The 1865-founded company, Pandaw, a big name in posh river cruises in Southeast Asia, was revived in 1995. There’s enough colonial heritage that lingers: in the beautiful brass-and-teak staterooms, the elegant promenade and observation decks, and even in the very concept of floating past the shores, comfortably insulated from the hustle and bustle of inland life. Pandaw’s ships have ‘ultra-shallow drafts’, which means they can travel to remote areas unreachable by other vessels. The cruises pride themselves on being essentially an outdoor experience and so skip comforts like mini-bars and satellite televisions. Their India cruise, titled ‘Slowly Down the Ganges’, sails between Kolkata and Varanasi over a leisurely 15 days, taking in Kalna, Murshidabad, Vikramshila, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya and other major sites. Visit