We invite you to join Brand g Vacations from March 21 to April 3, 2021 for an LGBT+, inclusive and guaranteed full ship charter journey during Holi Festival as we explore the splendors of India and cruise the Lower Ganges River.
May be easily combined with our Nepal and Bhutan program. Contact us for more details.
Stay in a luxurious New Delhi hotel as you explore the capital territory. Fly to exotic West Bengal for an unforgettable cruise along the lower Ganges River with powerful visits to Bandel, Kalna, Murshidabad, Chandernagore, and the stunning new temple complex at Mayapur. Back in Kolkata, the journey continues to Rajasthan and India’s Golden Triangle, with astounding visits to the fabled pink city of Jaipur, the 11th century Agra Fort, and the legendary Taj Mahal.
During the river cruise, you’ll return home each night to a soothing atmosphere of relaxation aboard the elegant, all-suite Ganges Voyager. Breathe in the scenery from the comfort of a top deck lounge. Explore the healing sensations of Ayurvedic or traditional European spa treatments. Gather with your new friends and discuss the meaning of enlightenment as you watch the world go by. No matter where you are on board, you’ll feel a renewing energy and comforting sense of peace.
With just 28 custom-designed suites, space is limited, so contact your travel professional or Brand g Vacations directly.
March 21, 2021 to April 03, 2021 – US $6999.00
Welcome reception in New Delhi
2 nights hotel accommodation in Imperial Room at Imperial Hotel New Delhi including breakfast
One lunch and one dinner in New Delhi
Flight from Delhi to Kolkata
7 nights deluxe cruise accommodation
Gourmet dining with all meals included during your cruise
Free flowing house wine and local beer with lunch and dinner during cruise
One hour pre-dinner cocktails of domestic spirits throughout the cruise
Flight from Kolkata to Jaipur
Two nights accommodation in Palace Room at Rambagh Palace, Jaipur including breakfast
One lunch and one dinner in Jaipur
One night accommodation in Executive Room at Jaypee Palace, Agra including breakfast
One lunch and one dinner in Agra
Day room or overnight accommodation in Superior room at Radisson Blu Plaza, New Delhi
For the main program you should schedule your flights to arrive in Delhi (DEL) by March 21, 2021. The first scheduled activity on the 21st is a welcome reception at approximately 5:30pm. You should plan to fly home from Delhi (DEL) at 10pm or later on April 2, 2021 or early AM on April 3rd.
For those participating in the Varanasi post-program extension, you should plan to fly home from Delhi (DEL) at 10pm or later on April 4, 2021, or early AM on the April 5th.
What to wear?
The program is informal throughout, no jackets, ties or gowns required. Keep in mind that on many occasions you will need to have your knees and shoulders covered and will need to remove your shoes at Hindu temples. Socks may be worn in Hindu temples, so you may wish to pack a few extra pair so that you can dispose of them as you go.
We suggest sporty casual clothing that is lightweight and breathable; and sturdy comfortable footwear. Polo type shirts or short sleeve button down shirts paired with lightweight slacks or blue jeans are the nicest clothing you’ll need for the Brand g program. On most days, shorts, t-shirts or lightweight expedition style pants are perfectly fine, especially during the cruise. You may wish to pack something a bit nicer if you plan on any fine dining or other more formal nightlife in your free time.
What is the local & on board currency?
The local currency and official currency on board the Ganges Voyager is the Indian rupee. During the cruise, we operate on a cashless system, with all purchases billed to your onboard account. At the end of the cruise, bills may be settled in cash with Indian rupees or by credit card with Visa or MasterCard. The Ganges Voyager does not provide a currency exchange service, nor is there an ATM on board. In Delhi, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Agra, you will find options for obtaining rupees at both Indian and international banks, ATMs, and wire services.
What if I have dietary requirements (allergies, religious restrictions, or preferences)?
The culinary team will make every effort to accommodate special dietary requests. Please inform our office at least 45 days prior to departure of these requests.
How do I power and charge my devices?
The voltage in India is officially 220/50Hz. To use any electrical product from the US that is not dual voltage, you will need an electrical converter. The Ganges Voyager has multi-configuration outlets, which accommodate most Western plugs. We recommend bringing an adapter for use in the hotels. Because the voltage may fluctuate at times, we also recommend unplugging your devices when not in use or when leaving them unattended.
Will I need insect protection for this trip?
While you can expect to encounter insects during your trip, most are relatively harmless. Switching off lights when exiting your room or suite, and ensuring that glass or screen doors or windows are closed at all times will minimize the number of insects allowed into your room. On the fast-moving river, mosquitoes are rarely seen while sailing. If planning to be outside in the early morning or evening hours, applying an insect repellent to exposed skin is recommended.
What should I expect on the included shore excursions?
All shore excursions during your 15-day travel program. Excursions are led by expert guides. Electronic listening devices are complimentary to all guests in order to ensure that guests are able to hear their guides, without disturbing nearby wildlife.
Will there be smoking areas?
