- Marine Drive
- Goshree Bridge
- Bolgatty Palace
- Wellingdon Island
- Vallarpadam Bridge
- Vallarpadam container terminal
- Vypin Ferry Service
- Cochin ship yard
- Chinese fishing nets
- Anchored Luxury Ships
Getting there and around
The Sagara Rani Boat cruise starts off from High court Boat Jetty in Marine Drive. The nearest landmark is Stella Maris Tower in High Court Junction. If you are not familiar with the place, drive towards Marine Drive, Ernakulam and head straight via Shanmugham Road to Stella Maris Tower and take the left towards High court Boat Jetty.
Sagara Rani Boat Cruise – My experience
I came to know about Sagara Rani Boat cruise from one of my colleagues, a week before our travel to Cochin. We (me and my wife…she always wants me to bring in clarity to the usage of “WE”) were to attend a family event at Cochin the coming weekend and was desperately searching for some get-way plans for the evening and the cruise seemed to be perfectly way to have a wonderful evening at Cochin. I got the contact number of the cruise manager from the KSINC site and called him up to check the availability of the seats and to reserve them for the evening.
Come Sunday and we started off from Trivandrum early in the morning to Ernakulum. After attending the family event at Fort Cochin, we were left with ample amount of time for the afternoon. That’s when the ferry from Fort Cochin to Vypin caught our interest.
The Cochin Ferry is operated by the Cochin Corporation and is one of the busiest ferry services which thousands of people depend daily. We decided to do a round trip from Fort Cochin to experience the ferry service. We started off from the Boat jetty near Brunton’s Boatyard hotel at Fort Kochi. The ticket costs INR2/person. The ferry transports people, vehicles and goods from Fort Kochi to Vypin and vise versa. It was a great experience crossing the Vembanadu lake on the ferry along with a couple of vehicles on-board.We were back at Fort Cochin by 4:00PM and without wasting any time we drove towards Marine Drive to buy the tickets for the Sunset cruise .We had difficulties in figuring out the exact location and also in finding a parking slot for our car. Once that was done we headed to the ticket counter. The cruise manager readily handed over the tickets for the sunset cruise and showed us the way to the boat.
KSINC offers the following packages
- Morning Cruise (10am – 12pm)
- Sunset Cruise (5pm – 7pm)
On Demand Cruises
- Lunch Cruise (12:30pm – 2:30pm)
- Dinner Cruise (7:30pm – 10pm)
- Ghazal Cruise (7:30pm – 10pm)
Though this information is directly from the official board placed at the counter, our scheduled departure time was 5:50pm.
The Sagar Rani boat has two decks. The lower deck houses an air conditioned conference room, a small restaurant and toilets. The upper deck is the place where all the activities happen. The captain’s cabin is located in the front of the upper deck and you can pay a visit to the cabin as well as experience the cruise from the front of the boat.
We boarded the boat, and took the seats on the upper deck for better visibility. By 5:30PM the boat started off from the boat jetty and one of the crew who was in charge of the entertainments, briefed us on the landmarks as the boat sailed past them. First came the Bolgatty palace. This palace was built by Dutch traders in 1744 and still stands tall overlooking the estuary of the Vembanadu lake. It is the oldest of the kind that exists outside Holland. Next came the Goshree bridge, the bridge that connects Ernakulam to to the islands lying to the north of the backwaters.
Next we saw the Vallarpadam bridge, the longest railway bridge in India, Wellingdon island, a manmade Island and Vallarpadam container terminal, the largest single operator container terminal in India and the first in the country to operate in a special economic zone. The terminal is a part of Cochin port and is presently being operated by the Dubai Ports World (DPW), on a lease agreement for 30-years after which the control will come back to the Cochin Port Trust. By then the entertainments on-board had started. We were served tea and snacks and as part of entertainment there were songs and dances performed on the front of the deck.
Meanwhile the captain changed the course of the boat and took us towards the Cochin ship yard / harbor. We saw a couple of ships anchored and lined up by the harbor. It was a great experience seeing these gigantic man made machines at close sight. Slowly we turned around and headed towards the Arabian see once again sailing past the container terminal and the Fort Kochi-vypin ferry. It started drizzling and interestingly we noticed fishes flying (in a sense jumping) across the water. I managed to capture some of that in my video , so that you can see for real.
The drizzling stopped and the ship was sailing towards the sea. We went right to the captain’s cabin to watch the boat sailing through cutting past the waves and thrashing them across either sides. From the captain’s cabin we once again saw the ferries at work transporting people, goods and vehicle across the banks. The captain briefed us on the navigation of the ship and his experiences on the radar wheel. We moved out of the captain’s cabin and stayed on the open space in the front of the ship admiring the beauty of the estuary, the lake that we were sailing through and the sea that lie ahead of us. Slowly the boat entered the sea and we could experience the ship cruising across the waves. We dint go much into into the sea, due to the bad weather. On our way back we saw the Kochi LNG Terminal and the Vallarpadam container terminal on lights. We reached back to the starting point by 7:30PM . Well we still had a long drive back to Trivandrum. We started off at 8.00PM and reached Trivandrum by 12.30AM accelerating wherever possible, slowing down to get past the cameras without being charged and occasionally stopping for some short naps.
If you are in Cochin and are looking for a place/activity for a perfect evening, I would highly recommend Sagara Rani boat cruise. Be it with family friends or kids KSINC has the perfect package at a great pricing. I would highlight the fact that despite it being operated by a government undertaking the quality and experience that we get out of Sagara Rani boat cruise is great. Hope and wish KSINC improves on this and makes it a sought after activity in Marine Drive. For booking and contact details check out the KSINC site. You can also book the tickets by calling up the cruise manager on 9846211143.