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sunlover33

Recommendations for Mumbai

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Has anyone who has visited  Mumbai with Azamara any recommendations of what to do or indeed what to avoid. The time has been reduced from 13 to around 8 hours, we are there from 8.00am to 4.30pm happy for either Azamara  or arrange a private tour. We are aware time is limited but looking for something that will give us a little flavour of the place. Thanks 

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We went on an Azamara tour that did the main sites, a market a ride on the train and a visit to the outdoor laundry - I think it was called glimpses of mumbai and for us we thought it was a perfect flavour and had the advantage that there was no issue with our tour guide finding us (it is incredibly bureaucratic at the port and they change their rules all the time and private guides can be refused entry)

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I'd agree with uktog. I would try for an Azamara tour that goes to the laundry and does an overview. Ann said it. Bureaucracy rules in India. For the uninitiated, Mumbai can be daunting, but it's a wonderful place. Like all of India it attacks the senses. You need at least two days in the place to see a small part of it. The Indians are a lovely people.

 

The car horn is directly linked to both the brake and accelerator!

 

Phil  

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WE took this four hour tour  with Azamara called “ Marvels of Mumbai” in 2016. . We enjoyed it thoroughly. We enjoyed both museums. (note:  tour didn’t include the train ride). 

 


Experience the highlights of this fascinating city, with its Western monuments and Eastern sensibilities. Begin with the Gateway of India, the city's most famous landmark; an Indo-Saracenic archway built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. It was originally conceived as an entry point for passengers arriving on P&O steamers from England; today it is remembered more often as the place from which the British staged their final departure. After a short photo stop, you will continue to The Prince of Wales Museum, crowned by a white Mughal-style dome, the finest work done by architect George Wittet, who also designed the Gateway of India. It houses interesting displays of jade work, weapons from the Mughal Empire that belonged to Shah Jehan, Aurangzeb and Akbar, and clay and terracotta figures from the 3rd century BC.


When you leave the museum you'll take Marine Drive, Mumbai's seaside promenade, an eight-lane highway with a wide pavement. Its graceful curve sweeps from the skyscrapers at Nariman Point to the foot of Malabar Hill. The whole stretch is popular for strolling, and it is a great place for people watching. At the northern end is the lively Chowpatty Beach, a Mumbai institution.
Continue to Mani Bhavan, Gandhi's Bombay base between 1917 and 1934. Nowadays, a permanent museum and memorial to the Mahatma, it contains a research library of more than 20,000 volumes. A series of tiny dioramas tell his life story in an interesting fashion. The walls are covered with photographs of historic events and noteworthy people and there are a number of personal artefacts - including a letter to Hitler asking him not to go to war, plus correspondence with Roosevelt, Tolstoy, and Einstein. Gandhi's sitting room/bedroom is preserved behind glass.


On your way to the pier, drive past a most remarkable railway station. Inspired by St. Pancras Station in London, the Victoria Terminus was built during Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee year. It is an extraordinary conglomeration of domes, spires, Corinthian columns and minarets in a style described by journalist James Cameron as "Victorian-Gothic-Saracenic-Italianate-Oriental-St. Pancras-Baroque". The first train in India left from this station in 1853; today, half a million commuters use the station every day.
Note: Guests must be able to walk 3/4 of a mile over flat, uneven terrain, and navigate around 90 steps. Comfortable shoes are recommended. Please note a visa is required to enter India; guests must obtain the visa before leaving home through a visa service provider or local embassy.
PLEASE NOTE: (Mumbai) is a city of extremes and it can be an overwhelming experience for first time visitors. Being a third world country, the standards are not as you might be accustomed to and the buses are the best available. The best way to experience a different culture and way of life is to keep an open mind and fully absorb this unique opportunity.

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I’d also agree with uktog & Phil. We did a ship’s tour that included lunch at the Taj Mahal hotel as well as the laundry, station, train ride, Ghandi museum and market. The lunch was nice, but not necessary (we booked that tour because we had lots of OBC to use up). The highlights were the laundry, Ghandi museum and train ride as well as the general overview of Mumbai. As they both say there is lots of bureaucracy everywhere, especially on the dock. It is easier to do a ships tour.

