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Kraken Travel Sailing Holidays

Various dates available

East Indies Spice Island Exploration (Maumere-Ambon)

From £7999 per person

Deposit 25%. Balance due 12 weeks before departure
Sail from Maumere to Ambon exploring the magical East Indies Spice Islands
Clear
Pay a 25% deposit per item
Suited to
Families, Couples, Groups, Solo Travellers
Difficulty
Leisure cruise where you can relax and explore incredible nature and vibrant cultures
Nights onboard
11
Vessel type
Traditional wooden Indonesian pinisi boats built by the highly-skilled seafaring peoples of Sulawesi, using hand tools and traditional methods of construction
Vessel length
38 or 42 metres
Skipper
Yes
Berth Style
Combination of double cabins, triple cabins and twin-bunk cabins
Insurance Required
Yes

From $9,800 / £7,999 per person*

East Indies Spice Island Exploration (Maumere-Ambon)

Duration: 11 nights with various dates in September 2024

Embark on a 12-day sailing adventure through the mystical East Indies Spice Islands. Immerse yourself in the cultural richness of the area. You'll have the opportunity to meet warm-hearted locals, visit their traditional villages and witness their customs, performances and craftsmanship first-hand. Sip on the local 'sopi' drink and delve into the secrets of age-old nutmeg plantations while you are there.

The mystical Banda Archipelago has a rich history as a part of the old spice route. For some time, it was the only place in the world where nutmeg and maca were grown. As a result, colonial powers of Europe fought over control of this area and left their mark behind in the way of many forts and architecture.

banda islands

The natural landscape is truly spectacular in this part of the world. Dive into pristine waters where reefs teem with colourful fish and explore volcanic landscapes which are explicit examples of Indonesia’s place along the Ring of Fire. Our crew will create a beach BBQ for you and your fellow passengers to enjoy under starlit skies. All in all, this is a remarkable voyage that embodies the essence of the legendary Spice Islands.

Why You’ll Love This Trip

  • Wake up on Lembata Island in a bite-shaped bay under the gaze of a massive live volcano called Ile Api – Island of Fire. You are welcomed ashore in a local village with singing and dancing, and witness the production of their famous local textiles.
  • Enjoy a beach BBQ and party under the stars with the crew and your fellow passengers
  • Visit a traditional village up in the mountains, where you are welcomed by the chief and witness a ceremonial war dance in honour of your visit. You will see their traditional ‘Moko’ war drums and intricately designed ‘Ikat’ fabrics, which have been woven and dyed using age-old techniques, and used in local bridal dowries for centuries.
  • Go ashore at Wetar Island, to a local fishing village to meet the locals and see their way of life as they dry their catch on the beach.
  • Visit tiny islands and deserted beaches to relax, or swim, kayak, and snorkel to your heart's content over vibrant reefs in blue-blue waters.
  • Discover the many uses of the sago palm, the staple crop in this part of the world. From food to spirits and building materials, it has a place in every aspect of everyday life.
  • Experience the legacy of the Spice Trade by visiting historical Dutch and Portuguese forts and nutmeg plantations, and savouring the flavours of authentic local cuisine.
  • Encounter abundant wildlife, including thousands of seabirds encircling our ship at one point, adding a touch of untamed beauty to this extraordinary voyage

Who The Trip Is For

  • Travellers with a passion for off-the-beaten-path journeys and a desire to delve into unique cultures. Get a rare opportunity to venture beyond typical tourist destinations and embrace the authentic essence of Indonesia. This remote area is perfect for travellers who have already checked off more mainstream bucket list items and would like to experience something truly special.
  • Explorers who want to learn about the history of the area, the wildlife, nature and local traditions, while balancing planned activities with time for themselves and for relaxation.
  • Cruisers who want to enjoy life on board a comfortable, retrofitted pinsi boat. Our boats are traditionally made by local builders, spacious and include many modern amenities. We will take care of sailing, preparation of food and guiding your activities.
  • Those who want to join a responsible travel initiative that promotes eco-friendly practices and supports local communities, contributing to the preservation of the environment and the well-being of the local people

Itinerary: East Indies Spice Island Exploration

Day 1

After arriving in the early afternoon from Bali, you meet at Maumere airport and are taken directly to the boat, where you will meet your fellow passengers and your crew.

Cruise out of the harbour and head off to the east giving you a chance to become familiar with your new home for the next 12 days, stopping for a snorkel and a swim along the way, before sunset cocktails and dinner as you cruise on into the night.

