Asia’s Grand Cultures: Hong Kong to Mumbai - 2021

Hong Kong • 28-night small ship cruise with Hong Kong, Halong Bay, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City, Sihanoukville, Koh Samui, Kuantan, Phnom Penh, Singapore, Malacca, George Town, Phuket, Port Blair, Trincomalee, Colombo, Cochin, Mormugao • Mumbai
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Double the adventure on this expedition that combines two itineraries to take you from Hong Kong all the way to India’s “Maximum City,” Mumbai. Along the way, you’ll experience two overnight excursions: a historical foray into the interior of Cambodia to witness the palaces and temples of Phnom Penh; and an epic Sri Lankan quest featuring two safaris to observe elephants and rare birds, and a stay at a 5-star luxury resort in the heart of the country’s Cultural Triangle.

Explore Vietnam along the way. Discover the rich tapestry of cultures that comprise contemporary Malaysia. Rejuvenate along the shores of Koh Samui and Phuket, two of Thailand’s most romantic beach paradises. And experience northern and southern India, including visits to the Kerala backwaters, Portuguese-inflected Goa, and legendary Mumbai. We’ve curated this expedition with a thrilling 42 included sightseeing tours and Cultural Discoveries that will bring you closer to the soul of each destination through food, nature, and historical exploration.

You’ll be pampered with luxury and culture aboard the Ocean Explorer, our brand-new, 5-star expedition vessel. What’s more, the first portion of this expedition kicks off the Ocean Explorer’s inaugural season, and you’ll be welcomed aboard with many special events planned to celebrate to occasion. Look forward to elegant receptions, festive dinners, special tours, unique enrichment events, and extra inaugural amenities — all this in addition to your ship’s infinity pool, spa services, evening musical performances, fine cuisine and more.

Hong Kong to Mumbai

Pre-Trip Extension

Hong Kong & Macau

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DAYS 1-2:

Fly to Hong Kong

Your journey begins today as you depart your gateway city and fly to Hong Kong. You’ll fly overnight and cross the International Dateline, arriving at your destination on Day 3.

Please note: If you're taking advantage of the pre-trip extension to Hong Kong and Macau, you will follow the pre-trip itinerary until Day 5, when you'll board the Ocean Explorer and join your fellow base travelers for the rest of the adventure. All activities and inclusions will be covered; please see the pre-trip extension itinerary for details.

DAY 3:

Welcome to Hong Kong

If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, upon arrival at the airport in Hong Kong a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally located hotel. You may arrive early in the morning, but we have arranged for an early check-in so you can get some rest. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure. This evening, attend the Welcome Briefing and Dinner, where you'll be joined by pre-trip extension travelers. You will be reunited with these travelers again in time for embarkation on Day 5.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 4:

The best of Hong Kong Island

After breakfast, get better acquainted with some of Hong Kong’s most iconic attractions on a half-day city tour.

Unforgettable Moment: Aberdeen was the original tiny village for which all of Hong Kong is now named. It was settled by the Tanka people, who speak their own dialect and have historically lived on fishing boats in floating villages. This is where locals came for the freshest seafood, and jostling next to the tiny traditional junk boats you’ll see famous, grand floating restaurants like the iconic Jumbo. A sampan ride through the harbor brings it all to you, up close. Then, for a totally different perspective, you’ll ride to the top of Victoria Peak by tram, and enjoy lunch atop Hong Kong’s highest hill.

Cultural Discovery: Experience the dim sum tradition on an included lunch, where servers bring carts of small plate dishes to tempt you. Dim sum literally means “touch the heart,” and perhaps yours will be filled by some fluffy, pork-filled bao buns . . . mouthwatering siu mai dumplings . . . translucent shrimp cheung fan rolls . . . beef balls seasoned with coriander . . . and more.

Later in the afternoon, you’ll return to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, with dinner on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 5:

Lantau Island, embark the Ocean Explorer

This morning after breakfast you will check out of your hotel and embark on a half-day tour of Lantau Island, where Hong Kong comes to play.

