Cunard Cruise 2012
Trip Day 11
Saturday, March 31st
Cochin, India

Today's port of call is Cochin, India. This is one of two ports of call the cruise has in India.

The time in all of India is 10.5 hours ahead of home . The time zone is IST or India Standard Time. There is no daylight time in India so it stays this time year round.

The shore excursion that I have selected for here is called "The Best of Cochin". It is scheduled to take 5 hours and the departure time is not shown in the information I am working from at this point . Here is the description from Cunard's information:

Enjoy the highlights of Cochin followed by a leisurely harbour cruise to give you a real feel of Cochin.

Embark of a journey through the distinctly characteristic city of Cochin to Fort Cochin, where a stop will be made at St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. You’ll then visit the Indo-Portuguese Museum. This Museum was established in a bid to protect and showcase the rich cultural heritage and Portuguese influence. Take a short walk past the local fish market, where locals have their catch cooked and served to them, to the Chinese fishing nets. These nets are set up on bamboo poles and held horizontally by huge mechanisms, which lower them into the sea. This is a unique symbol of the centuries-old influence on this coastline.

Refreshments of tea, coffee and cakes will be served at a local hotel, before heading to the Mattancherry area, for a visit to the Dutch Palace. Now a museum, it features India’s finest mythological murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits, exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi and a rare example of traditional Kerala flooring. Afterwards, take a walk through Jew Town past the oldest Jewish Synagogue in India and the local shops selling spices, handicrafts and antiques.

Finally, enjoy a relaxing cruise on the backwaters surrounding the harbour, where you’ll see country boats laden with various wares. As you pass the islands of Vallarpadam, Gundu and Bolghatty, you’ll get a glimpse of local life on the various islands.

As always there are some additional notes and here are those;

Note: The boats are not equipped with a PA system, so no commentary will be given, however the guide is available to answer questions. Guests who choose to sit on the upper deck are required to wear a life jacket. The cruise is approximately one hour. There are 18 steps to negotiate at the Dutch Palace. There is approximately 1½ hours walking in total.

So, this is the plan for this day.

What actually happened!!!

The ship arrived at the appointed time of 10:30. The "Best of Cochin" shore excursion departed from the Queen's Room on the ship at 12:15.

Here is the first part of today's entry from the second edition of the Cruise Update:

Today’s port of call is Cochin, India. The biggest attraction of this area to the world has been spices. I gathered that it may have been as big or be bigger than Sri Lanka. The British East India Company ruled here for something close to 150 years before India’s independence in 1947. The excursion here was called The Best of Cochin. The excursion touched on the important places in the city mainly the Chinese Fishing Nets, St Francis Church, some shopping (there is always some of this), and the Jewish synagogue amongst a few other less than interesting places.

Here are some pictures taken as the coach departed the ship and headed to the first stop which were the Chinese fishing nets and St. Francis Church.

Ship AM 1 Dock AM 2
The rear of the ship from the pier. Some of the busses lined up on the pier awaiting excursions.
Dock AM 3 Shore Excursion AM 1
The ship through the bus window as the bus left the pier. Some of the local truck traffic.
Shore Excursion Am 2 Shore Excursion AM 3
The pier where the ship docked was on an island.
This was taken from the bridge to another island.
More of the local traffic.
Shore Excursion AM 4 Shore Excursion AM 5
This looks like a wiring nightmare!!! A liquefied natural gas facility on another island.
Shore Excursion AM 6 Shore Excursion AM 7
Another one of those communal clothes lines like
I saw in Sri Lanka yesterday.
A cricket pitch. Cricket and soccer are very big here.

As noted above the first stop was at the Chinese Fishing Nets, St Francis Church, and a hotel for a refreshment break. The first part of this stop was at the fishing nets. These were once quite a business here but were almost completely wiped out after the tsunami of 2004. The ones that are left are just tourist attractions now. Here are a few pictures of those.

Fishing Nets 1 Fishing Nets 2
Lots of annoying street vendors here. One of the nets.
Fishing Nets 3 Fishing Nets 4
This and the next two pictures show one of the nets
being raised out of the water.
Partially up.
Fishing Nets 5 Fishing Nets 6
Almost all the way up. One last picture of the net in fishing position.

St. Francis Church was just a short walk from here. Here is a brief section from the 2nd Cruise Update that talks about this.

The church has been around since the early 1500’s in one form or another. Vasco de Gama, the great Portuguese navigator and explorer died here in 1524 and was buried here for 14 years until has son came and took his remains back to Portugal.

The next group of pictures shows the church with the first one showing something we saw along the walk to the church.

