NEW WAYS TO SEE ASIA
There’s more to explore by river and sea
BEYOND BALI AYANA LAKO DI’A
Ayana Resort and Spa Bali has made a name for itself as one of the hottest addresses on the island, and now the five-star property is expanding its luxury Indonesian offering with both the launch of its Komodo Resort on Flores Island (an hour from Bali by air) and its 54m AYANA Lako di’a ship.
The world’s largest specially built “phinisi” (a traditional Indonesian sailing ship) can now be chartered around Komodo National Park islands. Housing nine bedrooms, including a master suite with a private deck, the ship features exquisite lounging and dining areas, aqua activities and spa treatments. The vessel will take in the archipelago’s 26 islands, including Komodo, named after its fearsome dragons – the world’s largest species of lizard that’s not found anywhere else on Earth. AYANAKOMODO.COM
CAVIAR IN THE SURF SEABOURN OVATION
For a comprehensive tour of the delights of Southeast Asia, luxuryloving cruisers will be hard pressed to beat the newest and most luxurious Seabourn vessel, Seabourn Ovation.
Launched this year, the 600passenger ship will make its Asia debut in December with a 14-day Thailand and Vietnam voyage taking in the best the continent has to offer, from sprawling, hectic cities to beautiful surf beaches. Starting in Singapore, the itinerary will cover Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta and scenic Halong Bay. Expedition teams will lead Zodiac and kayak sessions to lesser-known destinations and cruisers can take advantage of the line’s signature Caviar in the Surf beach party set up on the sands of the paradise-like Thai island, Ko Kood. The Asian season will include a 14-day Gems of the South China Sea voyage from Hong Kong to Singapore (departing February 2019), visiting places such as Xiamen in China and Manila in the Philippines. SEABOURN.COM
THAILAND’S SECRET ISLANDS PEREGRINE ADVENTURES
While Phuket still reigns as a go-to for Aussie holiday-makers, an alternative to the hustle and bustle of Thailand’s biggest island might appeal, with Peregrine Adventures’ new eight-day Thai Islands cruise. Taking travellers around lesser visited isles (there are hundreds in the Andaman Sea) the itinerary caters to all tastes, whether thrillseeker, chill-seeker, dive hound, culture vulture or beach bum. Standouts include dinner with locals in villages and encounters with the seafaring Moken people.
Sharing yacht space with 30 to 50 other passengers, guests will wake up to clear warm waters every morning. For snorkelling fans, the voyage also includes access to the Similan Islands. Consistently ranked in the top 10 diving locations in the world, the waters off these paradise patches of sand house the greatest diversity of Thailand’s marine life – swim with everything from whale sharks and turtles, to guitar and manta rays. PEREGRINEADVENTURES.COM
ASIA’S BIGGEST SHIP SPECTRUM OF THE SEAS
The newest, largest and most expensive ship in Asia – when Spectrum of the Seas makes its debut sailing from Shanghai in June 2019 it will take a total of 4246 passengers to 23 destinations from its Shanghai base, including brand new ports Hakodate and Niigata in Japan; and Ilocos in the Philippines, before shifting to Hong Kong in the winter for special holiday cruises that take in local festivals around Asia.
New destinations aside, the Quantum Ultra ship will also debut Royal Caribbean’s first exclusive “suites-only” area, which features a private enclave at the forward end of the ship that houses an exclusive restaurant and lounge, alongside VIP amenities and private outdoor spaces. ROYALCARIBBEAN.COM.AU
THAILAND’S SECRET ISLANDS ONE EPIC JOURNEY SILVER MUSE
Silversea’s newest flagship, Silver Muse, has announced its Grand Asia Pacific Voyage. The unprecedented trip will see the ultra-luxury cruise ship sail from Sydney to Tokyo in February 2019, visiting 39 destinations across 12 countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, China and Japan.
Sailing into Asia for the first time this month, the ultra-luxe vessel will offer a selection of itineraries before continuing on to Indonesia and then into Australian waters for her first visit in December 2018, and from there beginning its 74-day sailing from Sydney to Tokyo in February. SILVERSEA.COM
ULTIMATE FOODIE CRUISE AQUA MEKONG
Gourmands with an appreciation for Southeast Asian cuisine, listen up! The 2019 August and September voyages on the new Aqua Mekong (Aqua Expeditions’ luxury river cruise boat on the Mekong River) will be hosted by one of the region’s most renowned chefs: David Thompson.
Hailed for his mastery of Thai cuisine, the Australian-born foodie has turned the Bangkok and London outlets of his Nahm restaurant into regular fixtures on the world’s best restaurant lists with the UK eatery becoming the first Thai restaurant ever to be awarded a Michelin star.
Exploring highlights and hidden destinations along the Cambodian and Vietnamese stretches of the Mekong, during the four-night sailing the celebrated chef will lead local market tours and cooking classes, giving passengers an in-depth look at how he incorporates local tradition into his recipes; from Vietnamese catfish minced with shallots, to grilled river prawns with peanut relish. AQUAEXPEDITIONS.COM
JAPAN, OFF THE BEATEN PATH DIAMOND PRINCESS
Japanese-built Diamond Princess is set to extend its season in Japan, becoming the first international cruise line to offer year-round cruises from the Land of the Rising Sun.
With new voyages scheduled to include the southern islands and Shikoku (departing Yokohama December 2019) and a seven-night Spring Flowers cruise (departing Tokyo April 2019), the latest Asia programs from Princess also feature six new ports of call. Maiden ports include Toba, on the south coast of the main island and home to one of the country’s best aquariums and, further west, at Himeji, where a 400-year-old dazzling-white castle is one of the most spectacular in Japan.
Combined itineraries offer access to 11 UNESCO World Heritage sites and nine departures are scheduled during the cherry blossom season.
The cultural immersion continues on board with passengers able to dine on freshly prepared sashimi, watch Japanese performances in the atrium and relax in a Japanese Izumi bath. Featuring both indoor and outdoor bathing experiences – including steam rooms, saunas, and hot tubs, all with spectacular ocean views – the traditional spa experience is based on authentic Japanese onsens. PRINCESS.COM
Discover hidden Asian treasures, such as diving paradise Similan Islands, on Peregrine Adventures’ Thai Islands cruise; indulge on Aqua Mekong’s Ultimate Foodie Cruise; have One Epic Journey on Silver Muse; or sail away Beyond Bali.