ambon and spice islands cruise

Ambon & Spice Islands 8 Day Voyage

  • Overview

    Bringing a nearly forgotten chapter of world history back to life, the Ambon & Spice Islands 7-night cruise expedition across the Banda Sea is a enthralling adventure embracing culture, nature and wildlife.

    Setting sail from the rustic Indonesian port city of Ambon, Aqua Blu cruises south across the Banda Sea to the Spice Islands, a destination steeped in historical significance and endowed with both unspoilt nature and culture. As the origin of the nutmeg, a spice that was worth more than gold in terms of weight, the Spice Islands (also called the Banda 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, setting foot on the Spice Islands is like entering a spectacular living museum on Earth, where time appears to have stood still for decades and 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: Where nature matches the brilliance of culture

    On Banda Neira, the active volcano of Gunung Banda Api is more than just another photogenic backdrop. 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 is 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 ‘transition zone’ between Asian and Oceanic fauna and flora, and so the these islands include many species that are completely unique to the area.

    Duration: 8 days
    Passengers: 30 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Ambon
    Disembarkation Point: Ambon
    Physical rating: Soft Expedition
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 1.25x - 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Ambon

      Arrive to a warm welcome in Ambon and board Aqua Blu at Laha Bay, a famous muck diving site. There are also opportunities for trekking and birdwatching inland.

    • Day 2 - Sarapua

      Early morning, depart for the island outpost of Saparua, sailing along the scenic north coast of Ambon. Disembark en route at the coastal town of Hila to explore the old Dutch fortification, Fort Amsterdam. Continue onto Sarapua, where a host of water activities await. Discover local pottery-making at Ouw village, visit a local market, see European relics, explore bird habitats or go diving before departing Sarapua for an overnight crossing to Banda Islands.

    • Day 3 - Banda Islands and Banda Neira

      Approach the Banda Islands as the sun rises, greeted by Kora-Kora war canoes as the boat enters the harbor. Stroll through history at the Dutch Fort Belgica on Banda Neira, once the most hotly contested island in the world in the 16th and 17th century, and learn about the colorful story of the Old World spice trade.

    • Day 4 - Banda Neira & Gunung Api

      Spend the day exploring the oldest nutmeg plantations in the world, learning about the cultivation and history of the spice. Hike the active volcano of Gunung Banda Api. In this remote part of Indonesia, experience local life with traditions unchanged for decades before departing Banda Harbour at night.

    • Day 5 - Pulau Manuk

      Savor a sunrise breakfast on board against the backdrop of 300-metre tall cliffs of Pulau Manuk, a volcanic island rising 3 kilometres from the seabed. This is a haven for fish-hunting birds, as well as sea snakes and reef sharks flocking to enjoy the area’s underwater thermal springs. After sundown, cruise northwards to Pulau Run, a historic island traded by the British for Manhattan in 1667.

    • Day 6 - Pulau Run

      Arrive at Pulau Run, the westernmost of the Banda Islands, at sunrise. Swim, fish, snorkel and dive in the crystal-clear waters, or go on village tours, trekking and birding. After finding the ruins of an old British fort, arrive at a pristine beach where a cocktail party awaits. Later, board the ship for an overnight crossing to Nusa Laut.

    • Day 7 - Nusa Laut & Molana

      On the north side of Nusa Laut, bike through the scenic fishing villages of Ameth and Akon. This is also home of the dugong, the Southeast Asian cousin of the American manatee and a vulnerable species. Cruise to Molana Island, a small but heavily forested island with fantastic reefs.

    • Day 8 - Ambon

      Awake to the bustle of Ambon and disembark after a sumptuous breakfast for your outbound flight.

  • Adventure Activities

    Nusa Laut & Molana

    With its fair share of historical artifacts, this is a picturesque paradise for both water- and land-based adventures and home to the dugong (Asian manatee).

    Lying to the east of Ambon, the island of Nusa Laut possesses some stunning hard coral seascapes that can be witnessed by both diving and snorkeling. This island is a heartening story of successful, locally-led marine conservation; on the northeast coast, the villagers of Ameth and Akon keep a close eye on the shoreline to deter any unauthorized fishing boats. As a result of communal vigilance, the reef around Nusa Laut is brimming with fish and unblemished coral reefs.

