5 Luxury Cruises for Exploring Southeast Asia

Kerala cruise

5 Luxury Cruises for Exploring Southeast Asia

Going on a cruise vacation is a magical experience, one you must have at least once in your lifetime. Cruising does not just take you to your destination in style. It offers you a chance to truly escape from the humdrum of your daily life. On a cruise ship, you can sit back and enjoy the romance of the high seas without any care or worry.

Southeast Asia is one of those places that are perfect for exploring on a cruise vacation. A good part of the region is made up of islands and archipelagos. Many of its major cities stand near the coastline. Each of these cities is a gateway to adventures that you’re not likely to forget.

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Cultural shows are something you can watch while your ship is docked

So, on your next cruise vacation, why not make Southeast Asia your destination? Here is a list of top luxury cruise lines that offer fantastic getaways to the region.

SuperStar Virgo, Star Cruises

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Superstar Virgo stops in Manila and Laoag in the Philippines

If you only have a week to spend on your Southeast Asian getaway, then you should book that cruise vacation with SuperStar Virgo.  SuperStar Virgo is the flagship of Star Cruises, one of the largest luxury cruise lines in the world. She often offers six-day voyages to choice port cities in Southeast Asia.

Phuket Buddha
Buddha in Thailand

Right now, SuperStar Virgo sails with her new “Jewels of the South China Sea” itinerary. This itinerary is designed to take you to a number of dynamic and storied cities around South China Sea. From Hong Kong, SuperStar Virgo stops at Manila and Laoag in the Philippines. Manila is the country’s lively capital city, while Laoag is a historic heritage center in the province of Ilocos Norte. From Laoag, she makes her way to Kaohsiung, one of Taiwan’s largest port cities. The price of her current itinerary ranges from US$1612 to US$3544.

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Calle Crisologo in Ilocos Norte, Philippines

SuperStar Virgo offers four types of cabins:

  •      Executive suites. These sumptuously appointed cabins each have a king-size bed, a bathroom with a jacuzzi, a mini-bar, and a balcony overlooking the ship’s bow. If you book this berth, you’ll get to enjoy personalized service from the crew, plus priority check-in and other complementary amenities. This cabin is good for two people, perfect for honeymooners and couples on a romantic getaway.
  •      Balcony cabins. These cabins are great if you’re traveling as a small group. They can easily accommodate three or four people. The ship offers flexible bedding arrangements for these staterooms to suit your and your companions’ needs. Some staterooms have joined single beds and a sofa bed, while some have double beds.
  •      Oceanview cabins. Oceanview cabins are your ideal accommodations if you’re traveling as a couple or a small family. These cabins are furnished with a queen-size bed and a sofa bed. They also have a view of the sea, from either a window or a porthole, depending on the cabin’s location.
  •      Inside cabins. These berths are designed for comfort on a budget. Just like the oceanview cabins, they each have a queen-sized bed and a sofa bed. They also have identical amenities. The only difference is that inside cabins are smaller and don’t have sea views.

What do you do on board the SuperStar Virgo when you’re at sea and nowhere close to a port city? It’s impossible for you to get bored while you’re sailing on SuperStar Virgo. Her crew runs a number of shows to entertain guests, including a dance interpretation of the 1001 Arabian Nights and a musical trip down memory lane. You can also go ballroom dancing, play at the casino, belt it out at the karaoke lounge, or play golf.

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Have fun on karaoke nights

If you have a fitness routine you’d like to stick to, SuperStar Virgo has a swimming pool, a fitness center, a jogging track, and a basketball court. She also has a spa and health club where you can indulge in a massage treatment and even a yoga class.

As for food, SuperStar Virgo has eight restaurants to cater to every taste and diet requirement. Three of these restaurants serve different styles of Chinese cuisine, while two offer European and Western fare. There’s also a Japanese restaurant and an Indian restaurant serving halal food. Virgo also has a 24-hour snack bar for whenever you feel an attack of the munchies.

Insignia, Oceania Cruises

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The Sydney Opera House is just near the harbour

If you prefer to expand your Asian exploration to beyond the Southeast, then you should check out Oceania Cruises’ Insignia. The Insignia will be embarking on a 35-day voyage on April 2018 that will cover 19 destinations on the seas of the Far East and Down Under. Her voyage will begin in Beijing, China and end in Sydney, Australia.

Aside from Beijing and Sydney, the Insignia will port on the following destinations:

  •      Seoul in South Korea
  •      Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Kagoshima in Japan
  •      Manila and Boracay Island in the Philippines
  •      Kota Kinabalu and Kuching in Malaysia
  •      Muara in Brunei
  •      Bali and Komodo in Indonesia
  •      Cooktown, Cairns, Townsville, and Brisbane in Australia.

The price for this trip ranges from US$9949 to US$25699. The Insignia also offers a special pre-cruise and post-cruise land tour that you can avail in addition to your cruise voyage. Both land tours last three nights. The pre-cruise tour will take you to Beijing’s Forbidden City, the home of China’s emperors, and to the Great Wall. The post-cruise tour, on the other hand, will get you exploring Sydney.

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Get to visit the Great Wall of China

The Insignia offers eight kinds of cabins. All cabins are furnished opulently in the Empire style, with queen beds, mini-bars, full-sized bathtubs, flat-screen TVs with satellite programming, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The top-tier accommodations – the Owner’s Suites, the Vista Suites, and the Penthouse Suites – have first-class amenities. These amenities include a 24-hour butler service, unlimited Wi-Fi, unlimited access to the spa, and complimentary iPads and laptops.

What can you do to keep from getting bored while at sea aboard the Insignia? The ship has a number of shows staged in the evenings, ranging from cultural performances to musical spectaculars. You hang out at the ship’s numerous lounges to listen to music and sip on your favorite cocktails. You can also play at the casino or go shopping at the boutiques.

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Casino on board

If you’re into sports or fitness, the ship has a pool and sports deck with a swimming pool, a fitness track, a nine-hole putting green, and a shuffleboard court. If you’re artistically minded, you can join an art class led by the ship’s resident artists. And if you’re into books, the ship has 2,000 volumes of different genres for you to peruse in the library.

What about the food? The Insignia has a number of dining options for you to choose from. If you want a fine dining atmosphere, the ship has three restaurants serving Western and European food in a fine-dining setting. If you want to dine more casually, you can head to the terrace or the pool deck for some alfresco dining. Love English tea? The Insignia hosts daily high afternoon teas. If you prefer coffee to tea, the ship has its own coffee house. Then again, you can always order room service.

Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Cruises

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Celebrity Millennium lights up the port

What if your desired destinations in Southeast Asia are on the mainland rather than the archipelagos? In that case, then you should take a look at the Southeast Asia immersion cruise offered by Celebrity Millennium.

This immersion cruise is a 15-day journey that will take you to six destinations on the mainland portion of Southeast Asia.

Departing from Hong Kong, Celebrity Millennium will take you to:

  •      Hanoi, Hue Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam
  •      Bangkok in Thailand
  •      Singapore

The price range for this cruise vacation is from US$1449 to US$7009. You can also avail of the Celebrity City Stay package. This package takes you on a fully guided city tour of Hong Kong. Amenities for the tour include meals and accommodations at a four-star hotel.

Celebrity Millennium has six types of staterooms. All staterooms are furnished with tasteful, modern décor, a queen-size bed, mini-bars, and entertainment centers. If you book the higher-end suites or staterooms, you will get your own private veranda or deck. It will also give you access to the 24-hour butler service, unlimited spa access, fresh fruits delivered daily, and other premium amenities.

What can you do while at sea on board the Celebrity Millennium? You can indulge your inner foodie at their many restaurants on board. You can even watch a Top Chef at Sea competition, learn more about wines, or spend an evening tasting craft beers. If you’re into gaming, you can spend your time playing Xbox or board games. You can swim, play basketball, play croquet, or practice your golf swing.

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Wine tasting is included on some sailings

Celebrity Millennium also has a gym where you can work your way back to fitness or join zumba classes. At the spa, you can indulge in massage treatments to melt away your stress. You can also consult a chiropractor or get an acupuncture treatment at the spa.

Seabourn Sojourn, Seabourn

Great cruise for you who wants to visit several beaches in Asia and have the time for it

If you want to combine your cruise vacation with days of fun at the beach, Seabourn Sojourn can help make it happen. One of Seabourn Sojourn‘s itineraries is a tropical Asian isles exploration that lasts 36 days, giving you a full month and more to visit Southeast Asia’s most famous beaches.

This tropical islands cruise will take you to 19 port destinations in eight countries:

  •      Singapore
  •      Bangkok and Ko Kood in Thailand
  •      Sihanoukville in Cambodia
  •      Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam
  •      Semarang, Surabaya, Celukan Bawang, Denpasar, Sulawesi, Bandanaira, Ambon, and Ternate in Indonesia
  •      Darwin in Australia
  •      Puerto Princesa, Coron, Boracay, and Manila in the Philippines
  •      Hong Kong

Booking this cruise will cost you anywhere between US$13999 to US$34999. You can also include guided shore excursions to your cruise package if you don’t want to explore the port destination on your own.

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White Beach in Boracay, Philippines

Seabourn Sojourn has nine types of accommodations available. These suites have a bedroom, bathroom, living area, mini-bar, and entertainment center. The beds are dressed with Egyptian cotton linens and duvets. Each suite is also attended by a personal suite stewardess. All suites have similar amenities and features. The only difference between them is their sizes and location on the ship. Most of the suites have their own balconies.

What’s to do aboard Seabourn Sojourn at sea, away from any port of call? You can check out what’s happening at the Grand Salon. There could be a film showing, a lecture, or a cooking demonstration at the salon in the daytime. In the evening, expect live performances and dancing there. You can go shopping, clubbing, have coffee, or kick back with some cocktails. You can hang out at the Square to read a book or surf the web. There’s a game room where you can play card games, board games, and video games. The ship also has a casino.

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You can have coffee while you use the internet on board

If you’re on your cruise vacation to get back into shape, you can spend your downtime at the spa. There you can work out at the gym or get a massage treatment. The ship also has a swimming pool, putting greens, shuffleboard courts, and other sports facilities.

As for the food, you can always make your way to the main dining hall during mealtimes. This main dining hall, called The Restaurant, serves meals all day on an open-seating basis. But if you want a more extraordinary dining experience, the ship has a wide array of restaurants and dining options available. So you can indulge your inner foodie by hopping from one restaurant to another and sampling the food they have on offer. You can choose to dine formally or casually, depending on what you’re in the mood for.

 

Backwater Cruises in Kerala 

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A cruise along the backwaters of Kerala is magical

They say that Kerala is God’s own country.  While most people fly to the big cities of Delhi or Mumbai, the Kerala region is a place that is underrated by most.  I can understand that a lot of people prefer the big cities or beach destinations first, but when you do get the chance, take a river boat cruise along the backwaters.  You do not ride huge cruise ships.   These river boats can have one, two or three bedrooms depending on what you want.  There are a lot of travel agents who sell these tours, but I have worked with one over the years and I have not had a single complaint with them.  Do check other travel agents, but please check also Namaste Tours.  Or send an e-mail and ask for Bala. 

A backwater cruise can cost around USD 52 per person per night in a double cabin. This price includes all meals, accommodations, excursions, sightseeing, cruise, and a host on board.

Exploring Southeast Asia on a cruise ship is an experience worth having at least once in your lifetime. It’s truly magical. It will feed and fulfill your soul’s longing for adventure. So, what are you waiting for? Book your Southeast Asian cruise vacation today.

When you get the chance, why not try some street food in Asia?

Four Yummy Asian Cities for Street Food

When in Manila and you want free wi-fi, you may want to try these hot spots:

5 Hotspots in Manila

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