Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Lodging:||1 night hotel, 12 nights aboard 106-passenger expedition vessel|
|Meals:||All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard|
|Activity:||Small Ship Cruising|
12-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, snorkeling
- Wander through Goa’s ancient lanes past distinctive colonial Portuguese architecture, and enjoy a cooking demonstration and lunch in a traditional Goan home
- Visit two World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka—Kandy’s fabled Temple of the Tooth and the Dutch-built Galle Fort
- Savor delicious local delicacies at a pineapple plantation near Mangalore
- Discover the bustling metropolis of Mumbai and the elaborate depictions of the Hindu god, Shiva, in the caves of Elephanta Island, a World Heritage Site
- Explore the scenic Kerala backwaters by local boat to observe the rituals of daily life, and enjoy a performance of classical Kathakali dance
- Snorkel among dazzling corals and prolific marine life in the northern isles of the Maldives
Choosing the Right Trip
We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.
We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.
Our voyage aboard the Island Sky reveals India's rich cultural heritage and the amazing historic sites of lush Sri Lanka, combined with fantastic snorkeling adventures amid the stunning natural beauty of the Maldives. In India, a two-day exploration of Cochin reveals a mélange of international influences and a cruise through the languid backwaters aboard a local houseboat. In Trivandrum, we visit the village of Pongumoode and its surrounding rubber plantations, and enjoy a traditional martial arts demonstration. Our adventures in Sri Lanka include a visit to an elephant orphanage, the famed Temple of the Tooth, and the fort of Galle—the latter two are both World Heritage Sites. The crowning finale is three full days in the Maldives for world-famous snorkeling over reefs teeming with fish, and the chance to meet the charming locals.
Days 1-2, November 30-December 1, 2015
Fly to Mumbia, India
Fly to Mumbai, India.
Day 3, December 2
Arrive in Mumbai and transfer to the exquisite Taj Mahal Palace Hotel for a morning at leisure. This afternoon we enjoy an orientation tour of this bustling city. In the former British fort area, we see elegant colonial buildings such as the Gothic Victoria Terminus railway station and the Prince of Wales Museum. Drive along famed Marine Drive, passing Chowpatty Beach, to Malabar Hill with its superb views, parks, and Hanging Gardens. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4, December 3
Mumbai / Embark Island Sky
This morning we board local boats at the doorstep of the Gateway of India triumphal arch monument for a ride across the bay to visit Elephanta Island. This World Heritage Site has caves with elaborately carved depictions of the Hindu god, Shiva, in various manifestations as destroyer, creator, and preserver. Views of Mumbai’s skyline from the bay are superb. In the afternoon we embark on the Island Sky.
Days 5-6, December 4-5
Goa’s Portuguese heritage began with the establishment of a trading colony in 1510, led by explorer and later viceroy Vasco da Gama. The successful spice-trading colony endured for centuries, and today its colonial remnants lend a European charm—cobblestoned lanes, whitewashed Catholic churches, and balconied, tile-roofed homes. We explore the distinctive churches, museum, and convent of Old Goa, visit a traditional Goan home for a cooking demonstration, and enjoy a lunch of delectable local cuisine. We also enjoy time at leisure to wander through the old Portuguese district of Fontainhas in the small capital of Panjim.
Day 7, December 6
This morning we drive through the countryside surrounding Mangalore, a pleasant landscape of rolling hills dotted with tea, coffee, and cashew nut plantations. We visit Karkala’s monolithic Gomasteshwara Statue, dedicated to a Jain saint, then tour a cashew processing plant followed by a lunch of local specialties at a rural pineapple farm.
Days 8-9, December 7-8
A leisurely two-day exploration of Cochin reveals this delightful community’s mélange of international influences: Portuguese houses, the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry), the Anglican St. Francis Church, and the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that grace the beaches. To better explore this maze of islands and waterways, we board local houseboats for a cruise through Cochin’s backwaters to observe daily life along these languid canals. We will also have the opportunity to attend an evening performance of classical Kathakali dance.
Day 10, December 9
Located near India’s southern tip, Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, is a pedestrian-friendly town spread out over seven hills. We visit the village of Pongumoode and its surrounding rubber plantations to observe the various stages of rubber processing, then attend a Kalari Payattu demonstration, Kerala’s ancient form of martial arts.
Day 11, December 10
Colombo, Sri Lanka / Kandy
Today we disembark in the bustling city of Colombo for an excursion into the highlands of Sri Lanka, passing through lush, rolling countryside dotted with tea plantations. In Kandy, we explore the stunning Temple of the Tooth that houses the tooth of Buddha. This World Heritage Site was originally part of the Royal Palace complex of the Kandyan Kingdom and is one of the holiest places of worship and pilgrimage for Buddhists around the world. We will also visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and, time permitting, the Botanical Gardens.
