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Trace the spice routes and sail around India where the spice trade industry thrived during the ancient times! An Indian cruise delivers a thoroughly exciting assault on the senses – indulge in sounds, sights, smells and sensations galore as you explore one of the world’s fascinating melting pots of rich culture, traditions and religions. From bustling cities to the tranquil rural areas, India is truly a captivating destination with an abundant tapestry of offerings! Embarking on an Indian cruise – you’ll call upon several beautiful Indian ports, including Cochin, Goa, Mangalore and Mumbai, as you journey around the coast of this great nation.

The colourful port of Cochin, with a modern-day moniker as Kochi, is a cosmopolitan hub of industry and commercial enterprise – basking on the shores of India’s tropical Malabar Coast! As you approach the harbour, you’ll catch a glimpse of the billowing Chinese fishing nets ripple on the horizon as fishermen attempt for a fresh catch! Next is India’s largest city, Mumbai, welcoming travellers with the iconic sight of the Gateway of India stone arch from the ship at a distance. The city is formerly called Bombay, home to numerous religious sites and stunning architectural wonders, such as the Hindu temple Shree Siddhivinayak and the city’s own version of Taj Mahal that functions as a 5-star luxury hotel. Fancy a day on the beach? Head to Goa or Mangalore, home to exquisite white-sand beaches which stretch along the Arabian Sea. The colonial Old Goa, the former capital of Portuguese India, is the perfect place to soak in the city’s natural charm and indulge in the delicious Goan cuisine!


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India Cruise Highlights

Gateway of India Mumbai

This ornate stone arch is often the first stop of travellers as soon as they arrive in Mumbai! Gateway of India was built during the 20th century in Bombay, the former name of Mumbai, to honour the arrival of King George V and his wife Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder on their visit to India in 1911. It also plays an integral role in the historic relationships between the Indian and British empire, making it one of the most important landmarks in the city! Be sure to snap a photo with this notable Indo-Saracenic arch-monument overlooking the Arabian Sea!

Old Goa

Old Goa, also known as Velha Goa, is the former capital of Portuguese India and is dubbed the “Rome of the East.” This quaint city is steeped with striking architecture and old-world charm, with colonial monuments and cobbled pathways – all set against a scenic coastal backdrop! Touring Old Goa’s historic streets – you’ll find Baroque-style Sé Cathedral, one of the largest operating churches in Asia, and Reis Magos Fort, one of the oldest citadels in Old Goa. Discover the beautiful ruins of St. Augustine or explore the Archeological Museum of Goa to swot up on the region’s history!

Fort Kochi

A picturesque seaside village, Fort Kochi boasts a fusion of Dutch, Portuguese and British colonial architecture. This small fishing area is where you’ll find Jain temples, antique markets, fishermen and great views! Spot the famous Chinese fishing nets that hover, graceful and crane-like, over the waterfront where you can watch fishermen haul in their tempting catch. Whilst here, take the opportunity to visit the St. Francis Church and watch a traditional Katha-kali Dance show!

History and Culture

India’s landscape is dotted with majestic temples and mosques, ancient forts, opulent palaces and a UNESCO-listed mausoleum – a proud testament to its rich history and culture! India is one of the world’s oldest civilisations dating to roughly 5,000 years ago. The country is also regarded as the birthplace of some of the widely-practised religions of today, Hinduism and Buddhism, making it an important site for spiritual culture. An Indian cruise is simply soul-stirring, letting you experience the most colourful festivals, infamous film trends, sacred religions, tantalising cuisine and so much more! If you want a taste of history and culture unlike any other in the world, India is the place you’re after and here’s how you can enjoy the best of it:

  • Marvel at the Taj Mahal, the crowning glory of India and an epitome of love – commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife.
  • See the Shree Siddhivinayak Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha – it’s the most heavily guarded site and one of the most popular places of worship in Mumbai. 
  • Take a tour of the Mormugao Fort – an interesting coastal fort in Goa built in 1624, now overflowing with stories and legends!
  • Join the longstanding tradition of festivities of Diwali, the festival of lights, and Holi, the festival of colours!

