A luxury cruise ship made history today, January 13th, when it embarked from the Indian spiritual city of Varanasi on a voyage that ushers in a new age of tourism on the subcontinent.
MV Ganga Vilas is scheduled to sail ~3200 km (~1990 mi) of waterway in India and Bangladesh, making it the world's longest river cruise ever, according to organizers.
The vessel will travel along India’s Ganges River and other inland waterways through 5 states in western India, and then into Bangladesh, visiting UNESCO sites, national parks, and big port cities along the way.
MV Ganga Vilas carries 36 guests (in 18 suites) plus 48 crew, according to the shipowner Antara.
Originally, the voyage was planned for 2020 but was delayed by the COVID crisis. It was marketed in Europe and now the initial round of passengers are from France, Switzerland, and other countries.
According to Kashif Siddiqui, director of sales & marketing at Antara, the plan was to run the cruise itinerary twice per year between October and March, when the river water level was high.
Tickets cost between 4.2-4.5 million rupees apiece, which works out to US$51115-$54765 per passenger.
MV Ganga Vilas’ 51 days on the water feature stops in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, the Sundarbans mangrove forest (shared by the 2 countries), and India’s Kaziranga National Park, home to one-horned rhinoceroses.