Wednesday 7 October 2015

India - north and south by land and sea

All-inclusive luxury tour featuring opulent palace hotels

A luxury, small ship ocean cruise to Sri Lanka and along India's tropical southern coast will be coupled with an overland tour through Rajasthan, stays at India's grandest hotels and a visit to the Taj Mahal at sunrise as part of a new 26-day cruise tour in March, 2016, offered by Cruise Express.

The exotic, all-inclusive itinerary with APT features an interactive Indian cooking class and stays at a string of five-star Taj Hotels, including Udaipur's iconic Taj Lake Palace, which starred in the 1983 James Bond movie, Octopussy.

The adventure begins with a flight from Australia on February 29, 2016, to Chennai where guests board the boutique 114-passenger MS Island Sky for a 14-night journey to Mumbai via eight ports in Sri Lanka and India. All cabins on the ship are suites with ocean views, with guests pampered by 75 staff, complimentary shore excursions and free beverages with lunch and dinner.

As a smaller ship, MS Island Sky will call in at lesser-visited ports with the itinerary featuring Trincomalee, Hambantota, Galle and Colombo in Sri Lanka and the Indian ports of Trivandrum, Cochin, Mangalore, Goa and Mumbai. Excursions ashore include visits to temples, palm-lined beaches and spice and tea plantations, with guests able to delve into the colourful history and culture of both countries.

From Mumbai, a 10-day overland tour takes in the highlights of India's most spectacular state, Rajasthan, with its stunning and historic forts and palaces in Udaipur and Jaipur. The itinerary includes a jeep ride through villages near Samode and a sunrise visit to the World Heritage-listed Taj Mahal in Agra.

Each night guests will stay in some of India's most luxurious palace hotels. Amongst them are the marbled Taj Lake Palace, which was once the abode of maharaja and exudes an air of mystique. Guests will also stay in Jaipur's Taj Rambagh Palace, an architectural icon with ornamental gardens, rich fabrics and an interactive cooking class for guests, and the exclusive Samode Palace, a 475-year-old sanctuary blending traditional opulence with modern luxury and offering four-poster beds and exquisitely carved furniture.

Including flights from Australia and flights within India, most meals, beverages with lunch and dinner during the cruise, shore excursions and daily sightseeing, the 26-day package is available from $23,199 per person, twin-share.

For bookings and details, call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit

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