In 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic took control of the world, I’m fairly certain you will agree that it was a pretty depressing time for everyone, our everyday life was turned completely on its head, with just about every country in the world implementing some sort of social distancing measures. International travel became a distant memory, trips planned were cancelled and like so many others, we just knuckled down and got on with our life as it had become. For a good seven months, I actually stopped looking at cruise itineraries because I couldn’t bear to think about actually going away somewhere nice with zero chance of it happening. But you can’t go on like that forever, with vaccines on the horizon and with our savings growing by the week, I eventually weakened and started to see what was available around the end of 2021. I began by looking at all the cruises which had previously caught my eye, a lot of which I had kept bookmarked on my browser, checking to see what prices were like or even if they were still happening, it was then that I spotted this one which was marked down by almost 25%. We had previously been made aware of it after watching the TV programme Cruising with Jane McDonald and it was something that we had always fancied but if I’m completely honest, probably a bit out of our budget. But with our savings amassing and the reduced price, it was like a red rag to a bull and within 48 hours it was booked.
We made our booking with RiverCruising.co.uk, a company that claims to be the UK’s top Uniworld agent. I was very happy with the reassurance and guarantees provided should this fall foul of the pandemic so, in the end, it was an easy enough decision.
Our itinerary consists of two overnight flights with 5 nights in hotels, 1 internal flight and 7 onboard Ganges Voyager II. The map below will give you some idea of what we will be doing.
To simplify the itinerary, here is our trip itemised in a day-by-day format.
|Sunday, December 4, 2022||Depart UK||Overnight Flight|
|Monday, December 5, 2022||New Delhi, India||Hotel Stay, The Oberoi Delhi|
|Tuesday, December 6, 2022||New Delhi, India||Hotel Stay, The Oberoi Delhi|
|Wednesday, December 7, 2022||New Delhi to Agra, India||Hotel Stay, The Oberoi Amarvilas|
|Thursday, December 8, 2022||Agra to Jaipur, India||Hotel Stay, The Oberoi Rajvilas|
|Friday, December 9, 2022||Jaipur, India||Hotel Stay, The Oberoi Rajvilas|
|Saturday, December 10, 2022||Embark Ganges Voyager II,
Cruising The Ganges
|Ganges Voyager II|
|Sunday, December 11, 2022||Kalna, India||Ganges Voyager II|
|Monday, December 12, 2022||Matiari, India||Ganges Voyager II|
|Tuesday, December 13, 2022||Murshidabad, Baranagar, India||Ganges Voyager II|
|Wednesday, December 14, 2022||River Day Cruising The Ganges||Ganges Voyager II|
|Thursday, December 15, 2022||Mayapur, Chandannager,||Ganges Voyager II|
|Friday, December 16, 2022||Kolkata, India||Ganges Voyager II|
|Saturday, December 17, 2022||Disembark Ganges Voyager II, Kolkata, India||Overnight Flight|
|Sunday, December 18, 2022||Arrive back in the UK|
We were able to select a cabin so picked a Colonial suite on the Upper Deck. As you will see from the illustration below we have selected 307 which is in a central location.
All of the above was written in 2021 prior to when we would originally have travelled but like many other post covid trips it fell foul to us not being able to enter India after a spat between governments. Fortunately, we were able to cancel and rebook for 2022 on the same dates and luckily just before the final payment was due.
The ongoing stand-off between governments continued into 2022 and while it meant the cheaper e-visa became available to the rest of the world, it still wasn’t an option for UK or Canadian nationals, so at the beginning of September, we decided to go down the full tourist visa route at a cost of £150 each. If you decided to apply yourself online, a face-to-face appointment was then required but if you wanted to avoid this, the other option was to use an agent which is what we did. It cost us an extra £95 each but if you offset this against having to take time off work and then visit one of the VFS centres for an appointment it was an absolute bargain. We used a company called Visa Genie, which vetted all the forms before submission to prevent the application from being rejected by a wrongly worded answer. Within 3 weeks, we both had our visas. It wasn’t the smoothest of applications but at least we have the required documents to enter India now. At the beginning of October, the Indian embassy announced it would now require all applicants to attend in person to apply for visas, including agencies so it looks like we timed it just right.
So, that’s the bare bones of where and what we will be doing and all that remains is for us to get there safe and sound, stay free of Covid and make the most of this long-awaited trip. 🤞🏼
We are now airside at Heathrow T3 and on our way.
10 thoughts on “India’s Golden Triangle & Ganges Voyager II Preamble”
Just signed up for the trip with Uniworld and would love your opinion on the Varanasi post excursion as haven’t committed to that yet.
It wasn’t part of our itinerary so I can’t really comment. I did look at the Uniworld website the other day and note there are a few subtle differences and also abridged versions too.
Nice itineary you are doing. Sadly, I have never had any desire to visit India. Even one of our best friends who is Indian said he would never go back. I will be interested to see how you like it. We just had a presenation by Uniworld last month.
So far it has been amazing.
Looks like an incredible itinerary and what a company to be going with, I look forward to following your daily blog posts.
What a fabulous itinerary and can’t wait for the next instalments.
Enjoy your cruise and with your permission I’ll cross post to Cruisedot as well.
Be my guest 👍🏻
Hi Wansbrough. Great choice. We did the very same package/itinerary in December 2018 and had a fantastic time. Whatever you do get on the visit to the Hare Krishna temple at Mayapur and the Hooghly Imambara. I’ll look forward to reading your adventures.
Have a great trip. Sounds very exciting. Looking forward to reading more. We will find out on 1th December whether or not we will be calling at the 3 Indian ports on our 80 days around the world with Fred Olsen.
Really looking forward to your blog.