Vantage celebrates its 40th anniversary this year!
Join Vantage Deluxe World Travel’s journey from Singapore to Mumbai, seamlessly blending luxury small ship cruising and intimate cultural discovery on this epic showcase of natural wonders and marvels in Southeast Asia and India. Your base will be the Ocean Odyssey, a game-changing vessel that brings a relaxed refinement to ocean travel while navigating the smaller ports and hidden gems where larger ships can’t go. You’ll discover cities like Malacca and George Town in Malaysia, Phuket’s tropical splendor, and the surprising Portuguese flourishes of Cochin, a colorful Indian port town where most cruise operators also don’t go, as the ship berths in ports of the places you visit.
Then, prepare yourself for a major highlight of this journey: an epic Sri Lankan quest. You’ll experience the breadth of this compact country on an inland adventure that features an elephant safari, Ceylon plantation visit, and an overnight stay at a 5-star luxury resort in the heart of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. Count on unforgettable and immersive experiences — including a trishaw ride in Singapore and a full-day exploration into Alleppey’s Kerala backwaters — as well as 23 dazzling included features and Cultural Discoveries that reveal the timeless traditions and arts of these destinations.
Onboard spa, hot tubs, gym facilities — these are but a few of the luxury amenities you’ll relish on the Ocean Odyssey. Plus, its small passenger-to-crew ratio ensures optimum service, while onboard kayaks give you another way to stay active. While certain ports may require tendering to and from the ship, our 5-star fleet give our guests access to exclusive ports, less queuing, and more time to spend onshore in each destination. And with fewer travelers onboard, you’ll have more impactful and Cultural Discoveries with locals, Tour Directors, lecturers, and more. Customize your voyage with the expertise of a complimentary worldwide Concierge and make East Asia: Malaysia, Sri Lanka & Beyond the trip of your lifetime.
If you're interested in this itinerary and want to revel in even more Cultural Discoveries and immersive experiences, check out our combination cruise Wonders of the World Cruise 2023: A 150-day Voyage from Australia to Sweden. Explore more and save.
Board an overnight flight to Singapore
Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Singapore. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Siem Reap and the dazzling temples of Angkor Wat.
Cross the International Date Line
You’ll cross the International Date Line today, meaning that you’ll arrive in Singapore on Day 3.
Selamat datang! Welcome to Singapore! If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your hotel. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to acclimate before a welcome briefing later today. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner at your hotel.
Exploring Singapore's cultural diversity
Singapore is known by many names, the "Garden City" and the "Lion City" among them, and you’ll get insight into these monikers as you explore the city’s beauty and dynamism today. During your full-day guided city tour, you’ll see the Cricket Club (cricket is a major sport here!), historic Parliament House, Supreme Court, City Hall, and Merlion Park — featuring impressive views of Marina Bay and the city's futuristic architecture. Then, delve a little deeper into Singapore’s diverse culture during visits to the Thian Hock Keng Temple, Little India, and the Yong Gallery, which displays handcrafted woodcarvings and artworks by Chinese artists.
After a visit to the 161-year-old, UNESCO-listed Singapore Botanic Gardens, you’ll sample Singapore’s flavorful Chinese influence during a dim sum lunch at a local restaurant. Dim sum literally means “touch the heart,” and perhaps yours will be filled by some fluffy, pork-filled bao buns; mouthwatering shumai dumplings, savory shrimp cheung fan rolls, and more. Then, board a traditional bumboat for a cruise down the Singapore River, where you can marvel at the city’s iconic skyline from the water. Following your cruise, we’ll drive through Little India. This colorful and aromatic district is a feast for the senses, and you’ll have time to explore before returning to your hotel.
SkyPark, nature park, then embarking the Ocean Odyssey
After breakfast, you'll depart for a half-day city tour, featuring sweeping views of Singapore from the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck, and a visit to the awe-inspiring Gardens by the Bay nature park. Lunch will be included at a local restaurant during the tour.