Day 2

The morning you moor offshore of the capital town of Flores – a Christian-dominated island as a result of Portuguese influence – where you go ashore and see the five Catholic churches and the ‘Stations of the Cross’ along the waterfront.

During lunch, you cross to a neighbouring island where you visit a small local village and the ruins of a 16th Century Portuguese fort.

Later in the afternoon get out your snorkelling gear and explore one of the richly vibrant reefs nearby.

Day 3

You wake up on Lembata Island in a bite-shaped bay under the gaze of a massive live volcano called Ile Api – Island of Fire. You are welcomed ashore in a local village with singing and dancing, and witness the production of their famous local textiles.

After lunch on the boat, you sail across the bay to snorkel on a vibrant local reef and swim and paddle on a local beach. This evening, the crew sets up for a beach BBQ and party under the stars before heading off to your next destination.

Day 4

You visit a traditional village up in the mountains, where you are welcomed by the chief and witness a ceremonial war dance in honour of your visit.

You see their traditional ‘Moko’ war drums and intricately designed ‘Ikat’ fabrics, which have been woven and dyed using age-old techniques, and used in local bridal dowries for centuries.

You weigh anchor and cruise east as you enjoy lunch on board, stopping in the late afternoon at a picturesque tropical island to snorkel and swim on a coral reef.

Day 5

You wake up in a lovely bay on Wetar Island and go ashore to a local fishing village to meet the locals and see their way of life as they dry their catch on the beach.

Spend the day swimming and beaching, snorkelling and exploring, and indulge in a bit of local culture by way of ‘sopi’, a strong alcoholic drink made from a local palm tree.

Later in the afternoon you weigh anchor and continue your journey east.

Day 6

You go ashore on a small island and are welcomed into a remote village where the locals will share their way of life as farmers and fishermen with you.

After lunch you continue cruising, stopping off at another tiny island, this one deserted, to swim, kayak, snorkel over the reef and relax on the sand.

In the evening the crew will set up for a beach BBQ and you dance and sing your way into the night before heading off again for an overnight cruise to your next destination.

Day 7

Another day of cruising and exploring in one of the remotest parts of Indonesia. You visit a very simple village where the people’s houses are made using the products of the sago palm, the staple crop in this part of the world. The villagers demonstrate how they process the heart of the sago palm into the edible product that sustains them.

After lunch, you cruise around the island and stop off to explore the beaches and reefs, where you snorkel along the way.

Day 8

A day at sea where you pass four spectacular volcanic seamounts, explicit examples of Indonesia’s place along the Ring of Fire. One of these islands is uninhabited by people and is home to tens of thousands of seabirds (brown and red-footed boobies, and frigate birds), who will likely come out to encircle the boat in great numbers on your approach.

If the tide allows, you will go ashore and explore, and have a snorkel. In the late afternoon, you proceed north to the fabled Spice Islands.

Day 9

By dawn, you should have the Banda Archipelago ‘Spice Islands’ in your sights, the original home of the nutmeg and the scene of much bloodshed between the colonial powers of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries over control of the spice trade.

You go ashore and visit Fort Revenge, built by the Dutch, before snorkelling on the local reef.

Later you head across to the main island group, and the main town, and anchor in the beautiful enclosed anchorage under the imposing gaze of a 600-metre-high volcano. If you get there enough time before nightfall, you go ashore and explore the town.

Day 10

Spend the day exploring the history and beauty of the Spice Islands with a visit to the main town of the Spice Islands and its fort overlooking the harbour.

You wander through the streets and markets of this bustling town and meet the local people. After lunch on the boat you take a local boat over to the biggest of the islands, where you walk among the vast nutmeg plantations, visit another Dutch fort, talk with the locals and visit one of the last ‘perkineers’, the farmers who still run the larger plantations on the island tell you about life on the islands.

Later in the afternoon you can snorkel on a local reef and have a chance to see the rare and multi-hued Mandarin fish, who only comes out at dusk to mate.

Dinner is had ashore at a local restaurant that offers traditional and delicious local dishes.

Day 11

In the morning you have time for a final stroll around the town or a last snorkel before you say farewell to the Spice Islands around lunchtime and head north.

You have lunch on the way, passing another major seabird island, before settling in for a relaxing afternoon on board as you scour the horizon for migrating whales.

Day 12

You wake up just south of your final destination and your last few hours are spent enjoying the majesty of the ocean, and may very well see more whales along the way.

As you drop anchor in the harbour, you say farewell to our crew and tour leaders and are taken to the airport, ending a magical 12 days of exploration and adventure.

