Like ‘you’, all the readers, I also did an immense research and read various reviews before booking a houseboat. There were blogs claiming the likes of Rainbow cruises, Grandeur Houseboats, Angel Queen Houseboats etc. to be the best ones in Alleppey and these boats claim to have hosted VIPs such as food traveler Anthony Bourdain, Sir Greg Chapel etc. However, all of these house boats have massive amount of poor reviews. Few have bad food, showers not working in the washroom, ACs not working in the nights, mosquitoes and bugs, hot water not available, untidy linen, unclean kitchens etc.
I was disappointed as I lost trust in all these luxury house boats. But then, we found ‘Spice Coast Cruise’ by ‘CGH Earth’ group.
Here is my recommendation for all who are planning for a Houseboat Stay… Before my detailed review, I recommend you to read this….
Why do you seek a full time AC houseboats? I tell you something, when we were in enjoying photographs in our houseboat, I saw these ugly ship size looking houseboats, completely covered with glasses where you have to share rooms as well. These boats are not worth the stay for the prices they charge. Throughout the boat, you have such a great breeze that you will not need AC. In our case we even switched off the fan, not because we were feeling cold, but because there was no need. And then there were other houseboats with loudspeakers, loud DJ music and people dancing and shouting, I believe that it was a pure headache to watch that, traveling in one of those could have been a complete disaster.
Detailed review of Spice Coase Cruise:
Our Houseboat was named, “Spice Coast Cruise Boat No.1”. This boat has only one bedroom and a comfortable sitting area at the front deck along with the dining area at the middle-lower deck. It is made completely from natural materials, the boats are powered by solar energy and vegetable oil. The check in time was 1:00 PM and the checkout time was 9:00 AM. We reached little early at around 11:45 AM and as we reached at their coastal office, we were welcomed by a local couple, I believe they were the local care takers, since the boats belong to ‘CHG Earth Group’. We told that we have reached early, and they told us, “No problem sir, your boat is ready and you are free to check-in right away without any additional cost”. We checked in after being introduced to and welcomed by our boat crew members, Mr. Tony Pereirra (Captain), Mr. Sanil Kumar (Co-Captain) and Mr. Kuchumohan (World’s best Chef – Ex Oberoi’s employee). Upon welcome we were given a Lemon and Ginger beverage, which was chilled and refreshingly delicious and the boat left in the meantime. Since the crew knew that we have a baby with us, to our surprise they had kept a nice clean baby sleeping cot with toys, simply amazing.
As we had boarded early, the crew gave us a detailed tour of the nearby island and local fishing spots. Around 12:15, they had asked about our preference of time for lunch and we agreed for 1:00. Following was our lunch (few photos added):
- Karimeen (2 Roasted full size fishes).
- – Kerala style Yoghurt curry.
- – Avial.
- – Beetroot Thoran.
- – Local fish curry.
- – Kairali Beans vegetable.
- – Raw Banana vegetable with mild gravy.
- – Papadam.
- – Kerala red rice.
- – Pickle.
- – Fresh cut fruits for our baby.
This was damn delicious and so much to eat. As we finished our lunch, the chef was very kind to offer milk for our baby, which was such a great help. While cleaning, they asked if we want to have some specific beverages (I hope you understand, the can provide one for you, if you need). We had stopped the boat from 1:00 – 2:00 for lunch, then we continued with further exploration. At 4:00 PM, tea was served along with raw banana fritters and bread pakodas, the boat did not stopped during evening snacks.
Approximately at 6:15 PM – 6:30 PM we reached at our parking area (we were late since the captain wanted us to see the local nearby coastal village, generally as per the government rule, boats have to be stopped by 5:30 PM, as fishermen spread nets to catch fishes during evenings).
As soon as we parked, the crew turned on the AC at our bedroom. And at around 8:00 PM, the dinner was served. Here is the menu for the dinner:
- – Crispy spiced Shrimps.
- – Assorted Vegetables in coconut gravy.
- – Dry Okra with caramelized onions.
- – Chicken in red hot curry.
- – Prawns with Drumsticks and Pumpkin in mild gravy.
- – Fried crispy chicken.
- – Steamed rice.
- – Dal.
- – Papadam.
- – Fresh Salad.
- – Pickle.
Again absolutely fresh and delicious and too much to eat from. We walked on the island where we had parked for a while and we headed for our room after collecting another bottle of milk, which chef had kept ready for the baby. The crew had kept our bed enclosed within mosquito net, so no problem with mosquitoes or bugs. We got up late in the morning at 8:00 AM, and to our surprise, no one disturbed us.
- Once we got ready at around 8:30, breakfast was served and following was the menu:
- – Bread toasts with butter and Jam.
- – Fresh Pineapple juice.
- – Black Coffee and Tea.
- – Fresh Pineapple and Bananas.
- – Idli.
- – Puttu Rice.
- – Assorted vegetables in coconut gravy.
- – Sambhar.
- – Cheese omelette.
We left after breakfast and crew asked if we want to eat anything else, we smiled and nodded a big ‘NO’. So they handed over another bottle of milk for the baby and the baby was more than happy. We reached back to the deck at around 10:30 AM and the car (Toyota Innova, at extra cost) to Cochin was kept ready for us as we were supposed to fly back to Mumbai.
Final Thoughts: I would like to say, this was the boat where we got the best and freshest food in entire Kerala and this is the only reason that we are keen on visiting Kerala back. Early check-in and late check-out was not a problem for ‘Spice Coast Cruise’. These house boats are eco-friendly boats, so do not expect television or music. Generally AC Timings at the bedroom are 5:30-6:00 PM till the time we leave the next day in the morning, however during the day hours, ceiling fan will be operational. Entire crew was so nice, that this was one of the most memorable vacation we ever had. They used to babysit while we used to enjoy food. All we can say is, we highly recommend ‘Spice Coast Cruise’, anytime and over anyone, easily. We hope this helps!
Room Tip: There are either single bedroom boats or double bedroom boats, Keep mosquito repellent while you travel. There is no TV.