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Tuesday, 29 September, 2020, 18 : 00 PM [IST]

Assam Bengal Navigation to resume river cruising on Brahmaputra & Ganges from November

Assam Bengal Navigation (ABN), a pioneer in luxury river cruises on the Ganges and Brahmaputra, will resume operations from November 2020, post the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Indo-British company is a part of the RARE India Community of conscious luxury hotels and travel experiences in India and the subcontinent. 

The company has announced three new shorter of three or four nights that have been designed specifically for domestic travellers who want to experience the natural and cultural beauty of the two majestic Himalayan rivers in their backyard, in the luxury of a boutique traditional river boat.
According to Shoba Mohan, Founder, RARE India, “At a time when cruising has come under a lot of censure, river cruising by Assam Bengal Navigation company from its inception in 2003 has focussed on benign operations with minimum impact on the environment and riverine ecosystems while highlighting culture and community along the way. All this with no compromise on comfort and luxury is an enviable achievement.”
Regarding the new cruise itineraries, Antara Phookan, Director, ABN, said, “We are introducing two short Brahmaputra River cruise itineraries – ‘Brahmaputra River Vignettes’ and ‘Dancing Monks & Riverine Culture’. The former is a 3 night introduction to the majestic river culture while the latter is a 4 night cruise that also introduces you to the monastic culture of Majuli River Island. These two short river itineraries are best combined with a wildlife discovery of the Kaziranga National Park and a stay at our safari eco-lodge – the Diphlu River Lodge. On the lower Ganges, we are launching the Hooghly river itinerary ‘Bengal Memories’, which will be a 3 night introduction to the historic colonial charm of Bengal.”
The Brahmaputra River in the world river cruising map is known as an adventure cruise with authentic experiences of wildlife and indigenous tribal cultures along the river. This mighty transboundary river offers experiences that range from tea plantations to wildlife - with 5 national parks along the river in Assam and 18 wildlife sanctuaries. It is the only navigable river in the world from which one can see snow-covered mountains on clear winter days and chance upon the one-horned rhinoceros from private cabins or from the open sundeck of the cruise ship. With Kaziranga - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, temples, monasteries, tea plantations, migratory birds, fresh water dolphins and tribal villages to encounter through the cruise, CNN declared this cruise as one of the top 10 adventure river cruises of the world.
ABN’s newly introduced Brahmaputra River Vignettes is a three night cruise from Guwahati to Silghat aboard the luxury vessel ABN Charaidew II. Combining visits to temples and important historic sites, as well as a chance to discover a traditional Assamese village, this cruise is for those who want to discover unique and unknown places in India in the luxury of a cruise on the Brahmaputra river. Passengers will wake to panoramic views of Assam’s natural beauty and discover the region’s history at Tezpur, Assam’s oldest city and cultural heart. They will also get to taste an array of exciting cuisines from Assam with an introduction to indigenous tribal cuisine, seldom before tasted outside of this region. A highlight of this cruise is a BBQ under a starry night on one of the shifting sand islands, which pop up every year and are a unique feature of the Brahmaputra. This cruise will be held as per the following departure schedule: 13th November, 17th November, 29th November and 23rd December. 
The Dancing Monks & Riverine Culture is a 4-night cruise from Silghat to Neamati aboard the luxury vessel ABN Charaidew II. The first cruise will commence on December 3 and the second one on December 29. 
Seven scheduled departures have been announced for ABN Rajmahal on the Kolkata-Mayapur-Kolkata route. The first cruise will commence from November 13, followed by November 17 and 21, December 11, 15, 23 and 30.
In view of the ongoing pandemic, ABN will take all the safety and social distancing measures as per the directives of the World Health Organization and the local health authorities. Before boarding guests and staff will be subjected to routine checks, guests are required to submit a self-declaration form to the cruise manager stating that they are Covid-19 Safe. All passengers and crew members will have to maintain a physical distance of 2 meters and face masks in public areas and during excursions will be compulsory. The ABN cruise ships are large and spacious with ample room for privacy and for guests to maintain distance. There are expansive open sundecks to lounge in as well as fairly large ship cabins with panoramic French balcony windows. Moreover, the dining will be set in 2 groups per meal so that social distancing can be practiced efficiently. 
As per Phookan, “To welcome guests onboard, our cruise managers and crew will take all the necessary precautions as per the global river cruising standards to ensure that every guest is taken care of in the safest manner possible whilst enjoying the comforts of our boutique river cruises on the Ganges and the Brahmaputra Rivers.”

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