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About Cochin

The view of the harbour is immediately recognisable even if you have never cruised to this uniquely picturesque Indian port before. For the lines of fishing nets gracefully hanging down from bamboo frames along the waterfront have inspired artists and hotographers ever since this Chinese fishing style was imported into Indias Kerala region.

It is a magical welcome to a mystical place, especially its old town - Fort Kochi (Cochin). This not only has a 16th century Portuguese-built church but a 17th century synagogue for the small community that still remains from the Jewish settlers who arrived 2,000 years ago.

There is a bustling new town, Emakulam, too, but you probably still want to spend most of your time moving through the network of canals leading off the Vembavad Lake on which Cochin sits. On their banks and across their bridges, fishermen and their families live much as they have done for centuries.


Shore excursions in Cochin

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Backwaters Houseboat Experience

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 6 hours

Experience the Kerala backwaters on board a traditional houseboat.

You’ll step aboard your traditional houseboat in Appelley, an area nestled amongst the tropical waterways of Kerala. The houseboats are converted from a traditional Indian longboat and are a blend of old and new—old for its thatched roof, typical of these types of vessels and new for the solar panels that provide energy for lighting. The boats offer a smaller group experience, with each boat accommodating just 14 passengers.

Sit back and relax as you glide along the network of rivers, lakes and canals known as the backwaters, which connect the coast to the inland. These canals have, for centuries, provided a safe and efficient means for transporting goods and people, helping to establish the region as a centre for trade. On the water’s edge you’ll catch sight of the villagers washing their clothes, and sometimes their buffaloes. The views provide a wonderful mix of tropical vegetation, open vistas of brilliant green paddy fields and sights of traditional rural life.

During your cruise refreshments will be served.

As your houseboat cruise draws to an end, you’ll rejoin your coach for the return drive to the pier.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and houseboat. The boats are not equipped with air-conditioning or a PA system, so no commentary will be given, however the guide is available to answer questions. Sunscreen, mosquito repellent, water and a sun hat are recommended. The journey to Alleppey takes 1½ hours. A comfort stop will be provided en route. The cruise lasts approximately 2 hours. It is advisable to consume a hearty breakfast in the morning as only light refreshments will be available during the tour.

Cochin Heritage Trail

Activity high

Duration: 2¾ hours

Discover the colonial past of this Portuguese settlement on a fascinating walking tour.

A walk through the streets of Fort Cochin is an ideal way to discover this historic town, brimming with tales of seafaring traders, who made Cochin the first European township in India.

You’ll transfer by coach to Fort Cochin and walk along the old colonial, tree-lined avenues. A visit will be made to one of India’s oldest churches, St Francis Church, before continuing past Princess Street and Loafers Corner. One of the earliest streets in Fort Cochin, this area still retains its old world charm with European style quarters. View the gothic exterior of the Santa Cruz Basilica, a Roman Catholic Cathedral, which is a place of devotion as well as a centre of historic significance. Short photo stops will be made at the Chinese fishing nets, one of the area’s famous landmarks, and Dhobi Ghat, an open air laundry.

Continue on your trail to the Dutch Cemetery, an interesting and quiet site, to see the history of the many Europeans who came here on a mission to expand their colonial empire. You’ll see many examples of Indo-European architecture as you pass by private colonial homes.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. This tour involves approximately 2 hours of walking over mostly paved ground. Comfortable, non-slip walking shoes, sunscreen and a sunhat are recommended. 2 bottles of water will be provided for the walk.

Local Life and Traditions

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 5½ hours

Experience the lifestyles, traditions, art and culture of the locals from the small village of Vaikom.

Enjoy an insightful journey into rustic India and glimpse the unhurried lifestyle of the locals, their simple homes and small workshops. Vaikom village lies on the western side of the Kottayam district of Kerala. During your time in this small rural village you will see the Vaikom Mahdeva Temple (exterior view) and visit the Khadi Weaving Centre, where you will see the dexterity with which these villagers produce beautiful Khadi cloth - a hand-spun and hand-woven cloth made out of cotton. You’ll also have the opportunity to take a short ride on a tuk tuk.

