Have you ever been on a cruise on Ganga in the heart of the city of Kolkata? It was one of the late afternoons within a year of our wedding when my wife and I went for lunch at Floatel, a floating hotel on the Strand Road which is actually a ship. After lunch we walked to the Millenium Park and during a stroll in the park noticed a jetty right beside where an exquisitely beautiful boat was docked. Its shape was that of a mermaid and it was named aptly the 'Matsya Kanya' which means the same in Bengali. There was a ticket counter and on enquiry we came to know that an evening cruise was just round the corner. We decided to take the ride and in fact we had to stride really fast to be able to get on the cruise in time.
There are two floors on the boat, the lower one being air-conditioned, which may be suitable for families with children and the elderly while the deck is open on the sides which can be reached by a narrow spiral stairway. Wooden chairs are lined up on the sides along the fence; so you do not need keep standing, and the upper parts are ornamented with wooden carvings with wooden pillars at some intervals. You can really enjoy the breeze blowing over the river from the deck.
The hour long ride takes you as far as the Howrah Bridge on one side and the Second Hooghly Bridge on the other; in fact the boat passes underneath the Second Hooghly Bridge. So, if you take the cruise in the late evening, which we did on another occasion, you will be mesmerized by the illumination of the Second Hooghly Bridge with the background of the dark sky. While when there is still daylight, the view of river Ganga and the ghats on its bank is a treat to watch.
The cruise is operated by Vivada Cruises and there are a couple of timings in the evening. As far I remember it cost us around Rs. 300 per person for the river cruise. You may also book the entire boat for organizing small parties.