Tuesday, November 29, 2011

As the heavy engineering work on the steel hull and superstructure winds to a halt, the welding, cutting and hammering is coming to an end and the wiring and plumbing work has begun.

Since the Eid break, work has been gathering pace, and the February commencement of operations looks likely.
Finally it is possible to begin the complex work of scheduling the four full tours of the 2,500 km of navigable water ways, with passengers able to choose whereabouts in the country they would most like to be at leisure on the placid water ways, with banks alive with rural life, and the riches of the extraordinary two thousand and more year history of one of the world’s most ancient centres of trade, commerce and religion.

Dozens of skilled young men, working hard to meet the February deadline, were joined last week by members of the Cox’s Bazar Lifesaving and Surf Club, for whom, as disadvantaged young men and women, working on the boat will provide the livelihood that will enable then to both support families, and keep surfing in the great summer season. 

They are preparing to meet the demanding expectations of passengers by learning of kitchen, housekeeping, restaurant service, and activity support, including wind surfing.

The friendly atmosphere, combined with a commitment to service excellence, which many of the young people have already had experience of in Cox’s Bazar, the country’s favourite sea beach destination, will help to ensure that cruising on MV Tanguar Haor will be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for all ages, with these fit and lively young people, experienced surfers and trained lifeguards, to ensure both enjoyment and safety.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

As the steel work stage of construction nears completion, the devil, of course, is in the detail. A six hour meeting with the designers and builders paces through tricky details in fixtures and fittings.

Meanwhile, cabin and public room designs and schemes are finalised and initial recruitment and training is in the final stages of planning.
No one had ever done this kind of work in Bangladesh before, and we are determined to get it as right as we can from the start.
The management team for both cruise programmes on the 2 or 3000 kilometres of navigable river waters of Bangladesh (seasonably variable!), and on board service, facilities and activities, is coming together, with a wide diversity of skills and experience brought. Education from US, UK, Spain and even Australia enhances the enthusiasm of the youthful Bangladeshi team who have not had the same opportunities as some of their compatriots.
Setting up online booking and payment systems is not exactly a ‘walk in the park’ here in Bangladesh, where no merchants are permitted to register by such funds transfer programmes as Paypal.
Sourcing supplies of such onboard facilities as windsurfing is also not easy, and they need to be in country in plenty of time for the young surfers who will manage many of the on board activities to become familiar with all the problems, ensuring the highest level of skill and safety.

Even such basics as mountain bikes are not so easy to source, nor kayaks, which have obvious potential on these waters. As for fishing gear...well, we shall have rod and reel sets, but we think some local bamboos and line will add to the entertainment! There is, after all, nothing quite like fish, freshly caught in safe water, to improve the taste of supper!
The tension is certainly increasing. The ship will soon be ready to make its first, short, journey, into the Meghna, ready for fitting out, sea trials, and its first commercial journey.

Will everything be ready for the family who have booked all cabins for a family Christmas gathering from the great diaspora, cruising in luxury to the Sundarban? Or for the group of expats who like the idea of a New Year Party on water whilst cruising these tranquil waters? Or will a Valentine’s Day party be our first real entertainment on board, perhaps heading up the Ganges/Padma towards Tagore and Lalon Shah’s poetic home at Kushtia?
Only time will tell.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The Tanguar Haor is going nowhere right now! The dream that is planned to open the rich history, the diverse and colourful culture and traditions, the world famous cuisine, and the incredible natural environment and outstanding wildlife that includes such as the Royal Bengal Tiger, of Bangladesh and the delta lands of the famous Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, is completing construction at Khan Brothers new shipyard on the banks of the Meghna river.
The latest in a tradition of shipbuilding that goes back over 2,000 years, and has produced some of the loveliest river craft in the world, as well as sea going craft favoured by nations across the world, the Tanguar Hoar is a first for Bangladesh.

What better way for visitors to explore the country than by using the routes used by ancient Greeks and Romans, Phoenicians and Arabs, to the great Empires of Europe, Asia and Africa.  These travellers traded and explored the great deltaic lands of the Delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, the world’s largest delta system with over 700 rivers, branches and tributaries. By water!

The MV Tanguar Haor, named for the world famous natural wetland in Northern Bangladesh, home of countless indigenous and migratory species of ‘birds of the air, fish of the sea, and beasts of the forest’, is certainly, even with the history of Kings, Princes, Emperors, Viceroys, Explorers and Traders..not to mention Pirates and Administrators, including the fabulously rich Zaminders of Mughal and British periods, the most comfortable, luxurious and safest vessel to ply the waters through which have passed torrents of silks and satins

With a maximum capacity of 26 travellers, served by a crew of 18  friendly and welcoming young people, for whom hospitality is not just a skill but a continuing tradition, in cabins with attached hot and cold water (all treated before discharge), air conditioning and fans, supported by solar and wind power, and a comfortable dining room with visitable kitchen, in which chefs from every port of call will serve their local speciality, sharing the benefits of tourism throughout the riverside communities with their own culture, traditions, entertainments and skills

Relaxing lounges or comfortable chairs in private with views through secure picture windows of the passing, largely unspoilt world, shaded lounges and air decks, together with expert guides to ensure comfort and safety, and lead expeditions to the tangible riches of a great history, offer the prospect of the journey of a lifetime.

Choose your journey. From the fastest available travel to world famous Sundarban, home of the Royal Bengal Tiger, through a leisurely cruise with visits through the ‘Cradle of Buddhism’ including world Heritage Paharpur, some of the other 150 sites in North Bengal and the rich collection of sculpture and artefacts in Rajshahi, to a unique exploration of the History of Hinduism from its earliest Animist and Shaminic ancient origins to the 19th Century resurgence in Bangladesh.
Then there’s the Impress of Islam, from the lifetime of the Holy Prophet himself, the great mosque development since the 7th Century, and the world’s second largest annual gathering of the faithful, or the extraordinary sophistication of the Mughal Empire, in these, the lands the Emperor Aurangzeb himself, successor of Shah Jahan, described as ‘The Paradise of Nations’.

And the infamous East India Company and Raj period, in which, not only over 120 palaces were built by the fabulous zaminders, but roads and bridges, hospitals and schools. Or, in the land in which Mahayana Buddhism developed, and the great Tantric and Yogic traditions, seize the opportunity for an activity holiday with endless opportunities for trekking, mountain cycling, wildlife watching, angling, golfing, surfing, even traditional wrestling and kabbadi.

Amazing what difference one well planned 42 metre River Cruiser can offer, isn’t it?

Well, follow this blog to share in the adventures of this exciting addition to the international travel and tourism market!