With Holland America Line’s new EXC In-Depth Voyages, travelers have a way to see the world through the through the prism of their own personal interests and passions without having to worry about planning every detail of their dream vacation. Each of the new EXC In-Depth itineraries onboard Massdam offer a variety of themes for tailored exploration — Photography; Nature and Science; Arts & Culture; Food, Wine & Spirits; History & Perspective; and Active Exploration — while also cruising to the most fascinating corners of the globe … such as the Indian Ocean.
Are you ready to plan ahead for an adventure in 2019? Cruise the azure waters of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia to experience beachside villages and modern metropolises.
The 20-day Indian Ocean Explorer voyage begins at the culturally diverse city-state of Singapore Jan. 26, 2019, and then cruises to the UNESCO World Heritage site Malacca, Malaysia. While at Malacca guests will see the city’s history as a meeting place of east and west with Malaysia’s oldest church, St. Paul’s, constructed by the Portuguese; the country’s oldest Chinatown; and Stadthuys, the one-time city hall and the oldest Dutch building in Southeast Asia.
The cruise continues with a call at Penang, Malaysia. Penang is divided by the Strait of Malacca into Penang Island and on the Malay Peninsula, Seberang Perai. It’s easy to relax the day away in George Town on Penang Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with ornate historic houses, charming streets and delicious culinary options such as spicy laksa (coconut-curry soup) and kopi peng (iced coffee with condensed milk).
The cruise then sails to Phuket, Thailand. At Phuket, guests must see the city’s Big Buddha, which sits high on a mountain with knockout views of the coastline. After Phuket, the cruise enters the Indian Ocean for three sea days before reaching Sri Lankan shores.
After a day at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, the cruise will arrive at Hambantota, the main port on the island’s southern coast. Guests will be treated to a relatively undiscovered part of Sri Lanka since this area was off-limits during the country’s civil war. But this is a laid-back city is ready to be explored. Along with its seemingly endless golden-sand beaches fringed by coconut palms, guests should look no further than an EXC Tour to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s second-largest nature reserve, for a sight of one of the elusive leopards that prowl among its jungles.
The ship then makes way to Malé, Maldives. The capital of the Maldives, Malé is located on the Kaafu Atolland is encircled by sea walls where guests can get a taste of Maldivian culture. While in Malé, guests should visit the National Museum, which has collections of relics from the foregone pre-Islamic period era, thrones, royal sunshades and furniture, costumes and shoes, coins, ornaments, arms and armor.
The cruise then heads north to Uligamu, Maldives, one of the northernmost Maldivian islands, before re-entering the Laccadive Sea and arriving at Colombo, Sri Lanka. Colombo is relatively new to modern-day tourism, but what it lacks in touristic history it makes up for in many other ways — as Sri Lanka’s capital city has been a crucial trading post for more than 2,000 years. While in Colombo, many visitors head for the pristine beaches or head up the mountains to explore Sri Lanka’s tea country. Guests can also head to the bustling markets that are coupled with ancient Buddhist temples ready to be visited.
From Colombo, Maasdam makes an eastward turn for three sea days before arriving at Porto Malai, Langkawi, Malaysia. While some 99 islands make up the Malaysian archipelago of Langkawi, Pulau Langkawi, the largest island, is the destination where cruise ships call at Porto Malai. At Langkawi, scuba enthusiasts can dive into the Andaman Sea that surrounds the island for the perfect opportunity to see colorful coral reefs. From Porto Malai, the voyage heads to Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur at Port Kelang. “KL” — as it’s often called — has been determined to become one of the world’s great and modern cities, which is best sensed with the imposing Petronas Towers. But for guests who prefer to see historic Kuala Lumpur, the city also has preserved some rich historic architecture, including the cheerful Art Deco Central Market, the Mughal-style Old Railway Station and the Tudor Revival Royal Selangor Club. The journey reaches its end at the equally modern city-state of Singapore.
Join us in 2019 on an EXC In-Depth Voyage as we explore Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean!