On my second trip to Kerala in India, I was lucky enough to spend a wonderful night on board one of the best luxury houseboats in Alleppey. Embarking on this beautiful boat journey through the backwaters of Kerala with Blue Jelly Cruises was a total dream come true. The blend of luxury and nature, the delicious dinners and the chance to relax as local life slipped by. Read on for my full Blue Jelly Cruises review.
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- Flying Fluskey in Alleppey
- Welcome Onboard our Blue Jelly Cruises Houseboat
- The Onyx
- What Are the Bedrooms Like on Blue Jelly Cruises?
- What is the Food Like On Board Blue Jelly Cruises?
- Cruising the Backwaters of Kerala
- Discovering St Mary’s Church
- Relaxing at the Blue Jelly Resort
- Final Thoughts on Time with Blue Jelly Cruises
Flying Fluskey in Alleppey
Cruising the backwaters of Kerala, was my big unticked box. On our first trip to Kerala, we were unfortunate enough to come up against a strike. Every mode of transport powered by petrol (gas) was resolutely stationary. We were due to take one of the luxury houseboats in Alleppey, but the idea of spending all that money on a boat that didn’t move didn’t appeal. Instead, we hopped on a train down to Varkala, a clifftop resort town, where we chilled out until the end of the trip. Ever since I had suffered severe regret that we didn’t board any of the luxury houseboats in Alleppey.
Welcome Onboard our Blue Jelly Cruises Houseboat
The Kerala Blog Express coach pulled into the entrance to Blue Jelly and, as we were the last to be dropped off, we were all champing at the bit to get on board. The staff took us through the Blue Jelly Resort and onto the private dock. As we boarded the houseboat, into the whoosh of welcome air-conditioning, we were each presented with a pretty flower garland and fresh coconut. I loved putting my flowers in the bathroom. Garlands liven them up and if the garland is made of jasmine, the blooms are a natural air freshener.
We took our overnight bags to our rooms and settled in as the boat pulled out onto the water. After a quick room tour video, we all dashed to the front to take in the view.
Blue Jelly Cruises has four boats and ours, The Onyx, is one of the smaller ones. The interiors were flawlessly clean with one long corridor along the side with a large sinks for hand washing the rooms going off it. I loved the pearlescent flooring which seemed to glow at night.
At the front was the main room with the dining area and some seating. It had windows all around so was a really nice spot for eating. We requested music and they let us connect to the Bluetooth which made dinner nice and relaxed.
What Are the Bedrooms Like on Blue Jelly Cruises?
The decor was modern with a couple of slightly twee additions. Saying that, if I was taking this cruise as a special occasion with my other half, I would love the frilly bed curtains. The large windows with the seating area were great, allowing in lots of light and the chance to take in the views from the comfort of the air-conditioning. We were visiting in monsoon season, and actually, the weather was incredibly kind to us during our sailing, but if it had been raining, we would have taken the chance to sit inside and watch the scenes outside.
On the Onyx, there are three bedrooms. These can all be made up as doubles or twins depending on the guests’ requirements. As we were travelling in a group, and sharing rooms, our was set with two single beds. The mattresses were very comfortable and I slept really well until the alarm went off in the morning.
The room had three plug outlets which were enough for the average person but with all of our electronics, we did struggle. My multiplug wouldn’t work in two of the outlets, and the one that seemed to work must have stopped about two minutes after we went to bed. We woke up and nothing was charged. It wasn’t ideal. However, if we had only had single items that needed charging, it would have been fine.
There was a large wardrobe with a safe but as we only had small bags, we didn’t use this at all. Instead, we piled everything onto every available surface and lived like slobs for the night.
I was impressed at the size of the bathroom and how “unboaty” it felt. There was tiling around the walls in a nice, warm hue, making it feel very luxe. There was also a huge rainfall shower head in the huge shower. This is not the pokey little shower cubicle you can expect on a regular cruise ship. The water on board, as elsewhere in India, was not for drinking but filtered watered was provided for drinking and brushing our teeth… And speaking of brushing our teeth, there was a full selection of bathroom amenities including a dental kit, comb, shampoo and conditioner etc.
What is the Food Like On Board Blue Jelly Cruises?
We had three meals on board our Blue Jelly Cruise and each was delicious. The emphasis was on local specialities but we were asked about our desired level of spice. There were a couple of members of the group that didn’t enjoy spice so they tempered it for some of the dishes.
We were also offered an omelette with our choice of cheese and vegetables. We had black coffee. South Indian coffee tends to be quite weak and very heavy on the milk so if you are more used to a strong blend, opt for black with maybe a little milk on the side.
This was the first meal we had, an hour or so after we boarded.
There was a variety of local dishes with some real standouts:
- The crispy bitter gourd was by far the best way to eat this tricky vegetable
- The prawns were packed with flavour, both the natural sweet prawn meat and the spices that were added. (Yes, I had way above my allowance).
- The beans and coconut were a combination I hadn’t tried before but thoroughly enjoyed
- On a side plate, we all had a Pearl Spot fish. These small fish are quite honey so watch out while you are separating the flakes.
- The beetroot curd had a wonderful kick along with the sweet creaminess and I had rather a lot.
Dinner came with all kinds of dishes again.
- The chicken and king fish was nice but it was all about the rice and curry for me.
- The soft paneer dish was creamy, a little spicy and highly addictive.
- Parotta all day day, every day please!
Very kindly, they provided a bottle of wine for us to enjoy with dinner, which was a very welcome surprise.
Cruising the Backwaters of Kerala
The engines at the back of a houseboat puttered, and the gentle waves slapped the hull as the boat carved through the water. They were four seats set just behind the captain and the group settled in, taking in the view. Along the banks of the waterway, people went about their day. I guess they are so used to seeing these tourist boats passing that they barely glanced up. In contrast, when we passed other boats, everybody waved frantically. I mean, it is the rule that you wave to other people on boats.
However, it wasn’t all relaxing as we were each given a turn at the wheel. Although the river was wide, the backseat captain told us to turn left, left, left, right, right, right! He obviously knew where the shallower areas were that needed to be avoided. It was a lot of fun!
As the sun set, more and more people came down to the riverside. Some were bathing, some doing the laundry and there were plenty of children playing in the water. It was so lovely to see real life taking place is so naturally something with the water. Of course, on such a big boat, we couldn’t go down the small canals that ran through the villages, but having done so on a previous trip to Kerala, it is clear that these waters are really important to these people’s lives.
Discovering St Mary’s Church
Stepping inside, my breath was taken away as I saw the paintings on the ceiling. From its bleached exterior, I wasn’t expecting such a riot of colour within. I was trying to see the organ, which was awfully European of me as there isn’t one. The next morning when we floated past it once again, we heard everybody chanting which was very different from the lacklustre hymns warbled out in churches across the UK every Sunday.
Relaxing at the Blue Jelly Resort
Blue Jelly is the only cruise company that has its own private dock, which means that guests can disembark in the evening and relax in the resort. There is a pool here and a room with games, including pool and table tennis. We took some time to play games which I merrily lost… Yes, I lost everything; the games and my dignity.
Final Thoughts on Time with Blue Jelly Cruises
If you are craving the perfect blend of glamour in unique natural surroundings, you know where to steer your thoughts. Taking one of the luxury houseboats through Kerala’s tranquil backwaters should be on everyone’s India bucket list. Whether you are with a group of friends, ready to have a small boat party, a work group looking for a special work getaway or a couple organising a romantic honeymoon, you’ll find the perfect houseboat with Blue Jelly Cruises.