The pioneering 28-guest RV Katha Pandaw is a trailblazing vessel of Asian river exploration. Built in 2011 in Saigon and having already previously embarked on both Mekong cruises across Vietnam and Cambodia and Irrawaddy voyages through Myanmar, she now sails India’s mighty Ganges as part of epic overland-plus-cruise expeditions exploring the riches of one of the world’s most remarkable and sacred rivers.
Originally an ‘all Ganges’ voyage sailing one thousand miles from Kolkata all the way to Varanasi, and despite her ultra shallow draft, due to navigational challenges and the obstruction of numerous pontoon bridges, the itinerary now only sails on the great Mother Ganga’s upper stretches as far as Patna, from where guests will travel overland to Gaya for a night and then on to Varanasi for two nights.
This means that during your 15-day journey you’ll spend three nights in the best available hotels but will still get to sail and spend eleven nights on board the Katha Pandaw, covering the best of the Ganges through the enchanting rural arcadia of West Bengal along the Hooghly River and the great expanse of the Ganga itself with its pristine wildlife and cultural treasures dotted along its banks and beyond.
Be immersed in the local way of life as you venture downstream from Varanasi—the most sacred city of Hinduism and oldest inhabited city on the planet, a place of overwhelming beauty at the same time poignantly moving with its cremation ghats—to the other end of the holy river, Kolkata and all its colonial splendors and Raj-like magnificence, or vice-versa on the upstream version of the itinerary.
Ride on rickshaws, witness terracotta temples, and dine alongside Gangetic dolphins en route as you explore over 20 towns and villages, the sacred Buddhist sites of Sarnath, Nalanda and Bodh Gaya, battlefields, workshops, the famous Bihar School of Yoga, the world’s largest opium factory, and so much more.
Guests should note that due to unforeseen seasonal weather conditions—or indeed to take advantage of unexpected opportunities—last minute schedule shifts and slight itinerary alterations may occur. In the event this does happen, the helpful crew will be on hand to keep you apprised of any changes to excursion logistics.
A Remarkable Vessel
Previously without an indoor dining room and once catering to 36 guests, upon her September 2019 move to India where winter cruising can be chilly first thing, a refit altered the Upper Deck to create an enlarged indoor saloon/dining area, and reduced the number of staterooms aboard from sixteen to fourteen (four on the Upper deck, ten on the Lower Deck), thereby providing guests aboard the Katha Pandaw one of the largest space per guest ratios available on the Ganges.
Her identical, air-conditioned staterooms all measure 170 square feet, delightfully finished in teak and brass, feature desks and safes, and come fitted with panoramic French windows which lead out onto the walk-around decks. Bathrooms have good showers, with bathrobes, hair dryers, and slippers provided. Thoughtfully there is 24 hour laundry service and the crew will even clean your shoes after excursions.
Passengers are able to spend leisure time on the aft part of the covered Upper Deck where they can take in the sights from teak loungers and wicker furniture whilst enjoying a drink from the bar, or in the cozy comforts of the new lounge where complimentary soft drinks are served, guide briefings held, and evening cultural performances, educational talks, and cooking classes take place. An open-bridge policy allows access to the wheelhouse for those inquisitive about the boat’s navigation, and there is also a small on board shop selling fair trade products.
Meals are prepared by a local master chef who heads an experienced international culinary team, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and served bistro-style both indoor and outdoor on the Upper Deck. Breakfast and lunch are buffet-style, with sit-down multi-course, themed dinners. Combined with the complimentary evening canapés and daily freshly baked breads from the onboard bakery, the cuisine on board your cruise—in conjunction with the exciting and authentic excursions—really does encompass the Indian lifestyle completely.
A World Away From Convential Cruising
Embark on a Ganges river cruise aboard the much-loved Katha Pandaw—great for adventurous explorers, intrepid families and daring single travelers—and experience a world away from conventional cruising exploring this extraordinary, chaotic, and charming country, a veritable melange of color and culture, in a way that you’d never imagined.
Please note that the Katha Pandaw itineraries pass through the state of Bihar in which it is illegal to serve any alcoholic drinks. For this reason alcohol cannot be served on the Upstream itinerary from day 6 until the afternoon of day 12, and for the Downstream itinerary from day 3 until the afternoon of day 9 while in the state of Bihar.
Suites & Cabins
Main Deck Stateroom
These ample-sized rooms feature various amenities to ensure guests have a comfortable stay. The room also comes with a private ensuite bathroom, spa-branded amenities, and a hairdryer to ensure guests stay refreshed.
Upper Deck Stateroom
These ample-sized rooms feature various amenities to ensure guests have a comfortable stay. The rooms also feature unlimited mineral water for guests to stay dehydrated at all times, kimonos, slippers, a hairdryer, and spa-branded amenities with a private ensuite bathroom.
- Air conditioning
- Lecture room
- WIFI available
- Kosher Meals
- Medical staff
- Souvenir shop
- Hot showers
- All inclusive
- Charging areas for electronic equipment
- Yoga mats
- Flash lights
- Water canteen/bottle
- Insect repellent