Sparkling turquoise waters lap up against golden sandy beaches in a cruise through the blissful destinations of the Indian Ocean. Cruising around this idyllic body of water can take you from island paradises like Bali, the Maldives and the Seychelles over to the lush landscapes of Sri Lanka. Each boasts of these diverse regions boasts its own culture, but what they all have in common is gorgeous scenery! From the exotic wildlife of Madagascar to the surfing hotspots of Australia’s west coast, there’s plenty to see and do.
Perth, Australia - Indian Ocean
Durban, South Africa - Indian Ocean
Kochi, India - Indian Ocean
Bali, Indonesia - Indian Ocean
This bustling city in the heart of India’s coastal Kerala state has been a well-known crossroads and port for centuries. Middle Eastern, Chinese and European merchants have all left their mark here over the past 600 years, with sites Fort Kochi and the Portuguese-built Mattancherry Palace. Go swimming with dolphins at Cherai Beach, or explore nearby islands like Vypeen and Willingdon via the abundant ferries.
Durban is South Africa’s third-largest city, with a welcoming, fun-loving atmosphere seen in its theme parks like uShaka Marine World and remodelled waterfront area. This multicultural city was refurbished for the 2010 World Cup, with a new futuristic football stadium to match! Don’t miss a stop at the Durban Botanic Gardens, hosting indigenous plants, and relax on the spacious beaches along South Coast Road.
Australia’s west coast city is a mellow place, ideal for wine tasting excursions in the Swan Valley or lazy beach days on its abundant sandy stretches. This modern city boasts a number of recent developments, like the shops and eateries of Elizabeth Quay. Don’t miss a visit to the Fremantle Prison, where you can learn about its past! You can also explore Perth’s growing art scene at the buzzing Cultural Centre.
Bali is synonymous with paradise for visitors drawn to its terraced rice paddies, secluded beaches and serene yoga retreats. You can explore its spiritual side by visiting ancient Hindu temples like Uluwatu, or commune with nature in a hike up Mount Batur. Experience the hedonistic nightlife in Kuta or the cosmopolitan ambience in Seminyak. And to experience true Bali culture, visit Ubud with its artisan markets.
There’s no singular answer about when to explore the Indian Ocean, due to the variety of destinations involved! It’s best to consult your itinerary first and find out when the rainy season takes place. Spring is a charming time in Sri Lanka, after monsoon season has ended and blue whales come out to migrate in March. Visit the Maldives between December and March for sublime weather and whale sharks, and Madagascar in December when baby lemurs make their appearance. Planning a trip to the Seychelles or the spice island of Zanzibar? Avoid the rainy season between December and March.
The Indian Ocean is studded with tropical islands where you can pull up a spot on a deserted beach. The Seychelles are popular with celebrities and cruise enthusiasts alike for their giant tortoises and white sandy beaches, while Nosy Be in Madagascar offers a laid-back pace of life and excellent snorkelling possibilities. Mayotte is a hidden gem with volcanic mountains and spectacular rainforest scenery! Your cruise may stop off in South African ports like Durban, with its Golden Mile of beaches or Cape Town with its famous Table Mountain. You may also visit Kochi in India’s Kerala province, with its colonial architecture and stately fort.
Visa requirements will depend on your itinerary. If you’re cruising from India, you’ll need an e-Visa, which is easy to apply for online, or a Tourist visa from the Indian High Commission. Australian ports require an eVisitor visa for onshore excursions. Planning to make a stop in South Africa? You won’t need any visa as a British citizen, but you’ll need at least two empty pages for those stamps! You’re free to explore Bali (or other Indonesian destinations) for up to 30 days, visa-free, and the Seychelles also require nothing more than your valid passport.
This region of the world offers a delectable range of dishes to try, starting with South Indian fare like crab masala and fluffy appam pancakes made from fermented rice. In Bali, don’t miss a trip to the night markets to try typical dishes like lemongrass sate and nasi Bali mixed rice. Heading to South Africa? Try the local favourite biltong, which is deliciously spiced cured meat, or Cape Malay curry with its blend of aromatic spices. And ‘bunny chow’ is a specialty specific to the port city of Durban, consisting of hollowed out bread loaves stuffed with fragrant curry. Delicious!
"Want a cruise around the uninhabited islands? Embark on the trip of a lifetime, courtesy of Four Seasons Resorts, who have 2 beautiful Island resorts in the archipelago & a boutique cruise vessel!"
"Kanchanaburi itself is a wonderful little place, not only is there the bridge to visit but also various memorials and museums as well as a fantastic night market!"
Peters, Chelmsford on 5th December 2018
The itinerary was the main attraction for us this time and in the main we were not disappointed. We never take ship tours and found enough in most stops to keep us interested for a few hours.
Smith, Exeter on 17th October 2018
The food in the main dining room was of good quality and the service & attention from staff was excellent. A thoroughly enjoyable experience all-round.