Tuesday 17 December 2013

Launch of Indian river cruise vessel, ABN Rajmahal

The latest addition to our fleet, ABN Rajmahal, was launched in Calcutta last week. The 22-cabin vessel has been specially designed with extra-shallow draught, triple engines and low air draught, for our pioneering City of Light cruises between Patna and Varanasi.

These innovative 7-night cruises will operate in August and September 2014, the only months river conditions allow. During the winter months ABN Rajmahal will be taking over our current programme of cruises on the Hugli and the Ganges, with her maiden commercial voyage scheduled for 15 February 2014, preceded by fam cruises for invited overseas tour operators and for journalists.


Assam in October is a joy, with good weather, lush scenery, clear views and easy cruising. A perfect combination with Darjeeling, Sikkim or Bhutan therefore. Since Kaziranga and other parks are not reliably open at this time, the ideal solution is one of our Frontier Lands cruises, AD1 or AD5, between Guwahati and Dhubri. These feature tea gardens, a Maharajah’s palace, archaeological sites, temples and silk weaving, and the joining point at Cooch Behar can be reached in a little over two hours by train from New Jalpaiguri. To offer maximum flexibility to tour operators, we are currently proposing these cruises for group departures only, on operators’ own choice of dates.


We are delighted that Lonely Planet India’s Travel Awards have placed our Diphlu River Lodge at Kaziranga as India’s second best wildlife resort, behind Oberoi’s Vanya Vilas and ahead of the Taj Mahua Kothi. Meanwhile CNN International has placed Assam Bengal Navigation as one of the World’s Top Ten Adventure Cruise Operators.


Our Hugli and Ganges cruises feature one-way rail travel between Calcutta and Farakka at the beginning or end of the cruise. So we are delighted to advise that under the latest timetable this service operates on the Shatabdi Express, with duration reduced from an earlier 6-plus hours to just 4 hours 15 minutes. Moreover the same train provides a fast and convenient link between Farakka and New Jalpaiguri Junction, the station for Darjeeling and Sikkim, thus opening up new possibilities of combining a cruise with the Himalayas.

Assam Bengal Navigation. www.assambengalnavigation.com

Bookings: www.activetravel.com.au

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