The world’s largest archipelago. The planet’s most valuable stretch of ocean. Extraordinary peoples and natural wonders galore. All these are yours to discover as you cruise from Indonesia to Australia on a small ship ocean cruise aboard Vantage Travel’s new Ocean Odyssey, calling at far-flung islands that few others have been able to reach.
Delight in 26 included features and Cultural Discoveries throughout your journey: Live a naturalist’s dream as you seek out the legendary Komodo dragon; set foot on ancient volcanoes and warm, powder-soft beaches; and snorkel in the waters of the Coral Triangle, hailed as the “Amazon of the seas” for its staggering biodiversity — with more marine species than anywhere else in the world. Along the way, meet locals and explore their diverse cultures, from the Balinese Hindu philosophy of harmony to amazing Aboriginal rock art.
Even in the midst of this pristine environment, you’ll be traveling in style with the Ocean Odyssey’s deluxe cabins and 5-star amenities. Indulge in onboard spa treatments, soak in the hot tubs, and sip cocktails in the lounge as the tropical beauty of Indonesia’s islands greets you at every turn. Take advantage of the free onboard Concierge service and schedule an onshore excursion or organize a private dining event with your group. And best of all, thanks to the small size of your ship, we’ll berth in most port cities — meaning you can walk right off the boat and spend less time tendering, and more time exploring your destination! Add on extensions in Bali and Sydney and explore to your heart’s content in these remarkable parts of the world!
If you're interested in this itinerary and want to revel in even more Cultural Discoveries and immersive experiences, check out our combination cruises Wonders of the World Cruise 2023: A 150-day Voyage from Australia to Sweden and Wonders of Indonesia and Australia. Explore more and save.
Treat yourself to a slice of heaven in Bali with Vantage. From your inland hideaway at a 5-star resort, you’ll discover the hospitality, spirituality, and lush surroundings that have made Ubud one of the most cultured towns and popular expatriate communities. Relaxation, mindfulness, and artistry underscore local life, which you’ll discover daily in cooking and painting classes, in museums, and at stunning natural settings such as the iconic Tegalalang rice terrace. We’ve compiled Ubud’s major highlights to give you the most eye-opening experience — come see why Ubud is simply magical.
With its iconic skyline, ebullient people, and dynamic culture, it’s no wonder Sydney often ranks among the most livable cities in the world. Experience a slice of life here as you tour the Sydney Opera House, cruise the Sydney Harbor, stroll along the historic yet hip precinct of The Rocks, and bask in the brilliant blues of sea and sky at Bondi Beach. You’ll have plenty of free time to explore the city’s museums and parks, along with the region's exceptional biodiversity and jaw-dropping beauty. Since you’ve traveled all the way to the Land Down Under, don’t miss this opportunity to explore this spectacular harbor city!
Board an overnight flight to Bali
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Bali, Indonesia. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Ubud.
Cross the International Date Line
You’ll cross the International Date Line today and arrive in Bali on Day 3.
Arrive in Bali, utter paradise
You’ll arrive in Bali today. This island is the epitome of paradise, a place where everyone seems to have embraced a tropical state of mind and its lovely people are just the icing on the cake. It’s an all-around Shangri-La.
If you purchased your airfare with Vantage, you’ll be met at the airport by a representative who will assist in your transfer to our stunning resort, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay. Get settled in and enjoy the beach and the amenities of this unforgettable property. Dinner is at the hotel. Your Balinese discoveries begin tomorrow.
Visit the village of Mengwi and meet local students before discovering Pura Taman Ayun
Just outside of our resort is the historical village of Mengwi, once the capital of the ancient Balinese kingdom. We’ll have a morning of discovery here, first learning more about local Balinese life in the village itself and at a local school, where we’ll be greeted by the sweet smiles of schoolchildren. If that isn’t enough, the Pura Taman Ayun temple calls next! This picturesque complex is surrounded by dazzling lotus and fishponds — the temple structures often appear adrift on these neighboring waters. The rest of the day is at leisure back at the resort, where you’ll be treated to a traditional Balinese massage. Tonight’s Welcome Dinner is at the hotel, complete with traditional Balinese cuisine and dancing.
