17th July 2018
Boutique travel operator Pandaw is offering a Lower Ganges sailing from December 2018. Pandaw’s plans for India include deploying more ships to the region, adding four new itineraries and launching a range of new pre and post cruise tours.
A spokeman said: “Pandaw will place two further river cruise ships in the country, sailing two new routes for us – the Upper Ganges, all the way to Varanasi, and the Brahmaputra, one of Asia’s major rivers. We are also planning to take our sea-going vessel, the Andaman Explorer, to the region, where true to her name, she will sail amongst the Bay of Bangal’s beautiful Andaman Islands.”
“India is a fascinating country that offers the visitor a richness of experience that cannot be found anywhere else. This expansion of our India programme is a key objective for Pandaw and we will raise the bar in the region for cruising excellence.”
In May, Pandaw announced the launch of ‘The Lower Ganges’ itinerary, with RV Orient Pandaw sailing between Kolkata and Farraka, from 23rd December 2018. The trip includes the lush countryside of West Bengal, with its culturally significant towns crammed with temples and palaces.
There is also an Upper Ganges River’ itinerary, a 14-night voyage from Kolkata to Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India. Sailing from October 2019, the itinerary includes 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 $4,671pp*, based on two people sharing a cabin.
To explore the Upper Ganges, Pandaw uses a smaller vessel to navigate the waters and landscape. With 14 guest cabins, RV Katha Pandaw iscurrently undergoing a refurbishment.
Pandaw has also announced that from October 2019, there will be a 7-night cruise on the Brahmaputra River, a major river which flows through China, India and Bangladesh. The downstream departure of the ‘The Brahmaputra’ cruise will depart from Nimati Ghat, where guests will be welcomed onboard RV Indochina Pandaw, a 30 cabin ship, which is being positioned in India for the first time.
The destinations visited include Sibsagar, Majuli, Auniati Satra, Bishwanath, Silghat, Kaziranga National Park and Guwahati. The ‘Upstream’ departure offers the same in reverse. This wildlife-rich region is a must for passengers keen to combine a cruise with the chance to spot tigers, elephants, rhinoceros, a myriad of birdlife and Ganges River dolphins. Prices start from US$2,601.
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, offering guests the full Pandaw experience.
MY Andaman Explorer, a 1960s motor yacht restored by Paul and Roser Strachan, will sail through the Andaman Islands. Off the sandy shores of southern Thailand, the Andaman Sea is only traversed only by intrepid yachtsman. The archipelago offers an extraordinary ethnographic mix, biodiversity and marine life, and many uninhabited islands ringed by white sands.
From February 2020, Pandaw will be offering two 10-night expeditions, exploring both Burma’s Mergui Archipelago and India’s Andaman Islands. Both areas have until recently been closed by their respective governments .
The 10-night ‘Passage Across The Andaman Sea’, a true voyage of a lifetime, 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 US$4,800pp* 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 & March 2020, ‘The Andamans’ will be a unique opportunity to cruise the paradise waters around the islands, enjoy expeditions into the interior of the larger islands to view the rainforest rich in orchids, swim off white sandy beaches, snorkel in coral reefs and hike jungle trails. Prices start fromUS$3,980pp plus port taxes.
All oPandaw’s new India itineraries are combinable, via a non-stop flight between Kolkata and Port Blair.