Lantau is popular for its beaches, shopping outlets, and theme parks, but you will focus on its historic attractions and traditional culture. See the classic Po Lin Monastery, and just above it, on a hilltop, the Tian Tan Buddha, an 85-foot-high bronze statue. Then, where the mountains meet the sea, you will explore Tai-O, a 300-year-old fishing village of stilt houses, traditional boats, and more. Before leaving, you’ll get a bird's-eye view of it all when you ride the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to Tung Chung peak.

After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll transfer to the pier and embark the relaxed, yet refined Ocean Explorer. Vantage founder and chairman, Henry Lewis, and his wife, Patricia, will be on board to personally welcome you on this special inaugural voyage.

Included Features:

  • Half-day tour of Lantau Island
  • Visit Po Lin Monastery
Inaugural Feature:
  • Welcome cocktail party and gala dinner on the Ocean Explorer
Cultural Discovery:
  • Visit the fishing village of Tai O
Scenic Sailing:
  • Enjoy a drink on the deck and soak in the views of Hong Kong’s skyline as we depart for our next port of call

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6:

Cruising the South China Sea

Enjoy a full day at sea to relax and enjoy the luxurious amenities of the brand-new Ocean Explorer. Pamper your body with a relaxing massage, a facial, a swim in the infinity pool, or a soothing soak in the hot tub. Stimulate your mind with a lecture on Vietnamese culture, a movie, or a great book borrowed from our library. The choice is yours! You'll also meet the Ocean Explorer's captain and crew at a Welcome Reception, followed by a briefing and sumptuous dinner on board.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7:

Cruise idyllic Halong Bay or explore the best of Hanoi

Good morning, Vietnam! Your ship will drop anchor in the port of Cai Lan, and after breakfast you have a choice of two exciting tours.

Unforgettable Moment: Behold the nearly 2,000 jutting limestone outcrops of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose mystique has inspired artists for centuries. Legend says that its emerald pinnacles are the humps of a sea-dragon’s back. Your tour takes place on board a small, private boat that will glide you through the silent channels and hidden lagoons. As you cruise, you’ll see an entire city on boats, including a bank, bar, shops and houseboats. Waving children, mothers hanging laundry, old men mending their fishing nets — here is where the everyday life of traditional Vietnam reveals itself. You’ll stop at the famous Hang Dau Go ("Grotto of the Wooden Stakes"), where stakes were driven into the mud in 1288 to skewer the boats of Kublai Khan's Mongol navy. There are also stairs to a commanding lookout point here. This tour includes a deluxe multicourse lunch featuring many fresh seafood specialties.

Unforgettable Moment: This choice lets you discover the capital city of Hanoi, an amalgam of French colonial mansions, tree-lined avenues, and traditional Vietnamese architecture that was known as the “Paris of the East.” Your tour begins with a visit to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in 1070, and dedicated to Confucius. Students still visit its elaborate altars to pray for good grades. A highlight will be your electric cart tour through the famed Old Quarter. It is known for its “36 streets of 36 wares” where 36 13th-century artisan guilds built their specialized workshops. You’ll wind through a maze of fascinating back streets lined with narrow houses known as “tunnel” or “tube” houses, built that way so owners could avoid paying taxes based on the width of their street frontage. Lunch is included at the Cau Go Vietnamese restaurant, located on the top floor of a building that offers amazing views of distant Hoan Kiem Lake.

Whether your explorations take you to Halong Bay or to the streets of Hanoi, you'll re-embark the ship after a full day of adventure and enjoy leisure time before another delicious dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8:

Cruising the Gulf of Tonkin

Enjoy a day at leisure to relax and enjoy your ship’s resort amenities. Perhaps you’ll join a morning yoga class, read on your balcony, or catnap on the sun deck. Later you can join friends for cocktails in the multi-level lounge, browse the boutique, or attend a lecture by a local historian. Later in the day your Cruise Director will present a port talk.

