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Christmas and New Year Indian Escape - December 2018

Price From A$6995



Group Tours

15 days 14 nights
Tour Details

Tour dates 20th December - 3rd January 2019 - 3 day optional extension available

Main Deck (single bed) Cabin: A$6995 

Main Deck Cabin: A$7395

Upper Deck Cabin: A$7799

Optional Balloon ride over Jaipur: A$340

Optional Kolkata extension: A$590

If you dream of escaping at Christmas and New year and have always longed to visit the colourful and spiritual land of India then our 15 day solo tour could be just what you’re looking for!

Our tour is split into three sections: 8 days exploring the Golden Triangle, 8 days cruising the Ganges and an optional 3 day extension discovering Kolkata! 

Golden Triangle - Days 1 - 8;

India’s Golden Triangle is a fabulous and inspiring introduction to the history and culture of northern India’s splendid Moghul heritage. Visit the iconic sites that helped shape history and discover the inspiring heritage of India’s northern cities which make up India’s famous Golden Triangle, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur with sights such as the Taj Mahal, Amber Fort, Qutab Minar and the buzzing bazaars.

Ganges Cruise - Days 8 - 15:

Sail along the intimate lower Ganges, the River Hooghly, which flows from Farakka on the main river down to Kolkata. As well as seeing Kolkata itself and the European colonies just outside, the cruise takes in Murshidabad, capital of the Nawabs of Bengal, the battlefield of Plassey close by, and the many monuments of the medieval Islamic capital of Gaur. You’ll have your own cabin on board the 2014-built ABN Rajmahal throughout. 

3 Day Optional Extension Kolkata - Days 15 - 17:

Explore India’s second-biggest city, Kolkata and discover The Howrah Bridge, the Victoria Memorial, The Eden Gardens and Dalhousie Square.

That’s a possible 17 days in a colourful, vibrant and spiritual land on a Christmas and New Year celebration you won’t forget!

Will you join us?


Welcome to India! You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel, where you’ll have some free time to adjust to your new surroundings. 

Accommodation: ITC Welcome Dwarka (Deluxe Room) 

Day 2 - DELHI

Today we head off on a sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi. We begin in Old Delhi with a visit to Jama Masjid - the largest mosque in India. We’ll enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the busy market of Chandni Chowk famous for its spices, textiles, footwear and jewellery. In the afternoon we head to New Delhi, where we’ll visit Parliament House, the War Memorial Arch (India Gate) and the residence of the President of India. Photo opportunities abound! Our day ends with a visit to Qutub Minar; one of the most important landmarks of Delhi, with calligraphically decorated interiors and inscriptions from verses of the Holy Quran. This evening we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner together with our fellow travellers and hosts. 

Accommodation: ITC Welcome Dwarka (Deluxe Room) 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast we set off on our drive to Jaipur. The first planned city of India is a treasure-trove of culture, art and history, famous for its colour, life style and Rajasthani cuisine. In the evening we’ll explore the local markets, which reflect the colourful culture and traditions of this amazing city. 

Accommodation: Golden Tulip (Deluxe Room) 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - JAIPUR

Today we enjoy a fabulous guided tour of the ‘Pink City’ itself, including a visit to Amber Fort, a superb example of Rajput architecture and the former ancient capital of Jaipur state built by Raja Man Singh, the Rajput commander of Akbar’s army. On our way there we’ll admire the facade of the Hawa Mahal, poetically known as the ‘Palace of Winds’. 

Later we visit the City Palace Museum; which boasts some priceless handwritten Hindu scriptures, miniature delicate paintings, preserved painted ceilings and the biggest silver water container registered in the Guinness Book of Records. Our sightseeing ends with a visit to Jantar Mantar; one of the famed observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh - a complex of astronomical instruments, chiseled out of stone which provides an accurate guide to the stars to this day. 

Note: The evening is free to explore the colourful bazaars, especially good during the festive season. Pick up a traditional Indian costume for your New Year celebrations - a Churidaror or Sari for the ladies and a Kurta and turban for the gentleman. 

Accommodation: Golden Tulip (Deluxe Room) 

Optional Tour: Hot Air Balloon Ride over Jaipur 

Behold the fantastic sights of Jaipur’s palaces, forts and lakes with a spectacular hot air balloon safari. Operated early in the morning and late afternoon this exhilarating one-hour flight over India’s ‘Pink City’ sees you drifting over mountains, traditional villages, rural fields, palaces and the spectacular Amber Fort. You’ll be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the launch site, where you’ll receive hot tea and other refreshments before listening to a briefing and watching with awe as the colorful Hot Air Balloon inflates! 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Today we travel to Agra, home to India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. A poem of white marble, the Taj is described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love. We’ll catch the sunset view of the UNESCO Heritage Site – as the mist rises from the Yamuna River, it seems to float like a mirage above the surrounding landscape. Built from dazzling marble, its colour changes from white to yellow, cream and to almost orange… an exquisite image that you’ll remember forever. This evening we’ll enjoy a splendid Christmas Gala Dinner at our hotel. 

