Journey across Asia with Egypt & Israel
This cruise has now set sail.
For an unforgettable insight into Asia’s diversity, Boudicca will guide you to a collection of Far-Eastern and Indian destinations, before an exploration of the Middle East presents opportunities to discover, explore and experience some of the world’s greatest historic and holy sites.
Your time in the Far East begins with a call at Benoa. You can discover the best of Bali; untrodden beaches, ancient temples and forests alive with amazing wildlife await. Speaking of amazing wildlife, on tour from the Bornean city of Sandakan you can encounter orphaned orangutans in their natural habitat. Uncover Ho Chi Minh City’s infamous Vietnamese war history too; visit Phnom Penh – with its famous landmarks such as the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda – on tour from Sihanoukville, Cambodia; and also experience Asia at its most modern amongst Singapore’s skyscraper-laden city scape. Kochi, with its iconic sights and spicy local flavours, makes for a perfect introduction to India, where you’ll also get to savour the rich European-influenced history and picture-postcard scenery of Goa before magnificent Mumbai awaits.
You can capture the very essence of the bustling Indian capital; perhaps admire the historic, British-style buildings, witness the world’s largest open-air laundry district in action, and even help busy Dabbawallas delivering lunches across the city. You’ll even get to explore India’s spiritual beginnings in Porbandar, the birthplace of Gandhi and home to the Sudama Temple. Finally, you’re in for a memorable journey in the Middle East, visiting Safaga for tours to the remarkable Valley of the Kings, and Alexandra – gateway to the Great Pyramids of Giza – in Egypt; and calling at the Jordanian city of Aqaba, for a chance to seek-out the ‘Lost City’ of Petra. Meanwhile, in Israel, the hallowed sites of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where you walk on the ground where Jesus was laid down after his birth, await your discovery from Ashdod and Haifa.
Benoa, BaliJan 18 - 19 | Depart - late afternoon
With its beautiful rice fields watered by shallow rivers and forests with many kinds of flora and fauna, Bali is one of Earth's most idyllic places. The friendly locals create a warm, inviting atmosphere, encouraging you to explore the many attractions that the island has to offer including incredible temples, rugged coasts and sandy beaches.
Sandakan, BorneoJan 22 - 23 | Arrive - early afternoon | Depart - early afternoon
Razed to the ground by bombing raids in World War II, but since revived and developed into one of Borneo’s most important and thriving cities, Sandakan – once connected to German, Arab and Indian traders, pearl divers and Chinese planters – is now a buzzing hub of industry and culture once again.
You can really feel the energy of modern Sandakan, as the locals go about their daily lives, making their contribution to the local palm oil, tobacco, coffee, cocoa and numerous other industries, but there are plenty of reminders of the city’s fascinating past to discover too. Sandakan Memorial Park and the Heritage Museum offer a wonderful insight into the history here, while visiting the Chinese and Japanese cemeteries is always an emotive experience. Don’t miss the magnificent temples of Puu Jih Syh and Sam Sing Kong – the city’s oldest building – too.
Beyond the city, Sandakan also serves as a gateway to encountering some of Borneo’s most mesmerising natural treasures and wildlife; on tour, it’s possible to visit Sepilok and see orphaned orangutans up-close, explore the Gomantong Caves, and visit Turtle Island, to name just a few of the highlights.
Ho Chi Minh City, VietnamJan 26 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - late evening
Spanning both sides of the Saigon River, north-east of the tranquil Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City is a vast and cosmopolitan hub. Not far from the hustle and bustle of this central destination are the highlands and rainforests that teem with exotic wildlife where you can discover the Mekong Delta and more rural parts of Vietnam.
The beaches here are famed for being some of the best in Southeast Asia, and the cuisine is universally acknowledged for its range of tastes and dishes, you simply can’t leave without indulging in these hand cooked specialities.
Sihanoukville, CambodiaJan 28 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - late evening
Sihanoukville is the gateway to the eerily impressive Angor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, one of the main reasons visitors travel to Cambodia. The second reason being that Sihanoukville is surrounded by white-sand beaches of Occheuteal and Serendipity beach, and undeveloped tropical islands. Sihanoukville is a place to unwind by the surf, enjoy the fresh from-the-ocean seafood, and generally slow down and relax.
Sihanoukville has a different look and feel than most Cambodian towns. With an abundance of things to see and do, from snorkelling to scuba diving, your batteries will be recharged in no time at all. There is often a balmy heat that wavers over the palm trees and grass umbrellas, making Sihanoukville the ideal spot to roll out a towel and sip on a refreshing cocktail, or two.