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Thanks everyone and good advice re bureaucracy. I think  we will take  a look at what Azamara is offering. They have a tour  called ‘shades of Mumbai’ which seems to incorporate some of the stops above. Must admit the outdoor laundry sounds fascinating. 

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I organised a private tour and ended up with 10 of us; recruited from the Cruise Critic Roll Call. From over 20 cruises, I rate this as one of if not the best tour. Great young guide, good group of people for the day, great mini bus and we saw much more in a small group (note : we didn’t visit the slums - the guide is ethical about this and we all agreed completely). If you’re interested, post your email and I’ll send you details.

regards

Tony

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7 hours ago, AJCM said:

note : we didn’t visit the slums - the guide is ethical about this and we all agreed completely).

I agree, the slums would be somewhere we  definitely would not want to visit, I think ethically it would be difficult to justify. How long ago did you do this trip and did you have any  problems with bureaucracy as described on the posts above? Incidentally are you the same Tony who did the Jerusalem trip I organised in 2016, although I guess there may be more than one Tony in Australia! If you could give me the name of your guide,  I would be interested in looking at all our options. 
Thanks

Chris 

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Yes Chris, there is only one Tony in Australia after all. Great tour to Jerusalem and thanks again for organising. It just so happens that was also one of, if not, the best tour. I’ve sent an email to hopefully the right Chris.

Tony

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2 hours ago, sunlover33 said:

I agree, the slums would be somewhere we  definitely would not want to visit, I think ethically it would be difficult to justify. How long ago did you do this trip and did you have any  problems with bureaucracy as described on the posts above? Incidentally are you the same Tony who did the Jerusalem trip I organised in 2016, although I guess there may be more than one Tony in Australia! If you could give me the name of your guide,  I would be interested in looking at all our options. 
Thanks

Chris 

I had a really enlightening conversation with the taxi driver who took me from my hotel, the Vivanta Taj President to the port in the morning to catch the ship. The hotel was pretty much right next to a slum area where he actually lived and I asked him what it was like.  It quickly became apparent that in spite of our western view of this as “poverty”, he considered himself very lucky to be so far up the ladder.  It’s an entire self supporting community with all the infrastructure and businesses there needs to be.  

 

The real poverty are those that live and sleep on the streets.  These people are absolutely everywhere, sleeping on the pavements.  It’s humbling.  We don’t know how lucky we are.  

 

Phil

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6 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

I had a really enlightening conversation with the taxi driver who took me from my hotel, the Vivanta Taj President to the port in the morning to catch the ship. The hotel was pretty much right next to a slum area where he actually lived and I asked him what it was like.  It quickly became apparent that in spite of our western view of this as “poverty”, he considered himself very lucky to be so far up the ladder.  It’s an entire self supporting community with all the infrastructure and businesses there needs to be.  

 

The real poverty are those that live and sleep on the streets.  These people are absolutely everywhere, sleeping on the pavements.  It’s humbling.  We don’t know how lucky we are.  

 

Phil

You’re right Phil. It’s the street people who have things worst. We’ll never forget in Mumbai, when the tour bus was stuck in a traffic jam, seeing a guy flat out on the pavement, right next to a guard standing outside an office building. The chap on the pavement was clearly very ill, you could see his laboured breathing, and people walking along the pavement just stepped around him & ignored his plight.

Edited by Host Grandma Cruising

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I have an adversion to ship tours (overpriced and over promised).  I have used Mumbai Magic twice in Mumbai, and used their other partners in several other Indian cities.  The first time was all the usual sights  mentioned (Gahndi house, gates, Taj Mahal hotel etc), the second time a more personalized tour (Sasoon docks, flea market, girls school etc).  Prices will be much and the tour guides are very good.  Plus it's a woman owned firm.  Contact them you will not be sorry. https://www.mumbaimagic.com/

Lisa

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8 hours ago, AJCM said:

Yes Chris, there is only one Tony in Australia after all. Great tour to Jerusalem and thanks again for organising. It just so happens that was also one of, if not, the best tour. I’ve sent an email to hopefully the right Chris.

Hi Tony, what a small world we live in!  Jerusalem was a good trip, great guide and great  company, we also made a great trivia team too. Hope you are both well and still happily cruising. I have just received your e mail thank you.