A short transfer will take you to the jetty where you will board the local country boats for a leisurely cruise down the narrow canals to the local village. In the village centre, you will have an opportunity to see how the local people earn their livelihoods. View the ladies weaving coir ropes from dried coconut husks, see straw mats being woven out of wild pineapple leaves and watch the local potter create a range of pots and vases, depicting ethnic designs in clay.

Refreshments of cookies and banana chips and tea, coffee or a soft drink will be provided during the tour.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by by coach, country boa, tuk tuk and on foot. There is approximately 2 hours’ total walking mainly on rough surfaced and rural unpaved roads. Passengers are advised that not all coaches have air conditioning. Comfortable, non-slip shoes, sunscreen, bottled water and a sunhat are recommended.

Panoramic Cochin & Kathakali Performance

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 4 hours

A leisurely tour of Cochin combined with a traditional cultural performance – a relaxing way to experience the city.

Take a brief coach orientation of Fort Cochin where you will pass St Francis Church, the oldest European Church in India, before stopping for a photo at the remarkable Chinese fishing nets.

You will then be transferred to the Greenix Cultural Theatre to enjoy the traditional Kerala Cultural Performance of Kathakali. Kathakali is the classical dance-drama of Kerala, South India, which dates from the 17th century and is rooted in Hindu mythology. It is a harmonious combination of 5 forms; literature, music, painting, acting and dance. The role of each of these art forms has led Kathakali to become the ‘King of performing arts’.

The headgear worn by the various characters in Kathakali are excellent specimens of intricate wood carving, an ancient speciality of the region. Even the shiny finishing of trinkets takes hours of painstaking labour by expert craftsmen. Most of the ornaments donning each character are made in this fashion too.

A considerable part of the script is in the form of lyrics, sung by vocalists. The only accompaniments are percussion instruments like Chenda (drum played with sticks), Maddalam (drum played with fingers), Chengila (gong) and Ilathalam (cymbals). Drumming especially of Chenda is the salient feature of Kathakali.

Refreshments of soft drinks and a martial arts demonstration of ‘Kalaripayattu’ will follow the dance performance.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. All sightseeing is conducted from the coach, with the exception of the photo stop. Approximately 1½ hours is spent at the performance venue.

The Backwaters of Kerala

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 6 hours

Relax on this leisurely cruise through the famous Kerala backwaters, passing lush vegetation and local villages along the way.

Alleppey is nestled in the midst of a tangle of lush tropical waterways, and it is here that you will board a smaller boat for an idyllic cruise through the majestic forests and palm-shaded backwaters of the town and surroundings.

The term ‘backwaters’ refers to the extensive network of rivers, lakes, canals and lagoons that lace together the coast and interior of Cochin. For centuries these canals have provided a safe and efficient means of transportation for goods and people moving between the heartland and the port towns along the coast.

Glide along shimmering waterways lined with dense tropical vegetation, and observe the rural lifestyle that you would never see from the road. Views range from narrow canals walled in with thick greenery to open vistas of brilliant green paddy fields. Papaya, mango, jack fruit and cassava grow along the palm-lined banks. Along the way you will see coconut harvesting and coir factories that make up the main industry of Kerala. Watch as the villagers wash their clothes, and sometimes their buffaloes, at the water's edge.

Refreshments of tea and coffee will be served afterwards at a local hotel.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and motor boat. The boats are not equipped with air-conditioning or a PA system, so no commentary will be given, however the guide is available to answer questions. Sunscreen, mosquito repellent, water and a sunhat are recommended. The journey to Alleppey takes 1½ hours. A comfort stop will be provided en-route. The cruise lasts approximately 2 hours. It is advisable to consume a hearty breakfast in the morning as only light refreshments will be available during the tour.


A selection of cruises to Cochin

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