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World Cruise

25th January 2022 FOR 167 NIGHTS | Silver Cloud

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expedition cruise
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This fly cruise holiday is financially protected by SILVERSEA under ATOL 4681

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0808 202 6105

Includes Business Class flights, charter flight from Santiago to Ushuaia, one-night pre-cruise hotel stay, Bon Voyage reception, overseas transfers, $4000 FREE to spend on-board per couple, exclusive World Cruise Events, all excursions, special commemorative expedition gear gifts, laundry service, unlimited wi-fi, medical services and a visa package

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1) All guests need to be in possession of a valid UK passport. This is also the case on any British Isles cruises. Please click here to check your passport will still be valid on your dates of travel.

2) Please check your travel insurance meets any criteria as specified by your cruise line. You can check your cruise line requirements here. For a travel insurance quote click here. Proof of travel insurance may be required on boarding.

3) Please check the vaccination and testing requirements from the FCDO, your cruise line and any destination countries here

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itinerary

1

Ushuaia

A southerly frontier - on the cusp of wild nature and extraordinary adventures - the excitement in Ushuaia is palpable. Prepare for memorable exploits amid the extremes of this southerly location - as you adventure into the colossal scenery of the fractured Tierra del Fuego and beyond. Known as the 'End of the World' Ushuaia looks out across the Beagle Channel, and is surrounded by the Martial Mountains to the north. Despite its remote location, Ushuaia is a surprisingly busy and lively resort, with lots to keep its visitors entertained. View less For many people, Ushuaia is their last glimpse of anything resembling a city, before they jump off the map into the wilderness, to answer the call of immense national parks or Antarctic expeditions. One of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet - Argentina's land of fire, National Park Tierra del Fuego, is a place of titanic natural forces and limitless beauty. Snow-covered mountains poke the sky, while glaciers spill down between peaks, and gaping fjords open up. With incredible wildlife - from penguins to whales - the park offers some of South America's most amazing hiking opportunities and panoramas. When it comes to food in Ushuaia, locals cook up fierce flavours using the freshest ingredients. King crab is one of the most popular dishes, while sea bass - hauled freshly from the waters - and mounds of meaty mussels - known as cholgas - are also on the menu here.

25 Jan 2022

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Drake Passage

Sailing the legendary Drake Passage is an experience that few are ever lucky enough to experience. The southern tip of the Americas already feels like a wild enough environment – but the sensation of watching the distant cliffs of the peninsular known as the ‘End of the World’ fade into the horizon, is one that’s equal parts epic, eerie and magical. Set sail, to slowly drop off the bottom of the map from Cape Horn, and voyage on an expedition down into the icy underworld of Antarctica. Drake Passage is an extraordinary voyage of romantic ocean faring legend, as you aim for Antarctica’s icy realm. On arrival, skyscraper sized icebergs salute you, as you traverse the waters of this continent where snow and ice dwelling creatures like penguins and whales roam undisturbed. Your first sight of this most-unexplored place will most likely be the South Shetland Islands. Walk in the footsteps of some of history’s greatest and bravest explorers as you explore famed, snow-covered landmasses like Elephant and Deception Island. If the journey across Drake Passage sounds daunting, don’t worry – even in rough seas you’re never alone, and will often be accompanied on this spine-tingling adventure by soaring albatrosses and maybe even a protective pod of humpbacks and hourglass dolphins or two. Converging warm and cool ocean currents attract some spectacular animal life to the passage. If this is your first visit to this magical continent, you’ll also want to familiarise yourself with our blog for first timers to Antarctica.

26 Jan 2022 - 27 Jan 2022

4

Antarctic Sound

Few voyages ignite the imagination like a journey down to one of the planet’s most remote, extreme and enchanting wilderness, Antarctica. An adventure in its purest form, only a handful of people will ever be lucky enough to experience the majestic beauty of these monochrome landscapes first-hand. The Antarctic Sound will be one of your first encounters of this whitewash kingdom, located at the northerly tip of the Antarctic Peninsula - which sprawls up like a tentacle towards Tierra del Fuego, South America’s most southerly point, otherwise known as the ‘End of the World’. Taking its name from the first ship to brave the passageway between the peninsular and the Joinville Island groups back in 1902, the Sound is a raw, sensory assault of imposing iceberg slabs, broken away from the disintegrating Larsen Ice Shelf. Come face-to-face with stadium-sized islands of ice and meet the extraordinary birdlife that call this whitewash kingdom home. Watch on, as colonies of Gentoo penguins hop around, and cape petrels sweep overhead, as the continent’s unique wildlife thrives around you. If you’re planning your first venture into Antarctica, you’ll want to brush up on your photography skills in advance, to capture this unforgiving continent in all of its unrestrained glory. Read our blog for tips on how to ensure that your photos do justice to the adventure of a lifetime.

28 Jan 2022

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Antarctica Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula unravels upwards towards South America, reaching out a beckoning finger to the adventurous, who dare to explore this untamed realm. Stretching up from the heart of the world’s southernmost continent, the Antarctic Peninsula lies a mere 620 mile from Tierra del Fuego and, for many, offers a spectacular first taste of the snow-blanketed landscapes and colossal ice sculptures, which make up Earth’s least-explored continent. Unseen by humans until 1820 - a blink of an eye ago in relative terms - this is an adventure sure to make your hairs stand on end, as you experience the thrill of the truly unknown and extraordinary. The vast peninsula is sprinkled with research bases, which are at the frontline of human scientific endeavour, pushing to study and understand this unique landscape, its exceptional wildlife, and the impact that humans are having on this pristine continent. Witness cathedral-sized icebergs up close, and blue-hued glaciers, slowly slipping from imposing locations like Hope Bay. Blanched mountain peaks cover the peninsula, and you’ll find thousands of adorable Adelie penguin pairs thriving undisturbed in this peninsula’s unique setting.

29 Jan 2022 - 31 Jan 2022

8

South Shetland Islands

The ice-coated Antarctic Peninsula forms perhaps the most accessible region of mainland Antarctica, lying a mere 480-miles away from South America, across the fabled waters of Drakes Passage. Lying close to the northwestern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, separated by the Bransfield Strait, the South Shetland Islands fall under the jurisdiction of the Antarctic Treaty, suspending claims on their sovereignty. View less Several countries maintain research bases here, and with plump elephant seals, and crowds of Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie Penguins also calling the islands home, it can even feel a little crowded at times. King George Island is the largest and most hospitable island, hosting the majority of the research stations - some of which are populated all-year-round by tiny, hardy crews. Don’t be fooled though, these islands offer extraordinary adventure in one of the most remote locations on earth. The triple peaks of Mount Foster tower above the archipelago, and you’ll feel your heart pumping a little quicker, as you sail into the core of Deception Island’s magnificent collapsed volcano caldera. Hike the luna landscapes within, and even dip into the improbably warm, geothermally-heated waters of Pendulum Cove. Elephant Island, meanwhile, is written deep into the annals of Antarctic expedition legend, as the site where Ernest Shackleton and the stricken crew of the Endurance miraculously survived a harsh Antarctic winter, in 1916. Discover even more reasons to visit this incredible icy kingdom and find out why many consider the South Shetland Islands to be the jewel in Antarctica’s Crown, by reading our blog.

01 Feb 2022

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Drake Passage

Sailing the legendary Drake Passage is an experience that few are ever lucky enough to experience. The southern tip of the Americas already feels like a wild enough environment – but the sensation of watching the distant cliffs of the peninsular known as the ‘End of the World’ fade into the horizon, is one that’s equal parts epic, eerie and magical. Set sail, to slowly drop off the bottom of the map from Cape Horn, and voyage on an expedition down into the icy underworld of Antarctica. Drake Passage is an extraordinary voyage of romantic ocean faring legend, as you aim for Antarctica’s icy realm. On arrival, skyscraper sized icebergs salute you, as you traverse the waters of this continent where snow and ice dwelling creatures like penguins and whales roam undisturbed. Your first sight of this most-unexplored place will most likely be the South Shetland Islands. Walk in the footsteps of some of history’s greatest and bravest explorers as you explore famed, snow-covered landmasses like Elephant and Deception Island. If the journey across Drake Passage sounds daunting, don’t worry – even in rough seas you’re never alone, and will often be accompanied on this spine-tingling adventure by soaring albatrosses and maybe even a protective pod of humpbacks and hourglass dolphins or two. Converging warm and cool ocean currents attract some spectacular animal life to the passage. If this is your first visit to this magical continent, you’ll also want to familiarise yourself with our blog for first timers to Antarctica.

02 Feb 2022 - 03 Feb 2022

11

Chilean Fjords Cruising

04 Feb 2022

12

Cruise English Narrows

English Narrows refers to a narrow passage at the southern end of the Messier Channel in Chile’s Region XI, Aysen del General Carlos Ibanez del Campos. The region is Chile’s least populated and a few kilometers south of English Narrows is Puerto Eden, the only settlement along the entire Chilean Inside Passage. With Wellington Island to the west and surrounded by Chile’s largest national park, Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, the narrow passage is at times 180 meters wide, while the entire length is given as 18 kilometers. Low-lying islands and steep mountains are seen on both sides and the Magellanic subpolar forest with its evergreen trees of the genus Nothofagus has taken hold where possible. The strong currents require to pass English Narrows at slack tide and although most of the Messier Channel leading to English Narrows is quite deep, a shipwreck sitting on a bank some 20 kilometers north of the entrance to English Narrows shows why pilots are required by law in Chile.

05 Feb 2022

13

Tortel, Chile

Tortel is a commune located in Southern Patagonia, a spectacular wilderness region of rugged mountains, glaciers, rivers and forests of infinite beauty. The uneven geography of Tortel shapes a unique landscape, characterized by an archipelagic area with numerous islands and channels. View less Tortel is known as the “footbridge city” for the unique beauty of its wooden walkways that connect the piers and houses of this quaint place through bridges and stairs, built from cypress wood, that run for four and a half miles around the cove and that respect the rich vegetation that grows under them. Even though it is the sixth largest commune in Chile, it has the lowest population of all with roughly 531 people. The history of the town dates back to 1520 when it was inhabited by nomadic Kawesqar, now extinct. Its definitive foundation was in 1955, after numerous attempts to populate the area. In 2001, it was declared by the Chilean government as a Picturesque Zone of National Heritage.

06 Feb 2022

14

At Sea

07 Feb 2022

15

Castro, Chile

The capital of Chile’s Chiloe Island, Castro is big, bright and boisterous. Colourful wooden huts (called palafitos) teeter on stilts over the city’s waterfront, inviting you into a slice of life that’s sure to brighten any day. Warm welcomes abound, music seeps from street corner and life is celebrated with gusto all over the city. If you are looking for a healthy mix of culture and cosmopolitanism, then you have found it in Castro. The island is renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage Site wooden churches. Around 70 churches were built in the 17th and 18th centuries, embodying the intangible richness of the Chiloé Archipelago, and bear witness to a successful fusion of indigenous and European culture. Just 16 of the churches are classified by UNESCO, prime examples of the full integration of the architecture in the landscape and environment, as well as to the spiritual values of the communities. The city is Chile’s third oldest city in existence, founded in 1576. Castro lived peaceably – bar a few attacks from Dutch pirates - until 1837, when it was destroyed by an earthquake, wiping oput most of the population. By 1912 the railway had arrived, allowing the town to develop again. Tragically, the city was once again destroyed in 1960 by a series of earthquakes, tsunamis and fires. History lovers will definitely enjoy The Regional Museum of Castro. Not only does the small museum house an interesting array of Huilliche relics, but a series of photographs depicting Castro pre-1960 is on display.

08 Feb 2022

16

Puerto Montt,Chile

Located on the northern tip of the vast Reloncavi Bay, Puerto Montt is the gateway to the Chilean Lake District. Crowding the harbor are vessels that ply the route between Cape Horn and Puerto Montt, finding shelter here from the storms of the Pacific. The first German colonists arrived in this area in 1852; their descendants have remained a small but influential percentage of the 130,000 inhabitants. The town spreads along a narrow seaboard and climbs the slopes that enclose Puerto Montt to the north. Since 1985, the city has experienced considerable growth and development. In addition to some 30 salmon farms, fishing and forestry industries, there are service companies, new hotels, restaurants, cafés and a variety of shops. For the visitor, the town itself offers scant attractions apart from shingle-roofed houses around a flowered central square. It is its proximity to the lake and mountain region that makes Puerto Montt a sought after starting point for many travelers. A short distance from the pier is the small fishing port of Angelmo. Its row of stalls lining both sides of the street offers a wide variety of regional handicrafts and souvenir items.