Accommodation: Crystal Sarovar (Deluxe Room) 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - AGRA

Our day begins in spectacular fashion, with a dawn visit to the Taj Mahal - the epitome of love, standing on the banks of the river Yamuna. Built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, the white marble building changes its hue with the variations in the daylight. Made entirely of white marble and decorated with exquisite pietra dura (stone inlay) work, different types of precious and semi-precious stones were used in the intricate inlay work done on the interiors. This magnificent monument is built around a Charbagh or ‘four garden’ plan, split by watercourses— reflecting the influence of Persian architectural style. After taking in the sunrise, we’ll return to the hotel for breakfast. Later we head to the 5 Star Jaypee Palace Hotel for a wonderful Christmas lunch. Rest of the day yours at leisure to explore the city of Taj. 

Accommodation: Crystal Sarovar (Deluxe Room) 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - AGRA - DELHI

After breakfast we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Agra visiting Agra Fort, built by Emperor Akbar, which is a mixture of the Islamic and Hindu styles of architecture, Itimad-Ud-Daulah Tomb; nicknamed as baby Taj; another fine example of Mughal architecture and a Marble inlay workshop. We then make our way back to Delhi. 

Accommodation: Crystal Sarovar (Deluxe Room) 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast we transfer to Delhi airport to board our flight to Kolkata. On arrival in Kolkata we’ll board the express train to Farakka before transferring to the ship for the second part of our Indian Adventure! 

Accommodation: ABN Rajmahal 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we’ll enjoy a full day excursion by road to Gaur, near the town of Malda. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s great cities, first under the Hindus in the 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. There’s plenty to see, including remains of mosques, palaces and gateways before heading back to the ship in the evening near Jangipur. 

Accommodation: ABN Rajmahal 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we set sail down the Lower Ganges, a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. We’ll moor at the delightful sleepy village of Baranagar and walk through the fields to visit three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples. This is rural India at its most idyllic. We continue down past Azimganj, boasting some fine riverside mansions, to Murshidabad where the Nawab’s great Hazarduari Palace dominates the waterfront. Built by an English architect in 1837, the palace hosts an extensive collection of pictures, china, and weapons. We visit the great Katra Mosque, Nashipara Palace and Katgola Palace, before mooring overnight. 

Accommodation: ABN Rajmahal 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

On day 11 we sail downstream a short distance then walk to the Khushbagh, a peaceful Mughul-style garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj-Ud-Daulah – the last independent Nawab of Bengal – and his family. We then return to the ship and continue downstream past the old British cantonment of Berhampur to a rural mooring close to the battlefield of Plassey where, in 1757, Robert Clive, the Commander-in-Chief of British India, defeated Siraj-Ud-Daulah, to change the course of Indian history. Walk through the fields to the commemorative obelisk before we cruise on to a mooring near Katwa, a market town with narrow bustling bazaars. 

Accommodation: ABN Rajmahal 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 - MATIARI

Today we visit the brassworking village of Matiari for a demonstration of the primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. We continue through the countryside to Mayapur to visit the vast new ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple which dominates the skyline. As the headquarters of ISKCON or the Hare Krishna movement, the temple receives over a million singing and dancing devotees a year from around the world. 

New Year’s Eve: We’ll sail you straight into 2019 with fantastic party on the Sun Deck! 

The deck is decorated with lights and balloons with music filling the air as we celebrate in the company of our fellow travellers and new friends. 

We’ll enjoy a delicious BBQ as the ship sails through the countryside, villages, and farmland. 

Expect to see local children running on the river bank waving their hands as we sail along! 

Accommodation: ABN Rajmahal 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Happy New Year! On our first day of 2019 we head to the country town of Kalna. We’ll enjoy a cycle rickshaw to see a group of some of Bengal’s most attractive terracotta temples, as well as the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings made up of 108 shrinelets. 

We leave the fields behind and sail towards the outskirts of Kolkata, before landing near Bandel to visit the imposing Imambara at Hooghly. 

With verses from the Koran written on its walls, the Imambara is an opportunity to step back in time and relive a slice of Islamic history in Bengal. 