Cultural Discovery: Learn about the transformation of Vietnam when an expert historian presents a lecture on Vietnam, Past & Present.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

Nha Trang countryside tour or a day at the beach

Watch the sun rise during breakfast as the ship arrives in Nha Trang, then take your pick of two wonderful tours: Spend the day in the countryside learning about the culture from locals, or opt for a more relaxing alternative enjoying the picturesque beaches for which Nha Trang is renowned.

Cultural Discovery: Travel beyond the beautiful beaches of Nha Trang, and get a true slice of Vietnamese life. It begins at Po Nagar Cham Tower, a beautiful Cham temple dating to 781 BC that is dedicated to the goddess of the countryside. From here you’ll walk along a tiny alley to a dock where you’ll begin a river cruise aboard a small boat. Drift through peaceful scenes of sleepy villages nestled under coconut shade, wooden bridges, and uniformed children walking to school. You’ll disembark at a village market, and get an eyeful of the colorful fruits, flowers, clothing and household implements. Then, drive to an ancient house to share a cup of tea and seasonal fruit. You’ll also visit a workshop where village elders weave mats from sedge, keeping alive an age-old tradition that is fast disappearing. Your tour includes lunch at local restaurant.

Unforgettable Moment: Nha Trang is famous for its sandy beaches and you’ll enjoy one of its best on this easygoing excursion. Ride to a private beach club where you can swim, snorkel, or snooze beneath your own shaded canopy. The staff will be happy to serve you cool beverages or snacks by the sea, or you can explore the restaurant, spa, and other beachside facilities.

Afterward, you will arrive back midafternoon from the countryside or beach right in time for dinner on board as the ship sets off for Ho Chi Minh City.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

Experience old Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City

Take your time over breakfast and relax as we sail into Nha Rong, the port for Ho Chi Minh City. Once known as Saigon, the city is Vietnam’s business and financial hub.

Unforgettable Moment: Upon arrival this afternoon, visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, a Neo-Romanesque, red brick edifice with twin spires topped with iron. It was constructed around 1888 with materials imported from France. Across the way, the classic 1960s exterior of the Reunification Palace may seem familiar to you. It was here that the first Communist tanks rolled into town and the building was prominently on the news when South Vietnam fell in 1975. On the other side of the square, admire the Central Post Office, completed in 1891. With its barrel-vaulted central hall and pale pink façade, it seems just too pretty to be relegated to mail! Also featured are the restored exteriors of the Saigon Opera House and the elegant City Hall (the former Hotel de Ville), two of Saigon’s most stunning French colonial monuments.

Dinner is on board this evening, followed by an evening at leisure.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 11:

Explore more of Ho Chi Minh City

We’ve left this morning free so you can pursue your own interests here in Saigon. Perhaps you’ll nibble on exotic street food at the Ben Tranh Market, where your choices range from savory spring rolls to skewers of tarantulas and everything in between! Step back in time at the War Remnants Museum, or admire the masterworks at the Fine Arts Museum. Your onboard Vantage Concierge can assist with all your plans. You'll enjoy lunch on board before the Ocean Explorer departs Ho Chi Minh City, bound for Cambodia!

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 12:

Cruising the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand

Enjoy a free day as your ship rounds southern Vietnam and continues towards Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Perhaps you’ll indulge in some spa treatments, do laps in the infinity pool, watch a movie under a canopy of stars on the sun deck, or meet friends for drinks in the lounge. But that’s just the start.

Cultural Discoveries: During your time on board there will be an ongoing schedule of enrichment programs, and today you'll be joined by an expert lecturer who will walk you through the fascinating history of Cambodia, where you'll soon be. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 13:

Arrive in Sihanoukville; Phnom Penh overnight excursion

Today you’ll disembark ship and travel inland to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, staying overnight at an elegant 5-star hotel. Once known as the “Pearl of Asia,” Phnom Penh nestles on the banks of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers, and was renowned as one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina. After surviving the destructions of the Khmer Rouge regime, it is once again a vibrant, youthful capital.

Spend a sobering but important half day learning about the turbulent Khmer Rouge years as you visit sites related to the infamous “Killing Fields.” Tuol Sleng, a high school turned interrogation prison known as S-21, is now a genocide museum. You’ll also call at Cheung Ek, a large memorial commemorating the 17,000 victims who died there under the reign of Pol Pot. While disturbing, these somber relics also provide an appreciation for the courageous struggles that Cambodian people have faced.

This evening during dinner you’ll enjoy a traditional Apsara Dinner and Dance Show with beautifully costumed performers.

Included Feature:

  • Educational tour on the Cambodian genocide
Inaugural Feature:
  • Evening onboard entertainment: traditional Apsara dance show

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 14:

Phnom Penh historical tour, return to ship in Sihanoukville

After checking out of your hotel, you’ll transfer to Phnom Penh for some more city touring.

Unforgettable Moment:  Explore hillside Wat Phnom with its big trees and mischievous monkeys, and hear about the legend of Lady Penh, the founder of the city. At the National Museum, you can admire a collection of Khmer art that includes more than 5,000 objects, including statues and other artifacts from Angkor Wat. Then, see the Royal Palace, home to the present King Norodom Sihamoni. It was opened in 1870, and now contains the Royal Residence, Throne Hall, Silver Pagoda, and other historic buildings. The Silver Pagoda (Wat Preah Keo Morokat) is named for its more than 5,000 silver floor tiles. The building is a repository of cultural treasures, such as the famous Emerald Buddha, and a life-sized gold Buddha adorned with 2,086 diamonds.

Cultural Discovery: You’ll get around Phnom Penh as the locals do, riding past the elegant Post Office, Central Market, and Public Library on board a bicycle-powered carriage called a cyclo.

Back on board the Ocean Explorer, you’ll enjoy another memorable dining experience and a relaxing evening at leisure.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 15:

Koh Samui, Thailand’s romantic beach paradise

Relax on board as your ship plows through the turquoise waters around Koh Samui. After lunch, get ready for a cultural safari that will whisk you around the island!

Your safari starts at Wat Khunaram, where the mummified body of a monk named Luang Phor Daeng sits in a meditative pose, looking very much alive. Stop for refreshments at the impressive Na Muang waterfall, which cascades 59 feet into a sparkling natural pool below. You’ll pass the unusual Grandma and Grandpa rock formations, then continue to Ladd Koh for panoramic views of famed Chaweng Beach. See the golden Buddha at Wat Phra Yai, who sits on hill and is nearly 50 feet tall. Heading back to the ship you’ll pass many stands selling handicrafts such as batiks, and products made from seashells and coconuts. Time pending, you might stop at a local market in Nathon to browse the beachwear and other Koh Samui specialties. This evening, enjoy an onboard performance of traditional Thai dancing.

Included Feature:

  • Minivan cultural tour around Koh Samui
Inaugural Feature:
  • Traditional Thai dance performance with dinner at a local pub

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 16:

Free day in Koh Samui

Take advantage of your free time to savor another day in this seaside heaven. Koh Samui is a foodie favorite, so ask your onboard Vantage Concierge for recommendations. Perhaps you’ll just relax on a secluded beach, or indulge in a Thai massage on the shore.

Active Feature:

  • Swimming or snorkeling on the beaches of Koh Samui

Scenic Sailing:

  • Koh Samui’s emerald hills and golden beaches give way to the silken waters of the Gulf of Thailand, as you cruise on southward

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 17:

Cruising the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea

Another day to enjoy your ship’s deluxe facilities. Perhaps you’ll join a bridge group in the lounge, have a facial at the spa, or get in some cardio at the gym.

Cultural Discovery: Today a local historian will present a fascinating lecture. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 18:

Discover Kuantan, Malaysia

Today you’ll enter Malaysia and explore the capital of its Pahang province, Kuantan. The city is popular for its excellent beaches, but our touring will concentrate on some of the more interesting cultural and historical attractions.

Unforgettable Moment: Your exploration begins in Sungai Lembing, an old tin mining town that was once known as the “El Dorado of the East” because of the wealth it generated. During their peak at the turn of the century, these were among the world’s longest and deepest mines, and you’ll have the chance to peer into them. You’ll also visit the Sungai Lembing Museum, which displays many old photographs and mining equipment. Back in Kuantan, you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, and see the main sights such as the imposing Masjid Sultan Ahmad Shah mosque, and Teluk Chempedak Beach.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 19:

Exploring Singapore

Singapore is known by many names, the Garden City and the Lion City among them. You’ll get insight into these monikers as you witness both the city’s beauty and might.

Unforgettable Moment: Your tour showcases the historic Civic District, with its lovely parks, memorials and government buildings. It was here that Sir Stamford Raffles first laid out the core of modern Singapore in 1822. Featured here is City Hall and the Parliament building, a modern take on the classic Greek Revival style, and the New and Old Supreme Court buildings. You’ll also see the Padang, an open playing field that is home to the prestigious Singapore Cricket Club. At Merlion Park, you’ll admire the half lion, half fish statue that is the symbol of Singapore, and stunning Marina Bay, with its futuristic skyline. You’ll also see some of the city’s older landmarks. In Chinatown, you’ll see Thian Hock Keng, the city’s oldest Hokkien temple; Little India; the Yong Gallery; and the Peranakan area, with its pastel-colored shop houses.

Cultural Connection: This afternoon, explore the alleys around popular Bugis Street in “local” style during a trishaw ride. Then, sample Singapore’s flavorful Chinese influence during a dim sum lunch at a local restaurant. Dinner is on board tonight.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 20:

Uncovering UNESCO-listed Malacca

Wake up in Malaysia today — perhaps catch the sunrise from the observation deck, or get in a morning workout at the gym, before a delicious breakfast on board. You'll explore Malacca today, and this compact Malaysian outpost was once a major Southeast Asia trade hub, with architecture exhibiting British, Dutch, and Portuguese influences from its onetime colonial rule. Explore its UNESCO-listed city center on a tour that also includes St. Paul’s Church, A Famosa Fortress, Christ Church, the Stadthuys (an old Dutch spelling meaning City Hall), and more.

Cultural Discovery: Lunch is traditional Nyonya, a type of cuisine that melds Chinese ingredients with spices and techniques original to the Malay and Indonesian communities. The result? Tangy, aromatic, and herbal flavors that offer just a palate preview of the exciting cuisine to come. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure exploring Malacca on your own, with complimentary shuttle service to and from the ship, or make use of the Ocean Explorer's many amenities, including the spa, gym, and more. Dinner is on board this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 21:

Colorful George Town awaits

Enjoy a morning at leisure, with breakfast and lunch on board. This afternoon, you'll explore Penang Island, beginning with its UNESCO-listed capital city, George Town.

On an island tour, you’ll visit the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, a museum dedicated to Penang’s Peranakan heritage — people from China’s southern provinces who immigrated to Malaysia between the 15th and 17th centuries. The museum is housed inside a mansion, which once served as the residence and office of a 19th-century Chinese industrial tycoon.

Cultural Discovery: You’ll also view Penang’s street art — some of which has even made international headlines! — and George Town’s Street of Harmony, which features monuments of all religions including Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic, and more.

Cultural Discovery: After dinner, head over to the lounge for cocktails. We've invited some local entertainers to come aboard for the first performance of many along this expedition.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 22:

A cultural tour of Penang and its temples

Spend the day immersing yourself in Penang’s culture and temples. On a tour to the dramatic Kek Lok Si Temple, you’ll discover sacred statues and a towering seven-story pagoda that blends Chinese, Thai, and Burmese architectural styles. Your private guide and interpreter will help unravel the fascinating artwork of each destination, including the Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple and the Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple, which was built in 1803 and is the island’s oldest Burmese temple. Lunch is at a local restaurant, which will give you another taste of the diversity fo Asian cuisines and flavors.

