Sailing from Thailand
Setting sail from Bangkok (Klong Toey)
Thailand's sprawling capital is an assault on the senses, an invigorating blend of tradition and modernity. Soaring skyscrapers, air-conditioned shopping malls and an efficient public transport system combine with shimmering golden temples, ancient palaces, floating markets and at times gridlocked rush hour traffic. Bangkok is also a real culinary treat; perching at a street food stall tucking into a bowl of noodles by the roadside is a great way to take the pulse of the city, and you'll find regional cuisines from all over Thailand. The nightlife here is also legendary, though is perhaps not for the faint-hearted!
Most tourist sights and markets are open 7 days a week, so be cautious if you’re told otherwise, a common trick from a minority of disreputable taxi drivers. We recommend organising excursions in advance or through a reputable hotel.
Thailand: Koh Samui
Attracting everyone from budget backpackers to ostentatious oligarchs, Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular islands. It’s no surprise, given the truly stunning beaches, but the more developed areas such as Chaweng have lost a lot of their charm, so head for the quieter south and west if you can.
Singapore’s heritage as an important trading post means that there is a real cultural mix, with four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Step away from the gleaming towers and you’ll find yourself transported into another world amongst the intoxicating streets of Chinatown and Little India.
As well as a plethora of luxury resorts, Phuket has a charming old town replete with pretty Sino-Portuguese architecture, and acts as a jump-off point for exploring nearby islands and coastline. Koh Phing Pan, better known as James Bond Island, and Ko Phi Phi are breathtakingly beautiful, as are the limestone formations that surround Krabi.
Myanmar (Burma): Yangon
Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, may no longer be Myanmar’s capital, but it remains the largest and most important city, and the gateway to exploring this beautiful country. Visible from all around the city is Yangon’s crowning jewel, the shimmering golden Shwedagon Paya, one of South East Asia’s most beautiful Buddhist temples.
The port of Kochi, commonly known as Cochin, occupies a strategic location on India’s Malabar Coast, and its history as a trading hub is reflected in the blend of European, Chinese and Arabian influences. It’s also the gateway to the idyllic Kerala Backwaters, which are best appreciated on a houseboat cruise.
Mangalore, officially known as Mangaluru, sits on the coast of Karnataka, sandwiched between Goa and Kerala. The port was an important hub for trade with Arabia and Persia, and was later colonised by both the Portuguese and the British, leaving a rich architectural legacy of mosques, temples and churches.
The low-lying reef-protected atolls of the Maldives, set in the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, are the perfect place to relax and unwind. A great choice for a honeymoon or romantic getaway, the Maldives also appeal to active travellers who love watersports, snorkelling and diving.
Mahé is the largest island in the Seychelles, home to the diminutive capital, Victoria, and 90% of the country’s population. It’s the quintessential tropical paradise, a sun-drenched landscape of granite mountains, lush jungle and heavenly white sand beaches.
Seychelles: La Digue
Lovely little La Digue is every inch the desert island idyll, and with less tourist development than Mahé or Praslin to impinge on your Robinson Crusoe fantasies. This is a place where many locals still get around by ox cart, and the beaches are some of the most beautiful in the Seychelles.
The name Zanzibar evokes images of sultans and spice traders, an island of beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters criss-crossed by dhows. It’s also a great place for spotting wildlife, including dolphins, antelope and the rare red colobus monkey.
Madagascar: Nosy Be
The island of Nosy Be, just off the northeast coast of Madagascar, remains a laid back locale in spite of its popularity as a tourist destination. The beaches are the main attraction for most visitors, along with the colourful chameleons and tiny frogs hiding in the Lokobe wildlife reserve.
Mayotte is part of the Comoros archipelago, off the east coast of Africa, governed by France as an overseas territory. It’s something of a post-colonial oddity; the white sand beaches and laid back pace are typical of the Indian Ocean, but the cost of living is more reminiscent of mainland France.
Mozambique’s laid back capital is an eclectic mix of elegant Portuguese colonial architecture and concrete blocks that hark back to the days of Soviet influence. Maputo also has an excellent selection of restaurants and a lively nightlife scene, as well as some interesting museums and markets.
South Africa: Richards Bay
Richards Bay itself is an industrial city with little in the way of tourist sights, but the port serves as a gateway for the many attractions of KwaZulu-Natal province. Head inland and you’ll find traditional Zulu villages, undulating hills and wildlife including crocodiles, hippos and the rare black rhino.
South Africa: Mossel Bay
The sunny city of Mossel Bay is on South Africa’s famous Garden Route, situated roughly halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The city has a pleasant seafront promenade and there are some lovely beaches nearby, along with whale and dolphin watching hotspots and game reserves.