 

  • Professional cruise directors
  • Outdoor sleeping facilities
  • Complimentary snorkelling equipment and two sea canoes (add SUP)
  • Free tea, soft drinks, juices, coffee and mineral water
  • Excellent food and snacks (vegetarian and special menus on request)
  • Dining in the spacious air-conditioned lounge
  • Teak wooden furniture in the lounge, cabins and on the deck
  • Spacious sun and semi-covered decks
  • Mooring fees
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Visits to restaurants, museums, galleries etc during the trip
  • A fine selection of wines, beer and spirits for sale
  • Travel to and from the vessel (including internal/domestic airfares)

What To Expect

While many of you are seasoned travellers, some of you may be unfamiliar with the ways and means of travelling in the remoter regions where we journey. Cruising in eastern Indonesia on a traditional wooden pinisi ship can be an exciting new world for some.

Each cruise is led by professional, multilingual tour leaders who will escort guests in all activities both on land and at sea, answer any questions, provide in-depth daily briefings, and ultimately ensure the smooth running of every aspect of the cruise.

Life On Board

Life on board our ships is one of pure enjoyment, with good food, top-class service and fine company mixed with just the right balance of exploration and relaxation. Whilst on board, guests are immersed in a world of barefoot fun and adventure, with air-conditioned private en-suite cabins, indoor and outdoor social hubs and dining areas, sun decks, a wide selection of Indonesian, Western and Asian cuisine, a full bar, and highly attentive service from our crew, whose smiles and friendly personalities offer an even greater insight into the Indonesian way of life.

Food

Our galleys are staffed with talented individuals who pride themselves on being able to conjure up all manner of dishes and delicacies from across the world, using only the best quality meat, seafood and fresh produce available – with the latter often sourced from local markets and the fishermen we meet along the way. Vegetarian dishes and most special dietary requirements can be accommodated with minimal fuss. Our stewards are on hand all day to serve meals and make sure you have all you need; from cold towels and fresh juices to a full plate of food and an iced drink whenever you need it.

While all non-alcoholic drinks are inclusive, each boat has a full cash bar stocked with local and imported wines, imported spirits and domestic beer, usually at local prices.

Accommodation

Our comfortable cabins are located below decks and offer all the necessary amenities, including double beds or twin bunks, private en-suite bathrooms, lots of natural light, individually controlled air-conditioning, ample storage space, and plenty of electrical and USB outlets.

Each boat also includes a salon, bar, sundeck and outdoor dining areas.

We Respect the Environment

We respect the environment in which we operate and are deeply committed to the integrity and preservation of the Indonesian Archipelago.

We show locals the value of protecting the species they have. For example, whale sharks are under constant threat due to the sky-high value of their fins, but thanks to our visits, local fishermen are paid a healthy fee for spotting the whale sharks and letting you in the water to be up close to them. As a result, the fishermen are very glad to protect these beautiful animals.

We also work with local NGOs on coral restoration projects in the area, and support centres like the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre which helps to rehabilitate animals back into the wild and put an end to animal trafficking.

We Support Local Communities

Our motto for these sailing adventures is “Seeing Indonesia through Indonesian eyes”. We hire locals and work with local communities to promote authentic cultural experiences and interactions between tourists and locals to foster mutual understanding and respect.

More than half of our tour guides are women. In Indonesia the workforce is extremely male-dominated, so this is a way for us to break down barriers and create a more inclusive workforce.

We partner with local NGOs working on community development projects. As well as make an effort to bring life-changing water filters, glasses, school books and LED lights to the remote villages we visit. We buy from local fishermen, and vendors and always pay the locals when they treat us to a cultural performance.

We have created a series of three books which are available for sale on our boats. The money from each book sold is entirely invested back in creating new books to distribute to communities we visit. These are just some of the ways we work to offer a responsible and equitable sailing experience.

Maumere Airport,Indonesia

Pattimura International Airport Ambon

Itinerary: East Indies Spice Island Exploration

Day 1

After arriving in the early afternoon from Bali, you meet at Maumere airport and are taken directly to the boat, where you will meet your fellow passengers and your crew.

Cruise out of the harbour and head off to the east giving you a chance to become familiar with your new home for the next 12 days, stopping for a snorkel and a swim along the way, before sunset cocktails and dinner as you cruise on into the night.

Day 2

The morning you moor offshore of the capital town of Flores – a Christian-dominated island as a result of Portuguese influence – where you go ashore and see the five Catholic churches and the ‘Stations of the Cross’ along the waterfront.

