When it comes to cruising, you can't get much better than taking a small cruise ship to the Indian Ocean, which offers a number of truly legendary holiday destinations from the magnificent Maldives to the stunning Seychelles, where Prince William and Princess Kate enjoyed their honeymoon. But where to go? It's worth looking over your options below and deciding on what you want the focus to be. Here is our helpful guide to cruising the Indian Ocean.
A fascinating blend of cultures awaits you on Mauritius, with an extraordinary melting pot of religions and practices for such a small island. Located approximately 2,000 kilometres off the southeastern coast of Africa, you can be sure of warm weather during your stay. A paradise for deep-sea fishing, it is a haven for those who long for excellent cuisine and a more relaxed approach to life. Highlights include the picturesque coastal village of Grand Bay, the bustling Port Louis and the awe-inspiring beach of Tamarin. For the adventurous, there is also the opportunity to swim with dolphins in their own habitat. But all the more fascinating is the scenery. The island's beaches dramatically give way to enormous virgin forests that are calling out to be explored, and there will be plenty of opportunity for you to sit and enjoy the natural surroundings aboard one of the luxurious cruise vessels available. Add in the delights of Chinese, Indian, French and African
cuisine – plus the infectious beat of sega music and the irresistible party spirit the island is famous for – and you can understand why so many people call it 'paradise'.
Once an essential trading hub of the Indian Ocean where all manner of traditions and cultures came into contact, the Maldives has a remarkably diverse selection of languages, beliefs, arts and attitudes thanks to its international routes. Rarely in the world can you see African drumming, Arabian construction techniques and fine artistry reminiscent of southeast Asian architecture all in one location. Exploring the natural beauty with a catamaran is the natural option – thanks to their shallower drafts, they are able to slip into coves and harbours that are inaccessible to their larger counterparts. Highlights of the Maldives cruises include the Omadhoo island and its delightful fishing village, as well as the Raiga Dhiggiri landmass which is inhabited only by two guards to put off unauthorised access. There are two itineraries available – a seven night option and a ten night.
The beautiful unspoilt waters of the Seychelles are a stunning sight, and it's no wonder they attracted a certain royal couple for their honeymoon. Such is the appeal of this remarkable archipelago that Seafarer offers two distinct options for cruising – one in a mega yacht that carries up to 49 passengers and one in a sailing catamaran that boasts just 24 passengers. Both offer extraordinary journeys throughout this paradise at the hands of a highly knowledgeable crew who can help you unwrap the mysteries that surround it. There is plenty of overlap between the two sets of holidays, with both offering numerous opportunities to explore the unique culture that exists here, and to drink in the natural beauty that is prevalent across the many islands of the Seychelles. Particular highlights include Anse Lazio, which is commonly cited as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world; former leper colony Curieuse, which is now home to giant tortoises; and
the deserted island of La Digue. So close to the equator, you can count on good weather, although tropical storms are common. Luckily, while they are heavy in the volume of rain, they don't generally last long and are usually followed by bright sunshine.
No matter where you choose to go within the Indian Ocean, it's always worth taking a small cruise ship for the intimacy you get with the destination. If you have a large party, it may be worth hiring an entire yacht for the duration of your trip – perfect for a group exploration of the Indian Ocean.