We were so lucky to have done this Overnight cruise with Lakelands Cruise. Our first and man!...What a fantastic experience ! We were ushered into our boat- Emerald, a fully solidwood-carved hull houseboat with one exclusive deluxe AC bedroom, by our Skipper Mr. Xavier- an exemplary elderly homely host who is a walking encyclopedia of the Backwaters. Besides the skipper we had a silent chef. After the introductions, Xavier outlined the trip schedule, the meal schedule and the general norms to be followed in a boat cruise. We hauled anchor to seep in the exquisite beauty of the 64km long stretching Vembanad lake. Xavier's running commentary was of that special jovial nature which made it so interesting. How the boats were made,powered and how the cruise control works. We had a hanging and swinging Divan at the centre and a cozy bed right up behind the skippers perch at the wheel and two side-berths, all offering that one special awesome experience of the House boat rides. Of course I was very skeptical prior, from some of the disturbing reviews I had gone thru before booking this via my agent. But I tell you, our boat Emerald was simply Clean and excellent. Even the Bath, toilet was so much fresh, clean and tidy.Cozy bed with TV and functional DVD player.Excellent kerala meals were served at the exact time informed, by the skipper himself. The morukuzhambu was so fantastic that it was consumed in a blink.And the famous Karimeen fry - wow ! wah ! Yummmmy ! It was knowledge to me that Karimeen fish no longer exists in the lake but it is sericultured there and sold in the market. No more natural habitat growth. There are close to 70 houseboats operating there now. Xavier showed us the poultry being grown there(esp Ducks), explained how the way the famous palm toddy was nurtured and harvested, environmental lessons, lake behavior, the Snakeboats and the famous boat race, with the 100 strong oarsmen from each village with their boats et al. He has such a good disarming rapport with all the locals and his guests.He shud be in the Animal Planet channel for promoting this Kerala Backwater tourist site..For every meal time we dock at random places. Took us for a brisk village tour which was like a quick walking exercise, with pauses in between to exchange pleasantries with the locals. We had a terrific dinner with Chappatis, Rice, Chicken, Dhal and fruits. Night time we dock and we take in power from the house nearby for our AirCon. 9pm -6am.We all had good sleep and never ever felt like we were on a boat. Breakfast was served on the dot and we were anchored back at base at sharp 8:30am as informed by our skipper.A must do journey and it will be well spent, im sure - If with this boat and skipper, the first Captain of Lakelands Cruise with 13 yrs experience.Go for it guys, families and Kids !!!! Nothing like it - esp with such a good host ! Impressed, Satisfied, Content & most important - HAPPY !!!
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