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Board an overnight flight to Darwin
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Darwin, Australia. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Sydney.
Cross the International Date Line
You’ll cross the International Date Line today and arrive in Darwin on Day 3.
Arrive in Darwin, capital of Australia’s Northern Territory
Welcome to Darwin! Beneath this city’s laid-back nature lies a steely resolve. Darwin has had to be rebuilt four times over the past 120-odd years due to cyclones and World War II, and you’ll explore more of it in the next few days.
If you purchased your airfare with Vantage, you’ll be met at the airport by a representative who will assist in your transfer to your centrally located hotel. Get settled in and relax before joining your expert local guide for a sunset photography walk along Darwin’s scenic coastline. After, return to your hotel with your fellow travelers for a Welcome Briefing and Welcome Dinner.
Discover the riches of Kakadu National Park
Covering over 7,600 square miles and home to thousands of species of plants and animals, Kakadu National Park has also been home to Aboriginal peoples for at least 40,000 years. You’ll explore this impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site with a full-day excursion that includes a stop at Burrungkuy, a rock art site known for its intricate paintings in various styles. Your guide will explain the various figures depicted, as well as how the paints are made with natural pigments. Then, enjoy a boat cruise through the wetlands of Yellow Water Billabong, where you’ll spot an abundance of birdlife, buffalo, and saltwater crocodiles. Make sure to pack your binoculars or a camera with zoom lens!
You’ll return to your hotel after lunch for a well-deserved rest, with dinner at your hotel.
Explore Darwin, then embark the Ocean Odyssey
After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll check out and prepare to embark the Ocean Odyssey for your voyage across Indonesia! First, a historical tour takes you around the Darwin’s highlights, including the George Brown Botanical Gardens and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, with lunch at a local restaurant. We’ll then transfer to the port and embark the ship with the use of tenders, where your 5-star small ship ocean cruise will! Explore your ship’s luxury amenities — from the several dining options, to the massage parlor, to the top-deck infinity pool — and don’t forget to stop by the Destination Manager desk for any specific requests you may have throughout your journey. Keep in mind that while anchoring offshore and tendering inland will be required in some locations, we’ll berth at most of the port cities we visit — allowing you to walk right off the ship! Unpack, settle in, and enjoy your first dinner on board tonight!
Relax on board with a day at sea
Enjoy a full day at sea to relax and revel in the luxurious amenities of the brand-new Ocean Odyssey. Pamper your body with a relaxing massage, a facial, a swim in the infinity pool, or a soothing soak in the hot tub after an onboard lecture about your experiences so far. Perhaps you’ll even meet friends for drinks in the lounge as you sail toward the island of Kisar.
Set foot on the fortress-like island of Kisar
This morning we arrive in Kisar, a small hilly island ringed by limestone cliffs and ancient reefs. After breakfast, set off on a leisurely panoramic tour to see the island’s sacred freshwater springs and spot the neighboring islands of Wetar and Timor. We’ll return to the ship in time for an afternoon at leisure.
Explore Alor, the “Island of a Thousand Mokos”
Take your time over breakfast and relax as we sail into Kalabahi, Alor’s only town. With its location on the far end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, it remains a mystery how Alor become known for its moko, or bronze kettledrums, which can be traced back to the Bronze Age Dong Son culture of Vietnam. These prized heirlooms served as currency for building a house and for a bridal dowry, and thus many valuable moko were often buried or hidden. You’ll visit the Museum 1000 Moko to admire a collection of these drums, explore Kalabahi’s thriving main market, and tour nearby Takpala Village, where you’ll get to meet the island’s indigenous Abui people and learn about their proudly traditional ways.
After lunch back on board the ship, you’ll have the afternoon at leisure. Approach your onboard Destination Manager in advance if you’d like to reserve snorkeling masks and fins. Alor’s waters are a paradise for diving and snorkeling, and you may even spot the rare and famously alien-like Mola mola (ocean sunfish)!
Discover the whaling heritage of Lamalera
Lamalera is one of the world’s last few communities of subsistence whalers, and you’ll learn more about this incredible practice today as a Zodiac boat takes you from the ship to the shores of Lembata island. Your first stop is a local barter market, where your expert guide shares some insight on local communities. Then, at Lamalera, watch a demonstration of how villagers hunt sharks, rays, dolphins, and sperm whales as a group using long wooden boats and an arsenal of bamboo harpoons. After your tour, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before returning to ship. Tonight, we’ll sail on to Ende.
Behold Kelimutu’s color-changing crater lakes
Today we dock at Ende, Flores, and transfer to the nearby mountain of Kelimutu to witness a natural phenomenon that has fascinated scientists and tourists alike. The Kelimutu lakes are three crater lakes on the mountain believed to hold the souls of the departed, and their colors vary from brilliant emerald to onyx to — at times — blood red, depending on the chemical composition of volcanic gases and minerals present in each lake.
After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy some free time to explore Ende. Perhaps you’ll stroll through the markets and observe some haggling in action, or pick up some colorful ikat sarongs and shawls, which are renowned for their handwoven intricacy.
