Cruising the Coasts
We round up some of the most luxurious and boutique cruise holidays throughout the region
Indulge in some fine food and wine
Aboard Belmond’s five barges, “afloat in France”, and French Country Waterway’s four river cruises, the focus is on the lush, fruitful and fertile magnificence of the French countryside and landscape. Each cruise offers a range of tours, from an intimate two-cabin voyage celebrating Le Cordon Bleu chef-catered cuisine to marginally larger barges hosting up to 12 featuring visits to France’s champagne fields and wineries, with five-star dinners to match.
One of France’s river cruise highlights is the stylishly named Belmond Fleur de Lys, with its three ensuite cabins decorated in rich Indian fabrics and four-poster beds, and also featuring a private pool. The proposed itinerary takes you from Dijon to Vandenesse-En-Auxois, enroute touring Burgundy’s chateaux and vineyards. An evening onboard is often capped off with a glass of wine, accompanied by soothing melodies played on the grand piano.
Delve deeper beneath the sea
Cruising the idyllic and relatively unexplored region of Raja Ampat in Indonesia, a destination slowly gaining a reputation for its world-class diving scene, the custom-built, handcrafted cruises of two luxury hotel operators, Amanresorts’ Amanikan and Alila Hotels and Resorts’ Alila Purnama, both provide a similar experience centred around discovering local marine life. Although the individual itineraries of the cruises are varied and fairly flexible, the highlight is most certainly the 5-7 night Raja Ampat expedition held between November to March (depending on the cruiser). Another common expedition both cruisers share is the Komodo Island expedition, held between March to October, exploring not only the marine life but also the islands in the vicinity, one of which is the natural habitat of the legendary Komodo dragon.
Although traditional in appearance, the interiors are suitably decked out in luxuriously understated fashion, also featuring locally sourced materials and designs. The three-decked Alila Purnama is 46-metres long and accommodates up to 10 guests in five cabins. The 32-metre Amanikan contains three cabins, with the master cabin featuring a 270-degree view.