Explore Bali’s Uluwatu Temple, then embark the Ocean Odyssey
After breakfast at the resort, bid goodbye to this slice of paradise, as today you’ll embark the Ocean Odyssey for your voyage through Indonesia. But first, we’ll embark on a tour of the Uluwatu Temple, a gorgeous, spectacular clifftop that your cameras will love! The temple is inhabited by cheeky Macaque monkeys who are notorious for snatching sunglasses, cameras, and other goods off tourists — so, be mindful! After this enchanting visit, lunch is at a local restaurant.
We’ll then transfer to the port and embark the ship where your 5-star small ship ocean cruise will begin! Explore your ship’s luxury amenities — from the several dining options, to the massage parlor, to the top-deck hot tubs — and don’t forget to stop by the Destination Manager desk for any specific requests you may have throughout your journey. Keep in mind that while anchoring offshore and tendering inland will be required in some locations, we’ll berth at most of the port cities we visit — allowing you to walk right off the ship! Enjoy your first dinner on board tonight.
Luxuriate on the beaches of the Gili Islands
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning as you take in the breathtaking views of turquoise waters and pearlescent beaches. Located just off the northwest coast of Lombok, the triplet Gili Islands are a hotspot for snorkeling, scuba diving, and free diving thanks to the abundance of corals and marine life here. We’ll visit either Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno for a day of enjoyment — if you like, approach your onboard Destination Manager beforehand to reserve a set of snorkeling masks and fins. You may even spot turtles in the shallows!
After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll have the afternoon at leisure to enjoy your ship’s deluxe amenities, or relax on the beach before dinner on board.
Admire Sumbawa’s local traditions
Today you’ll anchor at the port of Badas and travel inland to the village of Pamulung, where you’ll learn more about the cultures and traditions of Sumbawa. Rice-based farming is a mainstay of local culture, and you’ll see how villagers pound the dried grains by hand to dehull them. Then, observe how local women weave their colorful traditional textiles and enjoy a performance of traditional song and dance that usually takes place at a wedding procession.
Your visit is topped off with a traditional buffalo race. In addition to their usual plowing duties, farmers’ buffalo also provide entertainment while helping to mix the soil and mud in freshly irrigated paddy fields. Make sure to have your camera ready! After lunch at a local restaurant in the town of Sumbawa Besar, return to the ship for an afternoon at leisure.
Embark on a quest for “dragons” at Komodo National Park
Get ready for one of the highlights of your cruise today as we glide into the waters of Komodo National Park! We’ll board the ship’s Zodiac boats and tender to shore on Rinca, one of the main islands of this nature reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, a park ranger will guide us on a trek around the protected areas of the island in search of the Komodo dragon. At up to 10 feet and 150 pounds, these fearsome creatures are the world’s largest reptiles, capable of killing deer, horses, and water buffalo.
After lunch on board, unfurl your beach towel on Komodo island’s legendary Pink Beach and enjoy the sweeping views, or grab a snorkel to admire a stunning rainbow of fish and corals underwater. We return to the ship at sunset for dinner.
Spot the wild horses of Sumba, then see one of its most magnificent beaches
Enjoy a splendid day discovering the island of Sumba on a full-day tour. Despite periods of colonization by the Portuguese and Dutch, Sumba remains one of Indonesia’s less-developed islands and lies under the tourist radar. From the main port of Waingapu, we head to the vast undulating hills of Bukit Warinding, where many of the island’s wild horses roam. Along the way you may also spot some Sumbanese traditional thatched houses and megalithic tombs.
Savor a delicious lunch at a local restaurant at Maramba Beach, a popular resort area, before heading to Puru Kambera Beach for an afternoon of bliss. With its calm waters lapping at pine-fringed white sands, this is easily Sumba’s most picturesque beach.
Revel in Sawu’s unspoiled natural beauty
Sawu is one of the most remote stops along this adventure-filled cruise, and you’ll see why it’s worth being among the rare few who have set foot on this island! The waters around here form the Savu Sea Marine National Park and are host to 18 species of whales, along with dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles, and over 500 species of corals. We’ll tour the island’s main town of Seba before heading to its main beach, where you can swim and snorkel to your heart’s content. Later, enjoy lunch on board and an afternoon at leisure.
Behold Kelimutu’s color-changing crater lakes
Today we dock at Ende, Flores and transfer to the nearby mountain of Kelimutu to witness a natural phenomenon that has fascinated scientists and tourists alike. The Kelimutu lakes are three crater lakes on the mountain believed to hold the souls of the departed, and their colors vary from brilliant emerald to onyx to — at times — blood red, depending on the chemical composition of volcanic gases and minerals present in each lake.
