A peek inside MV Ganga Vilas, the world’s longest river cruise

Friday, the 13th is a monumental day for India’s tourism as Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off MV Ganga Vilas, the world’s longest river cruise, in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi through video conferencing. It is the first-ever cruise vessel to be made in India.

MV Ganga Vilas will sail from Varanasi to cover 3,200 kilometres in 51 days. It will end its journey in Assam’s Dibrugarh, where it will reach after travelling to Bangladesh, traversing across 27 river systems. It will sail across three big rivers, Ganga, Meghna, and Brahmaputra. Along the way, it will stop at 50 tourist destinations which include World Heritage Sites, national parks, and river ghats.

The luxury liner will dock at big cities like Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Guwahati in Assam. Passengers will also get a chance to see the Sunderbans, famous for Royal Bengal Tigers and the Kaziranga National Park, known for its population of the one-horned rhinocerous.

The ship houses 18 swanky suites and has three decks with state-of-the-art facilities. It can accommodate up to 36 passengers and 40 crew members. The per-person fare is about Rs 25,000 per night. The 51-day trip will cost more than Rs 12.59 lakh.

The cruise boasts of restaurants, a gymnasium, a spa and a sun bath. It has all the luxurious amenities needed to keep guests entertained. The India-made vessel has been built to be eco-friendly. To avoid pollution, it has a sewage treatment and water treatment plant that uses river water for daily use, according to a report in The Times of India.

Thirty-two tourists from Switzerland have signed up for the maiden voyage of MV Ganga Vilas. The foreign tourists received a warm welcome on Tuesday at the Ramnagar terminal with garlands and tunes of shehnai.