The comfort and safety of our guests is our first priority. Smoking is not permitted in the suites or enclosed, public areas on board. There is a designated smoking area on the Sun Deck.
What are pre-paid gratuities?
Gratuities are customary expressions of appreciation for a job well done. It is our goal to ensure that the service you receive is as wonderful as the sites you visit. Gratuities for the included portions of this program have been pre-paid. At your own discretion you may choose to provide additional tips.
Is the water safe to drink in India?
Please do not drink the tap water while on board or on shore, or use it for brushing your teeth. The ship’s water supply comes from the river after passing through a sterilization process. This water is suitable for showers and baths, but should not be consumed. Complimentary bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth is provided on board, as well as during excursions.
What are the passport and visa requirements?
A passport, which is valid for six months after your last date of travel, is required for this trip. Visa Requirements – citizens of almost every country require tourist visas to enter India.
o Brand g’s program only requires a single entry visa, which may be obtained through an online application process: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
o If you have made other independent arrangements which require multiple entries into India, check with your nearest Indian consulate for the appropriate visa application process. Use care to be sure you are accessing information from the official consulate and not an intermediary.
o If you prefer you may also use a visa service to assist you with obtaining your visa. One such service that we’d recommend for US citizens is G3 Visa Services: http://www.g3visas.com/
What vaccination requirements and health recommendations?
US citizens should consult the Centers for Disease Control website http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/india or your health care provider for vaccination requirements and recommendations. Citizens of all other countries should consult their government’s national disease center or their physician.
Are there luggage restrictions on this trip?
Yes, during this trip you can expect the following luggage restrictions. We highly recommend that you pack based on these guidelines.
Delhi to Kolkata:
Checked Bag 25 kg (55 lbs) / Hand Luggage 7 kg (15 lbs)
Kolkata to Jaipur:
Checked Bag 15 kg (33 lbs) / Hand Luggage 7 kg (15 lbs)
Delhi to Varanasi:
Checked Bag 15 kg (33 lbs) / Hand Luggage 7 kg (15 lbs)
You will be allowed to pay for additional weight if you wish, however the weight of your checked luggage should not exceed 25 kg (55 lbs).
These guidelines are subject to change.
What is the air quality like during this trip?
Due largely to stubble burning in farm fields, the air quality in Delhi is currently listed as very poor. Please refer to the Air Quality Index data from the US Mission in India for more details: https://in.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/new-delhi/air-quality-data/. If you have any respiratory issues, you may wish to consider protections such as a breathing mask, allergy medications, etc. The air quality should be much better along the remainder of the itinerary.
Brand g Vacations has chartered the 28 suite RV Ganges Voyager. Built in 2015, the Ganges Voyager embodies the grace and style of the British colonial era, incorporating modern conveniences and luxuries that rival the finest hotels of Asia. Spacious, well-appointed suites include daily housekeeping and turndown service, fine bed linens, premium mattresses and duvets, your choice of pillows, flat-screen televisions with on-demand movies, international newspapers, individual climate control, as well as spa quality robes, slippers, and bath amenities.
In the kitchen of the ship’s elegant East India Dining Room, the Executive Chef oversees a team of experts that use fresh local produce to cater for a stunning range of specialty dining experiences. While each meal presents the chance to dine on exotic local cuisine, western-style favorites are always available should you desire a taste of home.
The staff aboard the Ganges Voyager have been trained to the very highest western standards, so you can expect an incredible level of service. Whether it’s the genuine smile that greets you or a drink poured just the way you like it, the carefully prepared meals or the turn down your room will receive each day – they provide the ultimate in on board service.
All-Natural Spa-Quality Bath Products
High Quality Linens with Duvet
Bottled Water Replenished Daily
Complimentary Wireless Internet (where available)
Flat Screen LCD Television with Movie System
Shore excursion programs including all admissions
Shoe cleaning after excursions
Complimentary coffee, water, tea soft drinks, select free-flow house wines for dinner, and locally produced spirits and beer.
Varanasi Post Program Extension – April 3–5
• Double occupancy pricing: $1,299 per person
• Single occupancy pricing: $1,499
Complete your exciting journey with a visit to captivating Varanasi. Overnight in Delhi on April 2nd and on April 3rd transfer to the New Delhi airport for your flight to the holy city of Varanasi and one night in a Deluxe Room at the Taj Ganges Hotel Varanasi. Witness the mesmerizing Aarti Ceremony attended by hundreds of worshipers, from your private boat on the Ganges River. The next morning, discover the early, daily rituals performed along the Ganges during an unforgettable private sunrise cruise. Later, fly to Delhi (expected arrival to Delhi at 4:30pm) for some time at leisure and day room use, or overnight in a Superior room at the deluxe Radisson Blu hotel before your late evening or early morning international flight. Price and hotel properties are subject to change.
Imperial New Delhi – New Delhi
(Imperial Room) Chosen as India’s best ‘Luxury Historical Hotel’ by World Luxury Hotel Awards 2015, The Imperial is an iconic property in Delhi’s 5 star hotel category and the most distinguished address situated in the heart of the capital. The Hotel is steps away from Connaught Place, the renowned shopping district and is very close to the city’s major attractions.
