Cruising from Kolkata with G Adventures aboard the Varuna
On Monday, I’m going to spend nearly 25 hours on three airplanes and four airports in order to reach my newest river cruising destination: India’s Ganges River with G Adventures.
Departing from Kolkata, India (which you might remember by its former name, Calcutta), this nine-day Ganges River Experience looks like the ideal way to experience India and the Ganges for the very first time. Beginning and ending in Kolkata, it combines a one-night pre-cruise stay at the HHI Kolkata with an eight-day voyage along the Ganges aboard the 24-passenger Varuna.
Toronto-based G Adventures prides itself on its well-priced, culturally-immersive tour packages, the vast majority of which are all small-group experiences. India lends itself well to the this, and our itinerary takes advantage of that.
After a day of rest in Kolkata and a welcome meeting the first evening after arrival, we’re setting out for our first experience in India: a six-hour train journey between Kolkata and the port city of Farakka.
You’ve probably heard a lot about Indian trains. So have I. My guidebooks (and friends) are filled with horror stories about them. And yet I am supremely excited to be doing a train journey through India in order to embark the Varuna. Adventurous though I am, this probably isn’t something I’d ever attempt on my own, so I appreciate a little ‘hand-holding’ from G Adventures in this respect.
From Farakka, we’re cruising southbound on the Ganges, eventually returning to Kolkata. Along the way, we’re stopping in Jangipur, Murshidabad, Matiari, Mayapur, Chunchura, and Barakpur. I don’t expect you to have heard of them before. Except for Kolkata, I hadn’t heard of any of them myself. But I am very much looking forward to discovering them.
On the ground, G Adventures makes everything ridiculously simple: transfers are provided to and from hotels, airports and the ship, so you don’t have to worry about negotiating your way through India’s notorious taxis.
But there are still a lot of details to look after beforehand, and a few things I wish I’d spent more time on to prepare for my first visit to India.
Keep Checking Your Air
This may just be me, but my air arrangements on KLM and Jet Airways seemingly changed with the wind. Both airlines repeatedly swapped out aircraft on me, causing me