Then, enjoy an afternoon at leisure as the Ocean Explorer departs for Thailand. Head to the sun deck or observation lounge to take in the views.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 23:

Welcome to blissful Phuket

Today you’re in Thailand’s paradisiacal island of Phuket, known for its beaches, clear turquoise waters, and rugged karst islands. Disembark the Ocean Explorer for a half-day excursion that begins with a drive along the Phuket coastline past Karon Beach and Kata Beach to a viewpoint where you can see the island’s three most beautiful beaches.

You’ll continue to Promthep Cape at Phuket’s southernmost point for optimal viewpoints of the coastline, then drive by Rawai Beach and stop at a cashew nut factory to see how cashews are grown and processed. Then it’s on to Old Phuket, where you’ll view the charming Sino-Portuguese "shop houses" that reflect the architecture of people who arrived here years ago during the region’s tin mining boom.

After lunch on board, the afternoon is at your leisure to unwind on Phuket’s blissful beaches or work with the Concierge to plan something exciting — a speedboat exploration of nearby islands, perhaps, or even a relaxing game of golf.

Included Feature:

  • Phuket sightseeing excursion
Active Feature:
  • Swimming, snorkeling, or water sports on Phuket’s beaches
Scenic Sailing:
  • You’ll pass several sand-fringed islets on your way to Phuket, giving you a taste of what’s to come

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 24:

Relax on board with a day at sea

Enjoy a day at sea as the Ocean Explorer makes its way toward India. Visit the spa, get in a workout at the gym, lounge in the swimming pool, relax on the sun deck catching up with a great book, and enjoy the fabulous cuisine our chefs are offering.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 25:

Port Blair’s beauty and history

At the heart of the Andaman archipelago off India’s east coast is Port Blair, the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar islands. Situated in the Bay of Bengal, Port Blair may be a little town but one rich in history — and beauty. Not only was the town once home to a penal colony that housed the most dangerous convicts, as well as political prisoners, but it’s named in honor of Archibald Blair of East India Company, the prominent trading enterprise.

On a tour, you’ll explore Port Blair and visit the Samudrika Marine Museum. With its display of about 350 species of sea life and rare coral varieties, the museum reflects the colossal marine wealth submerged in the surrounding waters. A visit to the Anthropological Museum showcases the tribal life of the local islands and, over at the Cellular Jail, constructed by the British in 1906, you’ll hear about the stark history of this three-storied prison. Now a National Memorial, the jail houses a spectacular sound and light show, as well as a museum and art gallery. This sobering tour also reveals the small cells that once held captive 698 solitary prisoners, the gallows, the death house, and the different implements used by the British to torture inmates.

Cultural Discovery: Afterward, visit the Aberdeen Bazaar for shopping, eating, and a glimpse of local life before lunch on board the Ocean Explorer.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAYS 26-27

Enjoy relaxing days at sea

As you set off for Sri Lanka, you’ll spend two days at sea. Cultural Discovery: During this time, you’ll hear a lecture about Sri Lanka that will prepare you for your time on shore; you can also use this time to mingle with travelers, use the onboard amenities, write home to loved ones, deepen your tan at the pool, read, and more. Your days in Sri Lanka will be filled with discoveries, so think of these sea days as necessary downtime before the excitement ahead.

Included Meals:

2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

DAY 28:

An unforgettable day seeking Sri Lankan wildlife

After two days at sea, you’ll break from the Ocean Explorer for one night and head inland on a special excursion that will be a highlight of this expedition. We’ve designed these next few days to immerse you in Sri Lankan wildlife and culture — a true Vantage exclusive!

You’re in Trincomalee (“Trinco”), Sri Lanka, today — a city of unparalleled history and beauty. Trinco is thought to be an important sight in several Hindu texts, but its white sand beaches are a different kind of spiritual sight.