Singapore, SingaporeJan 30 - 31 | Arrive - early afternoon | Depart - early evening
Located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, this dynamic city-state is the perfect cocktail of culture, cruising, arts and architecture. This global financial centre with a tropical climate and multicultural population is passionately working towards its dream of a ‘City in a Garden’.
Getting around Singapore is a fairly rapid affair, thanks to one of the world’s most efficient and widespread public transport systems. Its colonial core centres on the Padang, a cricket field since the 1830s and now flanked by grand buildings such as City Hall, and its multitude of Corinthian columns. The 19th century red-and-gold Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Chinatown, allegedly houses one of Buddha's teeth.
The concrete that once dominated the city skyline is slowly being replaced by ‘green skyscrapers’, which look more like living ecosystems than office buildings. Visitors stepping out of the centre will find walking trails, treetop bridges, indigenous wildlife and the city's green jewel, the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Singapore Botanic Gardens.
A tantalizing selection of food sold from street markets is dotted around the city. Food is taken very seriously: from cheap street fare to Michelin-starred dining, Singaporean foodies will happily queue for it. Of course, for sheer elegance, nothing beats a Singapore Sling in the Raffles Hotel.
Singapore has always drawn visits from a variety of sea craft. Merchants of every race, colour and faith were quickly drawn to the island, and by 1911, Singapore’s population comprised of 48 races, speaking 54 languages. Malay is now the official language.
Phuket, ThailandFeb 02 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - late night
The rain-forested, mountainous island of Phuket in the Andaman Sea, has some of Thailand’s most spectacular beaches situated along the clear blue waters of its western shore. This idyllic high-end island resort contrasts nicely with the culturally-rich capital, Phuket Town, which offers busy markets and fabulous food.
Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, is connected to the southern tip of the country by a couple of short road bridges. The island has wonderful soft white beaches, fringed by shady palm trees and grass huts. Just offshore, many uninhabited outcrops of tall limestone crags rise straight out of the sea and cry out to be explored. Phuket is the ideal spot to truly relax and unwind with incredible views of the surrounding bays.
In Phuket Town, the Thalang National Museum has fascinating displays about the island’s indigenous culture. There are a couple of Hindu Temples on the island, as well as a number of Buddhist shrines, including the Wat Chalong Temple, which is the centre for worship on Phuket. High in the Nakkerd Hills, northwest of Chalong Circle, the 45m-high Big Buddha sits in imposing fashion on the island's finest viewpoint.
Colombo, Sri LankaFeb 06 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - early evening
The port city of Colombo is rich with colonial heritage, religions, races and cultures. With a population of over 4.5 million people, Colombo is a bustling, fascinating and noisy city. It combines Dutch and British colonial buildings, with Buddhist temples, Islamic mosques, Christian churches, and modern gleaming skyscrapers. The impressive Colombo National Museum, dedicated to Sri Lankan history, is worth uncovering and it borders the sprawling Viharamahadevi Park, home to a giant Buddha.
The narrow cobbled streets of Pettah, the main bazaar district, are full of shops and street markets selling an amazing array of goods at bargain prices. There are plenty of places to eat, from small shops selling pancakes to coffee shops and upmarket restaurants.
A more rustic, slow-paced Sri Lankan experience can be found in nearby Negombo, with its quaint village streets and lively fish market. Alternatively, sun seekers can venture to the private beach of Mt. Lavinia, located on the breath-taking Golden Mile beachfront.
Kochi, IndiaFeb 08 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - early evening
Known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, serene Kochi on India’s south-western coast has been drawing traders, explorers and travellers to its shores for over 600 years.
Formerly the port of Cochin, Kochi grew to prominence as an outlet for the spice trade in the 14th century, and is most famous for the iconic-cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that billow out across its harbour. This ancient trading centre is a melting pot of cultures and religions, evident in the town’s buildings, which range from the oldest synagogue in the British Commonwealth to the austere Mattancherry Palace, built by the Dutch but influenced by the Portuguese.
Mormugão, Goa, IndiaFeb 10 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - early evening
Mormugão is the main port of the tiny State of Goa, renowned for superb beaches and a colonial history that combines the best of Indian and Portuguese culture.
Known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, Goa showcases a mix of scenic beauty and architectural delights, from golden beaches and spice plantations to striking temples and bustling markets.
The Arch of the Viceroys was built in 1597 to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s arrival in India, while the nearby Church of St. Cajetan is modelled on St. Peter’s in Rome. Opposite the magnificent Se Cathedral at Old Goa – one of the largest churches in Asia, is the Basilica of Bom. Here the remains of Francis Xavier, a founder of the Jesuit order and patron saint of Goa, lie in a silver casket next to the altar.
