NEW WAYS TO SEE ASIA

There’s more to ex­plore by river and sea

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - WISHLIST CRUISING - PAUL EWART

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

PIC­TURES: ISTOCK, AQUA EX­PE­DI­TIONS, SIL­VERSEA, SUP­PLIED

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.