I had been with my parents and family. Had the best ever time so far. Exteremely well maintained boat accommodation. Food was the best we ever had so far. Extremely prompt services and polite staff. We really had best time. Thanks Mukul..!
Really delighted to say that Mr. Mukul and team were very hospitable and boat experience was really great. excellent service
The organizers were very hospitable and boat experience was really great . As a family we really enjoyed overall and the food was excellent too.
My husband and I spent a wonderful 2 nights and 2 days on a Kumarakom Houseboat in early March. We were in Pune for 5 weeks for work and decided to take a 5 day holiday to Kerala. Friends suggested staying on a houseboat so we opted for 2 nights on the backwaters and 3 nights at the beach. It was a great mix. I originally reached out to Kumarakom Hosueboats because of their Tripadvisor reviews and because airport (or hotel) transfers are included. I'm thrilled with my choice.
I mostly interacted with Mukul via email and he was wonderful. Very quick to respond to my questions and incredibly helpful. He was out of the office when we checked in and so made a point to meet us on the road on our ride back to the airport. I greatly appreciate that personal touch.
We were staying at a hotel in Cherai, 2+ hours from the boats the night before so arranged to have Kumarakom Houseboat's driver pick us up there. As far as I can tell, there was no additional charge, despite our hotel being quite a bit farther away than the airport. The driver was prompt and the car was nice.
After checking in at the office, we went to the docking area. We were on the boat and motoring along the backwaters within minutes. We weren't sure what it would be like to be on a boat for 48 hours with 3 strangers (the crew) since we don't tend to like overly solicitous staff when we're at a hotel or restaurant but it very quickly became evident that we had nothing to worry about. Arun (captain/steward), Dayesh (cook) and Sanoop (engineer) were great. Arun spoke more English than the other two so he would occasionally indicate points of interest if we were in close proximity and he touched base with us about meals, but otherwise, the guys were wonderfully unobtrusive.
There's not really much to do on the houseboats but sit and watch the the world go by. We read, took pictures, waved at other boats as they passed, and generally enjoyed the quiet relaxation. It was wonderful.
We cruised the backwaters from launch (11:30am or so) until about 1:30 when we docked for lunch. We then continued the tour until about 5pm when we docked again and were encouraged to get off the boat to explore a bit before dinner. I'm glad we did. We strolled along a canal, checked out the rice paddies and enjoyed what was probably the quietest place we'd encountered in India.
The next morning we launched around 9:30 or so, and then made 2 stops, once for lunch and once to explore a small town where we visited a church and did a bit of shopping. We then moored again around 6 or so and again took a stroll.
The final morning we launched again around 9, I think and finally docked maybe around 10 (I don't remember exactly). Kumarakom's Driver then took us to the airport.
*The bed was excellent. Firm but not too firm mattress, soft sheets and good pillows.
*The food was abundant and tasty. We don't have any dietary restrictions and were happy to eat whatever was brought to us.
*Clean, nice bathroom (I think the water pressure was stronger when we were moving, but I'm not certain).
*It was hot and kind of humid in early March. We booked the air conditioning at night option and I'm glad we did. I wouldn't have wanted it during the day (and the fans/breeze from the moving boat were enough) but it was so good to have overnight.
A note on alcohol:
tl;dr: bring your own.
I like wine but am picky about it so a few days before our backwaters cruise, I reached out to Mukul and asked if I could bring my own wine. He said I could. When we got to our beach hotel in Cherai, we discovered that Kerala has strict alcohol laws/ seems to grant very few liquor licenses and that my plan was not only going to be more of a challenge than I anticipated. So again, I contacted Mukul and asked if our driver from our hotel to the houseboat could take us to a liquor store on the way. Again, he agreed and so we made a stop at a beer/wine place and took advantage of their parcel service. If we hadn't brought our own alcohol, I don't think there would've been any. While we had no interest in drinking too much, we do enjoy a drink or two with dinner, especially on vacation, so I'm really glad I figured out the byob aspect in advance!
We were 4 ladies from USA traveling to Kerala for the first time. The boat exceeded our expectations and the staff outdid themselfs. They were attentive, friendly, and made us feel at home. We enjoyed are delicious lunch cooked by the chef on board and he cooked fresh prawns we bought along our ride. Would love to come back and experience the adventure again.