09 Feb 2022

17

Niebla

Nice's sweeping bend of brilliant-blue seawater - which once tempted the aristocracies of Europe - continues to entice and entrance visitors to these sun-soaked shores. A refined city of airy ocean boulevards, grandiose buildings and open spaces, fountain-sprinkled parks and colourful floral displays add to the city's timeless appeal. Nice has lost none of its old-world lustre, and there remains something of the divine in the Bay of Angels' endless sparkling waterfront. View less The vast, open Promenade des Anglais remains Nice's magnificent crowning glory, inviting the city out to jog, wander and glide along the Mediterranean's most spectacular curve of seafront promenade. Dotted with sun worshippers and swimmers, it's an ode to the rejuvenating character of that unbeatable duo - the rich blue sea and endless sunshine. The crisp, clear, golden light also continues to make Nice a destination of creative pilgrimage, and Matisse, Picasso and Renoir are among the many artists to lavish in the city's eternal beauty. Drag yourself away from the waterfront to discover the old town, punctuated with Baroque churches rising, and the wafting scents of baking pastries, and lavender bundles. Follow the floral odours to Nice's famous flower market, which spills gorgeous colourful displays along Cours Saleya. There's a strong hint of Italy, explained by the fact that Nice only aligned with France in 1860 - following 500 years under the House of Savoy. A gorgeous Orthodox Russian church also rises incongruously with colourful onion domes, forming one of the city's unusual sights, and one of the largest such cathedrals outside of Russia. Walk in Nietzsche's footsteps and climb up to Colline du Château's charming green park and cascading waterfalls, to relish the views down over the city and sparkling sea expanse. Not without challenges over recent years, Nice continues to bloom and inspire its visitors with an intoxicating allure of sun, sea and sophistication.

10 Feb 2022

18

At Sea

11 Feb 2022

19

Valparaiso,Chile

Since time immemorial Valparaiso has inspired writers, poets, musicians and artists alike. If the city is still a little rough around the edges, this only adds to its bohemian ambience; the architecture, style, street art, nightlife, and live music scenes of Valparaiso are some of the best in the world. Add colourful clifftop homes to the mix and you'll soon see why Valpariaso is many people's favourite Chilean city. The city was founded in 1536 by Spanish conquistador Juan de Saavedra, who named the city after his birthplace. View less Many of the colonial buildings he implemented are still standing today, despite the rain, wind, fire and several earthquakes (one of which almost levelled the city in 1906). Quirky architecture also abounds; poetry lovers and amateur architects will no doubt want to make the 45 km trip south to Chilean poet laureate (and Nobel Prize winner) Pablo Neruda’s ship-shaped house and museum for a taste of the extraordinary. The city and region are also extremely well known for their love of good food and wine. The vineyards of the nearby Casablanca Valley - first planted in the early 1980s - have earned worldwide recognition in a relatively short space of time. However, Chile’s viticulture history does date back much farther than that. De Saavedra brought grape vines on his voyage to South America in order to make his own wine and this led to a new grape brandy being created, Pisco. Today give any Chilean a Pisco and wherever they are in the world, they will be home.

12 Feb 2022

20

At Sea

13 Feb 2022

21

Robinson Crusoe Island

The friendly English-speaking population offers a unique blend of African, Spanish, Paya Indian and British cultures. British and Spanish settlers invaded the Paya as their respective countries fought over possession of Roatan in the 16th century. Soon after, pirates numbering nearly 5,000, including Henry Morgan, claimed Roatan as their stronghold. During the height of the slave trade, Roatan became a dumping ground for rebellious slaves that the British could no longer control. These marooned slaves, now called Maroons or Garifuna, form a present day ethnic group near the town of Punta Gorda. This unique mix of people and cultures, presently controlled by Honduras, has created a population that is rich in tradition yet welcoming to visitors.

14 Feb 2022

22

Alexander Selkirk Island, Chile

Think of Daniel Defoe’s classic novel Robinson Crusoe and you will be picturing an intrepid castaway, marooned on a paradisiacal island. That image might be ideal for movie lovers, but the actual inspiration for Robinson Crusoe was a salty Scottish seadog who went by the name of Alexander Selkirk. Selkirk was marooned in Chile’s Juan Fernandez archipelago for four years and four months, rescued by a British private warship. Despite Selkirk’s slightly chequered past, he was greeted as a celebrity upon his return to England. His adventures were given a gloss and immortalised in the much loved 18th century classic. Alejandro Selkirk Island is located 165 kilometres west of the other islands in the archipelago, for a surface area of just under 50 m2. The island was renamed from its Spanish name Isla Más Afuera in 1966 by the Chilean government in homage to the sailor. The topography is very different form the Caribbean dream that Defoe writes about, think dense woodland, rugged coast and peaks, shrouded (more often than not) in cloud. Sandy beaches can be found to the north of the island. Throughout much of its history, the island has been uninhabited, although there is a former penal settlement on the middle of the east coast, which operated from 1909 to 1930. During the summer months, Selkirk welcomes a small community of lobster fishermen and their families who come from Robinson Crusoe. As part of the Chilean National Park, it also holds the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve title.

15 Feb 2022

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At Sea

16 Feb 2022 - 19 Feb 2022

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Easter Island, Chile

Easter Island, the easternmost settled island of Polynesia, received its European name in 1722 when the island was seen by a Dutch expedition under Roggeveen on Easter Sunday. The triangular-shaped island of 163 square kilometers is famous for the hundreds of statues known locally as moai. Rolling hills covered in grassland, eucalyptus forest and a rocky shore surround Hangaroa, the island’s only village on the southwestern coast. This is where Captain Cook landed in 1774, where missionaries built the first church and where ships find the best protection from winds and swells. Small beaches and transparent waters invite swimmers and snorkelers, but it is the cultural aspect which attracts visitors. Since 1935 the island has been a National Historic Monument and today 43.5% of the island is a national park administered by the Chilean National Forest Corporation and Mau Henua, a local community group. The island’s national park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Found slightly more than 3,500 kilometers west of Chile, the island was annexed in 1888. Used as a sheep ranch for many decades, the island was opened in 1965 and an airstrip was built. The US Air Force set up a base to record the behavior of the earth's outer atmosphere and by 1987 NASA had the runway extended as an emergency runway for the space shuttle. This never happened, but tourism benefitted from this improvement and today the island receives more than 100,000 visitors a year.

20 Feb 2022 - 21 Feb 2022

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At Sea

22 Feb 2022 - 24 Feb 2022

32

Adamstown, Pitcairn Islands

Home to the original mutineers of the Bounty, Adamstown’s is today the capital of all four Pitcairn Islands. The islands – the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific – include the namesake Pitcairn Island itself, plus the uninhabited Oeno, Henderson and Ducie. Pitcairn is the archipelago’s only inhabited island, with the population of just 50 centred in Adamstown. It is no surprise that the nine mutineers along with six Tahitian men, 12 Tahitian women and one child stopped on Pitcairn in 1790; with its sloped and varied landscape, lush tropical promise and equidistant location between Peru and New Zealand, Pitcairn would have seemed an ideal hiding spot for the mutineers to settle. The ship was burnt to avoid detection (the ballast stone remains of the wreck in Bounty Bay). However, the ideal bucolic life that mutineer leader Fletcher Christian had envisaged was not to be. Poor treatment of the Tahitian men led to alcoholism, chaos and carnage and by 1800 only John Adams – who had recently discovered Christianity – remained. Adams taught the women and children to read and write from the bible. The capital is named after him. Not only had the island been misplaced on early maps of the region, but it can also be very difficult to come ashore as large breakers tend to build up just in front of the small harbour of Bounty Bay. The local museum houses the HMS Bounty Bible, the same bible that Adams taught the women and children to read and write from in the early 19th century.

25 Feb 2022

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At Sea

26 Feb 2022 - 27 Feb 2022

35

Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marguesas Island

The largest of the southern islands, Hiva Oa, the master pillar or finial post of the ‘Great House’ - which represents the Marquesan archipelago in the local mythology - has always been the rival of Nuku Hiva. The island is shaped like a seahorse and has a mountain range running southwest to northeast whose main peaks, Mt. Temetiu and Mt. Feani form a real wall around Atuona. Atuona, a peaceful little port at the head of the Taaoa Bay, also known as Traitors Bay, has emerged from obscurity due to having had the privilege of being the last resting place of Paul Gauguin and of the singer Jacques Brel. The tombs of these famous personalities are on the side of the Calvary cemetery looking out across the bay and are places of great pilgrimage. In the village, the Gauguin Museum displays items related to the painter's stay there at the beginning of the century and has copies of his works.

28 Feb 2022

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Fatu Hiva, Marquesas Islands

Fatu Hiva is the southernmost and most remote island in the Marquesas Group. First seen by Europeans in 1595 when Mendaña went to colonize the Solomon Islands, the island again gained some fame through the visit of Thor Heyerdahl in the mid-1930s. Steep cliffs, sharp mountain peaks and many narrow valleys form an impressive obstacle when exploring this volcanic island. The two villages of Omoa and Hana Vave have combined some 650 inhabitants and are both located on the more protected western side of the island. They are connected by a 17 kilometer long road that climbs up to the central plateau. Omoa has a protected little harbor for local boats, but Hana Vave has the Bay of Virgins, one of the most photographed bays in the Marquesas Islands, if not French Polynesia. Islanders are known for their tapa (bark cloth) paintings and wood carvings –which are highly sought after in Tahiti.

01 Mar 2022

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At Sea

02 Mar 2022

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Fakarava

Fakarava is oblong shaped and has an almost continuous string of reef and motu stretching for 40 km (25 mi) on its eastern edge. It's the second largest of the Tuamotu atolls, located 450 km (280 mi) northeast of Tahiti, and 120 km (75 mi) southeast of Rangiroa. It's renowned for the drift diving in its two passes—Garuae (also spelled Ngarue) in the north near the main town of Rotoava (and the airport) and Tamakohua Pass, 48 km (30 mi) across the lagoon in the south. The tiny village of Tetamanu, situated by the southern pass, was once the capital of the Tuamotus and houses the first church built in the archipelago in 1874. In 2006 the entire atoll was deemed an UNESCO biosphere reserve; to preserve the lagoon no overwater bungalows have been built in it. Fakarava was "discovered" by Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb Von Bellingshausen in 1820; some 20 years later missionaries arrived, in the guise of fanatical Catholic priest Honore Laval, and began building churches.

03 Mar 2022

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Rangiroa

Rangiroa, meaning ‘Vast Sky’ in Puamotu, is the largest atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago and one of the largest in the world. Surrounded by two legendary bodies of water, Moana-tea (Peaceful Ocean) and Moana-uri (Wild Ocean), the atoll consists of about 250 islets and sandbars, with approximately 100 narrow passages in the fringing reef. The lagoon covers 618 square miles (1,600 square km), large enough that it has its own horizon.

04 Mar 2022

40

Moorea

Tahiti's heart-shaped sister island Moorea is located only nine miles across the Sea of the Moon from Tahiti. While Bora Bora and Tahiti are the destinations most prominently advertised, it is Moorea, the Magical Island that is the best-kept secret of the trio of famous French Polynesian islands. In fact, Moorea has often been likened to James Michener's mythological island of Bali Hai - and it is easy to see why. Picture perfect lagoons and gleaming white beaches are surrounded by jagged mountains and volcanic spires. Its six mountains include Mount Rotui. From its summit there are spectacular views of Opunohu Bay and the island. Captain Samuel Wallis was the European discoverer of the Windward Island in 1767. After leaving Tahiti, he passed along the north coast of Moorea without landing. The first European visitors to the island include botanist Joseph Banks and some sailors sent ashore by Captain Cook in 1769. Captain Cook himself anchored in Opunohu Bay for one week in 1777, but never visited the bay that now bears his name.

05 Mar 2022

41

Tahiti (Papeete)

Formed by two ancient volcanoes and joined at the isthmus of Taravao, Tahiti is the largest island of the Society Archipelago and the economic heart of French Polynesia. Ever since the famous French impressionist painter Paul Gauguin immortalized Tahitian maidens in vibrant colors on his canvasses, Tahiti has had a mysterious allure and still summons up all the romance of the South Pacific as a tropical paradise. Rising in the center, Mount Orohena and Mount Aorai are the highest points; deep valleys radiate in all directions from these central peaks. Steep slopes drop abruptly from the high plateaus to coastal plains. The northeast coast is rugged and rocky without a barrier reef, and thus exposed to intense, pounding surf. Villages lie on a narrow strip between mountains and ocean. The south coast is broad and gentle with large gardens and coconut groves; a barrier reef shields it from the sea.

06 Mar 2022

42

Bora Bora

If you have ever dreamt up your ideal island holiday, we suspect it goes something like this: Soapy blue seas? Check. Sparkling white beaches? Check. Thatched wooden huts, gently sloping palm trees and kaleidoscopic marine life? Check, check and check. And yet, even by ticking every box, first time viewing of Bora Bora still beggars belief. This tropical hideaway less than 12 m2 in the heart of the South Pacific has been toping travel wish lists for years. Long considered the realm of honeymooners – spectacularly romantic sunsets are a speciality – Bora Bora is not just for wandering with your love. If the prismatic shades of blue of the world’s most beautiful lagoon do not fill you up, then perhaps underwater scooters and aqua Safaris will charge your batteries. If exploring Bora Bora’s lush hinterland is more your glass of tequila sunrise, then trips around the island (often stopping off at the celebrity haunt Bloody Mary Restaurant & Bar) are a must. Bora Bora’s peaceful ambience has not always been the case. The island was a US supply base, known as “Operation Bobcat” during WWII. During this time, Bora Bora was home to nine ships, 20,000 tons of equipment and nearly 7,000 men. Eight massive 7-inch naval cannons were installed around the island, all but one of which is still in place. Although little is known of the history of the island, it is known that Bora Bora was called Vava’u in ancient times. This supports belief that the island was colonised by Tongans prior to French annex in 1888.

