India launched the MV Ganga Vilas luxury cruise from Varanasi on Friday, reported local Indian media. The ship, which is regarded as the longest river cruise in the world, will depart from Varanasi and travel 3,200km in 51 days, passing through 27 river systems and numerous states before arriving in Dibrugarh, Assam.
Visits to 50 tourist destinations are scheduled during the journey, including stops at World Heritage sites, national parks, river ghats, and important cities including Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Guwahati in Assam.
Here are some facts about the luxury cruise as reported by India Today.
The luxury cruise ship features three decks, 18 onboard suites, and a capacity of 36 passengers. According to a statement from the PMO, 32 tourists from Switzerland have signed up for the entire duration of the inaugural trip.
It will make pit stops to see Sarnath, a Buddhist landmark, the iconic Ganga Arti in Varanasi, and even Majuli, the largest river island in Assam. The travellers will also go to Vikramshila University and the Bihar School of Yoga. The Sunderbans in the delta of the Bay of Bengal as well as Kaziranga National Park will also be visited.
According to Raj Singh, the director of the cruise, there are 18 suites on board this five-star mobile hotel. It can house 40 crew personnel. Additionally, the trip is equipped with amenities like a gym, spa, and salon.
As per Singh, the trip is outfitted with noise-reduction technologies and a pollution-free system. He said that the ship has an STP facility that prevents sewage from entering the Ganges and a filtering plant that cleans the Ganga water for swimming and other uses.
A tourist will need to pay a daily cost of between INR25,000 and INR50,000 in order to experience this luxury.
Each passenger's entire cost for the 51-day trip will be close to INR20 lakh. Passengers can purchase tickets for the Ganga Vilas Luxury Cruise through the firm that runs the cruise's official website.
Ayush Sarbananda Sonowal, the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, reaffirmed that the daily fee for each passenger on the cruise begins at INR24,692.25. According to Sonowal, who was speaking to reporters in Guwahati on Monday, the fare is the same for both Indians and foreigners.