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We all know that to experience Alleppey backwaters, one need to make a trip in the canals and rivers of Alleppey in any means of water transport. One option is houseboat. Most of the guests book a houseboat for themselves. i.e. a private boat for their stay and backwater trip. Since houseboat stay is very expensive compare to hotel stay and the fact that availability is much less than requirement, some of the houseboat operators who have more than 3 or 4 rooms in a single boat start giving on sharing with other guests. That means, if a 4 or 5 bed room houseboat is given as sharing basis, each couple will get separate rooms with attached bathroom in one houseboat. They can share common lobby, dining area, top floor, sun deck etc, this is called a sharing houseboat.

Compare Cost Reduction in Case of Private and Sharing Houseboat in Alleppey

There is considerable reduction in prices of sharing houseboat than private houseboat. Below is a chart prepared to know average price reduction in case of sharing houseboat. The price is calculated during the season from 01 Oct onwards.

  Dlx houseboat Luxury, full time ac houseboat
Private Sharing Private Sharing
2 adults
1 dbl room
8000 4000 14000 to 16000 7000 to 8000
6 adults
One 3 bed room
17000 12000 30000 24000

8 adults
One 4 bed room

24000 17000 40000 32000

Though there is considerable price saving in case of sharing houseboats, it creates more problems than comfort.

Main problems about sharing boats are below

  • Most of the sharing houseboats have more than 3 rooms in one boat. That means, three or four different couple, who does not know each other, is going to stay in one boat.
  • Lobby in the houseboat is the main area where guests used to sit and have relaxing sightseeing. Most of the houseboats dining table is also placed in the lobby. In this case, one lobby and dining table is being shared by unknown three different couples. Naturally there will be a problem since three unknown couples sharing a common dining table.
  • Proper check in is a problem. Suppose one couple is staying in Alleppey and he is ready for check in at 12 P.M, but other one couple is coming from Kovalam and reaching at 13:00 Hrs only. In this case the boat start at 12 P.M, cruise for 40 mins and then come back to jetty to receive the guest at 13:00 Hrs. In case the third couple is coming from Munnar and he got delayed and reaching only at 15:00 Hrs, then either the boat need to wait till 15:00 Hrs or make some sightseeing and come back to jetty to receive other couple. The ultimate result is loss of sightseeing and visiting good places for which you are paying the money.
  • If someone wants to have an early check out, the boat needs to be placed where road access is there. Normally a boat start moving and having sightseeing in different canals and stay overnight in a village area and come back to main land for check out.
  • Security problems. Since these different couples joining together for an overnight stay, in case of any theft or any other problem faced by the guests, the boat staff may not be able to interfere.
  • Always veg food will be a problem. Pl note, out of 3 couples, in case two is jain or pure veg and other couple is non veg, everything is cooked in the same small kitchen. Who knows that utensils are being used to cook veg and non veg simultaneously?

How to identify a sharing houseboat booking?

In case if you are choosing a travel agent to book the houseboat, it may clearly mentioned that you need a private houseboat and not sharing. But if you book with an online travel portal, it is very difficult to identify whether it’s private or sharing. Just see below Screenshots from booking.com and makemytrip.com

Casino Houseboat (booking.com) Casino Houseboat (booking.com)

In the above & below screenshots, you can clearly mark that houseboats have more than one bedroom. So you will get one bedroom in a booking but if you wish to book more rooms you are free to book but it’s depends on availability of bedrooms. In this case online booking websites not mentioned that this will be shared houseboat. So you will get surprised when another couple/family checked in same boat at same time.

JCT Houseboat (makemytrip.com) JCT Houseboat (makemytrip.com)

In the above both screenshots, the picture of the boat is of Casino Boat and JCT boat which is having 11 rooms and 6 rooms respectively. If you further check the availability, it shows 2 adults, 1 room cost is 6550 and 7000 respectively. This means, you are getting a room out of 11 room/ 6 room houseboat, purely a sharing boat. Moreover, a sharing boat price is not more than 5000.

Our recommendation – Your vacation is planned many days and weeks ahead and looks for a comfortable, memorable and enjoyable trip. Do not spoil your enjoyment or vacation against a few thousand rupees. It is highly recommended to go for a private boat or stay in a resort, rather than book a sharing houseboat against a small saving.

Srees Tours, a local travel agent in Kumarakom (Alleppey) provides good houseboats with guaranteed service.