by adding one or more extensions from our great range shown on the following pages. Relax in a resort or discover more of India with our specialist guides.
Also please consider adding extra nights before the tour if you would like to draw breath after the flight to India or stay on to reflect, relax or explore independently. Extra nights can also be added to most extensions. Please talk to one of our knowledgeable Personal Travel Experts to let us know what you are looking for and they will work out the best way. Sometimes extra transfers, internal flights and nights are recommended or needed, and sometimes two extensions can be combined into a more logical sequence.
Add visits from Delhi including Udaipur, Indian Wildlife, Shimla, Darjeeling, Cochin & Kerala Backwaters, Tigers & Ganges, Goa, Amritsar and Nepal.
Operated by Assam Bengal Navigation, the RV Rajmahal was built in Kolkata, is 164 ft. long, powered by three engines, with extra-shallow draught and a lower profile than conventional designs to enable it to cruise further upstream than most vessels. On board the crew are mainly Indian, the currency the Indian Rupee, the language English and WiFi (free/limited).
The décor is stylish and fresh, with touches of colonial elegance, and uses hand-blocked cotton fabrics of traditional Indian-inspired designs. The comfortable saloon, bar and dining room compliment the vast canopied sun deck. A small spa offers a range of treatments.
Food is a mixture of Assamese (milder than most Indian cuisine) and continental. Wines, beer and spirits are available. Tea, coffee and water are complimentary. Cold towel service, welcome drink and shoe cleaning are offered after each excursion.
22 Main and Upper Deck cabins with four Main Deck single cabins, all are air-conditioned with private facilities, hairdryer, safe and French balconies.
per person in a twin room/Upper Deck cabin
Emirates from Heathrow or Gatwick
per person in a twin room/Main Deck cabin
Emirates from Heathrow or Gatwick
Supplements per person
NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
Main Deck Single Cabin
2023: Aug 15
Main Deck double for sole use £495 (2023 only)
Upper Deck £395 (2022 - nil)
Upper Deck double for sole use £745 (2022 £450)
Emirates from Manchester, Birmingham or Glasgow - nil
Emirates Business Class from £2095
Extensions are available pre or post tour from Delhi including Udaipur, Indian Wildlife, Shimla, Darjeeling, Cochin & Kerala Backwaters, Tigers & Ganges, Goa, Amritsar and Nepal.
Pre/post tour extra nights and transfers are available.
Click here for India extension options.
Arrival or departure transfer add £24
Air travel and taxes, all port charges, transfers, 7-night cruise, 3 nights’ hotel, breakfast daily, full board on cruise, local expert guides and representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, visa procurement, optional excursions, tipping, drinks, porterage, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.
Please complete this form and a member of our sales department will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your booking and take payment. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm and Saturdays 10am to 2pm