Things to Do

Laze on Goa’s beaches

Goa is for the beach enthusiasts and sun-seekers – blessed with stunning beaches, ranging from popular stretches where tourists usually flock to laid-back and serene ones known for their pristine beauty and overwhelming tranquillity. Palolem Beach is perfect for a lazy afternoon basking under the sun away from the large crowd, while Calangute and Baga are action-packed beaches where you can enjoy thrilling water activities or taste local flavours at beach shacks. You can also take a refreshing walk on the white-washed sandy shores of Palolem Beach backed by towering palm trees!

Explore Mangalore

Mangalore is a quaint port and a commercial center in Karnataka bordered by the Arabian Sea. It's known for its pristine beaches, heritage temples and delicious seafood. Located in the port city of Mangalore, Sultan’s Battery is a watchtower constructed to protect the site from the entry of warships into the Gurpur River. It’s made of black stone and was given the look of a miniature fortress. The ruins of the tower remain intact on the shores, withstanding the test of time and the extreme weather throughout the years. You can also admire the Arabian Sea panorama and the lush greenery where the fort is perched from here, ensuring that history buffs and nature lovers alike are in for a real treat!

Settle in Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

Don’t worry if you can’t squeeze in the world-famous Taj Mahal in Agra in your itinerary because Mumbai has its own version of the iconic  ivory-white marble wonder – the Taj Palace Hotel! This heritage five-star grand hotel is idyllically situated across the Gateway of India facing the Arabian Sea, providing guests with uninterrupted views of the iconic arch monument and the sea beyond! This legendary hotel played host to many prominent names across the globe, from royalties to celebrities, so what better way to relax and unwind than from the comfort of this lavish hotel?

Local Cuisine

As a part of the ancient spice route, India is truly a haven for foodies offering authentic local flavours to satisfy every taste bud! Indian cuisine has been shaped by its 5,000 years of history, plus the arrival of the Mughals, the British and the Portuguese also brought significant culinary influences to the country – resulting in the diversity of flavours, birth of regional cuisines and  culinary fusion. Here are some of the Indian local dishes you must try at least once:

  • Idli is a great morning starter – a soft, cloud-like rice cake steamed to fluffy perfection typically eaten with sambar (lentil-based vegetable stew) or coconut based chutneys!
  • Chaat is a popular snack served as an hors d'oeuvre or at roadside tracks from stalls or food carts – this traditional street food is a nice treat that you won’t regret!
  • Masala Dosa is South India’s version of pancakes – made using crêpe and usually paired with savoury fillings.

India Cruises FAQs

What are some local customs to observe in India?

India is quite conservative, so it’s important to dress properly. Be cautious of what to wear and avoid wearing anything revealing to respect the country’s culture, especially when entering sacred places like temples and shrines. Some of the important customs you have to observe are to remove your shoes when entering a temple or someone’s home, avoid public displays of affection with your partner, and eating with your hands is also common in India.

What currency is used in India?

The  official currency used in India is Indian Rupee (INR). You can exchange currency in the ATMs in almost all destinations even in the semi-rural areas, or in the currency decks in the airports and hotels, but note that these usually charge higher exchange rates.

What to pack for an Indian cruise?

It’s important to do some research about the season and culture of the country you’re visiting before travelling, so you’d be aware of what to bring! Here’s a guide of how a packing list for an Indian cruise looks like:

  • Clothes: Lightweight long sleeves, scarf or shawl for women, breathable and loose-fitting clothing, t-shirts, pants, socks, and comfortable shoes
  • Travel documents: Passport, travel insurance, vaccination certificates/IDs, valid IDs, tourist visa and travel cards 
  • Electronics: Camera/phone, portable chargers, extra batteries, memory cards
  • Essentials: Sunscreen, insect repellent spray/lotion, toiletries, motion sickness medications
  • Miscellaneous items: Binoculars, vitamins, local travel guidebook, tripod, snacks

When is the best time to cruise around India?

Generally, the best time for an Indian cruise is anywhere between October and March for pleasant weather. If you’re aiming for a cooler period, December through February are very chilly at the higher altitudes. January and February are the ideal months if you plan to hit the beaches in Goa or go sightseeing in Mumbai because the temperature is warm and dry but not hot and sticky!

Which cruise lines go to India?

The major cruise lines that sail around India include Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Silversea, Seabourn and Ponant.

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