Then, it’s time to embark the Ocean Odyssey! After settling in, take some time to explore the ship and its amenities. Take a walk around the pool, meet your Destination Manager to arrange a spa appointment, then convene in the dining room for your first dinner on board — one of many memorable meals on this journey! This evening, the Ocean Odyssey sets sail toward Malaysia.
Uncovering UNESCO-listed Malacca
Wake up in Malaysia today — perhaps catch the sunrise from the observation deck, or get in a morning workout at the gym, before a delicious breakfast on board. You'll explore Malacca today, a compact Malaysian outpost that was once a major Southeast Asia trade hub, with architecture exhibiting British, Dutch, and Portuguese influences from its one-time colonial rule. Explore its UNESCO-listed city center on a tour that also includes St. Paul’s Church, A Famosa Fortress, Christ Church, Stadthuys (an old Dutch spelling meaning City Hall), and more.
Lunch is traditional Peranakan or Nyonya cuisine, which melds Chinese ingredients with spices and techniques original to the Malay and Indonesian communities. The result? Tangy, aromatic, and herbal flavors that offer just a palate preview of the exciting cuisine to come. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure exploring Malacca on your own, with complimentary shuttle service to and from the ship, or make use of the Ocean Odyssey's many amenities, including spa, gym, and more.
Dinner is on board this evening.
Colorful George Town awaits
Enjoy a morning at leisure, with breakfast and lunch on board. This afternoon, you'll explore Penang island, beginning with its UNESCO-listed capital city, George Town.
On an island tour, you’ll visit the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, a museum dedicated to Penang’s Peranakan heritage — people from China’s southern provinces who immigrated to Malaysia between the 15th and 17th centuries. The museum is housed inside a mansion, which once served as the residence and office of a 19th-century Chinese industrial tycoon. You’ll also view Penang’s street art — some of which has even made international headlines! — and George Town’s Street of Harmony, which features monuments of all religions including Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic, and more.
A cultural tour of Penang and its temples
Spend the day immersing yourself in Penang’s culture and temples. On a tour to the dramatic Kek Lok Si Temple, you’ll discover sacred statues and a towering seven-story pagoda that blends Chinese, Thai, and Burmese architectural styles. Your private guide and interpreter will help unravel the fascinating artwork of each destination, including the Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple and the Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple, which was built in 1803 and is the island’s oldest Burmese temple. Lunch is at a local restaurant, which will give you another taste of the diversity of Asian cuisines and flavors.
Then, enjoy an afternoon at leisure as the Ocean Odyssey departs for Thailand. Head to the sun deck or observation lounge to take in the views.
Welcome to blissful Phuket
Today you’re in Thailand’s paradisiacal island of Phuket, known for its beaches, clear turquoise waters, and rugged karst islands. Disembark the Ocean Odyssey for a half-day excursion that begins with a drive along the Phuket coastline past Karon Beach and Kata Beach to a viewpoint where you can see the island’s three most beautiful beaches.
You’ll continue to Promthep Cape at Phuket’s southernmost point for optimal viewpoints of the coastline, then drive by Rawai Beach and stop at a cashew nut factory to see how cashews are grown and processed. Then it’s on to Old Phuket, where you’ll view the charming Sino-Portuguese "shop houses" that reflect the architecture of people who arrived here years ago during the region’s tin mining boom.
After lunch on board, the afternoon is at your leisure to unwind on Phuket’s blissful beaches or work with the Destination Manager to plan something exciting — a speedboat exploration of nearby islands, perhaps, or even a relaxing game of golf.
Relax on board with a day at sea
Enjoy a day at sea as the Ocean Odyssey makes its way toward India. Visit the spa, get in a workout at the gym, lounge in the swimming pool, relax on the sun deck catching up with a great book, and enjoy the fabulous cuisine our chefs are cooking just for you!
Port Blair’s beauty and history
At the heart of the Andaman archipelago off India’s east coast is Port Blair, the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Situated in the Bay of Bengal, Port Blair may be a little town but one rich in history — and beauty. Not only was the town once home to a penal colony that housed the most dangerous convicts, as well as political prisoners, but it’s named in honor of Archibald Blair of the East India Company, the prominent trading enterprise.
