7 Night cruise departing roundtrip from Ambon onboard Aqua Blu.
Setting sail from the rustic Indonesian port city of Ambon, Aqua Blu cruises south across the Banda Sea to the Spice Islands, a destination steeped in historical significance and endowed with both unspoilt nature and culture. As the origin of the nutmeg, a spice that was worth more than gold in terms of weight, the Spice Islands (also called the Banda Islands) were the Holy Grail for famous Old World explorers including Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan, who sought but never managed to find it.
Eventually, the Spice Islands were discovered and the Dutch established and exercised control over them — with a monopoly on the nutmeg trade — from 1607 up until the late 18th century. In that time, the Dutch built up numerous colonial-styled architecture and extensive fortifications. Surrounded by the local town and the oldest nutmeg plantations on Earth, these structures remain mostly well-preserved.
Today, setting foot on the Spice Islands is like entering a spectacular living museum on Earth, where time appears to have stood still for decades and centuries-old relics, such as Fort Belgica, exist alongside rich Indonesian local traditions such as nutmeg cultivation and kora-kora war canoe racing.
Note: All itineraries are subject to change, due to weather and other conditions.
Day 1 Indonesia Ambon
Arrive to a warm welcome in Ambon and board Aqua Blu at Laha Bay, a famous muck diving site. There are also opportunities for trekking and birdwatching inland.
Day 2 Indonesia Saparua
Early morning, depart for the island outpost of Saparua, sailing along the scenic north coast of Ambon. Disembark en route at the coastal town of Hila to explore the old Dutch fortification, Fort Amsterdam. Continue onto Sarapua, where a host of water activities await. Discover local pottery-making at Ouw village, visit a local market, see European relics, explore bird habitats or go diving before departing Sarapua for an overnight crossing to Banda Islands.
Day 3 Indonesia Banda Islands & Banda Neira
Approach the Banda Islands as the sun rises, greeted by Kora-Kora war canoes as the boat enters the harbor. Stroll through history at the Dutch Fort Belgica on Banda Neira, once the most hotly contested island in the world in the 16th and 17th century, and learn about the colorful story of the Old World spice trade.
Day 4 Indonesia Banda Neira & Gunung Api
Spend the day exploring the oldest nutmeg plantations in the world, learning about the cultivation and history of the spice. Hike the active volcano of Gunung Banda Api. In this remote part of Indonesia, experience local life with traditions unchanged for decades before departing Banda Harbour at night.
Day 5 Indonesia Manuk
Savour a sunrise breakfast on board against the backdrop of 300-metre tall cliffs of Pulau Manuk, a volcanic island rising 3 kilometres from the seabed. This is a haven for fish-hunting birds, as well as sea snakes and reef sharks flocking to enjoy the area’s underwater thermal springs. After sundown, cruise northwards to Pulau Run, a historic island traded by the British for Manhattan in 1667.
Day 6 Indonesia Pulau Run
Arrive at Pulau Run, the westernmost of the Banda Islands, at sunrise. Swim, fish, snorkel and dive in the crystal-clear waters, or go on village tours, trekking and birding. Attempt to search for the ruins of an old British fort before arriving at a pristine beach where a cocktail party awaits.
Day 7 Indonesia Nusa Laut & Molana
On the north side of Nusa Laut, bike through the scenic fishing villages of Ameth and Akon. This is also home of the dugong, the Southeast Asian cousin of the American manatee and a vulnerable species. Cruise to Molana Island, a small but heavily forested island with fantastic reefs.
Day 8 Indonesia Ambon
Awake to the bustle of Ambon and disembark after a sumptuous breakfast for your outbound flight.
Please note, while prices and inclusions are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to changes in cruise line policies and pricing and due to currency fluctuations. Currency surcharges may apply. Please check details of price and inclusions at time of booking.