This was our first visit to India and it turned out to be the highlight of our 44 day cruise from Barcelona in Spain to Sydney, Australia. Peter from Carnival Tours, and his father, met us at the dockside and presented us all with garlands to welcome us. It was a lovely touch. We had an English speaking guide/driver assigned to us, who spoke excellent English and was very polite and helpful. The air conditioned vehicle took us in comfort to the Backwaters where we joined our experienced boatman who took us on a 4 hour cruise in a canoe, large enough for 10 people, with chaise longs, armchairs and a canopy to protect us from the sun (or rain).The guide came with us and It was a fantastic way to explore the area, as we passed sights of India that have probably not changed for centuries, with women washing clothes and their long hair, men bathing, babies being washed and children running along the river banks, waving at us. We even stopped for refreshments at a small cafe/ convenience store where local workers were eating freshly prepared food, served up in a traditional manner on leaves. On the second day our driver/guide again met us on the dockside and gave us a fully comprehensive tour of all of the historic and interesting sights of Fort Cochin. Peter even waited hours on shore, for the Celebrity Solstice to sail out of the harbor and sent us images of the ship as it passed by the Chinese Fishing nets in Cochin. I cannot recommend this trip highly enough and we will not hesitate in contacting Peter again if we ever get the chance of going back there.
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