07 Mar 2022

43

At Sea

08 Mar 2022

44

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

The Cook Islands are scattered like tiny jewels over a large stretch of sea between Tahiti and Samoa, lying virtually in the center of the Polynesian Triangle of the South Pacific. The first settlers arrived around the 8th century from the Society Islands, Samoa and the Marquesas, while the first Europeans made contact at the turn of the 16th century. In 1824, a Russian cartographer put the islands on the map, naming them after Captain Cook, who discovered five of the islands in the Southern Group in the 1770s. The natural beauty of Rarotonga, the principal island of the Cook archipelago, is profound and overwhelming. Its forest-covered mountains, deep valleys, fertile slopes of red soil and sparkling aquamarine lagoons make it a likely Eden.

09 Mar 2022

45

Aitutaki, Cook Islands

When Lonely Planet co-founder describes somewhere as “the world’s most beautiful island” you can be sure that you are in for a treat. Incredible Aitutaki, inspiring Aitutaki, unbelievable, idyllic and unimaginable, there are simply not enough superlatives to describe quite how amazing Aitutaki is. Brought to light in 1779 by Captain Bligh, the Mutiny on the Bounty meant that Aitutaki has something of a bloodthirsty history. While Europeans missionaries eventually settled on the island in the 19th century (evidenced by the white, coral-encrusted walls of the many churches) the island’s Polynesian history dates to around 900AD. Traditional songs and dances from this period still exist (although Christian hymns, known as “imene metua” are also popular), and are performed by islanders with gusto and much pride. The island is part of the Cook Islands, one of the most secluded and romantic archipelagos in the world. With its powder white sand, warm turquoise waters and sense of casual luxury, it is easy to see why the island has earnt itself the moniker of honeymooner’s island. However, there is much more to Aitutaki than just fun in the sun. With a reef that completely encompasses a large turquoise lagoon, Aitutaki is considered one of the most spectacular diving and snorkelling destinations in the world. Added to the tropical excitement is that when entering the main village via Zodiac along a narrow channel – travellers will be greeted by a traditional and customary warrior challenge.

10 Mar 2022

46

Palmerston Island

The low-lying atoll of Palmerston is inhabited by three families, all descendants of William Marsters (1831-1899). Members of the community are known to greet visitors and guide small boats and Zodiacs into the lagoon through a maze of coral reef to reach the only inhabited islet –commonly called “Home”. Once ashore, the whole community generally turns out to meet visitors as it is a rare occurrence. View less The island’s highlights include a church, the oldest house, the cemetery, the school, the underground gardens and “Duke’s Pool,” inviting for a swim or snorkel. In the lagoon’s waters it is possible to find colorful reef-fish, sea cucumbers, rays, and sea turtles. Overhead there is birdlife including tropicbirds, boobies, noddies, frigatebirds and terns.

11 Mar 2022

47

International Date Line

12 Mar 2022

48

At Sea

13 Mar 2022

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Apia, Upolo

As the first independent state of Polynesia, Samoa is considered the cradle of the nation, a place where the Earth and the heart fuse seamlessly fuse together. Incidentally, were one to translate the word “Samoa” into the traditional Polynesia dialect, they would find that the words “Sa” and “Moa” mean exactly that: earth and centre. Apia, Samoa’s only town, is found central north coast of Upolu, Samoa’s second largest island. Originally a tiny village of just over 300 inhabitants (c. View less 1800), the town’s population has grown to be just shy of 40,000. While a population of such size might mean forgetting traditional roots in favour of modern life, this has not been the case (too much) in Apria. The Samoan way of life is still very much the order of the day; traditional open-sided houses with thatched roofs on platforms of coral or concrete, also known as ‘fales’, can be seen everywhere and nearly all of the population (including the policemen) wear the typical local dress; skirts, or ‘lavalavas’ for men, and long, mumu-style dresses for women. The markets are bursting with culture and colour, selling everything from handicrafts to cuisine and local produce. If the idyllic setting of aquamarine pools of bluey green water, framed by low fringed palms and huge umbrella trees seems familiar, that’s because it probably is. The island, and notably the southern resort of Lefaga, was used in the 1953 Gary Cooper classic Return to Paradise Beach. It is also the last place on Earth to see each day’s sunset.

14 Mar 2022 - 15 Mar 2022

51

At Sea

16 Mar 2022

52

Somosomo, Taveuni

Somosomo is the largest village on Taveuni, which in turn is Fiji’s third largest island. The village has had and still has political importance as it is the headquarters for Taveuni’s highest chief, the Tui Cakau, and Fiji’s Great Council of Chiefs met in Somosomo until 2012. Somosomo and Naqara, its immediate neighboring village with a predominantly Indo-Fijian population, are the commercial center for Taveuni. View less Slightly west of Somosomo is the 180th meridian and a sign indicating the International Dateline (which has been moved east of Tonga by now) is about 2 miles to the southwest. Somosomo is also famous for the amount of soft coral in the Somosomo Strait, just west of Somosomo and Taveuni. The reefs along the Somosomo Strait are considered among the best in the South Pacific as tidal currents and constant year–round water temperature create the ideal environment for some 390 species of hard and soft corals and over 1500 species of fish. Other attractions near Somosomo are the Bouma National Park with its waterfalls and Lake Tangimaucia.

17 Mar 2022

53

Lautoka

Lautoka is often described as the sugar city. Sugar cane is the major industry of Fiji and Lautoka is its main base. Here are the industries' headquarters, the largest sugar mill, modern loading facilities and a large wharf. It features 70 miles of roads, almost all paved, a wonderful botanical garden and royal palm trees decorating the city's main street, Vitogo Parade. The municipal market is another attraction from both outside and inside. Fiji typifies the image of paradise. The people here live as they have done for centuries, retaining their ancient traditions and simple and carefree lifestyle supported by the harvest of a generous land and bountiful sea.

18 Mar 2022

54

At Sea

19 Mar 2022

55

Pentecost Island

Pentecost Island is a lush mountainous, tropical island stretching over 37 miles from north to south. It was named after the day on which the first European, Louis Antoine de Bougainville, sighted it on 22 May 1768. There are no towns on Pentecost - most of the islanders live in small villages and grow their own food in small gardens. Local traditions are strong, including the age-old ritual of land diving. This unique ritual was first given international exposure by David Attenborough in 1960. View less Later, in the 1980s, New Zealander AJ Hackett used the idea to invent bungee jumping. Every harvest season from April to June, the people of southern Pentecost construct the towers around a lopped tree, using saplings and branches held together with forest vines. It can take up to five weeks to complete. Each young man who jumps must carefully select his own liana vine. Men and boys as young as seven jump from platforms at different heights (between30 and 90 feet) with only those vines attached to their ankles. The intention is to touch the ground with their heads or shoulders. This ceremony is believed to ensure a good yam harvest. It is also a fertility rite for men.

20 Mar 2022

56

Champagne Beach, Vanuatu

As world famous beaches go, Champagne Beach is one of the big hitters. In 2003, CNN ranked it number nine in its list of top 100 beaches and independent travel specialists permanently include it on their list of 50 best beaches worldwide. It’s one of the world’s greatest natural beauties: picture-perfect beach white sand, turquoise water and nothing – save for the occasional cow or curious turtle - around. With only coconut plantations and a few friendly locals to keep you company, this might just be the island of your dreams. The glorious name “Champagne Beach” was given to the island in the 17th century, when Pedro de Quirós believed he had reached the famous unknown southern land or the “Tierra Australis Incognita” (or Australia as we now know it). He believed the effervescent bubbles of volcanic origin that bubble up from the crystal clear waters were reminiscent of the bubbles of Champagne. Additionally, the coastline is shaped like an art deco Champagne saucer, so the name stuck! The beach is located on the largest yet least populated island in the 40-island Vanuatu archipelago, near the village of Hog Harbor on Espiritu Santo Island. If you want to venture beyond the beach, then Espiritu Santu is also famed for its blue holes. The island is home to some of the clearest waters on Earth, benefiting from natural filtering from underground limestone caves. Ride or paddle your way through emerald green rainforest amid the sound of birdsong for an experience that will make your soul sing.

21 Mar 2022

57

Nendo Island

Stretching about 25 miles wide and 14 miles from north to south, Nendo is the largest of the Santa Cruz group of islands located in the Temotu province of the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Interestingly, Nendo is sometimes referred to as Santa Cruz and at other times as Ndeni, Nitendi or Ndene. The name Santa Cruz was given to in the late 16th century by a Spanish navigator who unsuccessfully started a colony there, although the island was first settled approximately 3,000 years ago. View less Nendo has a population of just over 5,000, most of whom speak the native language of Natugu. While the island has an inactive volcano, the region is prone to earthquakes (the most recent one a magnitude of 8.0 in 2013) which can disrupt active volcanoes, such as nearby Tinakula.

22 Mar 2022

58

Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

Port Mary is the name of the bay adjacent to Ghupuna, the main village in Santa Ana. A bright white sand beach with huge shade-giving trees runs along the shoreline in front of the tidy village. The houses here are made with local materials and most are built on stilts. Islanders generally welcome visitors with traditional songs and dances performed by members of the three different villages on Santa Ana. Some local people will also set up stands offering souvenirs for purchase. View less The Solomons are best known for strings of traditional shell money and elegant carvings based on local stories and legends.

23 Mar 2022

59

At Sea

24 Mar 2022

60

Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

If surreal and unique experiences are your thing, then the Papua New Guinean town of Rabaul should tick your travel boxes. Found on the north eastern tip of New Britain Island (the largest island off mainland PNG) Rabaul, the former provincial capital, has quite a remarkable location. The town is inside the flooded caldera of a giant volcano and several sub-vents are still quite active today! The lively city was almost entirely devastated by Mount Tavurvur in 1994, covering the city in ashfall, but thankfully costing no lives. View less Since then, thanks to Rabaul’s deep-water port, commerce has been on the up, and a few shops and hotels have managed to find an audience. However, Rabaul’s remote location together with the volcano still being one of the most active and dangerous in Papua New Guinea means tourism in not rife. Rabaul has an impressive WWII history which includes a 300-mile network of tunnels dug by Japanese POW designed to conceal munitions and stores. After the Pearl Harbour bombings, the Japanese used Rabaul as their South Pacific base for the last four years of WWII, and by 1943 there were about 110,000 Japanese troops based in Rabaul. Post war, the island was returned to Australia, before it was granted independence in 1975. It should be noted that patience is a virtue here. However, that is not all bad. The slow pace of transportation allows travellers to marvels at the quite astonishing landscape. Divers will also be richly rewarded – the marine life of the island is extraordinary.

25 Mar 2022

61

Garove Island, Papua New Guinea

The volcanic island of Garove is part of the Witu Islands and once had a 5-kilometer-wide (3.1 miles) caldera. The island was historically used to produce copra and cocoa, and in fact, still is today. Most of the villages are located around the exterior of the volcano. Steep cliffs explain why there is only one area settled on the inside. A promontory at the entrance’s southwestern corner is taken up by the school and the catholic church of the village of Widu, the only village inside the caldera.

26 Mar 2022

62

Madang, Papua New Guinea

The eastern half of the island of New Guinea - second largest in the world - was divided between Germany (north) and the UK (south) in 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia in 1902, which occupied the northern portion during World War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence in 1975. A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville ended in 1997 after claiming some 20,000 lives.

27 Mar 2022

63

Tami Islands, Papua New Guinea

The Tami Islands are a small archipelago of just four islands located south of Finschhafen in the Huon Gulf. Collectively, they are part of Morobe Province. Tami Island is the main island and is one of just two islands in the enclave to be inhabited. The people here are known for their elaborately carved, oblong-shaped “Tami bowls”. The small community of islanders live simply. Tami has just a single primary school and a small medical aid post. View less Coconut and areca palm trees, Alexandrian laurel and frangipani make for a lush and colourful appearance of the island. South of Kalal Village is a small sandbar that permits snorkelling.

28 Mar 2022

64

Dobu Island

Dobu is a small island in the D’Entrecasteaux Group next to Fergusson Island and Normanby Island. The island was formerly feared because of black magic and the local “witch” doctors cursing the healthy or treating the sick. An anthropological study was done by Reo Fortune in the 1930s which resulted in the book “The Island of Sorcerers”. The island is also part of the famous Kula ring. Participants in the exchange system pride themselves with mwali and soulava (armbands and necklaces) that are given and received still today and it is interesting to see how the traditional objects have been adorned with modern paraphernalia. A stroll through the main village on the northwestern tip will show the school and church and trails leading along the shore passing traditionally thatched houses and gardens.

29 Mar 2022

65

Samarai And Kwato

Samarai is a tiny island south of Papua New Guinea’s southeastern peninsula dwarfed by neighbouring islands. Once a famous trading port and the second-largest settlement in the Territory of Papua (the Australian-administered southern part of what today is Papua New Guinea), Samarai used to be Milne Bay Province’s capital until 1968 when administrators were moved to mainland and the town of Alotau. The relocation was necessary as the 29-hectare (72-acre) island was simply overcrowded. View less With only about 450 residents remaining today, it still is one of the most densely settled islands in Papua New Guinea.

