In October we took the Uniworld tour – India’s Golden Triangle and the Sacred Ganges, the river portion of which involved a stay on the Ganges Voyager II. This was our first Uniworld tour, and 3rd river cruise – Russia and Myanmar being the other two with different vendors.
We arrived in New Delhi early to allow additional time to recover from jet lag and started the land portion of our tour on October 19th. We met with the Uniworld Tour Manager (Vishal Bhaskar) and two local consultants who would guide us through the New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur portions of the tour and then the Tour Manager continued with us for the river cruise/Varanasi portions of the tour where local guides assisted him.
All of the Uniworld staff were excellent in their roles; knowledgeable of the different areas we were visiting and accommodating of any requests made by guests. The land portion of the tour while exceptional was exhausting and we all were looking forward to boarding the Ganges Voyager II.
We were met by the captain and staff on boarding ship and escorted to our room by Mahendra Singh, the Head of Housekeeping. The ship was very clean and comfortable and we were in our room quickly, shown A/C and other controls and our luggage was delivered shortly thereafter.
Our Heritage Suite 302 was excellent at the front right of the ship – affording us a view of full bow as we proceeded down the Ganges. We found the room to be compact but quite accommodating (pictures attached). The Sun deck had plenty of loungers and was covered from the sun. At the far end they had an open area which was used for on-board performances by local entertainers and for early morning and afternoon yoga classes (which Uniworld River Cruises has recently added). The instructor was awesome. There was an on-board spa that offered a variety of services that I personally used three times and was used by many other guests. Prices were very reasonable.
If there is a criticism of the itinerary it was we did not know when off shores tours would occur each day – so it was difficult to schedule appointments in advance and sometimes one had to reschedule when you found you were in conflict with the off shore tours.
The Ganges Voyager II has a sandpan that was used to transport us from ship to shore for excursions. Crew were very diligent ensuring we all had life jackets on for the short transfer to land and for ensuring we could safely climb to shore, as often there was not a fixed dock available. The shore excursions generally were not too long but you should be able bodied to do this tour. There are steps, uneven ground and it was hot and humid.
All of the staff of the Ganges Voyager II were friendly and outgoing; working hard to ensure we had a memorable experience. They met our every request and were very gracious when showing some of the male guests how to play cricket, a fun afternoon. Staff were very diligent both on the land tour and the Ganges Voyager II that every time we returned to the bus/ship, hand sanitizer was given to every guest. On tours the security staff carried cold towels/bottled water that were available and offered a “helping hand” on navigating the uneven surfaces. The crew provided wipes for you to clean your feet when bare feet were required and shoe coverings when you were allowed to wear shoes. When you boarded the ship you placed your “off ship shoes” in a cubby with your room number, and wore slippers (or shoes of your choice) back to your room. Your “off ship shoes” are cleaned after every shore experience and returned to your room a few hours later.
The post tour visit to Varanasi was excellent and quite different from everything else we had seen on the tour.
The food was excellent, both local and western options offered at all meals. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style and dinner was plated service. Wine and beer flowed freely. The local sauvignon blanc was quite good. The Executive Chef (Zaved Islam) was very outgoing and “toned down” some of the spices for us, however if you wanted something more “local” he accommodated individual requests. He even changed his menu to accommodate a “favorite” dish requested by one guest as one of the dinner options.
I came to India expecting to encounter poverty, smells and other uncomfortable situations. Only one day did we encounter any smells and that was limited. While most of us had at least one day with “Delhi belly”, this was more due to not being accustomed to the level of spices we were consuming (combined with taking Malaria tablets). I am unaware of anyone who had major issues that required prescription medication. The Housekeeper (Mahendra Singh) and Restaurant Manager (Sagar Chand) were great providing ginger tea or bringing meals (soup) to your room if requested to assist your speedy recovery.
The sites visited combined with the exceptional service from Uniworld River Cruises and Ganges Voyager II staff made this a “trip of a lifetime”.
Compact but efficient. Bathroom was spacious
Loved the full view and ability to open balcony doors to take shore pictures while cruising
Butler (Ram) was excellent as was Housekeeper (Mahendra)
Unlimited laundry was most appreciated
All of our requests were met with a smile