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The Ultimate Guide to River Cruises in Goa: How to Choose the Best One for You

Updated: Mar 21

Cruise Cruise Cruise!! The moment you enter Panjim City in the evening, a number of touts will stop your vehicle and sell you a cruise. Not based on the best options available but based on the amount of money they can make off you by selling you the tickets.

Sunset Cruise
Sunset Cruise Goa

It's not wrong. They do make the process of booking the cruises simpler but the information shared is skewed towards how much they would earn per booking. There are close to 15 boats in Goa offering cruise services.

There are 3 kinds of shared cruises :

  • Adventure Boat Trip- This cruise will take you along River Mandovi in the afternoon for some sightseeing followed by a few adventure activities in the River (Swimming, Kayak ride, Surf Board, Fishing and Snorkeling) including lunch and a few complimentary beers. It lasts for about 4 Hours. It is a budget option so the quality of the experience is questionable.

Watersports in Goa
Adventure Boat Cruise with Watersports
  • Sunset Cruise- This is a one hour trip in the evening that is inclusive of live Goan and Portuguese Folk dance performances and DJ with Bollywood music to dance to. There will be a counter where you could purchase Alcohol, juices or some finger food. This costs 500rs per head. The timing is around 6-7pm. Some boats have a similar trip after this which is exactly the same but is called Sundown Boat Cruise. These trips are also budget options one can enjoy at Panjim.

Sunset Cruise
Speedboat Sunset Trip

  • Dinner Cruise- An elaborate trip focused on entertainment and a longer cruising experience on River Mandovi. This trip is inclusive of Buffet Dinner (Veg/Non Veg), 2 complimentary drinks (Alcoholic/ Non Alcoholic) per person, Live Performances, DJ with Bollywood music for various dancing rounds as well as cruising. This goes on for 3 hours. Don't go on these boats expecting lavish dinner like how you would get in your Hotel. Enjoy the Cruising, the Entertainment and the Beautiful Views.

Goan Folk Dances on dinner Cruise
Folk Dances on a Dinner Cruise

Which is the best Boat for a Dinner Cruise?

There are a number of boats to choose from. The activities on the boat is fairly the same. What varies is the experience based on the service, quality of food, type of crowd, size of the boat, type of boat and the route they take while cruising. There are some boats that are exclusive for couples and families which are more expensive but are worth it since there aren't any crazy bachelors who would behave inappropriately. There are also boats that are dirt cheap as low as 800 per head which are overcrowded, have no proper seating, the crowd is cheap and also have substandard food. The typical price for a good boat would be 1300-1700 rs per person. These trips also have pick up and drop facility from Baga, Calangute, Candolim areas at an additional fee of Rs 200 per person.

The Best Boats for Dinner cruise in Goa are:

  1. Princesa De Goa

  2. Paradise Cruises (Family)

  3. Calma Cruises

  4. Ohana Cruise (Family)

Click here to check availability for your dates.

Dinner Cruise in Goa
River Cruise Goa

For a private Cruising Experience you can consider

  • Yacht Charters- Yachts are available in a variety of categories. They could be single hull vessels or catamarans. The capacity ranges from 6px to 25px. The base package is for 2 hours where one hour is cruising and another hour anchorage. The route is flexible and the timing depends on the slot you would like to take. Sunset slots are the most expensive. They range from Rs 18,000/- for 2 hours upto even Rs 60,000/- for 2 hours. If you get yachts any cheaper, there is a good chance the boat is not maintained well and would look very different from the photos shared with you while being suggested. You could bring your own food and alcohol for your yacht charter. It is meant for leisure cruising for friends, couples, families etc

Click here for more info

Private Cruise in Goa
Private Sunset Boat Cruise

  • Mangrove Boat Rides- These are canoe shaped motor boats that take you through the backwaters and even through Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. You can experience local and migratory birds, spot crocodiles and even enjoy the beautiful nature views through the mangroves. You can either hire the government boat at Dr Salim Ali Bird sanctuary which will cost Rs 1200 per person and 100 rs per head as forest fees. Another option is chartering a private boat for the same which will cost Rs 5000/- Rs per hour and can take upto 12 people per trip.

Bird Spotting Boat Trip in Goa
Mangrove Boat Ride

  • Party Boat- In case you are a group over 20 people upto around 300, you can choose to hire a boat based on your requirement and plan the cruise as an event. The boat charges are on hourly basis, Food, Drinks, Decor and Entertainment is Extra. This option can be chosen for Private Corporate Parties, Birthdays, Reunions, Incentives and Celebrations. The major advantage here is you have the freedom to choose the time slot, food of your choice and the best entertainment in the market.

Boat Cruise in Goa
Private Party Boat

The best boats in general Sail on River Mandovi in Goa. Primarily because of the number of Jetty's available along the river. If you'd like to get into the water and enjoy, Kayaking through the backwaters is a better option to choose from. The boating industry in Goa is ever changing and the management of the boats change every season.

if you would like to get the best of the options available in Goa, enquire with TOP GOA TOURS

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