    Ambon & Sarapua

    The vibrant capital of Maluku province offers a fantastic introduction to the region

    Serving as the gateway to Maluku province and the Spice Islands, Ambon as a city famous in the circles of natural history as the ‘Galapagos of Asia’. While Charles Darwin was coming up with his theory of natural selection in the Galapagos, his contemporary Alfred Russell Wallace was taking up residence in the region’s cities and towns, including Ambon, and coming up with arguably a more complete version of a similar theory based on his detailed observations of the region’s myriad wildlife.

    Pulau Manuk

    This lone volcanic crater island in the Banda Sea rises 3,000 from the sea floor.

  • Inclusions
    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - All shore excursions and lectures in the itinerary
    - Free Wifi
    - Transfers on embarkation and disembarkation day
    - Selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
    - All meals and accommodation during the voyage

    Not included in your Expedition

    - Travel insurance (mandatory)
    - Spa treatments
    - All items of a personal nature
    - International and internal flights that are not specified
    - Passport and Visa expenses
  • Map
    Aqua blu 7n ambon   spice islands
  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    Setting the stage for the greatest luxury cruise expeditions in the Coral Triangle

    Presenting a brand-new cruise experience in the pristine East Indonesian Archipelago, Aqua Blu is a long-range explorer yacht sailing the region’s most prized destinations, including Komodo National Park, Spice Islands and Raja Ampat on unforgettable 7- and 12-night itineraries.

    Where modern luxury meets naval heritage

    With a grand legacy as the former British Naval Explorer HMS Beagle and later as the private yacht of a European aristocratic family, Aqua Blu is a compelling maritime statement. A 2019 refurbishment overseen by Dutch yacht design maestro Cor D. Rover brings the vessel to world-class cruising specifications. Guests can expect to embrace an distinguished sense of history and seafaring evolution when they set foot on this one-of-a-kind cruise ship.

    Inside the four-deck, 15-suite Aqua Blu, Cor has tastefully paired with a brass-and-ivory interior theme with generous and inviting indoor and outdoor social spaces, including a sun deck.
    Unlocking access to the Earth’s most intriguing destinations

    Faster, further, greater safety and comfort — Aqua Blu’s naval pedigree makes it the perfect vessel to navigate East Indonesia’s vast seas. Having attained the highest international classifications (RINA, SOLAS, ISM) in safety, the vessel is additionally equipped with Quantum Zero Speed stabilizers for optimal comfort at rest or while sailing.

    Aqua Blu’s range stands heads and shoulders above that of its peers in East Indonesia. Able to cover vast distances in a short span of time — and in any sea condition — the vessel enables explorers on board to experience the most varied, enjoyable and rewarding coastal cruise itineraries in this wild and stunningly beautiful region of the world.

    Join Aqua Blu and be among the first to cruise East Indonesia like no ship has ever done before.



    • Best In Class Suites
    • Fully Equipped For Adventure
    • Expert Led Excursions
    • Relaxation Redefined
    Features & Facilities
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 5
    Guests #: 30
    Crew #: 25
    Ice Class: NA
    Speed: 11
    Refurbished: 1973
    Technical Specs
    Year built: 1968
    Length: 60m
    Draft: 4
    Registry: Indonesia
    Elec Outlets: 2 Flat & 2 Round
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Ready to book your expedition?

We understand that the trip of a lifetime takes planning, so we make the financial commitments easy to manage.

  • Confirm your booking today with just USD$ 1,000 per passenger.
  • Pay your 25% deposit 5 day later.
  • Final payment due 120 days prior to departure.
aqua blue cabin

Main & Lower Deck - Cat III

06 Nov 2021 - 13 Nov 2021
Settle into modern yachting refinement and comfort of the highest caliber. Individually-designed suites aboard the Aqua Blu is an oasis on the vast East Indonesian seas. Conceptualized with modern luxury and ultimate comfort in mind.
USD$ 7,700pp
USD$ 7,700pp
aqua blue cabin

Main & Lower Deck - Cat II

06 Nov 2021 - 13 Nov 2021
Settle into modern yachting refinement and comfort of the highest caliber. Individually-designed suites aboard the Aqua Blu is an oasis on the vast East Indonesian seas. Conceptualized with modern luxury and ultimate comfort in mind.
USD$ 9,870pp
USD$ 9,870pp
aqua blue cabin

Bridge & Forecastle Deck - Cat I

06 Nov 2021 - 13 Nov 2021
Settle into modern yachting refinement and comfort of the highest caliber. Individually-designed suites aboard the Aqua Blu is an oasis on the vast East Indonesian seas. Conceptualized with modern luxury and ultimate comfort in mind.
USD$ 10,955pp
USD$ 10,955pp