If the success of an expedition cruise depends on the ship that takes you there, then surely traveling aboard the Clipper Odyssey is the way to go. Thousands of our travelers have sailed in the indulgent comfort of this much-loved, 110-passenger vessel, visiting some of the most exotic and unspoiled places in the Pacific, from Easter Island to Borneo, and from Kodiak Island to Kamchatka.
This year the Clipper Odyssey continues its exploration of Indonesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, the Russian Far East, and Alaska––with itineraries that have long been favorites among our travelers. If you have yet to snorkel or dive in the coral gardens of the South Pacific, or step ashore on a windswept northern outpost, greeted by villagers in traditional dress, then we invite you to take advantage of these last Pacific-bound opportunities.
After months spent scouring the maps, unraveling a maze of timings, and calling on our team of world-class leaders and lecturers, we’re thrilled to announce that the Clipper Odyssey will change course in 2011, sailing westward and halfway around the world to explore new and exotic locales, revisiting itineraries we haven’t traveled in awhile, and returning to some of our favorite places as well. Consider this then, an invitation to join us as we head for new horizons aboard one of the world’s finest small expedition ships.
At the start of our 2011 cruise lineup is the Circumnavigation of Sumatra, Indonesia’s largest island and until now, completely uncharted territory for Zegrahm. Divided almost in half by the Equator and fabled for its ten national parks which are home to a phenomenal variety of botanicals and more than 200 species of mammals, including many endemics, Sumatra also shelters some of Southeast Asia’s last remaining virgin forests. Our adventure includes searching for endemic wildlife in the lush flora, snorkeling and diving in translucent waters, and meeting traditional villagers who have had rare occasion to visit with outsiders.
The Clipper Odyssey will also undertake another new, intrepid expedition, one whose scope is grand and whose destinations are both legendary and seldom visited. The Bay of Bengal & Andaman Sea adventure begins in Singapore and sails northward through dazzling Malaysian islands wreathed in kaleidoscopic corals. Picture yourself on deck as we approach Thailand’s inviting sandy, palm-fringed western shores where towns and villages lure us with fragrant goods and lively markets bursting with fine regional crafts. Burma (Myanmar) offers up its astounding array of temples––more than 2,000 grace the interior city of Pagan alone––including the gold-gilded stupa of the Schwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon. Explore the Andaman Islands and their marine-life-rich waters, then sail across the Bay of Bengal to Sri Lanka with its velvet green landscapes, tea plantations, and World Heritage Site temples and monuments. We conclude in Southern India, in the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, with a breathtaking excursion to the Meenakshi Temple at Madurai, dedicated to Shiva and crowned with 14 intricately carved towers.
Journey Through the Red Sea unravels threads of history that reach back epochs. Among the stunning World Heritage Sites showcased along the way are Jordan’s red sandstone ruins at Petra (which we explore with a private guide) and Egypt’s remote St. Catherine’s Monastery built on the site where Moses saw the burning bush. A highlight most of us never imagined is the opportunity to walk through legendary Jeddah, “gateway to Mecca,” and to sail through the stunning Dahlak archipelago in Eritrea. The jewel in the crown of this breathtaking odyssey is our post-voyage extension to Yemen’s Socotra Island––a rare chance to experience a lost world so rich in endemic plant species, including the dragon’s blood tree, that it is often referred to as the Galápagos of the Indian Ocean.
In-between these new expeditions we have included some of Zegrahm’s signature voyages, new to the Clipper Odyssey. We continue to Circumnavigate the Black Sea, one of our most popular trips, and sail to the ancient lands of Crete, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan on our epic Crossroads of Empires Journey. We revisit the shores of Northern Africa, whose Roman ruins are some of the best preserved in the Mediterranean, and we make our return to the ancient and modern wonders of the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Dubai, Bahrain, and Qatar in our classic Sands of Time itinerary. And, we’re thrilled to bring the Clipper Odyssey to Great Britain and Iceland for these highly popular voyages.
As this coming year unfolds and we sail the enchanted Pacific, bidding farewell to bejeweled isles and far-flung ports, we encourage you not to miss these final opportunities. And, as you look ahead to 2011 and Zegrahm’s banquet of new destinations, we hope to welcome you aboard the superb Clipper Odyssey with its gracious interiors, spacious staterooms, her fleet of Zodiacs always at the ready––and the lovely decks, from where we promise you some of the most wonderful views on the planet.