Cruise on River BrahmaputraIt was lovely Saturday morning…..and my phone rang. I jumped out of the bed, the moment I heard my friend's voice from the other side. She was an old friend of mine from Delhi who was in Guwahati on a vacation visiting her grandparents. She wanted to do something different during her visit and so asked me to meet her at Machkhowa where she was ready with a surprise - Aflresco river cruise on the mighty Brahmaputra! I just couldn't wait for the evening because I was about to meet my friend after two long years and a river cruise, the icing on the cake! Well I should confess here, that even after staying in Guwahati all through my 25 years, I haven't been on the cruise! Sadly, we take certain things for granted.
So all dressed up and after a long wait for the evening, off I went to Machkhowa. If you are not a local, please be aware of the correct auto rates here, as the autos can fleece you if they know you are not from Guwahati. I paid Rs 60 for the ride while the driver was asking for Rs 80.
The Alfresco offers sunset and dinner cruise. We opted for the Dinner Cruise which is from 7.30pm to 8.30pm. One can also go for the sunset cruise from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. To get a better view of the Brahmaputra, we took reservations on the the Upper Deck which gives a wonderful view of the river. The charges for the Upper Deck cruise is Rs 250 while that for the Lower Deck is Rs 200.
The mesmerizing view of the River Brahmaputra is awesome. No matter how many times, as locals we see the Brahmaputra, view from the cruise is simply breathtaking.
The food here is awesome. The cruise offers continental, Chinese as well local Assamese food. One can also book the cruise for parties, conferences and meetings. The cruise charges Rs 5000 for parties and also for meetings and conferences; they also offer one time complementary tea with biscuits and snacks. The cruise also has facilities for exclusive booking with sailing and they charge Rs 15000 per hour. If you want to book a private sundeck during cruise timing then they charge Rs 8000.
My friend being a student of architecture and with an ever curious mind, she wanted to know about the structure and style of the ship and so off we went to the Captain of the ship who enlightened us with information. And what we heard of the ship had our jaws dropped. The Alfresco grand is a 44 m long flat-bottomed shallow draft vessel. The ship has three marine engines. The vessel also has a large conference hall, 14 cozy well maintained rooms with attached bathrooms. The ship also has a main deck, hull deck and upper and lower lobby and two large upper and main sundecks. While the 12 cabins are in the main deck and 2 guest cabins are in the sundeck level. The dining and the bar area are in the upper lobby and the guest lounge is on the hull deck in the front. During the winters the cruise goes for some long excursions and it caters mostly foreign clients.
There is also a dance floor in the lower deck and the people who wish to dance can shake a leg to the latest numbers. Especially if you are a visitor, this dusk-dark cruise is one of the best ways to spend an evening in Guwahati.
It was one of the best evenings and the best views that I had that day of the Brahmaputra!