Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Winter Adventures in the Indian Ocean

Zegrahm's Winter Getaways are a great option for adventure-cruise enthusiasts, especially in the intimate comfort of the recently refurbished 110-passenger Clipper Odyssey. In addition to a bevy of complimentary amenities such as a variety of daily activity options; all gratuities, accommodations, and meals; and transfers on group arrival and departures dates, Odyssey’s shallow draft and fleet of Zodiacs allow guests to land on pristine atolls and uninhabited islands where many of the big ships simply can’t go.

First on the roster is India for a 15-day sojourn skirting the subcontinent’s southern shores. In addition to experiencing the fascinating city of Mumbai, the colonial European charm of Goa, Kochi’s maze of islands and waterways via houseboat, the Southern India by Sea programme spends two full days in Sri Lanka. The highlights of the island (once lauded by Marco Polo as the “finest island of its size”) include a visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and the World Heritage Sites of Kandy’s Buddhist Temple of the Tooth and the seaside fortress of Galle.

Next up is the India & the Maldives with Sri Lanka & Lakshadweeps, the perfect union of culture and natural history. Zegrahm cover all the highlights of Southern India and Sri Lanka, then make their way to the unspoiled islands of the Lakshadweeps and Maldives. The visits to these two archipelagos will be spent discovering the region’s underwater riches with daily snorkel, dive and glass-bottom boat excursions. And, since many families enjoy travelling together over the holidays, the company is happy to offer special group savings on this voyage: groups of four or more receive 10% off the brochure rate and groups of eight or more receive 15% off!

The New Year brings two amazing voyages focused on the Seychelles. First, from January 13-27, travellers on the Ultimate Seychelles expedition will enjoy daily adventures above and below the water. Whether it be hiking among the endemic coco-de-mar palms on Praslin Island, admiring Aldabra Atoll’s giant Indian Ocean tortoises, photographing the pink granite boulders of La Digue or snorkelling and diving among 150 coral species and 850 species of rainbow-hued fish, this voyage is sure to make guests forget winter exists elsewhere in the world.

Finally, the new Classic Seychelles offers the very best of these Indian Ocean islands, including La Digue, Praslin and Aldabra Atoll, plus the Comoros Islands and Tanzania. After spending days snorkelling, diving, bird-watching and beach-combing in the Seychelles, Odyssey heads to the volcanic islands of the Comoros, with an interesting mélange of Arabic and French architecture nestled among the islands' stunning natural beauty. The voyage concludes with explorations in magical Zanzibar, the “Spice Island”, where guests can wander the labyrinth of alleyways, filled with treasures of the East that established its fame: cloves, cinnamon and vanilla.

But, while winter may seem light years away, guests are advised to book soon to secure their cabin of choice. Then, instead of menu planning for Christmas or buying new snow shovels, they can start day-dreaming about glistening temple complexes and secluded, sugar-sand beaches!

For more info, visit www.zeco.com or contact the UK's leading adventure-cruise specialists of The Cruise Line Ltd on 0800 008 6677.