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a - Answered a Question by Forbes (14 Nov 08 13:29)

Yes you need to get your own visas for India, prior to boarding.

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Wilba - Answered a Question by Forbes (14 Nov 08 14:45)

I too need Visas for Mumbai, Cochin & Goa & according to their website the Indian Consulate has handed all tourist visa applications to a visa agency. My experiences with these agencies they will sell you a visa whether you need one or not & as I understand it, the Indian Authorities are looking at relaxing the tourist visa requirements at Airports. I am going to hang back on applying to see whether they take this a stage further to the Cruise ship ports. If anyone has any further gen on this, positive or negative, I would be most grateful.........Regards Wilba.

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a - Answered a Question by Forbes (14 Nov 08 15:24)

I asked this question of RCI 2 days ago, and received emailed from them telling me that "India; They have to get their own, there are no arrangements onboard."....so that is what I am telling clients.

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Wilba - replied to a (14 Nov 08 15:37)

Thanks I am aware there is no 'blanket visa, at present but I've got till May 09 to do a bit more 'wait & see'.

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Sim - Answered a Question by Forbes (14 Nov 08 16:18)

Visited Mumbai and Cochin on P&O Aurora's 2008 world cruise and visas were essential. The Indian officials boarded the ship at Singapore and every passenger had to attend in person to have their passports and visas inspected. We went to Indian Consulate in Birmingham to acquire our visas at a cost of £30 each. This took the whole day because you had to leave your passports and documents in the morning and return in the afternoon to collect them and both times you had to wait in long queues. Couple we spoke to on board went through an agency who charged them £90 per person. Unless this process is simplified or made cheaper we have decided we will not be going back to India either for a holiday or on a cruise ship.

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Wilba - replied to Sim (14 Nov 08 16:49)

Yep! Brum no longer them for tourist. all handed over to an agency & if I've understood it correctly it's £30 Visa + £7.50 Agent fees + V A T.

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Wilba - replied to Sim (14 Nov 08 19:17)

Sim, Any do's or don't bothers tour wise in Mumbai/Cochin that you experienced or heard/recommended by yourself or otherwise would be gratefully received. I don't do cruise tours but would be glad to pick up any hints or tips first hand you or anyone else out there has to offer.......Regards Wilba.

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Forbes - replied to Sim (15 Nov 08 14:10)

Thanks for all answers - looks like we'll just have to get on with it - just hope we can get them on time. Probably won't go to India again so certainly don't want to miss the sights.

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Sim - Answered a Question by Forbes (15 Nov 08 10:59)

Wilba. Thank for information re Indian Visa. This seems reasonable and hopefully less hastle. We did it ourselves last year because the agent we approached said we might be without our passports for 6 weeks. Completely unacceptable. Owing to illness at Cochin did not go off ship but friends who did had mixed experiences organising their own excursions. Definitely possible to do your own thing in the city eg hiring a 'tuk tuk' for a city tour - one couple had a wonderful time with a very good, honest guide who did more for them than anyone could have expected even paying for their entrance to some of the sites. However, another couple were in the hands of a rogue who took them to the outskirts then demanded more money than the rate they had agreed. However they were rescued by another tuk tuk driver. The tuk tuks line up at the keyside and you have to take the first one in line so no real bargaining over price. Another couple took a local ferry to one of the islands with no problems. If you only want to stay in the city most people were happy and felt quite safe. However if you want to venture further afield to say the Backwaters of Kerala you will probably have to take the ship's tour and book early. Many people were disappointed because they did not book early enough. We took the ship's city tour in Mumbai in the afternoon - morning would have been better. To be honest interesting but nothing very special. Did not hear reports of anone doing their own thing. If you are an experienced traveller in the third world possibly do it yourself otherwise I would recommend the organised tours here. Whatever you do you will be inundated with hawkers at every tourist site. Hope this information is useful.

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Wilba - replied to Sim (15 Nov 08 13:37)

Many thanks for response it sounds like fun & I'm always up for a challenge for this sort of thing & have managed to survive the local taxi/tuk tuk/rickshaw/camel driver hierarchy in various parts of Asia......so far anyway....I'll let you know!! It's worth keeping an eye on visa situation, this is a 'paste' of a newspaper report from a few months ago....................'In a major change in its visa policies, India will soon introduce visa on arrival at its airports for foreign tourists, Kanthi Singh, the newly appointed Minister of State for Tourism and Culture of India, told Khaleej Times yesterday'. It would be nice if this a) takes place & b) follows through into the ports. Here's hoping & thanks again ..Wilba.

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