On a tour, you’ll explore Port Blair and visit the Samudrika Marine Museum — with its display of about 350 species of sea life and rare coral varieties, the museum reflects the colossal marine wealth submerged in the surrounding waters. A visit to the Anthropological Museum showcases the tribal life of the local islands and, over at the Cellular Jail, constructed by the British in 1906, you’ll hear about the stark history of this three-storied prison. Now a National Memorial, the jail houses a spectacular sound and light show, as well as a museum and art gallery. This sobering tour also reveals the small cells that once held captive 698 solitary prisoners, the gallows, the death house, and the different implements used by the British to torture inmates.
Afterward, visit the Aberdeen Bazaar for shopping, eating, and a glimpse of local life before lunch on board the Ocean Odyssey. After, enjoy an afternoon at leisure.
Enjoy relaxing days at sea
As you set off for Sri Lanka, you’ll spend two days at sea. During this time, you’ll hear a lecture about Sri Lanka that will prepare you for your time on shore; you can also use this time to mingle with travelers, use the onboard amenities, write home to loved ones, deepen your tan at the pool, read, and more. Your days in Sri Lanka will be filled with discoveries, so think of these sea days as necessary downtime before the excitement ahead.
An unforgettable day seeking Sri Lankan wildlife
After two days at sea, you’ll break from the Ocean Odyssey for one night and head inland on a special excursion that will be a highlight of this journey. We’ve designed these next few days to immerse you in Sri Lankan wildlife and culture — a true Vantage exclusive!
You’re in Trincomalee (“Trinco”), Sri Lanka, today — a city of unparalleled history and beauty. Trinco is thought to be an important sight in several Hindu texts, but its white sand beaches are a different kind of spiritual sight.
However, wildlife is the buzzword of the day with a visit to the Minneriya National Park, part of the region’s “elephant corridor,” home to the largest known meeting place of Asian elephants in the world. These gentle giants can be seen here year-round as well as the purple-faced langur and toque macaque, the park’s endemic monkeys. Don’t forget your camera and your GoPro to document everything!
After lunch in a local restaurant, you'll spend the afternoon learning about Sri Lanka’s most famous export — Ceylon tea — at a local tea plantation. Amid endless tea fields, workers expertly handpick tea leaves before sending them to be processed into the fragrant, flavorful beverage drunk by millions around the world. You’ll get to sample a few brews during your tour and get a better understanding of different grades of tea.
After a rewarding day, you'll enjoy a much-deserved rest at your five-star resort, the Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, which was built on a replica of the foundations of the nearby Ritigala ruins, an ancient palace-turned-monastery. Here, you’ll have the rest of the day at leisure, with dinner at the hotel tonight.
Sigiriya stone fortress and dazzling Sri Lankan show
After breakfast at the hotel, a morning excursion leads you to Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress that’s over 200 meters high and a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it's one of the best-preserved examples of ancient urban planning. During his rule from 473 to 495 CE, King Kasyapa built his royal palace at the top of Sigiriya, lavishly decorated with colorful frescoes. The palace went abandoned after his death, and was then used as a monastery until the 14th century.
You'll then transfer to Colombo, enjoying lunch at a local restaurant en route. Tonight, enjoy dinner back on board the Ocean Odyssey followed by a colorful onboard Sri Lanka show!
Embark on a panoramic tour of Colombo this morning. Often billed as a “mini Dubai,” Sri Lanka’s largest city is home to Dutch-influenced architecture and towering skyscrapers, temples and tuk-tuks.
Join a lecture on South India and its colorful culture as the Ocean Odyssey departs Colombo. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure and dinner on board.
Afternoon tour of eclectic Cochin and Kathakali dance performance
After breakfast and a morning at leisure, followed by lunch on board, you'll begin your discoveries of southern India, starting with Cochin. This city has a long history as a spice trading hub and became the heart of the Portuguese empire in India at the beginning of the 16th century, before it was subsequently conquered by the Dutch and British. Today, remnants of these empires remain, but Cochin still has a character all its own. You’ll discover this character on an afternoon city tour, which will take you to St. Francis Church as well as the Chinese fishing nets in Cochin Harbor. You'll return to the ship just in time for dinner. After dinner, enjoy a traditional Kathakali dance performance on board!