Rambagh Palace – Jaipur
(Palace Room) The Rambagh Palace, is a royal resort set in a breathtaking oasis of beautiful landscaped gardens. Built in 1835, Rambagh Palace has stepped gracefully through many royal transitions—from the home of the queen’s favorite handmaiden, to royal guesthouse and hunting lodge, and later as the residence of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and his queen, Maharani Gayatri Devi. Today, this jewel in the Taj’s crown offers 78 stunningly restored grand luxury rooms and suites which were the chambers of the former Maharaja.
Jaypee Palace – Agra
(Executive Room) Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre spread over 25 acres, is a sight to behold landscaped gardens; water bodies and pergolas make it a truly majestic experience in the city of love. The Hotel is an iconic property located in the heart of Agra and is a perfect blend of old world charm and contemporary luxury, with the city’s busting commercial and historical centers just a few steps away.
Radisson Blu New Delhi – New Delhi
(Superior Room) As one of the closest luxury hotels to the Delhi airport, the Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi provides a convenient location without compromising comfort. Enjoy the many amenities, Western and Asian dining options and spacious guest rooms during your overnight stay in New Delhi.
Taj Ganges – Varanasi (Optional Extension)
(Deluxer Room) Situated in what is considered the spiritual capital of India, the Taj Ganges is ideally located for visiting nearby shrines and temples. Our hotel is less than four miles from the River Ganges and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the “Golden Temple.” At the hotel, you can enjoy a restful sleep in comfortable deluxe rooms.
We’ll enjoy a tour of St. John’s Church, which was built in 1756 by Lt. Colonel James Agg and houses India’s oldest functioning pipe organ as well as a painting of the Last Supper by German artist Johann Zoffany. As we stroll the grounds, we’ll see several tombs of British Generals who lost their lives during the Siege of Kolkata in 1756 by Nawab Shriaj Ud Daula. Finally, we’ll visit the impressive Victoria Memorial Museum before returning to the Ganges Voyager for lunch and the start of our journey upstream.
This afternoon, we’ll board our excursion boats and go ashore at Bandel, a port founded by Portuguese settlers in the 1800s. Our visit includes a tour of the Hooghly Imambara (completed in 1861), an important Shia pilgrimage center with a clock- tower lookout that boasts views of the Ganges. The structure contains a working clock with a winding key weighing approximately 20 kilograms (44 pounds). Inside the main building, large Persian chandeliers and smaller lamps light the main prayer hall where text from the Quran is engraved in the walls. After our visit, we’ll return to the ship for dinner in the East India Dining Room. (B/L/D)
This morning you may enjoy a shore side bazaar. Matiari is known for manufacturing beautiful handcrafted brass items, utilizing traditional methods passed down for generations. These master craftsmen utilize recycled copper to create exquisite pots, platters and more from their workshops in the village.
We then continue our journey upstream. We sail past the battlefield of Plassey, where Robert Clive of British East India Company defeated the Mogul Nawabs in 1757. The rulers of Bengal and their French allies established the company rule in India, which spread through much of South Asia for the next 190 years. (B/L/D)
This morning we visit the charming village of Khushbagh, passing through scenic fields to arrive to the well-‐preserved mosque complex built by Nawab Ali-‐Wardi-‐Khan, housing his family’s private mosque. His grandson Siraj-‐ud-‐Daula was defeated by the British East India Company at the Battle of Plassey in 1757.
After an on-‐board breakfast and morning sail, we visit the village of Baranagar. A lovely example of life in rural India, this village is home to several temples dating from the 18th century (1714 – 1793). Built by Rani (Queen) Bhabani, the landlady of Natore. The brick temples are considered to be among the best examples of Bengal terra cotta art. We then return to the ship for lunch and sail downstream.
This afternoon we pass by charming countryside villages filled where locals greet us from the banks. We approach Murshidabad, a hidden architectural gem along the Ganges with dramatic whitewashed colonial era structures. We visit the Hazarduari Palace, built during the reign of Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah (1824 –1838 AD) by an English architect, McLeod Duncan, in the Greek “Doric” style. The palace has more than a thousand real and false doors in the vast corridors, and is filled with colonial era antiques, artwork and manuscripts. Opposite to the Palace is a vast Imambara – built by the Nawab for worship.
We then take a scenic ride by local buggy to the Katra mosque. Built by the first Nawab of Murshidabad –Murshid Quli Khan in the 1724 – 25, this mosque has distinctive minarets from which the muezzin calls the faithful to Friday prayers. This evening we return for dinner and local cultural performance on-‐board. (B/L/D)
Thereafter, we transfer to the airport for our short flight to the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur. Upon arrival we transfer to the magnificent Rambagh Palace Hotel where you’ll check into your Palace Room for an evening of relaxation, including dinner in the hotel’s opulent ballroom. (B/L/D)
47 Elizabeth Bay Road
Elizabeth Bay NSW
02 8667 3336