During lunch, you cross to a neighbouring island where you visit a small local village and the ruins of a 16th Century Portuguese fort.

Later in the afternoon get out your snorkelling gear and explore one of the richly vibrant reefs nearby.

Day 3

You wake up on Lembata Island in a bite-shaped bay under the gaze of a massive live volcano called Ile Api – Island of Fire. You are welcomed ashore in a local village with singing and dancing, and witness the production of their famous local textiles.

After lunch on the boat, you sail across the bay to snorkel on a vibrant local reef and swim and paddle on a local beach. This evening, the crew sets up for a beach BBQ and party under the stars before heading off to your next destination.

Day 4

You visit a traditional village up in the mountains, where you are welcomed by the chief and witness a ceremonial war dance in honour of your visit.

You see their traditional ‘Moko’ war drums and intricately designed ‘Ikat’ fabrics, which have been woven and dyed using age-old techniques, and used in local bridal dowries for centuries.

You weigh anchor and cruise east as you enjoy lunch on board, stopping in the late afternoon at a picturesque tropical island to snorkel and swim on a coral reef.

Day 5

You wake up in a lovely bay on Wetar Island and go ashore to a local fishing village to meet the locals and see their way of life as they dry their catch on the beach.

Spend the day swimming and beaching, snorkelling and exploring, and indulge in a bit of local culture by way of ‘sopi’, a strong alcoholic drink made from a local palm tree.

Later in the afternoon you weigh anchor and continue your journey east.

Day 6

You go ashore on a small island and are welcomed into a remote village where the locals will share their way of life as farmers and fishermen with you.

After lunch you continue cruising, stopping off at another tiny island, this one deserted, to swim, kayak, snorkel over the reef and relax on the sand.

In the evening the crew will set up for a beach BBQ and you dance and sing your way into the night before heading off again for an overnight cruise to your next destination.

Day 7

Another day of cruising and exploring in one of the remotest parts of Indonesia. You visit a very simple village where the people’s houses are made using the products of the sago palm, the staple crop in this part of the world. The villagers demonstrate how they process the heart of the sago palm into the edible product that sustains them.

After lunch, you cruise around the island and stop off to explore the beaches and reefs, where you snorkel along the way.

Day 8

A day at sea where you pass four spectacular volcanic seamounts, explicit examples of Indonesia’s place along the Ring of Fire. One of these islands is uninhabited by people and is home to tens of thousands of seabirds (brown and red-footed boobies, and frigate birds), who will likely come out to encircle the boat in great numbers on your approach.

If the tide allows, you will go ashore and explore, and have a snorkel. In the late afternoon, you proceed north to the fabled Spice Islands.

Day 9

By dawn, you should have the Banda Archipelago ‘Spice Islands’ in your sights, the original home of the nutmeg and the scene of much bloodshed between the colonial powers of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries over control of the spice trade.

You go ashore and visit Fort Revenge, built by the Dutch, before snorkelling on the local reef.

Later you head across to the main island group, and the main town, and anchor in the beautiful enclosed anchorage under the imposing gaze of a 600-metre-high volcano. If you get there enough time before nightfall, you go ashore and explore the town.

Day 10

Spend the day exploring the history and beauty of the Spice Islands with a visit to the main town of the Spice Islands and its fort overlooking the harbour.

You wander through the streets and markets of this bustling town and meet the local people. After lunch on the boat you take a local boat over to the biggest of the islands, where you walk among the vast nutmeg plantations, visit another Dutch fort, talk with the locals and visit one of the last ‘perkineers’, the farmers who still run the larger plantations on the island tell you about life on the islands.

Later in the afternoon you can snorkel on a local reef and have a chance to see the rare and multi-hued Mandarin fish, who only comes out at dusk to mate.

Dinner is had ashore at a local restaurant that offers traditional and delicious local dishes.

Day 11

In the morning you have time for a final stroll around the town or a last snorkel before you say farewell to the Spice Islands around lunchtime and head north.

You have lunch on the way, passing another major seabird island, before settling in for a relaxing afternoon on board as you scour the horizon for migrating whales.

Day 12

You wake up just south of your final destination and your last few hours are spent enjoying the majesty of the ocean, and may very well see more whales along the way.

As you drop anchor in the harbour, you say farewell to our crew and tour leaders and are taken to the airport, ending a magical 12 days of exploration and adventure.

 

Everyone tends to dress very casually, so choose clothes that are comfortable for walking/trekking and suitable for wearing on the boat.