Revel in Sawu’s unspoiled natural beauty
Sawu is one of the most remote stops along this adventure-filled cruise, and you’ll see why it’s worth being among the rare few who have set foot on this island! The waters around here form the Savu Sea Marine National Park and are host to 18 species of whales, along with dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles, and over 500 species of corals. We’ll tour the island’s main town of Seba before heading to its main beach, where you can swim and snorkel to your heart’s content. Later, enjoy lunch on board and an afternoon at leisure.
Spot the wild horses of Sumba, then see one of its most magnificent beaches
Enjoy a splendid day discovering the island of Sumba on a full-day tour. Despite periods of colonization by the Portuguese and Dutch, Sumba remains one of Indonesia’s less-developed islands and lies under the tourist radar. From the main port of Waingapu we head to the vast undulating hills of Bukit Warinding, where many of the island’s wild horses roam. Along the way you may also spot some Sumbanese traditional thatched houses and megalithic tombs.
Savor a delicious lunch at a local restaurant at Maramba Beach, a popular resort area, before heading to Puru Kambera Beach for an afternoon of bliss. With its calm waters lapping at pine-fringed white sands, this is easily Sumba’s most picturesque beach.
Embark on a quest for “dragons” at Komodo National Park
Get ready for one of the highlights of your cruise today as we glide into the waters of Komodo National Park! We’ll board the ship’s Zodiac boats and tender to shore on Rinca, one of the main islands of this nature reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, a park ranger will guide us on a trek around the protected areas of the island in search of the Komodo dragon. At up to 10 feet and 150 pounds, these fearsome creatures are the world’s largest reptiles, capable of killing deer, horses, and water buffalo.
After lunch on board, unfurl your beach towel on Komodo island’s legendary Pink Beach and enjoy the sweeping views, or grab a snorkel to admire a stunning rainbow of fish and corals underwater. We return to the ship at sunset for dinner.
Admire Sumbawa’s local traditions
Today you’ll anchor at the port of Badas and travel inland to the village of Pamulung, where you’ll learn more about the cultures and traditions of Sumbawa. Rice-based farming is a mainstay of local culture, and you’ll see how villagers pound the dried grains by hand to dehull them. Then, observe how local women weave their colorful traditional textiles and enjoy a performance of traditional song and dance that usually takes place at a wedding procession.
Your visit is topped off with a traditional buffalo race. In addition to their usual plowing duties, famers’ buffalo also provide entertainment while helping to mix the soil and mud in freshly irrigated paddy fields. Make sure to have your camera ready! After lunch at a local restaurant in the town of Sumbawa Besar, return to the ship for an afternoon at leisure.
Luxuriate on the beaches of the Gili Islands
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning as you take in the gorgeous views of turquoise waters and pearlescent beaches. Located just off the northwest coast of Lombok, the triplet Gili Islands are a hotspot for snorkeling, scuba diving, and free diving thanks to the abundance of corals and marine life here. We’ll visit either Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno for a day of swimming or snorkeling. You may even spot turtles in the shallows! Alternatively, since cars and other motorized traffic are prohibited on the islands, you might reserve one of the ship’s onboard bicycles and explore at your whim.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll have the afternoon at leisure to enjoy your ship’s deluxe amenities, or relax on the beach before dinner on board.
Disembark the Ocean Odyssey and explore Bali’s Uluwatu Temple
After breakfast on board, you’ll disembark the Ocean Odyssey to wind down your journey in Bali. We hope you enjoyed this once-in-a-lifetime experience on Vantage's second 5-star ocean cruising small ship!
After passing through immigration, we’ll embark on a tour of the Uluwatu Temple, a gorgeous, spectacular builiding that your cameras will love! The temple is inhabited by cheeky Macaque monkeys who are notorious for snatching sunglasses, cameras, and other goods off tourists — so, be mindful! After this enchanting visit, lunch is at a local restaurant. We’ll then transfer to our hotel, the utterly mind-blowing Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, for an afternoon of leisure at the resort that includes a traditional Balinese massage. Tonight’s dinner is at the hotel, complete with traditional Balinese cuisine and dancing.
Visit the village of Mengwi and meet local students before discovering Pura Taman Ayun
Just outside of our resort is the historical village of Mengwi, once the capital of the ancient Balinese kingdom. We’ll have a morning of discovery here, first learning more about local Balinese life in the village itself and at a local school, where we’ll be greeted by the sweet smiles of schoolchildren. If that isn’t enough, the Pura Taman Ayun temple calls next. This picturesque complex is surrounded by dazzling lotus and fishponds and the temple structures often appear adrift on these neighboring waters. The rest of the day is at leisure back at the resort, and you’ll celebrate your journey with a Farewell Dinner here.
After breakfast, transfer to the Bali airport for your return flight home. Or, if you’re joining our post-trip extension to Ubud, you’ll stay on for four more nights!
Please note: Ocean-cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. 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.