Along India’s most sacred river, history runs deep. And now, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises Collection is upping the ante on exploring the Ganges with its Voyager II, custom built for the company’s new 13-day itinerary, “India’s Golden Triangle and the Sacred Ganges.” Here are five reasons to hop aboard.

1. Touring the Ganges has never been this luxurious. A floating five-star hotel, the all-suite Voyager II has 28 staterooms sumptuously designed with French balconies, painted murals, and colonial-era furnishings—a welcome respite from the sensory overload on shore.

2. You’re not always ship-bound. The first five days of your journey are on land, with stays in the best hotels along the way. The overland portion starts in New Delhi and continues to the Taj Mahal in Agra, Jaipur, for a tour of the famous Pink City and an evening in the palatial Oberoi Rajvilās, then proceeds to Kolkata, the former capital of the British Raj.

3. You’ll see places rarely visited by travelers. Excursions along the river include a trishaw ride through Kalna, which has the West Bengal region’s highest concentration of temples, and a visit to a local craftsman’s home in the artisan village of Matiari, known for its brassware.

4. There isn’t a single bad view on the ship. From the comfort of your stateroom, observe riverside life, palaces, and temples, including a new Hare Krishna temple that will be twice the size of St. Peter’s Basilica.

5. You can extend your cultural odyssey. A three-day extension in Varanasi, one of the most sacred spots on the Ganges, includes a private boat ride for an up-close look at the nightly Ganga Aarti ceremony at sunset, when hundreds of floating lamp fire offerings are released into the river.

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