Lakshadweep Islands, India

Just What the Doctor Ordered: A Generous Dose of Culture, Natural History, and Sun this Winter

Zegrahm Contributor|June 28, 2011|Blog Post

With summer in full swing north of the equator, it is the perfect time to start planning your winter getaway to keep summer going all year long. This November through January, Zegrahm is offering five incredible voyages with something for everyone. Whether it’s a cultural immersion in the Arabian Gulf or skirting India’s southwestern shores; a combination of culture and natural history in India and the Maldives; or plenty of sun, sand, and underwater adventures in the Seychelles, each expedition is designed to give our inquisitive travelers the perfect alternative to the typical holiday offerings in Mexico, Hawaii, or the Caribbean.

Plus, each of these winter getaways is in the intimate comfort of the recently refurbished (see below for details!), 110-passenger Clipper Odyssey. In addition to a bevy of complimentary amenities such as a variety of daily activity options; all gratuities, accommodations, and meals; and transfers on group arrival and departures dates, the Clipper Odyssey’s shallow draft and fleet of Zodiacs allow us to land on pristine atolls and uninhabited islands where many of the big ships simply can’t go.

First on the roster, our Treasures of Arabia expedition departing November 25 visits the intriguing countries that comprise the Arabian Gulf region, including Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Dubai. Travelers will explore gleaming modern cities, ancient villages, elegant mosques, and bustling souks, plus have the special opportunity to board local dhows adorned with colorful Oriental carpets and cushions for a cruise through the rugged fjords of the Musandam Peninsula.

Then, it’s on to India for a 15-day sojourn skirting the subcontinent’s southern shores. In addition to experiencing the fascinating city of Mumbai, the colonial European charm of Goa, Kochi’s maze of islands and waterways via houseboat, our Southern India by Sea program spends two full days in Sri Lanka. The highlights of our time in Sri Lanka (once lauded by Marco Polo as the “finest island of its size”) include a visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and the World Heritage Sites of Kandy’s Buddhist Temple of the Tooth and the seaside fortress of Galle.

Next up, our India & the Maldives with Sri Lanka & Lakshadweeps is the perfect union of culture and natural history. We cover all the highlights of Southern India and Sri Lanka, then make our way to the unspoiled islands of the Lakshadweeps and the Maldives. Our days in these two archipelagos will be spent discovering the region’s underwater riches with daily snorkel, dive, and glass-bottom boat excursions. And, since many families enjoy traveling together over the holidays, we are happy to offer special group savings on this voyage: groups of four or more travelers receive 10% off the brochure rate and groups of eight or more receive 15% off!

The New Year brings two amazing voyages focused on the Seychelles. First, from January 13 – 27, travelers on our Ultimate Seychelles expedition will enjoy daily adventures above and below the waterline. Whether it be hiking among the endemic coco-de-mer palms on Praslin Island, admiring Aldabra Atoll’s giant Indian Ocean tortoises, photographing the pink granite boulders of La Digue, or snorkeling and diving among 150 coral species and 850 species of rainbow-hued fish, this voyage is sure to make you forget that winter exists elsewhere in the world.

Finally, our brand-new Classic Seychelles offers the very best of these Indian Ocean islands, including La Digue, Praslin, and Aldabra Atoll, plus the Comoros Islands and Tanzania. After spending our days snorkeling, diving, birding, and beach-combing in the Seychelles, we make our way to the volcanic islands of the Comoros where we find an interesting mélange of Arabic and French architecture nestled among the island’s stunning natural beauty. We then conclude our explorations in magical Zanzibar—on the “Spice Island” we wander the labyrinth of alleyways, filled with treasures of the East that established its fame: cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla.

And, while winter may seem like light years away, we encourage you to book soon to secure the cabin of your choice. Then, instead of menu planning for the holidays or buying new snow shovels, you can start daydreaming about glistening temple complexes and secluded, sugar-sand beaches!