River cruises in Southeast Asia and India have become more popular among travel companies and for travelers as well. In 2006 Rius Cruises was founded with the support of its partner and parent company, Blaguss Travel. Both companies are based in Austria.
While Rius Cruises offers itineraries around the world, the company has a vast array of packages available for river cruises in Southeast Asia and India. For this article, we're going to look at cruises on some of Asia's finest river boats on the Brahmaputra, Ganges, Irrawaddy and Mekong rivers.
Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, India
By Kunal Dalui (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Brahmaputra River flows through India, Bangladesh and China. Throughout its 1800-mile course, it is referred to by several different names. In India's Assam Valley, it is referred to as the Brahmaputra, and that is the portion of the river where cruises are available. Very few companies offer itineraries on this river, though.
Cruises are between 5 and 11 days and begin or end in the city of Guwahati. Sites often visited include Kaziranga National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kamakhya Temple, Majuli Island and the Shiva Dol temple in Sibsagar.
The M.V. Mahabaahu is a 4-star river boat that cruises between Guwahati and Neamati Ghat on the Brahmaputra River. Built in 2011, it is one of the finer boats on the Brahmaputra River. The ship is 180 feet long and carries up to 58 passengers and 30 crew members. Staterooms range in size from 150 to 283 square feet.
The 5-deck ship has an elevator, a dining room, and a bar and lounge. Other include a fitness room, library, hair salon, pool and spa.
There are two 8-day itineraries featured on the M.V. Mahabaahu - one is upstream from Guwahati, and the other is downstream from Neamati Ghat. Pricing starts at EUR $1,953 or $2,203 USD per person.
Language spoken onboard by staff is English, and currency onboard is Indian Rupees. Visa and Master Card are also accepted.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple in Kolkata, India
By Nikkul at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Beginning in the western Himalayas, the Ganges River flows for 1,569 miles through India and Bangladesh. This waterway is gaining popularity in the river cruise industry, and is now an option offered by more travel companies. It is also becoming more popular among travelers as yet another river to explore.
There are more itineraries available on the Ganges than there are on the Brahmaputra. Travel usually begins or ends in one of these cities in India - Kolkata, Patna, Farakka or Varanasi. Cruise length is usually 5 to 13 days.
Interestingly, Kolkatta is located on the Hooghly River, which is a distributary of the Ganges River.
The city of Varanasi is one of the holiest cities in India. It's located on the Ganges River in northern India.
Some of the sites that may be featured include the Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, a UNESCO site, and the Dakshineswar Temple in Kolkata.
One of the finer river boats to cruise the Ganges is the 4-star ABN Rajmahal. The 164-foot long vessel was built in 2013. It carries up to 44 passengers and 30 crew members. All 22 cabins have a French balcony.
In addition to a bar and lounge and dining room, the ship also features a library, gift shop and a spa.
Itineraries on the ABN Rajmahal range in length from 5 to 9 days. And pricing starts at EUR 1,057 or $2,204 USD per person.
Cruises are available round trip from Kolkata, from Patna to Varanasi, Farakka to Patna, Varanasi to Patna and between Farakka and Kolkatta.
The language onboard spoken by staff is English. Currency onboard is the Euro. Cash and credit cards are accepted as methods of payment at the end of your cruise.
Temples in Bagan, Myanmar
By Corto Maltese 1999 [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Irrawaddy River is 1,348 miles long and is located in Myanmar. One of its main tributaries is the Chindwin River, which is often one of the additional waterways traveled on an Irrawaddy River cruise.
Itineraries are usually 5 to 12 days long and includes travel between Mandalay and Bagan or Yangon and Bagan.
Destinations visited often include the temples sites in Bagan as well as cities, such as Magwe, Salay, Yandabo.
The Anawrahta is one of the finer ships on the Irrawaddy River. It's a 5-star ship that is scheduled to launch in October 2015. The vessel is 213 feet long and carries up to 46 passengers and 38 crew members.
Compared to most other river boats in Asia, with the exception of some that sail on the Yangtze River, the Anawrahta has exceptionally large staterooms, which are between 344 and 926 square feet in size. The Royal Suites are the most spacious cabins featuring a 312 square foot balcony with a private jacuzzi.
Itineraries on the Anawrahta range in length from 5 to 12 days. Cruises are available between Bagan and Yangon and Bagan and Mandalay with travel on the Irraawaddy and Chindwin rivers in Myanmar. Pricing starts at EUR 3,128 or $3,529 USD per person.