South Africa: Cape Town
Cape Town is a magical, multicultural city where Africa meets a European-style cosmopolitan atmosphere, creating a vibrant melting pot of cultures and religions. With flat-topped Table Mountain soaring above the city, beautiful natural landscapes, and gardens within the city, you never feel far from nature here.
Sandwiched between the Namib Desert and the wild Atlantic coast, the geographically isolated town of Lüderitz is notable for its surreal Art Nouveau architecture. Most of these colourful buildings date back to the diamond rush period of the early 20th century, when Namibia was a German colony.
Namibia: Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay is situated on the edge of a tidal lagoon, sheltered from the Atlantic by a long sand spit. This important wetland area is famous for its birdlife, home to one of southern Africa’s largest flamingo colonies, and it’s a short drive to the city of Swakopmund, known for its quirky German colonial architecture.
São Tomé and Príncipe: Principe
Lomé is Togo’s capital and largest city, once known as the ‘Pearl of West Africa’, and there are still some architectural remnants of the colonial period, when the city was part of German Togoland. Perhaps more interesting today are Lomé’s colourful fetish markets, where you can learn about the role of Voodoo in West Africa.
Once just a little fishing village, Takoradi is now a deep-water sea port growing rapidly on the back of Ghana’s oil industry. Nearby points of interest include Cape Coast Castle, part of a network of colonial-era forts where slaves were held captive before being shipped across the Atlantic.
Côte d’Ivoire: Abidjan
Abidjan, the most important city in Côte d’Ivoire, has bounced back since the civil war of 2011, and the glittering array of skyscrapers comes as a surprise to many visitors. There is still plenty about the city that is authentically African, however, including some of the best street food in the region.
Banjul is the capital of The Gambia, Africa’s smallest country, situated at the point where the Gambia river enters the Atlantic. City highlights include the National Museum and the bustling Royal Albert Market, and the nearby Tanji Bird Reserve attracts ornithologists from around the world, with hundreds of colourful species.
The busy, dusty streets of Senegal’s capital Dakar are filled with life and colour, noises, smells and local music. The people here are friendly and helpful, so expect a warm welcome – but watch out for the usual hustles and scams of a busy city.
Cape Verde: Porto Grande
Canary Islands: Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Situated on Tenerife’s north eastern shore, the island’s capital is a busy port that serves mostly as a gateway to the popular south west coast and the spectacular volcanic landscapes of the island’s interior.
Canary Islands: Arrecife (Lanzarote)
In recent years Lanzarote has begun to shake off its mass market reputation and reinvent itself as a more upmarket destination. The extraordinary volcanic landscapes and the works of local artist César Manrique give the island a unique appearance, and the understated capital, Arrecife, is well worth exploring.
Rebuilt after a terrible earthquake in 1960, Agadir is Morocco’s most popular beach resort, and there is a relaxed European feel that sets it apart from other Moroccan cities. The beachfront promenade is lovely and the waters are clean and clear, making this a popular winter sun destination.
Arriving in Lisbon
The roots of historic Lisbon's fame lie in its strategic position on the edge of the Atlantic and the fact it offers one of the world's greatest natural harbours. No surprise therefore that it became the home of the world's most famous explorers such as Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator. Built on seven hills, we always find Lisbon to be soulful, captivating and picturesque, with architecture which reflects its status as a great port.
Belem Tower, dating from the 1500s, was both a fortress and the explorers’ departure point. On the façade you will find a stone rhinoceros sculpted into the tower – Europe’s first sight of this extraordinary beast!
Your home from home
Small enough to operate fascinating port-intensive itineraries, but with the space for dining options, comfortable accommodation and more, sister ships Insignia, Nautica, Regatta and Sirena are for many the perfect size.
What we love
These four boutique style sister ships carry just 684 guests apiece, with a comfortable, relaxed country house style and plenty of intimate corners. We love the alternative restaurants - Oceania is rightly renowned for great food - and the pretty little library up on deck 10.
|Crew||400 International Staff|
|Style||On Oceania it's all about the time spent ashore, so back on board it's relaxed and unpretentious, with no dressing up. Open seating throughout creates an atmosphere which is friendly and sociable.|
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Bangkok
The Shangri-La Bangkok sits on the banks of the river, allowing for easy sightseeing by river boat and provides a luxury sanctuary from the bustle of the city whilst maintaining a distinctly Asian feel.
Excursions from Bangkok
Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam, is known for spectacular temples. About 50 miles north of Bangkok it makes a fascinating day tour.
Our recommended hotel
The Pousada de Lisboa, newly opened in May 2015, has a great location in the heart of the city and an interior to wow you.
Take a day trip from Lisbon
Visit Sintra – Roman and Moorish influences make this magical city with its fairytale palaces and extravagant villas a must.