By Cruise International | 15 Sep 2010
The Maldives, Sri Lanka and the west coast of India have, thanks to the arrival of long haul charter flights, become favourites amongst UK based holidaymakers in the last 15 years. Mauritius and the Seychelles have also been identified by the British as luxurious tropical destinations in which to escape the European winter.
Cruising in the region is still in its early stages, although African Safari, on its Royal Star, has been operating in the area for many years.
The calm seas and the welcoming, friendly ambience of its island and mainland ports are helping to make the Indian Ocean, for many, a preferred cruise region.
Warm weather, with most rainfall occurring in the evenings in the form of short showers, makes this an amenable region for year round cruising, although the monsoon season on India’s west coast is best avoided. The Maldives, Goa and Kerala receive similar weather patterns to each other with humidity and rainfall at its highest between May and October.
Hindu festivals are popular throughout the region, with colourful processions, ornately decorated elephants and flag-lined streets.
Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists seem to live happily alongside each other in all the Indian Ocean states and the locals partake in all of the festivities, irrespective of their religion.
The Maldives consists of about 1,200 islands, 300 miles off the coast of southern India. Most are uninhabited and many are occupied by just one bare-foot luxury hotel. No island is more than two metres above sea level and so most shore activity takes place near the ocean and on smaller vessels skirting the coral reefs.
Dolphin watching and short sea trips are popular throughout the region, as is diving and snorkelling. In Mauritius, underwater scooters are also a popular attraction just a few miles north of the cruise terminal of Port Louis.
- Ile aux Cerf, Port Louis
- Underwater exploration, Male
- Yalla Safari, Galle
- Bollywood, Mumbai
- Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai
- House of Wonders, Zanzibar
- Old Goa, Panjim
- Elephant Orphanage, Colombo
- Mattancherry Palace, Cochin
- Tsavo National Park, Mombasa