How to book a houseboat in Kerala-consolidated advice

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Here are some frequently asked questions about booking a houseboat in Kerala.Answers to these questions are formulated to guide you, to assist you, and help make your backwater experience very special, unforgettable occasion that it is meant to be. One that will live with you forever.

Enjoy.

Should I book it online or go to alleppey and do a spot booking?
It is always better to book kerala houseboat package in advance  through a tour operators than going  to alleppey and do a spot booking. People may think that if they do “spot booking “they get best rates and that is not correct as houseboats may not be available or you need to compromise for a low quality houseboat if you wait till the day of your houseboat tour.  The houseboat quality, cruise time, food & service will be compromised if you go for cheaper rates. Tripadvisor is the powerful tool to find best houseboat operator.Most of the tour operators will provide you an option to choose houseboat according to your budget, the quality of the houseboat and you can search for  opinions of earlier travelers before booking and booking in advance is ideal.

Are there prices fixed or we have to negotiate and book for best price?
The prices will vary from Rs.5500 to Rs.18000 and are mostly fixed for good houseboats with some scope of negotiation.To get the best price you need to ensure the services and the quality of the houseboat and what you are getting for the price.The houseboat quality, cruise time, food & service will be compromised if you go for cheaper rates and at the end of it you may not enjoy the experience at all.

 

What all items and activities are included in the price?
The price for a normal houseboat include A/C inside room from 9.00pm to 6.00am, Well-furnished room/dining room,  Availability of hot water from solar heater or through kitchen, Food (Vegetarian or Non Vegetarian depending on your choice) , Welcome drink on arrival,  Non-veg meals (Including Fish fry and Chicken) for lunch,  Tea and snacks at evening, Non-veg Dinner (Chappati-Chicken), Breakfast (Iddly/Puttu/Uppumav etc.). You can also buy prawns , crab etc and give it in Kitchen for cooking. Activities usually include  fishing using traditional fishing rod, swimming, village walk and you can also take canoes for riding if you want etc

What are the checkin and checkout timings for a houseboat trip?
Check in time of an overnight cruise is 12 noon and the cruise will go on till 9 AM the following day with a total cruise time of 22 hours. The houseboats will be anchored at 5:30 PM as per the rules from the government .If you are opting for a day cruise, the cruise timing is from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM with lunch and snacks in between.

Which one is better – Alleppey or Kumarakom?
Kumarakom  cruises gives more of of the wide stretches of the back waters and less narrow canals. Where as Alleppey cruise is more through the narrow channels where you will be able to see the life on the either side. people involved in their daily affairs.Kumarakom is located near the gorgeous Lake Vembanad, this is a large body of open water with really beautiful views on all the sides of the lake. Alleppey has more houses facing the canals (the canals function as waterways and are a major form of local transport). So in Alleppey you will see local homes, people washing clothes etc in the water. So you can see typical Kerala life in this area. Thus these two places offer different type of houseboat experiences.

Should I opt for a day cruise on houseboat  or an overnight cruise ?
The option to choose day cruise in a houseboat or overnight cruise depends on your budget and time available.An overnight cruise will enable you to get a little outside the usual one day routes and you will then avoid a lot of the congestions in the main areas of houseboats. Daycruise  may turn out to be much expensive if you decide to stay overnight in a resort as well. Overnight cruise and day cruise usually involve all the meals till checking out and the cruise in backwaters are till 5:30 after which the houseboat moors near the backwaters . Houseboat cruising is not permitted by law after 5:30 in the evening to help fishermen for fishing.

What about the Safety inside Houseboat?
All Houseboats have adequate safety measures and Kerala government and tourism department conducts periodic audits and inspections to ensure safety of tourists. In addition there is also separate rest room with television and a crew comprising two oarsmen and a cook . It takes great skill and meticulousness to construct and navigate these giant Houseboats by tying huge planks of Anjili tree and the staff has been trained properly.

Can I get a houseboat with full time AC?
Yes, that is possible and full time luxury AC houseboat will be much more comfortable option in summer. However the charges of the full time AC houseboat will be much more higher than a normal houseboat in which AC can be availed from 7 PM to  6 AM in the morning. Check out a review from a customer who went on a luxury houseboat cruise.

How long is the cruise in backwaters?
Overnight cruise is usually for 22 hours from 12 Noon to 10 AM and Day Cruise is for 7.5 hours and is usually from 11 AM to 5:30 PM.Guests can check in at the prescribed time, ware served with fresh tender coconut water and start cruise after a short briefing introduction, relax and enjoy the canals and rivers and backwater, at 1300 hrs houseboat will stop for lunch , with lavish menu of traditional kerala cuisine 1500 hrs it will continue its cruise covering beautiful rivers and canals with palm trees and small houses near to it, villages paddy fields, churches, etc, you can get out and get an experience of Toddy( soft liquor made from Coconut it is safe pure and sweet.

What kind of meals are served in a Kerala houseboat?
When you book a Kerala houseboat cruise for one night all meals will be served on board from the Kerala Houseboat Menu. The cuisine is continental, south Indian, North Indian or traditional Kerala flavored with the local specialties; delicious local fish. In a day cruise lunch and snacks will be server on board. The option of choosing vegetarian or non vegetarian meals resides with the guest and need o be specified to the houseboat provider or tour operator in advance.

Hope this was helpful. If you have any questions on  houseboat in Kerala, please do mail us at team@irisholidays.com and we will be happy to help you.

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