Pandaw has announced it will ramp up its cruise offerings in India following the demand for its new Lower Ganges sailing beginning in December 2018. Pandaw’s expansion plans for India include deploying two more ships to the region, adding three new itineraries or itinerary combinations and launching a range of new pre- and post-cruise tours of the country.
In May, Pandaw announced the launch of The Lower Ganges itinerary, which will sail from Kolkata to Farakka, and vice versa, onboard the RV Orient Pandaw, from December 23, 2018. This expedition will wend its way through West Bengal and explore its culturally significant towns filled with temples and palaces.
Joining the program is the “Upper Ganges” itinerary, a 14-night voyage from Kolkata to Varanasi. Sailing from October 2019, the itinerary first echoes that of “The Lower Ganges River”, calling at Kalna, Matiari, Murshidabad, Jangipur and Farakka, before continuing towards the Upper Ganges, calling at Bateshwarsthan, Sultanganj, Mokama, Patna, Doriganj, Buxar, Ghazipur and finally, Varanasi. There are multiple stops and excursions daily. Prices start from $4,671 per person, based on two people sharing a cabin.
A Refresh for RV Katha Pandaw
To explore the Upper Ganges, Pandaw needs to position a ship that can suitably navigate the waters and landscape, and this requires a smaller vessel than chosen for the Lower Ganges. With 14 guest cabins, RV Katha Pandaw is the ideal ship for the “Upper Ganges” itinerary, but first she will undergo a refurbishment. Once in India for the start of the new itinerary, guests will benefit from her new and refurbished facilities.
Pandaw has also announced that from October 2019, there will be a seven-night cruise on the Brahmaputra River. The downstream departure of the “Brahmaputra” cruise will depart from Nimati Ghat, where guests will be welcomed onboard RV Indochina Pandaw, which is being positioned in India for the first time.
The destinations visited include Sivasagar, Majuli, Auniati Satra, Bishwanath, Silghat, Kaziranga National Park and Guwahati. The “Upstream” departure offers the same in reverse.
Pandaw has previously offered Brahmaputra sailings via a partner cruise operator, but this is the first time the cruise pioneer will place their own ship in the region.
The Andamans and Passage Across the Andaman Sea
Pandaw’ first sea-going vessel, MY Andaman Explorer, a 1960’s motor yacht restored by Paul and Roser Strachan, will sail to and amongst the Andaman Islands.
From February 2020, and for the first time ever, Pandaw will be offering two ten-night expeditions across this sea, exploring both Burma’s Mergui Archipelago and India’s Andaman Islands. Both areas have until recently been closed by their respective governments and such an expedition would not have been possible.
The 10-night "Passage Across the Andaman Sea" begins with a meet in Thailand, crosses the river border to Kawthaung in Burma, explores Coxcombe and Boulder Islands, then crosses into the Bay of Bengal. After arriving in Port Blair, the capital of the Andamans, the ports of call include South Andaman Island, Havelock and Lawrence Islands, Diglipur and Mayabunder. Passengers start their homeward or onward journey with a flight from Port Blair. Prices start from $4,800 per person plus port taxes, based on two people sharing a cabin.
Pandaw has also revealed plans for three seven-night expeditions exploring the Andaman archipelago, starting from Port Blair. In February and March 2020, "The Andamans" will be an opportunity to cruise the waters around the islands, enjoy expeditions into the interior of the larger islands to view the rainforest, swim off white sand beaches, snorkel in coral reefs, and hike jungle trails. Prices start from $3,980 per person plus port taxes, based on two people sharing a cabin.
All of Pandaw’s new India itineraries are combinable, via a non-stop flight between Kolkata and Port Blair, which lets passengers experience both sea and river expeditions.
New Pre- and Post-Cruise Tours
Pandaw has also launched a range of pre- or post-cruise tours of some of India’s other key cultural highlights, which will be available for guests who book India cruise itineraries but wish to explore further. The new tours include:
- Exploring Kolkata, 2 Nights - Hotel stay and full-day city tour for guests to visit Kolkata’s highlights before or after a Pandaw cruise.
- India's Golden Triangle, 6 Nights - Pre- and post-extension which combines a Pandaw cruise with a tour of the Golden Triangle, for guests to experience Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan.
- Delhi & Taj Mahal & Kolkata, 4 Nights Pre- Tour / Delhi & Taj Mahal, 3 Nights Post Tour - Four-night pre-cruise includes time in New Delhi and Agra, before passengers fly to Kolkata to join a cruise. Three-day, post-cruise extension finishes in Delhi.
- Ancient Kingdom of Bhutan & Kolkata Pre- Tour, 6 Nights - Direct flights between Kolkata and Paro make pre-cruise visit to the ancient Kingdom of Bhutan possible, before passengers fly back to Kolkata to join a cruise.
- Maharajas’ Express, 5 or 9 nights - A journey on the Maharajas' Express that explores India.
For more information, visit www.pandaw.com.