Snake Charmer 1 Church 1
A snake charmer hard at work with his snakes
along the way to the church.
The facade of the church.
One description said this faced west and the other one said east.
This was taken around 2:00 p.m. so west is likely right.
Church 2 Church 5
I think this may have been where Vasco Da Gamma, the first European navigator from Portugal to India was laid to rest after dying here in 1524.
His son moved the remains to Portugal in 1538.
The inside of the church.
Church 3 Church 4
A closer view of the front of the church. This is the memorial to Vasco da Gama.
In case you cannot read what it says, here it is:
Remembering Vasco da Gama
Portuguese Navigator, he arrived in Cochin in 1502
where he died and was first buried in 1524.
Later its remains were transferred to Lisbon,
and they lie since then, in Monastery of Jerónimos.
The three pictures at the bottom are of the Tower of Belem, Lisbon; the Monastery of Jerónimos, Lisbon; and the Tomb of Vasco do Gama, Lisbon.
(The wording above is exactly as it is in the picture.)

The next stop was another short trip to a shore front hotel. For whatever reason I never took any pictures of this. It may have been because it was very hot and humid here. I did take a picture of the hotels sign but not of the hotel. Here is the sign which will at least tell you what hotel we were at.

Hotel Sign

From here the group boarded the bus and headed back to the town which is actually called Fort Cochin. Once here we got off the bus and took a walk through the downtown area. What follows are some pictures taken during this walk.

Walking Tour 1 Walking Tour 2
The mandatory shopping stop was here! Another one of those wiring nightmares like above.
Walking Tour 3 Walking Tour 5
An interesting colored house.

The Jewish Synagogue.
Here is my description from the second Cruise Update:

Apparently there are only about 19 Jewish people left in Cochin so the Jewish Synagogue has only a very small congregation.
It was closed because it was Saturday.

Walking Tour 4 Walking Tour 6
Some of the buildings along the main street. The yard around the Dutch Palace museum.
Walking Tour 7
A fairly normal sight in this part of the world.

There was a stop at a museum at the end of this walk. I think it was the Dutch Palace referred to in the description at the top of the page. It was so uninteresting (at least to me anyway) that I did not even take a picture of it. Here is the description of the last part of the excursion as I reported it in the second Cruise Update.

The excursion culminated with a short boat ride around Cochin’s harbour showing us some of the things we saw on land from a different perspective. The boat ride ended just a short distance from the ship and for the first time on this cruise an excursion arrived back at the ship before the expected time and not after it.

Here is a group of pictures taken during this final section of the excursion.

SE Cruise 1 SE Cruise 2
The Queen Elizabeth from were we departed on the cruise. The previous picture was taken through the space between the man in the centre and the woman (his wife I think) to his left.
SE Cruise 3 SE Cruise 4
Where the cruise departed from. The boat with some of the passengers.
The bridge we drove across earlier is right in the centre
but in this small picture it is hard to see.
SE Cruise 5 SE Cruise 6
Boats tied up along the shore. More colourful boats along the shore.
SE Cruise 7 SE Cruise 8
Another colourful boat along the shore. Some of the passengers looking in the direction we are going.
The lady taking the picture is taking what is in the picture below.
SE Cruise 9 SE Cruise 10
The Chinese fishing nets
with the gas storage facility in the background.
Dufferin Point as the sign painted on the wall says.
SE Cruise 11 SE Cruise 12
Another of the islands here.
There are three large ones and a few other small ones.
The ship with the red funnel in the distant left is the Queen Elizabeth.
We docked at the hut on the right.
SE Cruise 13
This boat looks like it may be having a bit of a problem!

Here, from the second Cruise Update, is a comment about Cochin followed by how the day ended.

Cochin is not the most representative of modern day India. It is a bit more forward looking in its religious beliefs than much of the rest of India, apparently.

The Captain delayed the ships departure by 30 minutes because the Indian Immigration Authorities in Cochin wanted a face to face inspection of all the passengers. The authorities here had about 15 people doing the inspections and it only took about two hours to do the just under 2000 passengers on the ship. This is unlike Phuket the other day were there were only going to be a couple of inspectors for all the people on the ship.

The ship sailed shortly after 6:30pm heading for Mumbai on Monday.

Here are a few pictures taken as the ship departed Cochin.

Departure 1a Departure 2
The shoreline of Cochin with the gas tanks just right of centre. The ships name lit up at night.

Departure 3

The Pavilion Pool and Bar with the shoreline of Cochin in the distance on the left.

So I completed a very hot and sticky day on the southwest coast of India. There is a days break at sea and then to Mumbai and the start of the Taj Mahal four day and three night shore excursion.

On to day 12!!!

Created: Feb. 23, 2012
The"What actually happened" update was started: September 17, 2012
The "What actually happened" update was completed: September 21, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 5:23 PM