However, wildlife is the buzzword of the day with a visit to the Minneriya National Park, part of the region’s “elephant corridor,” home to the largest known meeting place of Asian elephants in the world. These gentle giants can be seen here year-round as well as the purple-faced langur and toque macaque, the park’s endemic monkeys. Don’t forget your camera and your GoPro to document everything!

After lunch in a local restaurant, you'll spend the afternoon learning about Sri Lanka’s most famous export — Ceylon tea — at a local tea plantation. Amid endless tea fields, workers expertly handpick tea leaves before sending them to be processed into the fragrant, flavorful beverage drunk by millions around the world. You’ll get to sample a few brews during your tour and get a better understanding of different grades of tea.

After a rewarding day, you'll enjoy a much-deserved rest at your five-star resort, the Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, which was built on a replica of the foundations of the nearby Ritigala ruins, an ancient palace-turned-monastery. Here, you’ll have the rest of the day at leisure, with dinner at the hotel tonight.

Vantage Exclusives:
  • Overnight inland adventure with elephant safari at Minneriya National Park
  • Visit a Ceylon tea plantation

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 29:

Sigiriya stone fortress, dazzling Sri Lanka show

After breakfast at the hotel, a morning excursion leads you to Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress that’s over 200 meters high and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it's one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. Cultural Discoveries: During his rule from 473 to 495 AD, King Kasyapa built his royal palace at the top of Sigiriya, lavishly decorated with colorful frescoes. The palace went abandoned after his death, and was then used as a monastery until the 14th century. 

You'll then transfer to Colombo, enjoying lunch at a local restaurant en route. Tonight, enjoy dinner back on board the Ocean Explorer. Cultural Discovery: Tonight, enjoy some onboard entertainment when you attend a colorful Sri Lanka show!

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 30:

Panoramic Colombo

Embark on a panoramic tour of Colombo this morning. Often billed as a “mini Dubai,” Sri Lanka’s largest city is home to Dutch-influenced architecture and towering skyscrapers, temples and tuk tuks.

Cultural Discovery: Join a lecture on south India and its colorful culture as the Ocean Explorer departs Colombo. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure and dinner on board.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 31:

Afternoon tour of eclectic Cochin, Kathakali dance performance

After breakfast and a morning at leisure, followed by lunch on board, you'll begin your discoveries of southern India, starting with Cochin. This city has a long history as a spice trading hub and became the heart of the Portuguese empire in India at the beginning of the 16th century, before it was subsequently conquered by the Dutch and British. Today, remnants of these empires remain, but Cochin still has a character all its own. You’ll discover this character on an afternoon city tour, which will take you to St. Francis Church as well as the Chinese fishing nets in Cochin Harbor. You'll return to the ship just in time for dinner.

After dinner, enjoy a traditional Kathakali traditional dance performance on board!

Included Feature:

  • Cochin city tour
Inaugural Feature:
  • Evening onboard entertainment: traditional Kathakali dance performance

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 32:

Discovering the Alleppey backwaters

The Kerala backwaters are practically de rigueur for any adventure in southern India, and you’ll understand why as you begin your discoveries today. You’ll travel to the Alleppey region and board one of Kerala’s world-famous houseboats, taking in the peaceful scenery as you float on a vessel built to ply these waters. A traditional kerala lunch on the boat fuels the next leg of the adventure in Champakulum village, where you'll see firsthand what life is like on the rice farms and villages of the region. You’ll also visit St. Mary’s Church, one of the oldest Christian churches in India.

Late this afternoon, you’ll return to the ship for an afternoon at leisure as the Ocean Explorer leaves Cochin for Goa. We’ve prepared a special onboard party to celebrate Holi, the Festival of Colors, which marks the beginning of spring and is celebrated all across India during this time of year. Get ready to revel in the festive atmosphere!