30 Mar 2022

66

At Sea

31 Mar 2022

67

Cairns

Warmly welcoming you to the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a treasure trove of rich tropical beauty and incredible sea life. Swathes of rainforest spread out to the north, where you can soar over the canopy in a cable car, before looking down over narrow channels of water plummeting down gorges and crocodile-filled waterways. The diverse lands of the Atherton Tableland lie to the west, but it's the crystal-clear waters - and life-filled reefs - of Cairns' remarkable underwater world that draws universal adulation. Priding itself as the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, explore Cairns' constellation of colour, as you dive into the world's largest and most spectacular underwater universe. Head out on a glass-bottomed boat tour to explore the 3,000 coral reef systems, and let hours drift by appreciating the waving corals and life-imbued reefs during exceptional scuba diving and snorkelling sessions. Cairns is huddled in amongst abundant swathes of rainforests, which give way to glorious crescents of golden beach. Kuranda - with its scenic railway and heritage market stalls - waits to be discovered, cloaked within the depths of the rainforest. Learn of the indigenous people of North Queensland during cultural performances, and hear the throaty reverberations of digeridoos, as you hear eternal stories handed down through time, from generation to generation. Back in Cairns, there's always time for a coffee or a beer, or a feast on fresh oysters with glasses of Cairns' white wines – boldly flavoured with mango and banana notes.

01 Apr 2022

68

At Sea

02 Apr 2022

69

Thursday Island, Australia

Thursday Island is Queensland's most northerly administration center, off the tip of Cape York Peninsula in the Torres Strait. It is 1,320 miles by air north of Brisbane. A colorful outpost, Thursday Island retains its majority of native islanders with a mix of Malays, Polynesians, Chinese and Japanese. The township of Thursday Island nestles in the protective embrace of the Prince of Wales group of islands in the Torres Strait. T.I., as the island is affectionately known, was settled in 1877 and was chosen for its close proximity to the main shipping channel and its well-sheltered port. With a population today of some 3,500, the island has an interesting history and was once the base for a fleet of 150 pearling luggers as well as a busy trading port.

03 Apr 2022

70
71

At Sea

04 Apr 2022 - 05 Apr 2022

72

Darwin

"Australia's capital of the north is a uniquely tropical city, and a historically isolated outpost of this vast, diverse country. Reaching up towards the equator, a full 2,000 miles from Sydney and Melbourne, the city was named in honour of Charles Darwin by the British settlers who established a frontier outpost here. With a unique history, beautiful islands nearby, and a palette of sizzling Pacific flavours, colourful Darwin is an enchanting and exotic Australian destination. Crocodiles patrol the jungled waterways and tropical rainforests around Australia's gateway to the Top End. Explore via airboat to look down on the veiny waterways of the mist-laced Kakadu National Park. The sounds of chattering birdlife and the gentle splash of fountains and waterfalls will fill your ears in George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Soak it all in, before kicking back and relaxing with a picnic and a crackling barbecue. The sunshine and famous tropical pink sunsets mean many visitors naturally gravitate to the city's soft sands to relax at spots like pretty Mindil Beach, as evening approaches. The adjoining market is filled with souvenirs and crafts stands and is the perfect great place to enjoy some fiery Asian flavours. Stroll the stalls, grab some food, and crack open an ice-frosted beer as the sunset show begins. It may be remote, but Darwin found itself on the front line during the Pacific War, as the Japanese air force unloaded their bombs onto the city in 1942. This relaxed unassuming city has a deeply resilient backbone, however, and you can explore the museums to learn more of the war's impact on Darwin, as well as the devastating effects of one of Australia's worst natural disasters, Cyclone Tracy in 1973."

06 Apr 2022

73

King George

The King George Falls is one of the Kimberley’s most magnificent natural wonders. At 80 meters (260 feet), the thundering spectacle of twin cascades are among the highest in Australia. The river weaves through an amazing landscape of near vertical red rock formations and a parade of wildlife — carnivorous saltwater crocodiles and amazing birdlife, including giant raptors and the Brahminy Kite.

07 Apr 2022

74

Hunter River

The Hunter River is home to an immense mangrove system surrounded by soaring red sandstone cliffs. Narrow mangrove channels shelter numerous bird species, mudskippers, fiddler crabs and the infamous saltwater crocodile; the most aggressive crocodile species known to man. Naturalist Island at the mouth of the river has a stunning stretch of sandy beach that makes a perfect landing site for small helicopters that can pick up visitors wishing to explore some of the Kimberley’s vast interior. View less The highlight inland is the famous Mitchell Falls where four tiers of waterfalls plunge into deep pools that flow out into the mighty Mitchell River. The headwaters of the falls are cool and a dip in the fresh water is a welcome reprieve from the heat of the heartland.

08 Apr 2022

75

Buccaneer Archipelago

Set off the coast of Western Australia, the Buccaneer Archipelago is one of the Kimberley’s finest secrets. The Archipelago, 50 k2 (19 sq mi), is made up of around 800 islands and protect the mainland from the huge 12 metre tides and astonishing speed of the Yampi (or, in traditional Aborigine, “Yampee”) Sound. The speed and power of the water many not make for pleasant bathing, but do however result in fantastic natural phenomena. One fine example is the horizontal reversible waterfall in Talbot Bay. The tidal pull is responsible for the “reversible” nature of the falls, however, this also hides narrow gaps between the islands, making for treacherous sailing conditions. Isolated graves of sailors and divers are testimony to the danger. William Dampier sighted the Archipelago in 1688 but it would not be until 1821 that the Archipelago would become known as Buccaneer (a term coined by Captain Phillip Parker King) "in commemoration of William Dampier’s visit to this part of the coast ". Commander John Lort Stokes also noted the area in his 1838 record. Enterprising individuals were initially attracted to the Buccaneer Archipelago in the 1800s due to the superior pearling as well as the rich iron ore deposits. Pearling conducted by luggers in the 1880s was concentrated in Cygnet Bay, Cascade Bay, Cone Bay and Strickland Bay. More recently, mining operators established open-cut mines on Koolan Island on the east side of the Sound. Some of the richest iron ore in the world is extracted here to this day.

09 Apr 2022

76

Broome, Australia

Gateway to the oldest and most elusive of all Australia’s nine regions, Broome is where your Kimberley adventure begins. The ancient landscape has long held travellers spellbound: The Kimberley is three time larger than England but has a population of just 35,000, is over 65,000 years old and is home to 2,000 km of coastline. Almost impenetrable, incredibly remote, the red baked earth, prolific wildlife, majestic canyons and swimming holes are the stuff of Australian wilderness dreams. English explorer William Dampier was the first explorer to set foot in Broome in 1668. However, the land had long been used as a trading route between east and west Kimberley for Aboriginal families. These semi-nomadic tribes respected strict unwritten rules regarding ownership of the land. The Yawuru people remain the Native Title holders for the township of Broome to this day. Broome itself has over 84 Aboriginal communities affiliated to it, 78 of which are considered remote. The city grew from its nascent pearling industry of the late 19th century. Pearl diving was dangerous in the waters surrounding Broome and for many years divers were limited to Aboriginal slaves, skin divers who faced cyclones, sharks, crocodiles, ear and chest infections in order to bring up as many pearl shells as possible for their masters. Natural pearls were rare and extremely valuable, and when found, were placed in a locked box. At the peak of its industry, around 1914, Broome was responsible for 80% of the world’s pearl trade.

10 Apr 2022

77

At Sea

11 Apr 2022

78

Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia

Don't let first impressions cloud your judgement - while Indonesia may offer prettier destinations, Kupang's got a real depth of character, and a visit will leave you ideally placed to explore some wonderful coastal spots. The Capital of West Nusa Tenggara has a youthful buzz to it, thanks to the sizeable student population who call it home, and the new arrivals regularly inject new life into it. Hop around on small bemos minibuses for the best way to absorb everything this lively destination has to offer. View less The local cuisine is mouth watering, and you'll be salivating at the prospect of eating tender se'i babi, a form of flavourful, smoked pork. So prepare to enjoy fishing boats bobbing offshore, waterfalls sloshing down rocks, and beaches offering all of the space you need to unwind, during your call in Kupang. There's no shortage of history here, and Kupang was ultimately the destination where William Bligh would land, after a remarkable journey of 3,618 nautical miles. He was forced to take this unplanned detour, after being cast adrift from his ship, when he was betrayed in the famous mutiny aboard the HMS Bounty. Bligh was quick to heap praise upon the island of Timor, which eventually saved his life when he landed here.

12 Apr 2022

79

Kalabahi (Takpala), Indonesia

Kalabahi is the capital and main seaport of Alor Island, the largest landmass in the Alor archipelago. Roughly 60,000 inhabitants call Kalabahi home and enjoy a wide variety of goods and services available here. Kalabahi has grown as a town in part because it is situated on some of the only level ground on the volcanic and rugged island of Alor. Inland from Kalabahi is the small traditional village of Takpala. View less The attractive rustic homes of the village are open and airy, and the Abui people living here harvest, dry, roast and grind their coffee by hand. The traditional dances and welcome ceremonies express a close-knit society cultivated in this tranquil setting.

13 Apr 2022

80

Pulau Tellang

Pulau Tellang is a tiny island of Indonesia, located just next to Pulau Maopara. Pulau Tellang is part of the small Barat Daya archipelago and stretches less than a mile across. The hilly terrain of the island was created by ancient volcanic activity; it reaches to a modest 600 feet in some places, which makes it a lovely spot to visit and hike to view its fauna and lush vegetation. The island lies on the southern edge of the Banda Sea, where visitors can rest on the pristine, rarely visited beach.

14 Apr 2022

81

Anano Island, Indonesia

Anano is part of the Wakatobi Island group. The Wakatobi Marine Park is known to have one of the highest coral and fish species counts in the world. Anano’s reefs are rich not only in coral and fish, but support walls with huge gorgonian fans and flourishing with large sponges. Underwater photographers will appreciate minute shrimp, crabs, and seahorses clinging to the corals even in the shallow areas. Highlights of an undersea excursion might include finding frogfish in ambush, camouflaged octopus, marbled snake eels, flying gurnards, multitudes of crab species, and dazzling anemones.

15 Apr 2022

82

Bau-Bau, Indonesia

Buton Island seems to be small compared to its neighbor Sulawesi, but with slightly more than 4,400 square kilometers (just under 1,700 square miles) it is Indonesia’s 19th largest island. Much of the lowland consists of uplifted karst and other limestone formations. Due to its hilly topography it still has a considerable amount of forest; most of it is seasonal tropical lowland forest with mangroves in coastal areas. Visitors to Bau-Bau, the main city on Buton Island, may well be welcomed with a mangaru, which is a welcome dance performed by three men to respect guests and to ward off enemies. Overlooking Bau-Bau is Benteng Keraton Buton, known as having been the seat of the sultan. Claiming to be the biggest fort in Indonesia and made of coral blocks, it commands an excellent view over the city and port and the sea beyond.

16 Apr 2022

83

Palopo, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Palopo is a municipality in the South Sulawesi Province of Indonesia, with a population of approximately 150,000. The city has an ancient history dating back to its founding in the early 1600s. The port has always had a trade link to the highlands of Sulawesi known as Tana Toraja, and a physical link through a twisting mountain pass making it a perfect gateway to Toraja. View less The land of Toraja is an ancient and mysterious place where residents adorn their homes with the horns of water buffalo killed in funeral ceremonies and ornate carvings painted in bold reds and black. In many ways the Tana Toraja customs of honoring the dead dictate their ways of life. Human remains rest in stone chambers in the hillsides and burial caves high in the cliffs. Elaborate funeral ceremonies which can take months or even years to prepare can go on for days and can draw hundreds of people in a festival-like atmosphere.

17 Apr 2022

84
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At Sea

18 Apr 2022 - 19 Apr 2022

86

Semarang, Indonesia

Semarang is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia, situated on Java's north coast between the shore of the Java Sea and a small ridge of mountains. Ceded to the Dutch West India Company in 1677 by King Amangkurat I in payment of his debts, it became their headquarters and the seat of the Dutch governor of the northeast provinces. Semarang's usefulness as a port waned due to the gradual silting up of the harbor. By the 19th century, Surabaya had eclipsed Semarang as Java's premier port.

20 Apr 2022

87

At Sea

21 Apr 2022

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Singapore

Advanced, airy and elevated, Singapore is a spectacular, futuristic vision of utopian city life. A healthy population of almost six million call it home, but this is a city designed with space to breathe, and gorgeous outdoor parks, massive indoor greenhouses and beautiful recreational spaces spread between the City of Gardens' skyscrapers and soaring structures. Once a quiet fishing village, now a glistening island city-state and an international beacon of science, education and technology. View less Singapore is almost intimidatingly clean - and the hyper-efficient public transport system whips residents and visitors across the city's neighbourhoods in a heartbeat. Glorious fountains and audacious skyscrapers loom up - nodding to traditional feng shui beliefs - and putting on dazzling illuminated displays after dark. The lush green botanical gardens are a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering 52 hectares and decorated with impressive colourful orchids. Or breathe in more of the freshest air by heading up to wander the canopy strung bridges of MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Head for the iconic Marina Bay - a landmark of the city crowned by three interconnected towers, which watch out over island sprinkled waters. Jaunt between Little India and the atmospheric Chinatown in minutes, where beautiful temples - like the Chinese Thian Hock Keng Temple and Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple add rich cultural intrigue. Singapore's cuisine is a mouthwatering fusion of its Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, and Malay influences, taking and enhancing the best of each. Enjoy dishes in towering restaurants, or toast the glowing skyline with the city's eponymous gin-soaked cocktail - a Singapore Sling.