 

Chris 

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6 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

It’s humbling.  We don’t know how lucky we are.  

I agree totally, sometimes I feel very uncomfortable getting off a luxury ship and seeing such poverty, but I suppose we are helping to support the economy, which would be worse without tourism. I often wonder what the waiters and other crew think privately while on board when you see how some  people waste food, while they are all sendIng  most of their money home to support their families,  although most are too professional to let their distaste show. 

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There are some great museums in Mumbai. Ghani's home a must see. I did not do a train but walked thrust a great market area. 

 

 

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We did a fantastic tour in Mumbai which is part of a charity which employs youngsters from the slums who act as your guides in return for help through college. They are utterly charming and give an unforgettable insight into Mumbai.

 

 http://mumbai-magic.blogspot.com/2012/05/students-who-make-me-proud-photos-from.html

 

It was such a professional organisation I do recommend them. We finished the day with afternoon tea at The Taj Hotel , which of course has it`s own story to tell. Our pre arranged driver picked us up at the allotted time and dropped us back to the port As it was our last port in India as we got out of the car my husband gave the driver the last of our rupees (not more than £15.00 worth)as there was little point in hanging on to them and it is illegal to take them out of the country. Well you would have thought we had given this poor man the world he was almost in tears. It was the last, and possibly the most important, lesson I was taught that day. 

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9 hours ago, Charlies Aunt said:

We did a fantastic tour in Mumbai which is part of a charity which employs youngsters from the slums who act as your guides in return for help through college. They are utterly charming and give an unforgettable insight into Mumbai.

 

 http://mumbai-magic.blogspot.com/2012/05/students-who-make-me-proud-photos-from.html

 

It was such a professional organisation I do recommend them. We finished the day with afternoon tea at The Taj Hotel , which of course has it`s own story to tell. Our pre arranged driver picked us up at the allotted time and dropped us back to the port As it was our last port in India as we got out of the car my husband gave the driver the last of our rupees (not more than £15.00 worth)as there was little point in hanging on to them and it is illegal to take them out of the country. Well you would have thought we had given this poor man the world he was almost in tears. It was the last, and possibly the most important, lesson I was taught that day. 

Great story. Sounds like a really good tour too. 

 

Phil 

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10 hours ago, Charlies Aunt said:

We did a fantastic tour in Mumbai which is part of a charity which employs youngsters from the slums who act as your guides in return for help through college. They are utterly charming and give an unforgettable insight into Mumbai.

What a fabulous idea, this would work in many cities in the world, ( and maybe it does) as a tourist it would feel as though you were giving something back to the country. Will look into this. 

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I would like to see Azamara partner with providers like this for a more ethical land discoveries experience than they currently are offering in many parts of the world. 

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6 minutes ago, uktog said:

I would like to see Azamara partner with providers like this for a more ethical land discoveries experience than they currently are offering in many parts of the world. 

Completely agree, and they may find that there is more uptake.

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1 hour ago, uktog said:

I would like to see Azamara partner with providers like this for a more ethical land discoveries experience than they currently are offering in many parts of the world. 

I would hesitate them trying to involve themselves in a tour like the one Charlies Aunt did.  Much better to leave that sort of thing to the locals I think. 

 

Phil 

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11 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

I would hesitate them trying to involve themselves in a tour like the one Charlies Aunt did.  Much better to leave that sort of thing to the locals I think. 

 

Phil 

I was meaning Azamara partner in that they put business their way as they do with the local community cooperative in Cartagena not that they take over!!!

Edited by uktog

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We did a Mumbai tour a couple of years ago with Amaze Mumbai tours and that worked well.  When we're in Mumbai on Quest on 27th December, we're intending doing our own thing to Elephanta Island and maybe a bit of a wander in the afternoon.  After we get off the ship the next day, we've arranged afternoon tea at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

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10 hours ago, uktog said:

I was meaning Azamara partner in that they put business their way as they do with the local community cooperative in Cartagena not that they take over!!!

I'm not sure what they do in Cartagena Ann. Would it work in Mumbai?  Just seems that the way it is organised as a private tour now works best without the help of Azamara banging the "look how we help the local community" drum.  More authentic.

 

Phil 

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