India’s largest city, known as Bombay until very recently, possesses an energy and gusto that few cities can imitate. On your India cruise, a stop in Mumbai quickly shows visitors both thousands of years of history and a modern, bustling hub for film and industry. Don’t miss a stroll or a car ride along the Queen’s Necklace, or Mumbai’s Marine Drive, where you’ll be engulfed by the Arabian Sea and the Mumbai skyline.
Thousands of years of history is preserved at sites like the Elephanta Caves and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum. During your time in Mumbai, shop along the chaotic Colaba Causeway. Sip a gin cocktail in one of the city’s many speakeasy lounges. Tour the ornate Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, where celebrities gather and tragedies strike. Spend the day on a Bollywood set, marveling at India’s biggest stars, or among lush plant life at the Hanging Gardens, a rest from the lights and noise. After all, Mumbai is a city full of contradictions like that.
For an afternoon in true opulence, head to the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, which has been a shining star of the Mumbai cityscape since opening in 1924. The hotel is linked with decades of Mumbai history, which you can learn about on a guided tour through the grounds. Stay for drinks and a five-star dinner in luxe style.
Take a ferry from the stunning Gateway of India on the way to this UNESCO World Heritage Site and stand in awe of the cave temples honoring Hindu deities. For history buffs, touring the carved basalt stone Elephanta Caves drops you in the center of Mumbai history and culture.
Head to this monument commemorating British royalty visiting Mumbai in the early 20th century, where you can take in the sight of the arch. The Gateway is one of the symbols of the city, frequented by photographers and artists for its beautiful architecture, and a must-see for visitors to Mumbai.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, previously known at the Prince of Wales Museum, is one of Mumbai’s enduring heritage sites, which contains collections and exhibits of art, artifacts, and textiles dating back thousands of years. Art lovers can’t miss this museum during their Mumbai cruise. The museum is closed on Mondays.
From cheap street eats to clothing and fabrics for sale, Colaba Causeway is arguably Mumbai’s most famous shopping experience. Of course, you’ll have to have strong willpower as you navigate the stalls. Persistent vendors hawking jewelry, books, and bargains will tempt you. Carry a few extra rupees and bring home some of Mumbai’s treasures.
Bollywood is where the magic of India’s movie-making industry happens. Head out on a guided tour of Film City while you’re on your Mumbai cruise. See a showing at Eros Cinema or simply walk one of the colorful sets during your time in Mumbai.
The bayside promenade of Marine Drive is one of Mumbai’s most famous attractions, providing a killer view of the Arabian Sea from start to finish, and art deco architecture dating back to the 1930s. As you watch the sunset along Marine Drive, you’ll understand why it’s dubbed the “Queen’s Necklace” when the streets light up at night.
Take a step out of the urban, cosmopolitan side of Mumbai life and into the Hanging Gardens, a much-needed green space where people jog, stroll, and take in the sights. There are views of Marine Drive from the top of the hill, and sculptures and hedges carved in funky shapes all over the gardens.
Address: The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra
For a swanky evening cocktail, you can’t beat Harbour Bar, located within the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. Stop in for drinks at the lounge and stay for tapas. The mood is romantic, and the bar offers a look back at Mumbai history. Try one of Mumbai’s famous gin cocktails here.
Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding
Address: 1st Floor, LBS Market Building, Lakhamsi Napoo Road
For a quick lunch while stopped on a Mumbai cruise, Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding is a must-try. The menu hasn’t changed since it opened in 1942. It’s an old-school spot for South Indian cuisine, specifically thali, which are traditional South Indian dishes served in a platter style. All dishes are served on banana leaves. Finish lunch by gulping down some cold, refreshing mango juice.
Address: 24, B K Boman Behram Marg, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai
Aptly named, the Colaba Social is a no-frills pub that aims for visitors to get social with the help of drinks and simple food, which ranges from traditional Indian dishes to comfort foods like grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers and fries.
Address: Unit-1, Process House, S.B. Road, Kamala Mills, Near Radio Mirchi Office Lower, Parel, Mumbai
Bombay Canteen is one of Mumbai’s most bustling spots and offers options for those looking for just drinks, dinner, or a delicious Sunday brunch. Try the slow-braised oxtail or the pork vindaloo taco. If you’re craving sweets, there’s the tamil nadu dosa waffle, served with fresh whipped cream and coffee ice cream.
Until recently, Mumbai was known to many as the city of Bombay, and today it’s one of the biggest and most populated cities in the world. Mumbai wears many hats as a city, kind of like New York, where it is a center of the film industry and keeps India’s strong financial pulse. The population of Mumbai is 20 million people, and a large chunk of city residents live in Mumbai’s famous slums. The official language spoken is Marathi, but residents in Mumbai often speak English, Hindi, and other regional dialects. Life’s pace here is fast and furious, but Mumbai’s best quality is how passionate city dwellers are about their events, festivals, film, and cuisine.
Your Mumbai cruise booking will provide you with plenty of information about the logistics once you’re there. The commercial port and cruise terminal of Port Mumbai receives a heavy amount of passenger and cargo traffic every year, making it one of the world’s most serviced ports. Many cruise ships dock at Ballard Pier, and it’s recommended that passengers hail a ride from here to some of Mumbai’s biggest destinations rather than walk, or book an excursion to take care of transport for you. The cruise terminal is also equipped with amenities like restrooms, wifi, and duty-free shopping for souvenirs and keepsakes.
Traditional taxis and ride-sharing app Uber are available in Mumbai. You’ll want to haggle on the fare with your driver if taking a conventional yellow taxi or a rickshaw. Taking a taxi is one of the easiest ways to get around in Mumbai because there are plenty of drivers roaming the streets near the cruise terminal, and destinations like the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel are only a 10-minute ride away.
There isn’t a ton of shopping near the cruise port beyond the area’s plentiful duty-free shopping. Once you get into Mumbai, Colaba Market is a popular spot for clothing and jewelry shopping, while Chor Bazaar is famous for fine Indian antiques. Crawford Market is a must to purchase fruits, vegetables, and other food items, even if you just need a portable, light snack for your Mumbai cruise. It’s a bustling market that’ll give you a true sense of Mumbai’s chaos.
Use the rupee (INR) during your Mumbai cruise and your time in India, as the rupee is the country’s official currency. You’ll also find U.S. dollars are commonly accepted, but you’ll get a better exchange rate when you use rupees. ATMs are scattered throughout Mumbai. If you have great taxi service, you can round up to the nearest bill or leave an extra rupee for them. Otherwise, tipping is 15-20% for servers and other services based on the quality of the service you receive. Haggling in markets and souvenir shops is common.