Cochin cruises

Set out on the Malabar coast amid small islands and narrow inlets, this fascinating port, once a major stop along the Spice Route, features a history that dates back to Roman times. Walk along winding streets with 15th-century Portuguese houses. Visit the Mattancheri Palace with its exquisite murals. Step into the ancient synagogue – Cochin's Jewish community goes back over 2,000 years.

Excursions

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.

  • The Backwaters of Kerala

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

    The Backwaters of Kerala

    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.


    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. The local Port Authorities do not always permit seating on the upper deck; should this be permitted, guests are required to wear a lifejacket. 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 two hours. It is advisable to consume a hearty breakfast in the morning as only light refreshments will be available during the tour.

    Tour code

    COK_013

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    6 hours

  • Cochin Heritage Trail

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

    Cochin Heritage Trail

    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 photograph 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.


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

    Tour code

    COK_014

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    Duration

    2¾ hours

  • Kathakali Show & Sights

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

    Kathakali Show & Sights

    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 photograph at the 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 five 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.


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

    Tour code

    COK_004

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    3½ hours

  • Yoga Experience

    An opportunity to participate in a yoga session at one of the best yoga training centres in the region.

    Yoga Experience

    Yoga, in all its forms, has for centuries been hailed for its health and well-being properties. Long practiced in the Hindu faith and now, all over the world, it’s about finding perfect harmony between mind, body and spirit.

    Your tour will give you the chance to learn some basic techniques and who knows perhaps give you a new pastime to take home with you!

    You’ll depart from the pier for the Pathanjali Yoga Centre, one of the best yoga training centres in Kerala. This authentic and established institute is affiliated to S-Vyasa and Morarji Deasi National Institute of Yoga and their belief is that one should aim for spiritual progress and at the same time allow it to work for the good of others. The mission of the team is to promote original yoga amongst people. It may not all happen at once, on this single visit, but the aim is for you to find physical fitness, energy and peace of mind.

    You’ll be given a simple introduction to yoga, asanas (positions), pranayamas (breathing exercises), relaxation techniques and meditation, along with the basic theories of yoga.

    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Pregnant women and children are not permitted to participate on this tour. Please ensure to wear comfortable sports attire and bring a towel. Passengers are also recommended to bring a bottle of water with them. The journey to the centre is approximately 45 minutes each way.

    Tour code

    COK_017

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    3 hours

  • Cochin Harbour Cruise

    This leisurely boat ride enables you to explore Cochin harbour and glimpse the surrounding islands.

    Cochin Harbour Cruise

    Cochin is blessed with one of the world’s finest natural harbours. This has earned the town the title, ‘Venice of the Orient’ and ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. Enjoy a cruise through a cluster of islands networked by lagoons and backwaters. Cochin’s natural harbour, almost in the middle of the city, was created by the underwater Malabar mudbanks that ensure its calm waters.

    Enjoy your cruise past the famous Chinese fishing nets, which are probably the single most familiar image of the area. These huge fishing nets were introduced by Chinese traders from the court of Kublai Khan in the late 14th century. The harbour is in the heart of the city, where pepper, seafood, rubber and coir are all exported.

    Glide past the islands of Vypeen, Gundu, Vallarpadam and Bolghatty, where you will see the country boats laden with wares, prawn farms and shell collections from the river bed. The tour gives a glimpse of the traditional coastal and backwater lifestyle of Kerala’s local people.


    This excursion will operate by boat and coach. The boats are not equipped with a PA system, so no commentary will be given, however the guide is available to answer questions. The local Port Authorities do not always permit seating on the upper deck; should this be permitted, guests are required to wear a lifejacket. The cruise is approximately 2½ hours. A return coach transfer is provided to the boat jetty. Sunscreen, mosquito repellent, bottled water and a sunhat are recommended.

    Tour code

    COK_007

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    Duration

    3½ hours

  • Village Life

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

    Village Life

    Enjoy an insightful journey into rural 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 also 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.


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

    Tour code

    COK_011

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    5½ hours

  • The Best of Cochin

    Enjoy the highlights of Cochin followed by a leisurely harbour cruise to give you a real feel of Cochin.

    The Best of Cochin

    Embark on a journey through the distinctly characteristic city of Cochin to Fort Cochin, where a stop will be made at St Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. You’ll then visit the Indo-Portuguese Museum. This Museum was established in a bid to protect and showcase the rich cultural heritage and Portuguese influence. Take a short walk past the local fish market, where locals have their catch cooked and served to them, to the Chinese fishing nets. These nets are set up on bamboo poles and held horizontally by huge mechanisms, which lower them into the sea. This is a unique symbol of the centuries-old influence on this coastline.

    Refreshments of tea, coffee and cakes will be served at a local hotel, before heading to the Mattancherry area, for a visit to the Dutch Palace. Now a museum, it features India’s finest mythological murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits, exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi and a rare example of traditional Kerala flooring. Afterwards, take a walk through Jew Town past the oldest Jewish Synagogue in India and the local shops selling spices, handicrafts and antiques.

    Finally, enjoy a relaxing cruise on the backwaters surrounding the harbour, where you’ll see country boats laden with various wares. As you pass the islands of Vallarpadam, Gundu and Bolghatty, you’ll get a glimpse of local life on the various islands.


    This excursion will operate by coach, boat and on foot. 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 The local Port Authorities do not always permit seating on the upper deck; should this be permitted, guests are required to wear a lifejacket. The cruise is approximately one hour. There are 18 steps to negotiate at the Dutch Palace. There is approximately 1½ hours walking in total. This tour operates over luncheon, therefore it is recommended that guests have a hearty breakfast.

    Tour code

    COK_003

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    6 hours

  • Backwaters Houseboat Experience

    Experience the Kerala backwaters on board a traditional houseboat.

    Backwaters Houseboat Experience

    You’ll step aboard your traditional houseboat in Appelley, 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 guests.

    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.


    >strong>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 two hours. It is advisable to consume a hearty breakfast in the morning as only light refreshments will be available during the tour.

    Tour code

    COK_016

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    6 hours

  • Highlights of Cochin

    Cochin was once on the main trade route between Europe and China. Learn of its interesting past and see the city sights.

    Highlights of Cochin

    Begin by exploring the Fort Cochin area, with visits to St Francis Church, the Indo-Portuguese Museum and the Chinese fishing nets.

    St Francis Church, built in 1503, is India’s oldest European church. The history of this Church reflects the colonial struggle of European powers in India, from the 15th to 20th centuries. The Indo-Portuguese Museum was established to showcase the rich cultural heritage and Portuguese influences in both the art and architecture of the region. The Chinese fishing nets are fixed land installations for an unusual form of fishing using shore operated lift nets. Their size and elegant construction is remarkable, whilst the slow rhythm of their operation is quite hypnotic. Enjoy a brief stroll past the local fish market, where locals purchase the fish and have it cooked in front of them.

    Travel to the Mattancherry area to visit the Dutch Palace. Even though the Dutch Palace is austere in its appearance, its main glory rests on the large number of murals, executed in the best traditions of Hindu temple art, which are religious, decorative and stylised. Finally, a short walk through Jew Town will take you past various shops selling a wealth of goods from spices to antiques.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Please refer to the ‘Important Information’ for this port. There are 18 steps to negotiate at the Dutch Palace. Photography and video is not permitted in the Dutch Museum or the Indo Portuguese Museum. There is approximately two hours of walking in total. It is recommended that you carry a bottle of water.

    Tour code

    COK_012

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    4 hours