Forbes – Uniworld’s New Cruise On India’s Ganges River Emphasizes Local Interaction, Wellness

Lea Lane

January 7, 2019

River cruising nowadays goes far beyond the Rhine and Danube, to areas that are mostly unexplored — featuring authentic local experiences. Here’s one of the most interesting examples I’ve found for cruisers looking for something more:

Uniworld is offering its first-ever dedicated wellness cruise along the Ganges in India, new 12-day sailings throughout 2019. The itinerary includes onboard yoga classes and meditation sessions led by a yoga guru, healthy cooking classes, certified wellness instructors, and the Serenity River Spa.

Excursions focus on experiencing daily life in rural India: exploring Udaipur’s architectural marvels, City Palace and Taj Lake Palace; boarding a trishaw—a pedal-powered three-wheeled rickshaw—through the streets of Kalna; and visiting Murshidabad and Baranagar, two Bengali towns.

We spoke exclusively with Ellen Bettridge, Uniworld’s CEO:

What inspired Uniworld to set this newest India cruise?

This sailing elevates what we’ve learned about wellness. The itinerary along the Ganges is an immersive luxury experience from New Delhi to Kolkata, and incorporates all of the senses. It features a yogi trained in India to lead guests in ancient Indian traditions and cultural experiences.

Our guests feel that eating well and exercising are important, and we’re committed to helping them keep those regimens with our onboard fitness centers and Traveling Lite menu. But they’re also seeking new avenues of wellness.

What do you mean by “new avenues of wellness”?

The sailing includes special programming. From sunrise with yoga to learning how to brew tea that’s helps immunity, we will offer it all.

Who are the “yoga gurus” onboard?

Seema Sondhi has been involved with the fitness world for 20 years. She focuses on alignment with respect to anatomy and breathing, keeping the traditional essence of yoga. We also have Anuska Ilijic, a certified instructor in Hatha yoga, prenatal yoga and yin yoga. She has taught vinyasa style yoga for eight years and has organized yoga retreats around the world. These are just two of our yoga gurus onboard.

Tell us more about local interactions?

The cruise starts out with a four-day immersive adventure through India’s countryside with our partner ME to WE. Our guests will be able to meet local farmers, work on sustainable development projects in the villages, meet with local women in the rural Indian communities, learn basic Hindi phrases for easier interaction, and much more.

How about the accommodations, culinary offerings and ship design?

Our Ganges Voyager ll ship is a floating boutique five-star hotel — spacious, and filled with hand-painted murals and high ceilings. All of the suites have a cozy sitting area, French balcony with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, high-end amenities, flat-screen televisions, universal electric plugs and under-bed storage.

Along with our main restaurant, we’ve added a new “Nutrition and Wellness Food” menu developed especially for this program, which features organic items and guidelines for eating healthy, available daily for every meal: a smoothie bowl bar, almond-flour pancakes, zucchini noodle dishes, jackfruit tacos, cashew butter chicken and more.

I cruised the Seine from Paris to Normandy on the Joie de Vivre, and it truly felt authentic. What else is new for Uniworld cruises in France?

In April 2019, our newest Super Ship S.S Bon Voyage will debut, after undergoing an extensive transformation. It’s going to have completely updated suites, new onboard dining options and new offshore dining excursions where guests can take in the stunning Bordeaux region.

We also have a new itinerary on our newest river cruise line, U by Uniworld, taking travelers to Northern France and its hidden-gem destinations throughout the region. New excursions include following U’s chef to Rouen’s fresh local market to choose ingredients for dinner; climbing to the top of the Étretat’s legendary cliffs; and tea time at Château du Champ de Bataille.

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