22 Apr 2022 - 23 Apr 2022

90

At Sea

24 Apr 2022

91

Pulau Sepa Besar

The Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu) extend in a 45-kilometre (28-mile) line north of western Java. Despite the name, there are closer to 100 coral islands.

25 Apr 2022

92

Ujung Kulon National Park,Java, Indonesia

Found at the western tip of Java in Banten Province, the Ujung Kulon National Park –a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991- includes the Ujung Kulon Peninsula and several neighboring islands. The park not only has the most extensive lowland semi-evergreen rainforest on Java, a result of the evacuation of the area after Krakatoa’s eruption and tsunami in 1883, it also includes the Krakatau Nature Reserve to the north. View less The special interest of this park is the on-going evolution of geological and biological processes since Krakatoa’s eruption in the late 19th century. The park is the last remaining viable natural refuge for the endemic, critically endangered and rarely seen single-horned Javan rhinoceros. Several species of cats and civets, the endemic Javan gibbon and Javan leaf monkey and three types of deer can also be found in the park. During rainforest walks some of the more than 220 bird species recorded can be seen. Ujung Kulon’s marine areas were reported to have some of the richest fish fauna in Indonesia.

26 Apr 2022

93

At Sea

27 Apr 2022

94

Padang,Sumatra For Cupek, Indonesia

Padang is part old port town, and part modern capital of West Sumatra. Dutch colonialists traded coffee and spices from the harbor starting in the 17th century. Driving out from Padang one can reach Cupek, a Minangkabau village in Sumatra’s interior. The ancestral homelands of the Minangkabau are centered in West Sumatra’s lush highlands and stretch as far as the seashore. They claim the world’s largest matrilineal society and ownership of a family’s property—their homes, rice paddies and the like—passes from mother to daughter.

28 Apr 2022

95

Bawemataluwo, Indonesia

The local village of Bawomataluo is found in the Nias Islands where the islanders were once said to be fierce. Traditionally, passing through various stages of growth for a child or juvenile required that animals be slaughtered or enemies killed. Therefore young men prepared to become warriors at an early age. One of the preparations was stone jumping, a ritual where youngsters jumped over 1.5 to 2-meter (5 to 6.5 feet) high stone towers. Once a boy could jump over the stone tower, it signified that he was ready to assume the responsibilities of a man. Still today, Nias boys start preparing for their stone jump at the age of ten. In addition to the fascinating culture of Bawomataluo, there are birds to look for here including the resplendent Stork-billed Kingfisher.

29 Apr 2022

96

At Sea

30 Apr 2022

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Belawan, Indonesia

To call North Sumatra’s Gunung Leuser National Park big is an understatement. It’s vast. It’s epic. At over 3,000 square miles, its behemoth. The park is named after Mount Leuser (10,230 feet) and straddles the border of North Sumatra and Aceh provinces. The range pf ecosystems in the park is astonishing; tropical rain forest, lowland forest, mountainous terrain, freshwater lakes and rivers and alpine meadows are just the beginning. This glorious diversity has earnt the park its place as a UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve site. Over 120 mammals, 350 species of birds and 4000 plant species are found in the park, including the exponentially rare Sumatran elephant, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros, sambar deer and leopard cat. Wildlife sightings are guaranteed. By following your experienced guide’s advice, trek in silence, wait and listen. You’ll be greeted with a cacophony of squawks and squeals and sightings that will go down in your personal history. Don’t be surprised if you hear the distinct kissing mating calls of orang-utan. The Bohorok Orangutan Sanctuary of Bukit Lawang is located on the eastern side of the park and is one of the world’s leaders for orang-utan observation. From its inception in 1973 to its temporary closing after a flash flood destroyed it in 2002, the rehabilitation centre cared for and released captive orang-utans to the wild. Thanks to several international aid agencies, the centre was rebuilt in 2004 and continues to do exceptionally fine work.

01 May 2022 - 02 May 2022

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At Sea

03 May 2022 - 05 May 2022

102

Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle is an ancient Muslim port where different political influences from Europe have merged. In fact, the Galle Fort was occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and British until the late 19th century. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, it is surrounded by the sea on three sides. The surviving Dutch-colonial architecture and narrow streets exude the historic atmosphere of this living fort. The 18th century Dutch church has a splendid wooden memorial to one of the commanders of Galle, while the Arab quarter has a distinctly Moorish touch.

06 May 2022

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Colombo

Perfumed flower garlands, colonial roots, and lavish afternoon teas welcome you to the former garden city of Colombo. Sri Lanka’s easy breezy city is certainly intoxicating, with its cinnamon dusted air, steaming cups of delicate ceylon, and sassy seaside charm. A place of full sensory immersion, explore tangled streets to sidestep frantic tuk-tuks and gaze in awe at grand colonial buildings turned heritage hotels. Cute cafes usher you inside for sweet lassi, and the walls are made for a pleasantly laxidasical pace of walking. They're perhaps most impressive on stormy days, when you can watch bruised clouds tumble and roil across the sea from this perfect vantage point. Back in the capital, stroll the ornate halls of the National Museum where gilded swords, studded masks, and rare artefacts from the ancient world and colonial times are gathered. Visit the Gangaramaya Temple, to walk among the orange-robed monks who glide between flora-strewn alters, or plunge into the chaos of Pettah - where market cries reach orchestral heights. An incredible gathering of carved Hindu gods decorate the colourful pyramid of the Captain’s Garden Kovil temple - the oldest Hindu temple in the city, which rises majestically from the surrounding railway tracks. Forever the dish of the day, crab is a must in Colombo. Sit down, tuck in your bib and use your hands to crack, scoop and suck out the soft white meat – especially delicious when smothered in lashings of garlic and fiery chilli.

07 May 2022

104
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Cochin, India

A hodgepodge of cultures collide on the banks of the estuary where Cochin carves out her home. Chinese fishing nets the size of skyscrapers, boxy Dutch architecture and pretty Portuguese palaces point to the blend of influence here, while the Raj era remnants, soaring spires of old-world mosques, and near-abandoned synagogues all add to the dense, varied tapestry of inspirations and imprints. Founded by a prince in the 15th century, Cochin immediately became a favoured anchorage for sailors and traders from every far-flung corner - even taking nearby Kerala’s crown as the world's first global port city. Now, fragrant spice markets cut the hot air with cardamom and clove, while antique stores groan beneath the weight of singing copper. Hit the backstreets of Fort Kochi for a deep and dreamy Ayurvedic massage, marvel at the Krishna murals that adorn the bedchamber walls of the Mattancherry Palace, or admire India’s one of the oldest European-built Christian churches - as you duck into the cool hues of St Francis. A day can easily meander past on a backwater cruise, spreading south from Cochin, and gliding down a lacy network of creeks, lagoons, lakes and rivers. Surrounded by swaying palms and rice paddies – you’ll experience rural India in her best dress. When daylight dwindles, taste the soft spicy kick of dal roti, followed by Firni – almonds, apricots, and sweet milk crushed with pastel green pistachios for a silky light finish.

08 May 2022 - 09 May 2022

106

At Sea

10 May 2022

107

Mormugao, India

The former Portuguese enclave of Goa is one of India's gems with attractions that include the magnificent Portuguese cathedrals of Old Goa, palm-fringed beaches and some of the best seafood in India. Over the centuries, Goa became well known as a great source for spices and an important link in the Arabian trade routes. While spices and silks, porcelains and pearls were passing in and out of Goa's harbors, its lands were being settled by Catholic priests. Among them was St. Francis Xavier, who left a lasting influence on this small, rich region.

11 May 2022

108
109

At Sea

12 May 2022 - 13 May 2022

110

Muscat

Surrounded by striking mountains on one side and soft sandy shores along the coast, Muscat was already a thriving port in ancient times. As the capital of modern Oman with wide avenues and architecture that features both contemporary and traditional design, parts of the city still retain their medieval appearance, including two ancient Portuguese forts flanking the rocky cove around which the city is built. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Muscat was an important outpost for the powerful kings of Hormuz. In the 16th century, the Portuguese took possession of Muscat, but lost their dominance in the Gulf when the city came again under Omani rule in 1650. Since the mid-18th century, members of the Al-Busaidy dynasty have been the rulers of Oman. From the time of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said's accession to the throne in 1970, the Sultanate has gone from an underdeveloped country to a modern state with imposing government buildings, hospitals, new roads, a university and a sport complex. Muscat's picturesque old buildings still co-exist with modern commercial and residential quarters, giving the city an ambiance all its own. The seaside palace of His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos, offers a spectacular sight, as it stands between steep rocky hills. Greater Muscat covers a huge area divided into three sections: the old port area, the main trading and residential area, and the modern Central Banking District. Sumptuous villas and deluxe hotels are part of an ongoing building boom. Strong development in tourism has gained Oman a new role as an intriguing, fascinating and safe destination. Oman is full of treasures - from historic palaces and traditional buildings to captivating landscapes and gracious people. Its advent into modern age has managed beautifully to blend age-old mystique with a taste of the 21st century.

14 May 2022

111

Sur

In centuries past, Arab wooden vessels dominated the trade routes of the Indian Ocean. Many were built and based at Sur, which was a major port from the 6th century. In the 18th and 19th centuries the port often had 150 vessels as Sur continued to be a centre of trade between Oman, East Africa and Asia. Its strategic location at the junction of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea was a key to the town’s importance. View less Modern ships and the opening of the Suez Canal reduced the maritime fortunes of the town, although some fishing and pleasure dhows still sail today. Sur’s fortunes are now tied more to the nearby gas processing industry and supporting nearby rural villages. Traditional wooden dhows are still constructed in the shipyard of Sur for local use. You can watch skilled craftsmen building the boats using age-old techniques and tools. Plans don’t exist, as the designs and measurements are all in the shipwright’s head and passed on by word of mouth and experience. Dhows may not be as fast and comfortable as our cruise ship but they have proved an effective and resilient ocean going design. Forts and watchtowers around Sur reflect the historic importance of the valuable trading port. The lighthouse dominating the harbour entrance is a converted watch tower. Sunaysilah Fort, with its four towers, is a fine example of Omani defensive structures. Sur itself still embraces old architecture and many traditions. One is the importance of souqs (markets) plying a trade in everything from fish to perfumes.

15 May 2022

112

At Sea

16 May 2022

113

Salalah, Oman

Salalah is the capital of Dhofar Province, which is the southern region of the Sultanate of Oman. Green areas scattered across town give the city a tropical atmosphere and have earned it the name "Garden City." It is a laid-back place with a few resort hotels dotting the sandy seashore. The Dhofar region has been known for centuries for the production of frankincense. The narrow belt and the mountain range benefit from the southwest monsoon winds, which are an unusual feature for the Arabian Peninsula. The moisture-laden winds bring rain from the end of June to August. Heavy mists blanket the coast and mountains during these months, creating lush, green hillsides and cooler temperatures, the perfect environment for frankincense trees to grow. Behind the mountain range lies the hot desert, unaffected by the monsoon, and the domain of the hardy Bedouins and their camels. Along the coast lie miles of deserted beaches, bordered by a brilliant blue sea. Other attractions around the countryside include ancient forts, archaeological sites, fishing villages and the tombs of prophets. But it is mainly the rugged landscape and the beaches that appeal to visitors with a penchant for unspoiled destinations. Indeed, Salalah has to be appreciated as an off-the-beaten-track location and for the uniqueness that marks the Dhofar region.

17 May 2022

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At Sea

18 May 2022 - 21 May 2022

118

Safaga

The port city of Safaga is located on the western flank of the Red Sea, across from the shores of Saudi Arabia. The dusty streets are for the most part quiet, save for the occasional truck or bus. Diving enthusiasts come to the few resort hotels located north of Safaga to enjoy one of the world's best and relatively unspoiled locations for underwater exploration. Their number is steadily increasing. As a result, Safaga's facilities are gradually improving. For cruise vessels calling here, Safaga serves as the gateway to Luxor, which ranks among the most important destinations in Egypt, topping the list of must-see attractions. Guests who are not planning to take the excursion to Luxor will find very limited activities in Safaga itself, except for souvenir shopping at some tourist villages and diving and snorkeling tours at resort hotels. A half day trip to the resort of Hurghada is also an option.

22 May 2022

119

At Sea

23 May 2022

120

Suez Canal Transit

No information available

24 May 2022

121

At Sea

25 May 2022

122

Rhodes

Located only seven miles from the Turkish coast, Rhodes is one of Greece's favored vacation centers. In ancient times, the entrance to its harbor featured a celebrated landmark, the Colossus of Rhodes. The 105-foot statue rose from a 35-foot stone base and was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Rhodes was an important cultural center with a well-known School of Rhetoric attended by such historical figures as Cicero and Caesar. From a school for sculptors came the famous Laocoon group, which is now in the Vatican Museum. Rhodes' most famous attractions originated with the Knights of St. John, who occupied parts of the island from 1308 to 1522. As their legacy they left a medieval town, dominated by the Palace of the Grand Masters and the Knights' Hospital. The Old Town is encircled by one of the best-preserved walls in Europe. In addition to buildings that showcase the legacy of the Knights of St. John, there are plenty of shops and dining opportunities throughout the Old Town.