Included Feature:
  • Houseboat cruise along the Alleppey backwaters
Inaugural Feature:
  • Holi party on board
Cultural Discovery:
  • Witness everyday life at a local village
Scenic Sailing:
  • Travel to the Alleppey region and board one of Kerala’s world-famous houseboats, taking in the peaceful scenery as you float on a vessel built to ply these waters

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 33:

Cruising to Mormugao, traditional Indian onboard entertainment

Enjoy a day at sea today as the Ocean Explorer nears Goa’s main port of Mormugao. Enjoy the weather on the sun deck, take a refreshing dip in the pool, or nap — these precious hours of downtime can be as luxuriously lazy as you like. Besides, once you reach Mormugao later this afternoon, you’ll enjoy dinner and a dazzling high-energy performance featuring traditional Goan music and dancing or a Bollywood performance on board.

Inaugural Feature:

  • Evening onboard entertainment: local music and dance performance

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 34:

Your choice of tours in Goa

Goa is such much more than its golden beaches that cater to everyone from backpackers to hippies to sun-seekers. Explore Goa’s offerings with your choice of tours today.

The first option is visiting Goa’s magical Hindu temples, including Shri Mangueshi, while learning about how their distinctive structural design, spaciousness, and tranquil environment are different from most Indian temples. You’ll also visit a rustic spice farm, receiving a traditional welcome with aarti, garlands, and a welcome drink.

Or, discover Goa’s colorful history, including the heavy Portuguese influence, as you visit local cathedrals including the UNESCO-listed Basilica of Bom Jesus, which holds the remains of the Catholic missionary St. Francis Xavier, as well as the Se Cathedral. Here, your guide will lead you to the church’s Golden Bell, one of the largest bells in the city.

Head back to the ship for lunch as the ships sets sail for Mumbai. Dinner is on board this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 35:

Exploring India’s “Maximum City”

Arrive in Mumbai, known as India’s “Maximum City.” This is a city of dreams — a teeming, cosmopolitan metropolis that’s the beating heart of this nation. It's also where you'll disembark the Ocean Explorer — we hope you enjoyed your expedition on Vantage's newest small ship ocean vessel!

On your city tour, you’ll visit Hanging Gardens and the famed Dhobi Ghats, and drive past Marine Drive, Malabar Hill, and Chowpatty. You’ll also visit the Gandhi Museum, where you’ll learn about the life and death of the man Indians call “Mahatma” (meaning great soul). After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll transfer to your Mumbai hotel. Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers and toast your South Asia voyage at a festive Farewell Dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 36:

Inside the Bollywood film industry

Now that you’re more familiar with Mumbai, go inside its dazzling Bollywood film industry at a visit to a local film studio! The Indian film industry is the globe's largest, with an annual output of nearly 2,000 films. Many Bollywood films cross genres, and feature elements from comedy, adventure, and romance films — not to mention, musicals! This is an exciting feature that takes you right to the heart of contemporary Indian life. Don't forget your camera!

Enjoy an afternoon at leisure afterward, or perhaps you’ll have already arranged something with the Concierge. This is your chance to pursue your own interests, so wildlife lovers shouldn’t miss the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, home to a few wild leopards, or visit the Kanheri Caves, a complex featuring basalt monuments and Buddhist sculptures. Add another UNESCO site to your list with a visit to the Victoria Terminus, a historic railway station where Mumbai’s dabbawallahs (lunch deliverers) have been dropping off lunch boxes for workers for more than 100 years by bicycle, train, and foot.

Tonight, a Farewell Dinner reunites you and your fellow travelers for one last toast to this unforgettable expedition. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 37:

Enjoy a day at leisure in Mumbai, and prepare for your return home

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel today, then enjoy a day at leisure in Mumbai. Dinner is included this evening, as is your transfer to the Mumbai airport late tonight for your return flight home. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 38:

Return home

You will depart your hotel very early in the morning to transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Or, you can stay on a bit longer with our Delhi & the Taj Mahal
post-trip extension.

Post-Trip Extension

Delhi & the Taj Mahal

FROM: $1599 PER PERSON | 6 DAYS | $266 PER DAY

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert.

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