After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy some free time to explore Ende. Perhaps you’ll stroll through the markets and observe some haggling in action, or pick up some colorful ikat sarongs and shawls, which are renowned for their handwoven intricacy.
Discover the whaling heritage of Lamalera
Lamalera is one of the world’s last few communities of subsistence whalers, and you’ll learn more about this incredible practice today as a Zodiac boat takes you from the ship to the shores of Lembata island. Your first stop is a local barter market, where your expert guide shares some insight on local communities. Then, at Lamalera, watch a demonstration of how villagers hunt sharks, rays, dolphins, and sperm whales as a group using long wooden boats and an arsenal of bamboo harpoons. After your tour, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before returning to ship. Tonight we’ll sail on to Kalabahi, Alor.
Explore Alor, the “Island of a Thousand Mokos”
Take your time over breakfast and relax as we sail into Kalabahi, Alor’s only town. With its location on the far end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, it remains a mystery how Alor become known for its moko, or bronze kettledrums, which can be traced back to the Bronze Age Dong Son culture of Vietnam. These prized heirlooms served as currency for building a house and for a bridal dowry, and thus many valuable moko were often buried or hidden. You’ll visit the Museum 1000 Moko to admire a collection of these drums, explore Kalabahi’s thriving main market, and tour nearby Takpala Village, where you’ll get to meet the island’s indigenous Abui people and learn about their proudly traditional ways.
After lunch back on board the ship, you’ll have the afternoon at leisure. Don’t miss this chance to go snorkeling. Alor’s waters are said to be superior to the Caribbean and comparable to those of Raja Ampat — you may even spot the rare and famously alien-like Mola mola (ocean sunfish)!
Set foot on the fortress-like island of Kisar
Enjoy a morning at leisure as we sail toward Kisar, a small hilly island ringed by limestone cliffs and ancient reefs. After lunch on board, set off on a leisurely panoramic tour to see the island’s sacred freshwater springs and spot the neighboring islands of Wetar and Timor. We’ll return to the ship in time for dinner.
Relax on board with a day at sea
Enjoy a full day at sea to relax and revel in the luxurious amenities of the brand-new Ocean Odyssey. Pamper your body with a relaxing massage, a facial, or a soothing soak in the hot tub after an onboard lecture about your experiences so far. Perhaps you’ll even meet friends for drinks in the lounge as you sail down under. . . to Australia!
Disembark the Ocean Odyssey and explore Darwin
This morning you’ll disembark the Ocean Odyssey in Australia, when we anchor off the coast of Darwin and head inland with the use of tenders or Zodiac crafts — we hope you enjoyed this once-in-a-lifetime experience on Vantage's second 5-star ocean cruising small ship!
Beneath Darwin’s laid-back nature lies a steely resolve. The city has had to be rebuilt four times over the past 120-odd years due to cyclones and World War II. A historical tour takes you around the city’s highlights, including the George Brown Botanical Gardens and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, with lunch at a local restaurant.
Later, upon transferring to your centrally located hotel, you’ll have the entire afternoon to relax before joining your expert local guide for a sunset photography walk along Darwin’s scenic coastline. Return to your hotel with your fellow travelers and toast to your adventures at a Farewell Dinner.
Discover the riches of Kakadu National Park
Covering over 7,600 square miles and home to thousands of species of plants and animals, Kakadu National Park has also been home to Aboriginal peoples for at least 40,000 years. You’ll explore this impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site with a full-day excursion that includes a stop at Burrungkuy, a rock art site known for its intricate paintings in various styles. Your guide will explain the various figures depicted, as well as how the paints are made with natural pigments. Then, enjoy a boat cruise through the wetlands of Yellow Water Billabong, where you’ll spot an abundance of birdlife, buffalo, and saltwater crocodiles. Make sure to pack your binoculars or a camera with zoom lens!
You’ll return to your hotel after lunch for a well-deserved rest, with dinner at your hotel.
After breakfast, transfer to the Darwin airport for your return flight home. Or, if you’re joining our post-trip extension to Sydney, you’ll stay on for four more nights!
Please note: Ocean-cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert.