Ambon & Spice Islands Cruise
Bringing a nearly forgotten chapter of world history back to life, the Ambon & Spice Islands 7-night cruise expedition across the Banda Sea is an enthralling adventure embracing culture, nature and wildlife
Setting sail from the rustic Indonesian port city of Ambon, Aqua Blu’s Spice Islands cruise heads across the Banda Sea to the Maluku Islands, a destination steeped in historical significance and endowed with both unspoilt nature and culture. As the place of origin of nutmeg, a spice that was worth more than gold in terms of weight, the Spice Islands were the Holy Grail for famous Old World explorers including Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan, who sought but never managed to find it.
Eventually, the Spice Islands were discovered and the Dutch established and exercised control over them — with a monopoly on the nutmeg trade — from 1607 up until the late 18th century. In that time, the Dutch built up numerous colonial-styled architecture and extensive fortifications. Surrounded by the local town and the oldest nutmeg plantations on Earth, these structures remain mostly well-preserved.
Today, discovering this region on our Ambon Islands cruise is like entering a spectacular living museum on Earth. Time appears to have stood still for decades and you can witness centuries-old relics, such as Fort Belgica, exist alongside rich Indonesian local traditions such as nutmeg cultivation and kora-kora war canoe racing.
Ambon & Spice Islands: A journey of diverse discoveries
Board Aqua Blu’s Ambon Islands cruise to explore the Spice Islands which consist of a cluster of seven major islands, including the populated Banda Neira, Banda Besar and Pulau Run. Such was the significance of a monopoly of the Spice Islands, the Dutch East Indies Company, also known as the VOC, had traded Manhattan (in today’s New York City) for Pulau Run (an island just over a square mile in area) with the British in 1667.
In fact, as you explore the remnants of the Islands’ colonial past – such as cannons that stand side-by-side traditional village homes – you might just be the first to stumble upon a long-lost relic. Our Ambon Islands cruise offers the opportunity to step into uncharted territories and uncover the secrets of the Spice Islands.
Aqua Blu’s Spice Islands cruise also gives explorers the chance to kick back and unwind at some of the most scenic locations in the world. Molana and Pulau Run boast picture-perfect sandy beaches and are prime locations for swimming, fishing, snorkeling and diving as well as village tours and birdwatching.
Ambon & Spice Islands: Where nature matches the brilliance of culture
Visit Banda Neira on our Spice Islands cruise and discover the active volcano of Gunung Banda Api. Also known as the ‘Fire Mountain’, Banda Api’s eruption and seaward lava flow in 1988 led to a rebirth of coral and marine life so quickly it astounded marine biologists everywhere. By 1994, they noticed that underwater thermal springs and nutrients of the cooled volcanic lava had kickstarted the growth of spectacular underwater gardens.
Today, the Spice Islands are home to one of the most colorful and diverse displays of coral and marine life in the East Indonesian Archipelago, including enormous fan corals, the Mandarin fish and the Ambon scorpionfish. The Molucca region, of which the Spice Islands form the southernmost part, is also a ‘transition zone’ between Asian and Oceanic fauna and flora, and so these islands include many species that are completely unique to the area.
Not only that, the region is also part of the migratory route for many birds and marine species. While cruising the Banda Sea aboard the Aqua Blu’s Spice Islands cruise, discover fantastic reefs for snorkeling and diving as well as opportunities for sightings of spinner dolphins, orcas, and various other whale species. Meanwhile, both endemic and migratory bird species can be seen along the coast or while hiking the lush pockets of forest.
Aqua Expeditions’ Ambon & Spice Islands cruise sails every year from October to November. The cruise sets sail on 7-night itineraries, departing from the rustic port city of Ambon.
Come sail with us on the Aqua Blu Ambon Islands cruise and experience one of the most evocative and all-encompassing cruise expeditions on Earth.
The voyage of a lifetime in East Indonesia
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