Clothing

The tropical climate means you can safely leave all of your warm weather gear at home. Bring cool cotton t-shirts and shorts. We cruise during the dry season in each of the regions that we visit but rain is always a possibility so bring a lightweight waterproof jacket. It can sometimes be a bit windy on the boat and this will also help keep you warm. Likewise, a lightweight fleece could be useful for pre-dawn trekking or if there is a cool wind on the boat – even if you don’t need it onboard, it will be useful for the plane.

We are respectful of the local cultures and customs – bring clothes that cover your shoulders and knees for village visits. Finally, you might want to bring at least one smart-casual outfit for sunset cocktails and evening meals on the boat.

Ladies: beach throw-overs, kaftans and sarongs are always useful; choose fabrics that dry easily. Also, bring a lightweight sundress or two – the boat offers a great setting for a photo shoot, live it up!

Sun Protection

You’ll be spending plenty of time out in the scorching tropical sun, so be sure to pack sunscreen with a high enough SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, which are stronger in the water, and some sun-protective clothing as well.

Cover-ups, sarongs, sun shirts, and other such clothing will ensure that you come back from your trip with just happy memories and photographs – and not sunburn. A good hat is essential; a wide-brimmed hat or cap will keep the strong equatorial sun off your face and neck. Sunglasses keep your eyes protected. A strap to hold your glasses can be a good idea for more active adventures. Just in case you fail to avoid getting sunburnt, bring an aloe-based lotion to soothe burned skin.

Footwear

Pack comfortable trainers, trekking sandals, sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots for hikes and walks. Bring socks to wear inside your walking shoes to avoid getting blisters. Many travellers appreciate the added stability of a walking stick or hiking pole; lightweight telescopic poles are easy to pack. You might also want waterproof sandals or reef shoes for wet landings and water activities. Flip-flops are great for the beach but it is standard practice to go barefoot on the boat.

Bags

A day backpack is essential on day hikes to carry things such as your water bottle, camera, binoculars, and rain jacket. We will provide you with a metal water bottle, which can be refilled as often as required. A waterproof wet/dry bag is a good idea for gadgets like your phone or camera.

Swimwear

Don’t forget your swimsuit/bikini/shorts/trunks/Speedos —and preferably more than just one swimsuit, so that one or two can be drying while you are wearing another. Luckily, swimsuits and/or swim trunks don’t take up too much space in your luggage. The water is warm but a rash guard (or a wetsuit) will protect you from the sun, abrasions and stings.

Skin and Hair Protection

Ladies, it’s important that you take good care of your skin and hair. The sun, seawater and salty air may be beautiful to experience but it can be tough on your body and will wreak havoc on your locks. Bring moisturising lotion to soothe skin parched by the sun and the saltwater; bring a leave-in conditioner to detangle your hair with ease because the water, mask, and hair ties will leave it in knots. Also consider bringing a scarf or headband to hold back unruly hair, or hair ties/pins to keep your hair off your face and therefore prevent water seeping into your mask.

Note: Your cabin is outfitted with towels, shampoo, conditioner and body wash.

Camera Equipment

If you are a photo enthusiast bring all of the camera and video equipment that you will use as you can expect exceptional opportunities for photography. If you prefer the ease of a point & shoot, bring that. If you want to take underwater photos you might want to invest in a waterproof camera or waterproof housing to capture photos of the incredible marine life.

It’s a good idea to bring a spare memory card; our cruises explore remote regions where memory cards cannot be purchased.

Electronics

The voltage on board is 220 volts. There are several electric sockets and USB charging ports in each cabin suitable for European-type plugs, but we do have a selection of adaptors for non-European-type plugs. Additional sockets are located in the saloon, where we have a dedicated area for the charging of electronic devices and cameras.

Miscellaneous Items

Snorkels, masks & fins in all sizes are provided onboard. If you are an avid snorkeller, you may prefer to bring your own mask & snorkel. If you’re new to snorkelling, you might want to consider purchasing a full-face snorkel mask to bring with you, it’s an easier option for beginners.

Even if you think that your stomach is rock-solid, a squall could turn up and make you feel sick. Sea-sickness tablets are provided on board but you may have a preferred brand, in which case bring your own.

You’ll find reference books and paperback novels on board. However, books of your choice or an e-reader will come in handy for down hours.

There is a comprehensive wilderness first aid kit on board but remember to bring any personal medications.

Essential items should be packed in your carry-on luggage. Medications, corrective lenses, spare underwear, cameras and documents should not be checked in case your bag does not arrive with you.