Days 12-13, December 11-12
Galle / At Sea
Galle’s historic district is one of the best preserved examples of a European-built fortified city in South Asia, reflecting both colonial and South Asian architectural styles. After breakfast on board, we enjoy a tour of this charming city with visits to the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum and Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by the Dutch in the 16th century. As we drive along the coast, we keep an eye out for the iconic fishermen of Koggala, who perch precariously on stilts in the surf. Return to the Island Sky for lunch and set sail for the Maldives. The next day we spend a relaxing day at sea as lecturers introduce us to the cultural heritage and natural wonders of the magical Maldives.
Days 14-16, December 13-15
Uligamu, Maldives / Baa Atoll / Olhahali Island
Due to the expeditionary nature of this trip, daily weather and tide conditions will dictate our stops in the Maldives. We plan to step ashore on uninhabited islands for nature walks and beachcombing, meet with friendly locals in traditional villages, and snorkel in warm, translucent waters. Over the next three days, we plan to visit the special, lesser-visited places in the atolls of the northern Maldives.
Uligamu – Superb snorkeling is a hallmark of this northernmost island of the Maldives. The underwater topography of the region is fascinating—a dramatic landscape of thilas, pinnacles, and submerged coral structures enveloped in brilliant corals and sea fans, and kandus, deep channels that run between atolls and coral-terraced reefs.
Baa Atoll – Made up of about 50 islands, this atoll offers rich biodiversity including large mangroves and unique ring-shaped reef forms known as faru. Recently designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, large numbers of manta rays, hawksbill turtles, and frigatebirds can be found here.
Olhahali Island – Covered in lush vegetation, Olhahali boasts broad white-sand beaches and one of the finest wide lagoons in the region.
Days 17-18, December 16-17
Malé / Disembark / Fly Home
We disembark this morning for a sightseeing tour of Malé, then check into day rooms at our hotel and enjoy lunch. The remainder of the day and evening are at leisure. After dinner at our hotel, we transfer to the airport for homeward-bound flights, arriving the following day.
2015 Cruise Collection Brochure
We’ve searched the world to find the finest small ships and most active adventures, from Greenland to New Zealand to the great rivers of Europe.
What the Trip is Like
This trip is rated 1+, Easy. For most activities, a moderate level of exertion is required. You must be able to walk one to three miles along uneven and sometimes rough terrain. Some stairs may be uneven and without handrails. Our time in the Maldives focuses on the underwater realm and you will need to be able to climb into anchored Zodiacs and tenders for snorkel activities. This region experiences high humidity with average daily temperatures that typically range in the upper 70s°F to low 90s°F.
Nov 30-Dec 17, 2015 Island Sky
Prices are for 2015
Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy
Sole occupancy Category 3 from: $21,580
Additional singles may be available in other cabin categories at 1.6 times the share rate.
- All cabins feature ocean views and have two twin beds that can be reconfigured into one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, large wardrobes, vanity table, small refrigerator, television, personal safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, and American-style outlets (two flat prongs) at 110 volts
- Magellan Deck cabins are 230 square feet and have two to four portholes
- Columbus Deck cabins are 240 square feet with large picture windows
- Marco Polo Deck cabins range between 225 to 240 square feet and feature large picture windows
- Erikson Deck cabins are 270 square feet including private balconies
- Explorer Deck cabins are 325 square feet including private balconies
Trip Cost Includes:
- All gratuities
- Accommodations in hotel and on board the Island Sky as outlined in the itinerary
- All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
- Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
- Services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows
- All group activities and excursions
- Landing and port fees
- $50,000 of medical expense coverage and $75,000 in emergency evacuation insurance
Trip Cost Does Not Include:All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages other than listed above, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
Trip Payment Schedule*
At time of reservation: 25%
130 days prior to departure: Balance
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
One of the finest small ships in the world, the Island Sky features 53 spacious, outside-facing suites with marble-appointed bathrooms. Each suite includes a flat-screen TV with DVD player, hairdryer, individually controlled air-conditioning, and mini-fridge. High quality service and attention to detail are the order of the day aboard the Island Sky, with an on-board atmosphere more similar to a yacht than a cruise ship. Having undergone significant refurbishment in 2010, she features a large lounge, a library and bar, and an elegant dining room as well as spacious outside decks. The ship’s relatively small size lets her drop anchor in remote areas and in small ports where larger ships can’t go, and the fleet of inflatable zodiacs offers access in wonderfully remote places. Island Sky has a staff and crew of 75.