Yoga is king in Goa, and the crop of spiritual activities available to visitors grows each year. T’ai chi sessions, Reiki healing courses, meditation, and most forms of spiritual exploration are all practised freely. The scents, spices and flavours of Goa’s cuisine is the area’s other main attraction, and the Indo-Portuguese influence will surprise and tantalise even seasoned travellers.
Mumbai, IndiaFeb 11 - 12 | Arrive - late afternoon | Depart - early evening
Once a cluster of seven islands covered with coconut palms, Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is a sprawling, vibrant city on India’s west coast. It is a busy, densely-populated city, home to India’s most prolific film industry, Bollywood, and the largest tropical forest in an urban zone.
Mumbai can prove to be a surprising introduction to India. On its harbour waterfront stands the iconic Gateway of India stone arch; through it is India’s centre for finance and fashion, and a fervent religious crossroads. As such the city’s furious energy – and often heavy air pollution – can make it a totally different experience for visitors.
But once in Mumbai’s heart, some of the most imposing colonial-era architecture on earth is on view, as are its secret bazaars, hidden temples, and India’s top restaurants and intense nightlife.
The cultural mix is extraordinary: religious sites like the Jain Temple and the closely guarded Parsi Towers of Silence all exist happily next to the Victoria Railway Terminus, the Royal Bombay Yacht Club and the Ghandi Memorial Museum. The unique and popular bazaars offer souvenir trinkets, traditional shawls and shoes all ready to be bartered over.
Venturing beyond Mumbai, the elusive and lesser known Elephanta Caves are captivating. Set in attractive surroundings of lush green vegetation, vines and towering trees, Elephanta Island offers a stark contrast from the bustling inner city of Mumbai. The eerie Buddhist and Hindu caves, and their honeycomb of halls, shrines and pillars, are a must-see.
Porbandar, IndiaFeb 14 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - late afternoon
Porbandar, a coastal city in the Indian state of Gujarat, is the birthplace of the ‘Father of India’ and the loyal friend and devotee of Lord Krishna, Sudama. As a result, Porbandar is of great religious and spiritual importance, and a place of pilgrimage for Hindus across the world.
Porbandar’s fascinating history dates back to the Harappan age (1600-1400BC). Its ancient port served as a vital trade link to Arabia and countries in the Persian Gulf, and had close ties to some of India’s great religious and spiritual figures.
Best known as the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and Sudama, Hindus make the pilgrimage to visit various dedicated temples and museums. The must-see Kirti Mandir, a memorial dedicated to Gandhi, is on the site where ancestral properties of the Gandhi family once were, and contains various pictures and paintings depicting the life and influence of Mahatma.
The Krishna Sudama Temple, dedicated to the friendship between Lord Krishna and Sudama, is another of Porbandar’s unmissable attractions, while the beautiful temple of Sir Hari is well worth a visit too.
Muscat, OmanFeb 16 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - early evening
Muscat, Oman’s port capital, offers plenty of history, an air of tradition, and a distinctly exotic location, all crammed between the mountains, the sea – laden with fauna-rich lagoons – and the desert.
With history dating back to ancient times, Muscat mixes modern architecture and fashionable shopping malls with souks, Royal Palaces and landmarks like its 16th century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani that keep watch over the harbour.
The ornate marble-clad Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, with its 50m dome, can accommodate 20,000 people. This most modern of Islamic buildings is also home to the world’s second largest hand-woven carpet, which took four years to thread and is made from various vibrant vegetable dyes.
The opening of the Royal Opera House in 2011, and the splendid National Museum which opened six years later, offer additional culture highlights that give the city a personality all of its own.
Fujairah, United Arab EmiratesFeb 17 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - late evening
The only one of the seven United Arab Emirates on the Gulf of Oman, Fujairah is mountainous, unlike the desert Emirates on the Persian Gulf, and rife with colourful markets and wonderful buildings. Fujairah boasts a much slower and relaxed pace compared to its UAE counterparts, you will notice its peaceful ambience when visiting its most beautiful of sights, the Al Bithnah Fort and Al Bidyah Mosque.
The local souk sells goods for local residents, such as plants, spices and textiles. Along the Corniche there is a smaller evening souk which sells items such as perfumes, watches and clothing, an ideal opportunity to pick up something unique for your loved ones back home.