Discovering the Alleppey backwaters
The Kerala backwaters are practically de rigueur for any adventure in southern India, and you’ll understand why as you begin your discoveries today. You’ll travel to the Alleppey region and board one of Kerala’s world-famous houseboats, taking in the peaceful scenery as you float on a vessel built to ply these waters. A traditional kerala lunch on the boat fuels the next leg of the adventure in Champakulum village, where you'll see firsthand what life is like on the rice farms and villages of the region. You’ll also visit St. Mary’s Church, one of the oldest Christian churches in India.
Late this afternoon, you’ll return to the ship for an afternoon at leisure as the Ocean Odyssey leaves Cochin for Goa.
Cruising to Mormugao
Relax with a day at sea today as the Ocean Odyssey nears Goa’s main port of Mormugao. Enjoy the weather on the sun deck, take a refreshing dip in the pool, or nap — these precious hours of downtime can be as luxuriously lazy as you like.
Your choice of tours in Goa: Temples & Spices or Cathedrals of Goa
Goa is such much more than its golden beaches that cater to everyone from backpackers to hippies to sun-seekers. Explore Goa’s offerings with your choice of tours today:
The first option is visiting Goa’s magical Hindu temples, including Shri Mangueshi, while learning about how their distinctive structural design, spaciousness, and tranquil environment are different from most Indian temples. You’ll also visit a rustic spice farm, receiving a traditional welcome with aarti, garlands, and a welcome drink.
Or, discover Goa’s colorful history, including the heavy Portuguese influence, as you visit local cathedrals including the UNESCO-listed Basilica of Bom Jesus, which holds the remains of the Catholic missionary St. Francis Xavier, as well as the Se Cathedral. Here, your guide will lead you to the church’s Golden Bell, one of the largest bells in the city.
Head back to the ship for lunch as the ships sets sail for Mumbai. Dinner is on board this evening.
Exploring India’s “Maximum City”
Arrive in Mumbai, known as India’s “Maximum City.” This is a city of dreams — a teeming, cosmopolitan metropolis that’s the beating heart of this nation. It's also where you'll disembark the Ocean Odyssey — we hope you enjoyed your journey on Vantage's newest small ship ocean vessel!
On your city tour, you’ll visit Hanging Gardens and the famed Dhobi Ghats, and drive past Marine Drive, Malabar Hill, and Chowpatty. You’ll also visit the Gandhi Museum, where you’ll learn about the life and death of the man Indians call “Mahatma” (meaning great soul). After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll transfer to your Mumbai hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.
Inside the Bollywood film industry
Now that you’re more familiar with Mumbai, go inside its dazzling Bollywood film industry at a visit to a local film studio! The Indian film industry is the globe's largest, with an annual output of nearly 2,000 films. Many Bollywood films cross genres, and feature elements from comedy, adventure, and romance films — not to mention, musicals! This is an exciting feature that takes you right to the heart of contemporary Indian life. Don't forget your camera!
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure afterward, or perhaps you’ll have already arranged something with the Destination Manager. This is your chance to pursue your own interests, so wildlife lovers shouldn’t miss the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, home to a few wild leopards, or visit the Kanheri Caves, a complex featuring basalt monuments and Buddhist sculptures. Add another UNESCO site to your list with a visit to the Victoria Terminus, a historic railway station where Mumbai’s dabbawallahs (lunch deliverers) have been dropping off lunchboxes for workers for more than 100 years by bicycle, train, and foot.
Tonight, a Farewell Dinner reunites you and your fellow travelers for one last toast to this unforgettable journey.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then begin packing as you'll fly home today. Or join an optional post-trip extension to Delhi & the Taj Mahal — a can't-miss on any visit to India.
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 Adventure Leader or regional expert.