26 May 2022

123

Naxos

A little bit more rough and ready around the edges than a lot of other Greek islands, Naxos is the thinking-person’s Greece. The largest of all the Cyclades islands, it was once the cultural centre of Classical Greece and Byzantium, so do not be surprised that the world’s oldest culture has left its mark. Museums range from the Archaeological Museum (housed in an elegant Venetian mansion), an impressive geological museum to the lovely Venetian and unusual museum, housed in an 800-year old private house. View less For those who want to venture further afield, Haki, the old capital of Naxos, has a great distillery museum, run by the same family who first opened it in 1896. Not only are there two lovely monasteries worth visiting, but because of its high mountains Naxos benefits from much more rainfall than most other Greek islands, which makes the land very green and fertile. Local produces includes olives, grapes, figs, citrus fruit, corn and potatoes and if you get a chance, a healthy home-grown meal in a back-country taverna will be undoubtedly be memorable. The golden sands that circle Naxos are particularly nice, catering for all personality types. The active among you will certainly want to head to the eastern side of the island, where the wind is perfect for budding kite and windsurfers, as well as those who like their beaches as natural as can be. The western side of the island, notably Platka beach, is where the sun-lovers will be seen soaking up the rays.

27 May 2022

124

Athens (Piraeus), Greece

A city of legend, civilisation and enduring culture, Athens is a majestic and magical urban sprawl. Extraordinary elegance and grace combine with grit and graft in Greece's capital, where highways encase ruins from antiquity, and gleaming museums and galleries stand beside concrete sprayed with edgy street art. These contrasts enhance and elevate the wonders of this 2,500-year-old city, however, which can count notable contributions to philosophy, drama and democracy, among its global legacy. Piraeus' giant port and naval base welcome you to the edge of the Athens' urban area. From there it's a simple jaunt to the centre. The majestic ancient citadel of the Acropolis dominates an elevated platform and is a constant presence as you explore the city. The wonderful remains of the columned temple of the Parthenon - which date back to the 5th century BC - stand here, representing the pinnacle of classical architecture. The nearby Acropolis Museum adds context to your visit and frames the broad views from its giant glass windows. Or rise up Mount Lycabettus, to be rewarded with perhaps Athens' best panorama of the Acropolis sitting high over the city on its grand stage. See the marble horseshoe of the Old Olympic Stadium, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896, for more of the city's enduring legacy. Elsewhere, golden beaches and temples stretch out along the coastline, should you wish to explore a little further afield. Coffee is an art form to the Greeks, and it's an unwritten rule that coffee time must never be rushed. So prepare to settle down for a couple of hours and lose yourself in a good chat. Feeling hungry - try traditional souvlaki made with sauces handed from generation to generation.

28 May 2022

125

Monemvasia, Greece

A town of rustic, lyrically romantic beauty, Monemvasia boasts a glorious natural setting - perched on a colossal rock island, which rears spectacularly from the waves. A truly unique castle city, the island is linked to the mainland by just a single solitary causeway. It is hard to imagine a better – and more impenetrable - setting for a fortress town than this, and the rock is laced with tight cobbled streets, exposed stone masonry and pretty Byzantine churches. View less Known as the Gibraltar of Greece, you would be forgiven for assuming that the limestone monolith was unoccupied as you approach from the seas. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll begin to pick out the ancient walls and terracotta roofs of the quaint town clinging to its steep, dramatic slopes - and the walls of the fortress crowning it. A natural stronghold of overwhelming romantic beauty – the rock is said to lend couples wedded here extra strong foundations to build from. Arrive on the island to wander the historic knot of streets of a true Adriatic wonder. Encounter gorgeous, tree-shaded terraces, which look out across the rippling blue waves. Visit the picturesque Church of Christ Elkomenos, where you can shelter in the cool interior, and see storied religious iconography. A historic paved pathway twists back on itself, rising sharply up the slope on a daunting ascent to the now uninhabited upper fortress. The views from here are even more incredible, as you look down across the rustic domes of the lower village’s churches and stone-paved streets below.

29 May 2022

126

Nafpaktos

A past as deep as the ocean, Nafpaktos is the quintessence of Greece. Seeped in history since the 15th century, this ex-Venetian stronghold was more commonly known as Lepanto. Liberated in 1829 when Greece gained independence, Nafpaktos (meaning “boatyard”) is an ancient Greek name, which was revived in the 19th century. Historically the name goes as far back as the Doric period, as the Dorian first used the island to build rafts. View less Legend has it that Heraclidea built a fleet of ships in the harbor which were then used to invade the Peloponnese. Set on the mainland at the entrance to the Corinthian Gulf, Nafpaktos was initially chosen as a strategic point due to its high hills and fertile land. The Byzantine navy used it as a communication point and, amongst others, the Knights Hospitaller occupied it in 1378 before it was captured by the Venetians in 1407. Over 600 years later, today the town could be considered one of the oldest in Greece. Unsurprisingly for a town with such a rich past, its present is very much respectful of tradition. The city is picturesque, and it has kept its style, beauty and feel for centuries. Take a stroll in the pretty old town with its naval houses and mansions and be transported back by several centuries! The port, the smallest in the Mediterranean, is a relic from the city’s Venetian past, while the bougainvillea that clings to the whitewashed walls, cobbled streets and shady squares could be from a movie set. At the time of writing – 2019 – Nafpaktos had still not fallen prey to mass tourism like many other of its neighbouring islands. So do not expect hordes of tourists – moreover authentic tavernas selling locally caught fresh fish, squid and octopus and beachside restaurants serving Grecian cuisine at very reasonable rates.

30 May 2022

127

Sarandë, Albania

Sarandë is a resort on the Albanian Riviera, in southern Albania. Sandwiched between the Ionian Sea and hills of olive groves, the town is on a horseshoe-shaped bay, edged by beaches and a promenade. In the center are the archaeological remains of a 5th-century synagogue, later an early Christian basilica. Intricate floor mosaics are still evident. The 16th-century Lëkurësi Castle is on a hilltop above the town.

31 May 2022

128

At Sea

01 Jun 2022

129

Sousse

With more than 270,000 inhabitants Sousse is Tunisia’s third-largest city. Located on the coast and bordering the Gulf of Hammamet, it is about 140 kilometers south of Tunis. Sousse’s origin goes back to Hadrumetum, a Phoenician settlement in the Tunisian Sahel. It was later used by Romans, Vandals and the Byzantine Empire, but eventually destroyed in the 7th century during the Muslim conquest of North Africa. View less By the year 800 a border defense was set up at present day Sousse and it became an important commercial and military port under the Aghlabids. Located next to the port, several of Sousse’s old structures are still well-preserved and are listed as “Historic Monuments”, among them the Kasbah, the Medina of Sousse with the Great Mosque, the Bu Ftata Mosque and the Ribat, the most ancient and best-preserved fort and religious building. This complex has been considered to be a unique prototype of military coastal architecture of the first centuries of Islam and one of the best examples of seaward-facing fortifications built by Arabs by UNESCO. This harmonious example of Arabian-Muslim urbanism was given World Heritage status. Although olive oil manufacture has been one of the main economic activities, tourism has played an important role since the 1960s. A harbor and beach promenade running for some 10 kilometers along fine sandy beaches and hotels is used by visitors and locals alike. The Archaeological Museum houses important Roman mosaics and artefacts from the Roman Christian catacombs.

02 Jun 2022

130

Porto Empedocle, Italy

Porto Empedocle is a town and comune in Italy on the coast of the Strait of Sicily, administratively part of the province of Agrigento. It is the namesake of Empedocles, a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of the city of Akragas, in his day a Greek colony in Sicily.

03 Jun 2022

131

Trapani, Sicily, Italy

Surrounded by glowing turquoise waters and rugged coastline, Trapani invites you to explore western Sicily's ruins, intense flavours, and sun-soaked leisure pursuits. Built on salt and tuna exports, Trapani is experiencing a renaissance, having been lovingly spruced up as a sailing capital, and an international airport bringing in visitors from far and wide. The town looks out over the Egadi Islands, gazing west to witness some of Siciliy's most evocative sunset displays. View less Start exploring Trapani from its historic core, a dense network of alleys hosting a collection of small shops, restaurants and wine bars. You’ll encounter the Cathedral of San Lorenzo – where colourful artworks are spread below sweeping arches and a beautiful domed roof. Sicily feels like an island on the cusp of continents, and Trapani practically has one foot in Africa, as you soak in its pretty whitewash houses and fusion of foods and arts. Discover the Ancient Greek influence by venturing to rich archaeological sites nearby, like Selinus and Segesta, where the treasures from the past have been unearthed and displayed. Pyramids of white salt rise up at the Riserva Naturale Saline di Trapani e Paceco. These salt marshes and windmills are a symbol of Trapani, and although sea salt production is much less important today, the small white hills remain a Trapani landmark. Look out for the pink flamingos wading in the salt pans below. For beach days, the Egadi Islands can be easily reached from Trapani - Favignana is the largest and most popular.

04 Jun 2022

132

Cagliari

The serene sea approach to Cagliari is an exquisitely beautiful way to first lay eyes on the city’s mesmerising interplay of colour, spires and domed churches. Sat on Sardinia’s south coast, Cagliari is the island’s largest city, and a sun-blessed escape of beaches, architecture and Mediterranean food – where stress evaporates on contact. That first sight of Cagliari’s mosaic of architecture reveals much about the island’s history, and is a living document of the civilisations and influences that have passed through. Combining Byzantine churches with crumbling Roman ruins and Pisan towers, it’s an elegant, beguiling place to explore. Usher in the morning with a short, sharp espresso hit, before wandering along to San Benedetto market’s bustle, crammed full of overflowing heaps of local produce. Taste crisp, freshly-baked bread, thin shavings of sheep’s cheese, and ripe red strawberries, as you wander amid the market’s melody of good-natured bartering. The Castello quarter’s tight, flower-draped streets and salmon-hued brick buildings incline up above the Med’s softly lapping waves. Climb Bastione di Saint Remy staircase to Terrazza Umberto’s views of the turquoise Gulf of Angels. Next, Cathedral of Santa Maria awaits, with its marbled interiors, elaborate side chapels and intricately decorated crypt. Once you’ve unravelled Cagliari’s historical tapestry, Poetto Beach invites you to find a spot on almost five miles of uninterrupted sand, met by a dazzling expanse of turquoise water. On a hot summer’s day, soak up some sun before saluting the sunset with an ice cold Spritz at a beachside bar. Spaghetti with salted bottarga and artichokes will keep the good times rolling, perfectly accompanied by a glass of ruby-coloured Cannonau wine.

05 Jun 2022

133

Bejaia, Algeria

About 250 km east of Algiers lies Bejaia. Far from the beaten track of Algeria’s tourist hotspots, this pretty seaside port is also one Algeria’s best. Overlooked by Yemma Gouraya – the mountain that take its name from its shape of a sleeping woman, and bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, this largish city has a deep and interesting history. As is the often the case with ancient cities, Bejaia is built on legend. The story is that Hercules, before travelling to Gibraltar to build Tangiers (and lay the foundations to which he left his name) lived in the large cave above the village. The townspeople of Bejaia, wanting him gone, prepared him a dish of spicy beans, so spicy that he had to descend the mountain to quench his thirst and disapeer into the sea. Whether or not you choose to believe that Bejaia featured in Hercules’ 12 labours is up to you, but what is certain is that Bejaia’s (recorded) history can be traced to the founding by the Carthaginians in the 1st century BC. The city was known as Saldae under Roman rule (200-500), and later became the capital of the Berber Hammadid dynasty. French colonial rule came in 1833 until independence in 1962. Bejaia’s old town is one of Algeria’s finest. A walking tour will reveal both Byzantine history and French colonial rule. A 16th-century mosque bears testament to the city’s Muslim past, as well as a Spanish fortress, also from the 16th century, and an old Kasbah. The Pic des Singes (Monkey Mountain) is another great day out.

06 Jun 2022

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At Sea

07 Jun 2022 - 08 Jun 2022

136

Seville

Whether you pronounce it Seville or Sevilla, this gorgeous Spanish town is most certainly the stuff of dreams. Over 2,200 years old, Seville has a mutli-layered personality; home to Flamenco, high temperatures and three UNESCO-World Heritage Sites, there is a noble ancestry to the southern Spanish town. Not forgetting that it is the birthplace of painter Diego Velazquez, the resting place of Christopher Columbus, the inspiration for Bizet’s Carmen and a location for Game of Thrones filming, Seville is truly more than just a sum of its parts. View less This city is a full on experience, a beguiling labyrinth of centuries old streets, tiny tapas restaurants serving possibly the best dishes you’ll taste south of Madrid and a paradise of Mudejar architecture and tranquil palm trees and fountain-filled gardens.

09 Jun 2022

137

At Sea

10 Jun 2022

138

Lisbon

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a city open to the sea and carefully planned with 18th-century elegance. Its founder is said to be the legendary Ulysses, but the theory of an original Phoenician settlement is probably more realistic. Known in Portugal as Lisboa, the city was inhabited by the Romans, Visigoths and, beginning in the 8th century, the Moors. Much of the 16th century was a period of great prosperity and overseas expansion for Portugal. Tragedy struck on All Saints' Day in 1755 with a devastating earthquake that killed about 40,000 people. The destruction of Lisbon shocked the continent. As a result, the Baixa (lower city) emerged in a single phase of building, carried out in less than a decade by the royal minister, the Marques de Pombal. His carefully planned layout of a perfect neo-classical grid survived to this day and remains the heart of the city. Evidence of pre-quake Lisbon can still be seen in the Belém suburb and the old Moorish section of the Alfama that sprawls below the Castle of St. George. Lisbon is a compact city on the banks of the Tagus River. Visitors find it easy to get around as many places of interest are in the vicinity of the central downtown area. There is a convenient bus and tram system and taxis are plentiful. Rossio Square, the heart of Lisbon since medieval times, is an ideal place to start exploring. After a fire destroyed parts of the historic neighborhood behind Rossio in 1988, many of the restored buildings emerged with modern interiors behind the original façades. The city boasts a good many monuments and museums, such as the Jeronimos Monastery, Tower of Belém, the Royal Coach Museum and the Gulbenkian Museum. High above the Baixa is the Bairro Alto (upper city) with its teeming nightlife. The easiest way to connect between the two areas is via the public elevator designed by Gustave Eiffel. Cruising up the Tagus River to the ship's berth, you can already spot three of Lisbon's famous landmarks: the Monument to the Discoveries, the Tower of Belém and the Statue of Christ, which welcomes visitors from its hilltop location high above Europe's longest suspension bridge.

11 Jun 2022

139

Leixoes (Porto)

Lively, commercial Oporto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. Also called Porto for short, the word easily brings to mind the city's most famous product - port wine. Oporto’s strategic location on the north bank of the Douro River has accounted for the town’s importance since ancient times. The Romans built a fort here where their trading route crossed the Douro, and the Moors brought their own culture to the area. Oporto profited from provisioning crusaders en route to the Holy Land and enjoyed the riches from Portuguese maritime discoveries during the 15th and 16th centuries.

12 Jun 2022

140

La Coruna

La Coruña, the largest city in Spain's Galicia region, is among the country's busiest ports. The remote Galicia area is tucked into the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula, surprising visitors with its green and misty countryside that is so much unlike other parts of Spain. The name "Galicia" is Celtic in origin, for it was the Celts who occupied the region around the 6th century BC and erected fortifications. La Coruña was already considered an important port under the Romans. They were followed by an invasion of Suevians, Visigoths and, much later in 730, the Moors. It was after Galicia was incorporated into the Kingdom of Asturias that the epic saga of the Pilgrimage to Santiago (St. James) began. From the 15th century, overseas trade developed rapidly; in 1720, La Coruña was granted the privilege of trading with America - a right previously only held by Cadiz and Seville. This was the great era when adventurous men voyaged to the colonies and returned with vast riches. Today, the city's significant expansion is evident in three distinct quarters: the town center located along the isthmus; the business and commercial center with wide avenues and shopping streets; and the "Ensanche" to the south, occupied by warehouses and factories. Many of the buildings in the old section feature the characteristic glazed façades that have earned La Coruña the name "City of Crystals." Plaza Maria Pita, the beautiful main square, is named after the local heroine who saved the town in 1589 when she seized the English standard from the beacon and gave the alarm, warning her fellow townsmen of the English attack.

13 Jun 2022

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At Sea

14 Jun 2022

142

Saint Malo (Brittany)

Ship sails flutter in the breeze, at the natural port of Saint-Malo - a historic and resilient walled city, which watches out over golden sands and island fortresses. Strung tenuously to the mainland, Saint Malo was the historic home of a rowdy mix of skilled sailors and new world explorers - as well as the plunderers who earned the place its 'Pirate City' title. Some of history's great voyages have launched from here - including Jacques Cartier's, which led to the settlement of New France and modern-day Quebec. View less Founded by a Welsh monk, who made his way here in the 6th century, Saint Malo's castle is forged from sheer granite, and its steep defensive ramparts arise defiantly. The atmospheric walled town turns its back to the mainland and gazes out longingly into the sea. Explore streets that breathe with maritime tales and medieval charm - restored from the intense damage sustained during the Second World War. Cathédrale de St Malo rises above the tight paths, offering views of the peppered islands and fortifications. Boatloads of fresh oysters and scallops are heaved ashore - savour them or grab savoury crepes galettes, stuffed with cheese and ham. Wash Saint Malo's foods down with a Brittany cider, which challenges wine as the indulgence of choice in these parts. A highly tidal region, the pocket-sized islands of Petit Bé and Grand Bé join the mainland, and you can explore at leisure as the tide recedes. The incredible island of Mont Saint Michel also looms in the estuary of the Couesnon River nearby, hovering like a cinematic mirage above high tide’s waters. Elsewhere, Cap Fréhel's lush green peninsula juts out from the emerald coast towards Jersey, tempting with rich coastal hiking trails.

15 Jun 2022

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Honfleur

The crammed together, timber-framed houses of Honfleur's delightful waterfront simply beg to be painted, and the waterfront beauty has been immortalised on the canvases of artists like Monet, and Honfleur's celebrated son, Boudin. Located in scenic Normandy, where the Seine opens out into the Channel, this is one of France's - and the world's - most spectacular, historic harbours. Impossibly picturesque, the Vieux Bassin's Norman harbour townhouses are an artist’s dream, reflecting out onto the still water, between bright wooden fishing boats. View less It may be gorgeous, but it’s also a historically important port, and Samuel de Champlain's epic voyage - which resulted in the founding of Quebec - launched from these waters. Take a stroll back in time, as you wander cobbled streets where flowers spill down walls or sit to indulge in Calvados – brandy made from Normandy's famous apples. A museum dedicated to Eugene Boudin, the town's influential impressionist artist, displays visions of the harbour and region, as well as paintings of the town's stunning wooden church. Wander to Eglise St Catherine itself, to see the twisting structure, which is France's largest wooden chapel. Constructed from trees taken from nearby Touques Forest, it replaced the stone church that stood here previously, which was destroyed during the Hundred Years War. Out of Honfleur, The spectacular Pont de Normandie cable-stayed bridge loops up over the Seine's estuary, bringing excursions to Le Havre even closer. The pensive, sombre beaches of the D-Day landings stretch out across Normandy's coastline, while the Bayeux Tapestry unfurls within reach of Honfleur's picturesque scenery.

16 Jun 2022

144

At Sea

17 Jun 2022

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146

London (Tower Bridge), UK

London is undoubtedly one of the world's greatest cities. With a population of nearly eight million, it is by far the largest city in Europe, spreading over an area of more than 620 square miles. In addition to numerous monuments from its past as a world empire, London is equally known for its pageantry and tradition. Though the city was heavily damaged during the Blitz of World War II, a surprising number of monuments were miraculously spared from destruction. Soon after the end of the war, England's capital began to prosper as never before. London has something for everyone - wide boulevards buzzing with excitement far into the night, quiet squares and explorable alleyways. Large expanses of greenery, such as Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James Park, are all within a few minutes' walk of the West End shops.The museums and galleries are as varied and rich as you will find anywhere. Monuments run the gamut from Roman ruins to sumptuous castles and opulent public buildings, representing the architecture of the triumphal British Empire. Many of these buildings were constructed in the 18th century and during the reign of Queen Victoria to reflect the city's status as the financial and administrative hub of a great empire. Today, London wears its 2,000 years of history with dignity. Alongside modern skyscrapers are remnants of the city's Roman wall. Norman London is evident in one of London's best-known landmarks, the Tower of London, whose origins date back to William the Conqueror.The city's oldest pub, a few medieval churches and the timbered Elizabethan façade of Staple Inn recall London before the Great Fire of 1666. Stately Georgian squares from the 18th century are preserved in the fashionable West End.

18 Jun 2022 - 19 Jun 2022

147

St. Peter Port (Guernsey)

Twenty-five square mile (40 sq km) Guernsey is the second largest of the Channel Islands, which lie in the English Channel west of the Cherbourg peninsula. Along with its sister island of Jersey, Guernsey has been a part of Britain since 1066, though retaining a culture entirely of its own.

20 Jun 2022

148

Penzance

This popular seaside resort in western Cornwall occupies a commanding position at the northwest corner of Mount’s Bay. Due to this strategic location, the town was frequently raided during the Middle Ages. In the 16th century, Spanish assailants destroyed most of the original town and the majority of the old buildings remaining today date from the 18th century. Over the centuries, Penzance has served a number of important functions. View less Among them, as tin shipping port for the Roman Empire and medieval Europe, passenger terminal for emigrants bound for the New World, fresh-flower and fish dispatch point for London and, most recently, as a popular holiday destination. The dominant style you will see in Penzance today is Georgian and regal Regency. Along the Western Promenade stand 18th- and 19th-century townhouses, while the Barbizon, an 18th-century fish market, has been transformed into a lively arts and crafts center. But the most interesting part is the ancient cobblestoned quarter that lies at the junction of Chapel Street and Market Jew, where much of the flavor of Penzance’s seafaring is preserved. There are a number of historic buildings, including the 18th-century Union Hotel, the Victorian Market House and the Penlee Museum. The most impressive attraction in the vicinity of Penzance is St. Michael’s Mount. Its huge medieval castle and abbey dominate a granite outcrop in Mount’s Bay. At low tide the site can be reached on foot via a rocky causeway; at other times, a boat ride is required from the mainland. Pier Information The ship is scheduled to anchor off Penzance. Guests will be taken ashore via the ship’s tender. The town center can be reached via a 5-minute walk. Taxis for trips farther afield can be found at the train station within a 10-minute walk from the tender pier. Shopping Shops in the town center offer art and souvenir items and bric-a-brac. Most shops are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.The local currency is the pound. Cuisine This popular resort has no lack of eateries, ranging from a number of typical local pubs to trendy restaurants on Chapel Street. Seafood and usual tourist fare are widely available. Other Sites Town Center Take a stroll around the ancient quarter at the junction of Chapel Street and Market Jew. At the Barbizon you will find an arts and crafts center. Historic Buildings include the 18th-century Union Hotel, the Victorian Market House and the Penlee Museum. Across from the Union Hotel stands the flamboyant Egyptian House, built in 1835 and renovated twenty years ago. The Maritime Museum features a display of items salvaged from local wrecks and a collection of seafaring articles. Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Tour Office on board.

21 Jun 2022

149

Pembroke, United Kingdom

Pembroke on Wales’ west coast (approximately an hour from Swansea) will instantly steal your heart. long stretches of sandy beach and heather clad rocks will lift your mood, while crashing waves against the same beaches will soothe and energise you in equimeasure. And that’s before you have even arrived on shore. With a bit of luck, the famous Welsh weather will be on your side and nature lovers will be able to fill up on sea breeze and stunning coastal scenery. View less Wildlife spotters will be happy too, as Pembroke is home to puffins, dolphins, porpoises and grey seals (and the occasional whale or shark) and are often spotted from the 186-mile headland path. The town’s rich history is another reason why Pembroke is Wales’ de facto holiday destination. Henry VII of England (aka Henry Tudor) was born here in 1457 and the town’s pride and joy is the picturesque, history-laden Pembroke Castle. Built in 1093 by Arnulf de Montgomery, the long history of the castle is second to none and anyone who enjoys stepping into the past will soon be lost in the tumultuous tales of the past. Colourful painted buildings line the main street, while independent boutiques offer much in the way of souvenirs. Woollen wares take pride of place, but don’t overlook the local jewellery made with rare welsh gold (all royal brides have had their wedding rings made with welsh gold since 1932). Tea shops and of course homely, hearty pubs are warm and welcoming, so if the weather does turn bad, you’ll be spoilt for choice for shelter.

22 Jun 2022

150

Iona

If tiny islands that resonate with peace and tranquillity are your idea of travel heaven, then welcome to Iona. Almost 200 miles east of Edinburgh, set in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, this magical island has a spiritual reputation that precedes it. And luckily, more than lives up to. The island is miniscule. Just three miles long and only one and a half miles wide, this is not a place that hums with urban attractions. View less 120 people call Iona home (this number rises significantly if the gull, tern and Kittiwake population is added), although residential numbers do go up (to a whopping 175) in summer. The beautiful coastline is lapped by the gulf stream and gives the island a warm climate with sandy beaches that look more Mediterranean than Scottish! Add to that a green field landscape that is just beautiful, and you’ll find that Iona is a place that stays with you long after you leave. Iona’s main attraction is of course its abbey. Built in 563 by Saint Columbia and his monks, the abbey is the reason why Iona is called the cradle of Christianity. Not only is the abbey (today an ecumenical church) one of the best – if not the best – example of ecclesiastical architecture dating from the Middle Ages, but it also serves as an important site of spiritual pilgrimage. St. Martin’s Cross, a 9th century Celtic cross that stands outside the abbey, is considered as the finest example of Celtic crosses in the British Isles. Rèilig Odhrain, or the cemetery, allegedly contains the remains of many Scottish kings.

23 Jun 2022

151

Fort William, Scotland

Flanked by the UK’s tallest mountain on one side and Loch Linnae on the other, Fort William – or “Bill” to the locals – is what you imagine when it comes to Scottish Highland towns. Verdant moors stretch as far as the eye can see, pastel painted houses front the water and it is not unusual to see pipers in kilts on street corners. But while Fort William may play to certain critics’ idea of a cliché, the pretty town goes far beyond tartan cushions and wee drams of Scotch (although there is a fair amount of this too!). Fort William has everything you could possibly want while in the Highlands. The High Street has plenty to keep you occupied with its good range of shops, cafes and restaurants - a lunch of locally caught seafood or the iconic haggis, neeps and tatties is a must. Because of its privileged location sitting in the shadow of the mighty Ben Nevis (standing a proud 1,345 metres high) outdoor enthusiasts are especially well catered for. Unsurprisingly so, as Fort William is considered the UK’s outdoor capital. But it’s not all high adrenaline sports. Certainly, those who want to climb up a rock or hurtle down white water rapids will find their nirvana, but if gentle fishing, a quiet county walk or curling up in cosy pubs warmed by an open fire are more your glass of whiskey then you’re catered for. The West Highland Museum in the centre of the town is excellent, while St Andrew's Church, towards the north end of the main street, has a very attractive interior. Also well worth a look is St Mary's Catholic Church, on Belford Road, and no visit should be considered complete without a look at the Old Fort, almost invisible to passing traffic. Add a wildlife cruise amid stunning scenery and the steam train that took Harry to Hogwarts and you can easily spend a day in this lovely port.

24 Jun 2022

152

St. Kilda, Scotland

Gloriously remote, St. Kilda is an archipelago 50 miles off the Isle of Harris. Although the four islands are uninhabited by humans, thousands of seas birds call these craggy cliffs home, clinging to the sheer faces as if by magic. Not only is St. Kilda home to the UK’s largest colony of Atlantic Puffin (almost 1 million), but also the world largest colony Gannets nests on Boreray island and its sea stacks. View less The islands also home decedents of the world’s original Soay sheep as well as having a breed of eponymously named mice. The extremely rare St. Kilda wren unsurprisingly hails from St. Kilda, so birders should visit with notebook, binoculars and camera to hand. While endemic animal species is rife on the island, St. Kilda has not been peopled since 1930 after the last inhabitants voted that human life was unsustainable. However, permanent habitation had been possible in the Medieval Ages, and a vast National Trust for Scotland project to restore the dwellings is currently being undertaken. The islands even enjoyed a status as being an ideal holiday destination in the 19th century. Today, the only humans living on the islands are passionate history, science and conservation scholars. One of the caretakers even acts as shopkeeper and postmaster for any visitors who might like to send a postcard home from St. Kilda. It should be noted that St. Kilda is the UKs only (and just one of 39 in the world) dual World Heritage status from UNESCO in recognition of its Natural Heritage and cultural significance.

25 Jun 2022

153

At Sea

26 Jun 2022

154

Vestmannaeyjar

The name Vestmannaeyjar refers to both a town and an archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. The largest Vestmannaeyjar island is called Heimaey. It is the only inhabited island in the group and is home to over 4000 people. The eruption of the Eldfell Volcano put Vestmannaeyjar into the international lime light in 1973. The volcano’s eruption destroyed many buildings and forced an evacuation of the residents to mainland Iceland. The lava flow was stopped in its tracks by the application of billions of liters of cold sea water. View less Since the eruption, life on the small island outpost has returned to the natural ebb and flow of a small coastal fishing community on the edge of the chilly and wild North Atlantic.

27 Jun 2022

155

Reykjavik

The fire, frost and water symbolized by the red, white and blue of Iceland's flag are manifested by the ice and snow of its glaciers, the hot mud pools, geysers and glowing lava flows in the country's volcanic regions. The island's settlement dates back to 874 when a Norwegian named Ingolf Arnarson arrived at present-day Reykjavik. In 930, the settlers formed a legislature, the Alting, which was the beginning of the Commonwealth of Iceland. From the 10th to the 14th centuries, Iceland developed a literary form, the Icelandic Saga, which spread throughout the Nordic culture and into the English and German languages. It was used to spin stories of the gods, record historic events and glorify heroes. As Iceland's capital and main center of the country's population, the city of Reykjavik is a fascinating blend of the traditional and modernism. Just as Iceland is a unique country – rugged and remote, yet technically advanced and enjoying Nordic standards of affluence – Reykjavik is a highly unusual capital city. It dominates the life of Iceland in almost every way. More than half of the country's total population of 270,000 is living in and around the capital, and the economy of the entire nation depends on Reykjavik. Nearly 60 percent of Iceland's imports are received and distributed, and 40 percent of the country's exports are loaded for shipment via the port of Reykjavik. It is also the headquarters of what is probably the world's most advanced seafood industry, which counts for Iceland's number one export.

28 Jun 2022

156

Stykkisholmur

Stykkishólmur, located in western Iceland at the northern end of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, is the commerce center for the area. Its natural harbor allowed this town to become an important trading center early in Iceland’s history. The first trading post was established in the 1550s, and still today fishing is the major industry. The town center boasts beautiful and well-preserved old houses from earlier times. View less Stykkisholmur is very environmentally conscious – it was the first community in Europe to get the EarthCheck environmental certification, was the first municipality in Iceland to start fully sorting its waste, and was the first town in Iceland to receive the prestigious Blue flag eco-label for its harbor. It has also been a European Destination of Excellence (EDEN), since 2011.

29 Jun 2022

157

Vigur Island

Vigur Island is the second largest island in the Isafjardardjup Fjord, measuring 2 kilometers in length by 400 meters in width. It is home to a single sheep farming family, which ferries the sheep in summer across to the mainland, so that the Eider Ducks nesting on the island will not be disturbed. One of the export articles from this small island was eider down and one can still see where the Eider Ducks nest and how the down is collected and cleaned. View less The small settlement of a few houses is on the southern side, next to a small rocky beach, a concrete wall and floating pier. On approach grey seals can often be seen on the otherwise seaweed-covered boulders. Apart from the grey of the basalt and green of the grass, lichens add a splash of color. A path has been prepared and the grass cut, so that visitors can leisurely walk across the island to take in the beautiful scenery and to observe the large colony of Arctic Terns, Black Guillemots and Atlantic Puffins usually only seen during the summer months. A meticulously preserved historical landmark, a small windmill dating back to the 1840s was still in use in 1917 to grind wheat imported from Denmark. Viktoria House, one of the preserved wooden farm houses dating back to 1862, is used as a café where home-baked cakes and cookies are offered to guests. One of Europe’s smallest post offices can be found here, too.

30 Jun 2022

158

Akureyri

Iceland’s Capital of the North is the gateway to a thrilling land of roaring waterfalls, soaring volcanoes and glorious wildlife. It may lie a mere 60 miles from the Arctic Circle, but Akureyi blossoms with a bright, cosmopolitan feel, and explodes into life during the summer months, when its outdoor cafes and open-air bathing spots fill up with visitors ready to immerse themselves in Iceland’s cinematic scenery. Feel the thundering impact of Iceland’s celebrated natural wonders shaking your bones at Godafoss Waterfalls, known as the ‘Waterfalls of the Gods’. Here, the Skjálfandafljót river unleashes a colossal torrent of water over charcoal-black rocks below. Or, find some peace at the Botanical Gardens, which opened in 1957 and offer space for contemplation - amid plants that bloom with unexpected vibrancy, even at this northerly latitude. The Lutheran, Akureyrarkirkja Church rises like a grand church organ and is the town’s most striking landmark. The 112-step climb is worth the effort to see light flooding in through its narrow stain glass windows, spreading colourful patchworks across the interior. Magic and mythology are important elements of Icelandic folklore, and you’ll even bump into giant sculptures of grizzled, child-snatching trolls on the town’s high street. Or, meet more earthly - but no less magical - creatures in the waters around Akureyi, where immense blue whales cruise by and dolphins playfully leap. A trip to the northerly Grimsey island will take you on an inspiring adventure traversing the Arctic Circle to a remote island where flame-beaked puffins nod on cliff-side perches and razorbills nest. Brush up on your puffin-watching skills with our blog.

01 Jul 2022

159

At Sea

02 Jul 2022

160

Jan Mayen

Humpback and minke whales cavort and feed in the waters around the impressive volcanic island of Jan Mayen with its towering ebony peaks and broad black lava beaches. The primordial landscape is dominated to the north by the 7,500 feet high (2,300 meters) Mt Beerenberg, an active volcano covered in glacial ice that last erupted in 1985. With permission from the Norwegian authorities, a landing is possible at this rarely visited outpost. View less Visitors may walk to the research and weather station, or beyond, for birds-eye views of the meteorological station and the long black sandy eastern shore of the island. Birds to be seen here may include Atlantic Puffins, Northern Fulmars, and Snow Buntings.

03 Jul 2022

161

At Sea

04 Jul 2022

162
163

Svalbard Northern Region

Svalbard’s northern region is less influenced by the Norwegian Current coming through the Greenland Sea than the southern region and shows more ice. The northern part of the island of Spitsbergen shows quite a number of impressive fjords, bays and glaciers. The Nordaust Svalbard Nature Reserve includes Spitsbergen’s east coast, the Hinlopen Strait, Nordaustlandet and some islands further east like Kvitoya and Storoya. View less Several walrus haul-outs, spectacular glaciers, bird cliffs and bird islands, as well as surprising flora in Arctic deserts and the possibility to see polar bears and to visit historically important sites make this an area prone for exploration. Ice conditions will dictate which sites can be seen.

05 Jul 2022 - 06 Jul 2022

164
165

Svalbard Southern Region

Svalbard’s Southern Region and specifically Spitsbergen’s west coast is less ice-clogged than the rest of Svalbard due to the moderating influenced of the Gulf Stream. Several fjords cut into the western coast of Spitsbergen and have been used by trappers and hunters, as well as the different mining companies that tried to exploit the riches of the archipelago’s largest island of Spitsbergen. Remains of huts and mines, as well as active commercial and scientific settlements can be found and visited. View less Depending on the time of the season, glaciers can be visited on foot or by sea. Hornsund will reveal fascinating views of geological formations, craggy mountains, spectacular glaciers and a variety of seabirds and seals.

07 Jul 2022 - 08 Jul 2022

166

Cruise & Explore Bear Island

Bear Island is considered Svalbard’s southernmost island, roughly half way between Spitsbergen and Norway’s North Cape. Although the last polar bears were seen in 2004, the name goes back to Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz and his visit in 1596. The island has been used to hunt walrus, for whaling, and even coal mining has taken place. The strategic location on the border of the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea has led to a meteorological station being set up by Norway near Gravodden on Bear Island’s north coast. Some two thirds of the island is a relatively flat plain with shallow freshwater lakes and Ramsar Wetland, while the entire island and the surrounding waters are a Nature Reserve. Bear Island has also been designated an Import Bird Area as it is a staging area for Pink-footed and Barnacle Geese and the steep cliffs south of Sørhamna are home to thousands of breeding seabirds. This is a specially protected area where Zodiacs are allowed to cruise along the cliffs around Kapp Kolthoff. In smaller amounts Atlantic Puffins, Northern Gannets, Glaucous Gulls and Great Skuas are found in between the large Black-legged Kittiwake, Little Auk, Common Guillemot and Brünnich’s Guillemot colonies. The constant battering of the sea has not only created impressive sea caves and tunnels, but unfortunately the Russian vessel Petrozavodsk shipwrecked near Revdalen at the base of the limestone cliffs and the waves are causing a continuous disintegration of the remains of the ship.

09 Jul 2022

167

Gjesværstappan Islands

Gjesværstappan is a group of high, steep-sided, grass-covered islands which are located north of the island village of Gjesvær in Nordkapp Municipality in Troms og Finnmark county, Norway. The three main islands are Storstappen, Kjerkestappen, and Bukkstappen.

10 Jul 2022

168

Tromso (Norway)

Feel your heart flutter, as you catch your first glimpse of that famous emerald haze dancing across the stars, during your visit to this wonderful Arctic gateway. Located in the far north of Norway, a visit to Tromso beckons you to the extremes of this magical country, to explore a fairytale land of jagged mountains, glistening glaciers and husky-pulled sledges. Despite its remote location, you'll discover a perhaps surprisingly cosmopolitan city, with a healthy student population injecting plenty of energy. View less Sat 250 miles above the Arctic Circle - at 69° north - you can bathe in the midnight sun's glow during summer, before winter brings the thick blackness and starry skies of endless polar nights. The darkness doesn't stop the fun - with a polar night half-marathon taking place in January - but the return of the sun is always a reason for a celebration here. To get the best view over the city, take the cable car to Storsteinen's amazing viewpoint. Magnificent views down over the city, fjord and Tromso's arching bridge will unravel before you. Learn more about northerly traditions, polar expeditions and arctic hunting at the Polar Museum. The Science Centre, meanwhile, explains how humans have harnessed and survived these epic landscapes over the years, and explores Tromso's breathtaking natural spectacle - the northern lights. The city is famed for its extraordinary viewing opportunities, which are often said to be the best in the world. The Alpine Botanic Garden is the most northern such garden on the planet, showcasing some of Norway's hardiest plantlife, which survives and thrives at this nose-bleeding altitude.

11 Jul 2022

(This holiday is generally suitable for persons with reduced mobility. For customers with reduced mobility or any medical condition that may require special assistance or arrangements to be made, please notify your Cruise Concierge at the time of your enquiry, so that we can provide specific information as to the suitability of the holiday, as well as make suitable arrangements with the Holiday Provider on your behalf).

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This website will provide you with information on the financial protection that applies in the case of each holiday and travel service offered before you make your booking. At the time of booking, our Cruise Concierge will also confirm the financial protection applicable to your specific holiday. Please ask us for further information should you require it. The flight inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. The cruise-only holidays on this website are financially protected by ABTA. Please see our booking terms and conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate, click here. SixStarCruises acts as a retail agent to you and also as a disclosed agent of the holiday provider (the Organiser of the holiday).