Aqaba, JordanFeb 24 - 25 | Arrive - late afternoon | Depart - early evening
Inhabited since 4000BC, Aqaba is the Jordanian port city on the Red Sea's Gulf of Aqaba, and gateway to the world-famous stone-city of Petra. The Lost City of Petra is the impressive archaeological site carved from the sandstone hills more than 2,000 years ago, and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Its breath-taking tombs and ruins remained hidden to the world until their rediscovery in 1812 by a Swiss explorer.
The seaport of Aqaba has been strategically important for traders for centuries. The Crusaders built a fortress here, which was rebuilt by the Mamlukes in the 16th century, and it remains one of the town’s most important landmarks. The Aqaba Archaeological Museum houses Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid artefacts, an unearthed treasures from the ancient city of Aila, are also within its walls.
The small town of Aqaba itself has a relaxed vibe, and is a regular stopover for visitors heading to the diving and snorkelling clubs of the Yamanieh coral reef.
Safaga, EgyptFeb 26 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - late night
The Egyptian town of Safaga on the Red Sea offers crystal-clear waters and black-sand beaches that are popular with divers, windsurfers and sun worshippers. For a glimpse into Egypt’s ancient past, the majestic temples of Luxor and Karnak, and the historic Valley of the Kings, are in easy reach.
Safaga’s clear serene waters hypnotise with its multitude of tuna, sharks and manta rays often seen around the towering reefs of Abu Qifan. The sea here is very saline, rich in minerals and is said to have curative properties.
Safaga is the popular gateway for exploration of the Eastern Desert and the granite quarries of Mons Claudianus. The network of tombs at the captivating Valley of the Kings, and all the mystique of the Pharaohs, await on tours from this sultry port.
Alexandria, EgyptMar 01 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - late evening
The magnificent Egyptian city of Alexandria is home to the site of the great Pharos Lighthouse – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Alexandria’s Roman amphitheatre, ancient storied library and catacombs recall distant glories of this great Hellenic city, while the 19th century Montazah Palace Gardens and seafront boulevards reflect a more recent era.
Founded by Alexander the Great, Alexandria is a sparkling gem on the Mediterranean coastline. The birthplace of Cleopatra VII, the city is the cultural hub of the region, and gateway to the Giza pyramids and the River Nile. A short venture along the coast will uncover the fortress Citadel of Qaitbay teetering on the coast.
This sultry, bustling city has both ancient and modern history intertwined in every street. French-style parks and the occasional French street sign have survived as part of Napoleon’s legacy, and, as one of Alexandria's many conquerors, Greek restaurants and cafés still dominate the cultural scene.
Ashdod, IsraelMar 02 - 03 | Arrive - late afternoon | Depart - late night
When taking a cruise holiday that visits Ashdod, the first and best, place to begin exploring is at Givat Yonah; the traditional site of the tomb of sea-faring Jonah the Prophet, who was said to be swallowed by a whale.
With white-washed Mediterranean style buildings and its many beaches, it is easy to see why it is such a popular city for visitors. Take time to sample some of the local food here, which includes traditional falafel, hummus, pitta breads; washed down with a good strong coffee, whilst people watching.
The new glass-roofed ‘winged’ Ashdod Art Museum and the Corinne Maman Museum are both worth visiting, the latter has a unique interior design which echoes the city’s ancient history.
Haifa, IsraelMar 03 | Arrive - early morning | Depart - late evening
The city of Haifa is said to be one of the prettiest in Israel, and is surrounded by nature sites, churches and mosques, mountains and sea.
The Bahai Gardens here are not to be missed when on your cruise holiday. The site is where members of the Bahai faith have established their shrine – this building is stunning, with a golden dome, marbled walls and nine sides representing the nine major religions in the world. It is surrounded by several other unique buildings, and set amongst some of the most spectacular gardens in the world, which are designed in nine concentric circles and look like waves extending out from the shrine at the centre.
Other interesting places to visit in Haifa include the National Maritime Museum, the Railway Museum and the Khai-Bar Wildlife Preserve.
Limassol, CyprusMar 04 | Arrive - early morning
A holiday resort with an excellent family reputation, Limassol has some great beaches and lots of tavernas, cafés and restaurants. But there’s plenty else to see and do here. Limassol Castle was built in 1228 by Frederick II of Germany, but largely rebuilt by the Ottoman rulers during the 19th century. It now houses the Cyprus Medieval Museum. The Limassol Archaeological Museum has many fascinating objects from the island’s history, especially from the Ottoman period.
Further afield, the Amathus site, about 11km east of the city, has the ruins of a Temple of Aphrodite and tombs from the early Iron Age era. In the other direction is the village of Kolossi; the splendid castle overlooks vineyards where the Cypriot Commandaria wine is produced.