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The sun lights up this beautiful tropical forest.

Indian Ocean Odyssey: Seychelles, Maldives, and Sri Lanka

Example 19 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Enjoy a balance of wildness and culture while exploring these strings of tiny tropical islands with pristine ecosystems. Snorkel or dive with huge manta rays and whale sharks, hike among strange and mammoth palm trees for a land-of-the-lost experience, and see the markings of Persian, Greek, and Chinese influences all the way up to Portuguese and Dutch colonial times. On this 19-day voyage discover vivid undersea life, and keep an eye out for the blue whales that live here year-round. Plus, explore an ancient seaport and traditional tea plantation in Sri Lanka.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive in Mahé, Seychelles
Day 2 : Mahé / Embark
Day 3 : Silhouette / Curieuse
Day 4 : Praslin / La Digue
Day 5 : Aride
Days 6-8 : At Sea
Day 9 : Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives
Day 10 : At Sea
Day 11 : Malé Atoll, Maldives
Days 12-14 : Northern Atolls, Maldives
Day 15 : At Sea
Day 16 : Laccadive Sea / Galle , Sri Lanka
Day 17 : Galle, Sri Lanka
Day 18 : Disembark in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Day 19 : Return home

Ship

National Geographic Orion

Places Visited

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Seychelles Islands
  • Aride
  • Baa Atoll
  • Colombo
  • Curieuse Island
  • Galle
  • Gan, Addu Atoll
  • India
  • La Digue
  • Laccadive Sea
  • Mahe
  • Maldives
  • Male
  • Praslin
  • Silhouette
  • Sri Lanka

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

The sun lights up this beautiful tropical forest. Boat in the Maldives Snorkelers interacting with a friendly whale shark. Golden Buddha of Dambulla, Sri Lanka A snorkeler walking along a white sandy beach.

Day 1 Arrive in Mahé, Seychelles

  • 1 Dinner
Arrive in Mahé, Seychelles. Check into your hotel for the night, Le Méridien Fisherman’s Cove, with an opportunity to relax and enjoy the beach. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Day 2 Mahé / Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The morning is yours to spend at your leisure. After lunch, take a brief tour of Mahé before transferring to the pier and embarking National Geographic Orion.

Day 3 Silhouette / Curieuse

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Idyllic Silhouette is a steep and forested island that offers a choice of walks and the chance to see the work of the Seychelles Giant Tortoise Conservation Project. The giant tortoise of the Seychelles was almost extinct because tortoises were taken for food by early sailors. Only a small number remain, and you are able to see some up close. Hikers can opt for easy walks or more strenuous ones, before we return to our ship and sail to Curieuse. Here there is time on the beach to enjoy the warm waters, with a chance to snorkel, kayak, or dive. This evening, plan for a sunset barbecue dinner ashore, prepared by your ship's crew.

Day 4 Praslin / La Digue

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Praslin is famous for its unique palm forest, the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to the rare coco-de-mer. This palm has mammoth fan-shaped fronds and a seed weighing up to 40 pounds - the largest leaf and seed in the tree kingdom. Some trees are over 900 years old.

La Digue is a photogenic island with powdery white sand beaches and giant granite boulders. Visit Anse Source d’Argent, the most famous beach in the Seychelles, for a swim. Explore the island by open vehicle or bicycle, and walk through the forest reserve to look for the rare Seychelles black parrot and paradise flycatcher.

Day 5 Aride

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tiny Aride is one of the most important seabird breeding grounds in the Indian Ocean, with large populations of shearwaters, lesser noddies, white (or “fairy”) terns, roseate terns, sooty terns, tropicbirds and a host of others, including the very rare and endangered Seychelles magpie-robin. It also has a couple of endemic plant species. Spend the morning here, making a Zodiac landing on the beach and hiking up a trail for great views. Mid-afternoon, set sail across the Indian Ocean for the Maldives.

Day 6-8 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
If you haven't already, spend these days familiarizing yourself with the ship and her amenities as you cruise the open ocean.

Day 9 Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Make landfall at the southernmost atoll of this archipelago, with a visit to the WWII Royal Air Force outpost at Gan. Swim and snorkel in crystalline Maldive waters.

Day 10 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As your ship cruises on to the next locale, relax on board and enjoy the view!

Day 11 Malé Atoll, Maldives

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Although this tiny island nation has a long and fascinating human history, it is perhaps most well known today for its clear turquoise waters and abundant marine life. Today experience both aspects, with a brief morning visit to the bustling capital of Malé, and an afternoon immersed in warm Indian Ocean waters at a nearby island.

Day 12-14 Northern Atolls, Maldives

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
These days are dedicated to exploring the more remote reaches of the northern islands, including the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll. More than 1,000 fish species, including manta rays and whale sharks, are sure to delight snorkelers and scuba divers, while birdwatchers experience thrills on Zodiac cruises to sight tropicbirds and frigatebirds. The Maldives are also known for a diversity of cetaceans, so you can search for dolphins and possibly even blue whales from the deck of the ship as you explore these crystalline waters.

Day 15 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Your last day on the open water is a chance to reflect on all you’ve seen and done, to look at photographs your shipmates have taken, and to rest up for the final leg of your journey.

Day 16 Laccadive Sea / Galle , Sri Lanka

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Dedicate this morning to searching out the marine mammals for which this part of the Indian Ocean is known, so bring your binoculars and join us on deck. Later, your ship passes under the ramparts of the 400-year-old Galle Fort on approach to the harbor. On an afternoon tour of this fascinating city, take in its Portuguese and Dutch colonial architecture and learn of a history that includes Persian, Arab, Greek, Roman, and Chinese influences. Return to your ship for the night.

Day 17 Galle, Sri Lanka

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Historically known as Gimhathiththa, the ancient seaport of Galle is also thought to be the site from which ivory, peacocks and cinnamon were shipped to the court of King Solomon. Today it’s the base from which we explore a bit of southern Sri Lanka. Choose to learn about traditional Sri Lankan culture with visits to a folk museum and a Ceylon tea plantation, or spend your day searching for wildlife on a guided river safari.

Day 18 Disembark in Colombo, Sri Lanka

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Disembark and tour Colombo this morning before transferring to your hotel for the evening.

Day 19 Return home

  • 1 Breakfast
Depart on your homeward flight.

National Geographic Orion

Per person starting at
$19,930
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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Main deck with 1 or 2 portholes
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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Category 1 Single
Main deck with 1 or 2 portholes
National Geographic Orion's Category 2 Cabin.
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Category 2
Main deck with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 3 Cabin.
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Category 3
Main deck with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 3 Cabin.
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Category 3 Single
Main deck with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 4 Cabin.
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Category 4
Upper and veranda decks with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 5 Cabin.
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Category 5
Upper deck with balcony
National Geographic Orion's Category 6 Cabin.
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Category 6
Veranda deck - suite

Notes

Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available, but is subject to availability.

INCLUDED FEATURES
Aboard ship:
- All meals and non-alcoholic beverages
- Cappuccinos, lattes & filtered water
- 24-hour coffee, tea & soda on demand
- Hors d’oeuvres & snacks during Recap
- Fitness center or exercise equipment
- Fully stocked library, and other gracious public spaces
- The guidance and company of expedition staff

Ashore:
- Hotels ashore as indicated in itinerary
- Meals on land, as indicated in itinerary
- Sightseeing & entrance fees
- Special access permits, park fees, port taxes
- Transfers to and from group flights
- The expertise of expedition staff

Activities:
- All excursions
- Zodiac & kayak explorations
- Presentations and guest speakers in the lounge

NOT INCLUDED
Airfare:
- International and internal airfare

Pre- and post-expedition:
- Additional hotel nights
- Private transfers
- Travel Protection Plan
- Passport, visa, and immigration fees
- Expedition extensions
- Gratuities

Aboard ship
- Alcoholic beverages
- Spa treatments
- Gratuities
- Scuba diving
- Laundry
- Internet and phone
- Gift shop items and any other items of personal nature

Included

  • 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Callie W

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
Gale Cantor

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