Accommodation: ABN Rajmahal 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we sail downstream – passing fine waterfront buildings and the old Dutch settlement at Chinsura – to land at Chandernagore, a French possession until 1950. 

We’ll visit the 18th-century church and Dupleix’s House, the erstwhile Governor-General of French India, before continuing down to Barrackpore. 

Here we land and take a walk through the cantonment – past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame and Flagstaff House – to get a better understanding of India’s journey to independence. 

Accommodation: ABN Rajmahal 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15 - KOLKATA

This morning we cruise under the Howrah Bridge to central Kolkata and disembark. Our wonderful tour finishes with a direct transfer to Kolkata airport, or onwards for further adventures! 

Meals : Breakfast
Day 16 - KOLKATA

After breakfast we set off on a guided tour of Kolkata and visit the flower market followed by The Howrah Bridge. Built in 1874 and standing on two 270 feet high pillars, the bridge is considered to be one of the busiest in the world. Next we visit the Victoria Memorial, a fantastic historical museum before heading to The Eden Gardens & Dalhousie Square; the oldest and finest cricket playground in the country, which has undergone tremendous modernization and today boasts of its ability to accommodate about 1, 20,000 people. From here we head to Kumartulli-Potter’s lane, a traditional potters’ quarter where idols of deities for religious festivals are created. 

Accommodation: Hotel Pride (Deluxe Rooms) 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, our tour finishes and you’ll be transferred to the airport for your journey home or onwards to further adventures! 

Meals : Breakfast

ABN Rajmahal was completed in 2014 and has 22 cabins all with french balconies and featuring stylish décor with a touch of colonial elegance. There is a comfortable saloon and bar, dining room and a vast canopied sundeck. 

A small spa onboard offers a wide range of treatments and all cabins and public rooms are air-conditioned. Food on board is a mixture of Assamese (milder than most Indian cuisine) and Continental cuisines. Wines, beer and spirits can be purchased on board. 


  • Spacious cabins with individual climate control 
  • En-suite shower/WC with Boutique toiletries 
  • Generous cupboard space and under-bed storage 
  • Hair drier in each cabin 
  • High-quality linens 
  • Large sliding glass windows offering panoramic views of the river 
  • Vast sundeck with sun lounges or steamer chairs 
  • Spacious air-conditioned saloon with library and recorded entertainment 
  • Spa with choice of treatments 


  • All meals on board the ship 
  • Shore excursion program including all admissions 
  • Naturalist onboard the vessel 
  • Cold towel service after excursions 
  • Welcome drink after excursions 
  • Shoe-cleaning after excursions 
  • Turndown service in all cabins 
  • Expertly trained culinary staff 
  • Acclaimed combination of Indian & Western cuisines 
  • Wide choice of wines, spirits & beer 
  • Complimentary tea, coffee & mineral water throughout 
  • Welcome and farewell receptions 
  • Local on-board dance & song performances

Let us handle your travel arrangements

Remember we are a full-service travel company. We can provide a competitive quote and book your airfare no matter where you are from. Just leave it to us.

Tour inclusions:

  • 7 nights hotel accommodation - 4 star standard

  • 7 nights on board the cruise - 22 passengers

  • Transfer from Delhi Airport to hotel (if arriving on 20 December)

  • Transfer from Kolkata port to airport at conclusion of cruise

  • All meals as per itinerary (15 day tour: 14 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 13 Dinners. Kolkata Extension: 2 Breakfasts, 2 Dinners)

  • Tips/gratuities

  • Domestic flight from Delhi to Kolkata

  • Travel and transfers by air-conditioned coach as per the itinerary

  • Tour Manager during Golden Triangle Tour

  • Local English speaking tour guide during sightseeing & excursions

  • Entrance fee to the monuments as per the Program (one visit per monument).

  • Rickshaw ride in Old Delhi

  • Early morning & Evening visit of Taj Mahal

  • Jeep ride at Amber Fort

  • Christmas Lunch at the 5 Star Hotel Jaypee Palace Agra

  • All meals while on board, all excursions, sightseeing and transfers in Kolkata & Farakka

  • Bottled water (during drives and sightseeing – Golden Triangle) 

  • All current applicable taxes

Tour exclusions:

  • International flights

  • Meals, other than specified 

  • Fees and admissions other than listed as included

  • Alcoholic drinks on board the ABM Rajmahal

  • Travel Insurance - ask the team for a quote

  • Early check in or late check out

  • Camera and video permits

  • Expenses incurred due to flight / train cancellation or delay

  • Any expense of a personal nature, like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, mini bar, etc

  • Any optional excursion or tour, any other expense not mentioned

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