The language onboard spoken by staff is English. Currency onboard is Vietnam Dong and USD. Credit cards accepted are Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB and Diners Club.
R.V. Irrawaddy Explorer
The R.V. Irrawaddy Explorer is a 5-star river boat that was built in 2014. It is 188 feet long, has four decks and carries up to 56 passengers and 40 crew members. There are 28 staterooms onboard that range in size from 273 to 409 square feet. All cabins feature either a French or full balcony.
A 10-day cruise between Yangon and Mandalay is available on the R.V. Irrawaddy Explorer. Pricing starts at EUR 3,155 or $3,560 USD per person.
English is the onboard language spoken by staff. The onboard currency is the USD. And Visa and MasterCard are also accepted forms of payment.
Royal Palace in Phmom Penh, Cambodia
By Arnaud-Victor Monteux (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Mekong River is located in Southeast Asia. It flows for 2,603 miles through six countries. Most cruises are in Vietnam and Cambodia, but there are some itineraries that also include travel in Laos.
Mekong River cruises can be as short as 2 days or as long as 22 days. Itineraries are usually between Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, or Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
Destinations often visited include cities, such as Kampong Chang and Kon Chong as well the National Museum, Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia.
Built in 2014, the Aqua Mekong is one of the 5-star river boats in Southeast Asia. There are three decks and 20 staterooms on the 205-foot vessel. It carries up to 40 passengers and 40 crew members.
Staterooms are 322 square feet in size. About 40% have a balcony, and all other cabins feature a large window that opens.
In addition to a dining room and bar and lounge, the Aqua Mekong has a library, spa and a gift shop.
There are 4- to 8-day itineraries available on the Aqua Mekong between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City. Prices start at EUR 2,486 or $2,804 USD per person.
The language spoken onboard by staff is English. Credit cards accepted include American Express, Visa and MasterCard.
The Jayavarman is a 5-star ship that was built in 2009. It's 189.6 feet long and carries up to 54 passengers. The 3-deck river boat has 27 staterooms that measure between 226 and 322 square feet in size.
Several 4- to 8-day itineraries are available on the Jayavarman. There are 4-day packages between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, 5-day packages between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, and 8-day packages between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap. Pricing begins at EUR 957 to $1,080 USD.
The onboard language for staff is English. Currency onboard is Vietnamese Dong and USD. Credit cards accepted are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB and Diners Club.
R.V. Mekong Navigator
One of the finer ships on the Mekong, is the 5-star R.V. Mekong Navigator. The 230-foot long river boat, carries up to 68 passengers and 42 crew members. There are 32 staterooms onboard that are between 256 and 586 square feet in size.
The R.V. Mekong Navigator was built in 2014. An 8-day itinerary is available between Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City. Prices start at EUR 2,190 or $2,471 USD per person.
Other amenities in addition to a dining room and bar and lounge, include a fitness room, spa, libary and a gift shop.
Language onboard spoken by staff is English. Currency onboard is the USD. And credit cards accepted are Visa and MasteCard.
R/V Mekong Prestige II
The 4-star R/V Mekong Prestige II was built in 2013. It's 223 feet long and carries up to 64 passengers and 30 crew members. All 32 staterooms feature a private balcony, and cabin size is between 215 and 333 square feet.
An 8-day itinerary between Siem Reap and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is available on the R/V Mekong Prestige II. Prices start at EUR 1,540 or $1,738 USD per person.
Language spoken onboard by staff is English. Onboard currency is USD and Vietnamese Dong. Credit cards accepted are Visa and MasterCard.
One of the finer ships on the Mekong River is The Jahan. It's a 5-star river boat that was built in 2011. The luxury cruise ship is 229 feet long and has 3 decks. It carries up to 52 passengers and has 26 cabins that start at 323 square feet in size. All cabins have a private balcony.
In addition to a restaurant and bar and lounge, the ship also features a fitness room, sauna and boutique shop.
Itineraries on The Jahan are available between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City. Packages are 4, 5 and 8 days long. Prices begin at EUR 1,034 or $1,167 USD.
Language spoken onboard by staff is English. Currency onboard is Vietnamese Dong and USD. Credit cards accepted are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB and Diners Club.
For more information on the different itineraries and river boats go to https://www.riuscruises.com/
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