Assam Tourism gets boost withFive-decker cruise liner

MV Charaidew. Picture by Eastern Projections

Guwahati, Oct. 22 : A five-decker luxury vessel with a spa, hair salon and luxury cabins will set sail on the Brahmaputra early next year, with the Assam tourism department tying up with the Faridabad based-Far Horizon Tours, in a bid to revamp river tourism in the state.

“The luxury vessel is expected to elevate the standard of river cruise tourism in the region,” a tourism department official told The Telegraph.
Two luxury cruise vessels — MV Manashputra and MV Charaidew — ply on the Brahmaputra but the new liner, MV Mahabahu, will be “world class,” having almost five-star facilities.
The vessel will travel from Guwahati to Dibrugarh, covering Kaziranga and Orang National Parks and the historic towns of Tezpur and Sivasagar during a seven-day itinerary.
There will be no night cruising. However, night excursions will be organised for tourists at some of the destinations like Kaziranga and Orang.
Far Horizon Tours, having the experience of operating cruises on the backwaters of Kerala, is one of the top tour operators in Asia and its maiden venture on the Brahmaputra is set to be a major attraction for tourists, especially foreigners.
The cruise vessel was bought through public-private partnership at an estimated cost of Rs 15 crore, of which the tourism department will contribute Rs 4 crore.
The official said the new luxury vessel would have five-star facilities, including international telephone services on board via satellite, apart from internet and cable TV. The 28-member crew will include two masters, a cruise director, eight navigators and 17 hospitality staff.
The new liner will be 55 metres in length and 10 metres in breadth with five decks, including one inside the hull and the top one as an open sun deck.
“There will be 29 individually-designed twin and double bedrooms, including suites, nine luxury cabins, 12 deluxe cabins and six standard cabins. Suites and luxury cabins will have private balconies as well as bathtubs and showers,” the official said.
He said all necessary steps have been taken to make the new cruise liner top-class. Austrian Klaus Rom, having 25 years of experience in international luxury river cruising, has already been appointed as cruise director.
The Assam tourism policy has stressed abundant water resources and unique waterways of the state. It emphasises harnessing the potential to provide a unique experience of river tourism on the Brahmaputra and its many tributaries. The state government has been planning to take up a riverfront beautification project in Guwahati to develop the bank of the Brahmaputra here to attract tourists. Plans are on to shift the government establishments from the riverbank to other locations.