Boasting 17,000 islands, of which 11,000 are untouched, Indonesia is brimming with both cultural and environmental riches. With 80% of its surface being water, The Maj Oceanic is the ideal way to discover and enjoy this incredible region has to offer.
Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands
Starting close to home, Bali cruises explore the east coast with highlights such as Ahmed, home to some of the best diving and snorkelling in the region including a navy shipwreck and the stunning Nusa Islands which are home to impossibly clear blue lagoons and perfect white beaches.
Further east still and we find the rustic and tropical Gili Islands: Gili Trawangan (Gili T), Gili Air and Gili Meno. All have beautiful white sand beaches, fabulous snorkelling and marine life as well as an array of local tradition. Gili T is renowned as a party destination while Gili Air and Gili Meno are a haven of tranquillity. If it is pure escapism that you desire, we also cruise to the secret Gili’s!
Finally, we get to Lombok and while less touristy than Bali, surfers and divers flock to the island chasing great waves and abundant marine life. Another must see is Indonesia’s second tallest volcano, Gunung Rinjani, which dominates the island’s landscape attracting keen trekkers to its lush slopes.
Komodo – The Home of the Dragon
Komodo is the common term used for a primarily volcanic chain of islands in the south east of Indonesia. In fact, this is more accurately made up of three main islands: Komodo Island, Rinca Island, and Padar Island that together with a few other islets form over 2,000 square kilometres of protected national parkland.
Dragons and diving are the two main reasons people decide to charter a liveaboard in Komodo. The infamous Komodo dragon, the biggest reptile on earth which can reach weights of up to 70 kilograms and grow up to 3 meters in length roams freely across the region.
Whether you enjoy scuba diving or snorkelling, exploring the nautical delights of the region is a must. Plankton rich waters and rushing currents attract giant pelagic species; sharks, turtles, and manta rays while hundreds of varieties of coral thrive providing homes for an impressive array of macro life.
The Banda Islands
Welcome to the spice islands! This far-flung archipelago boasts the wildest, most stunning nature with volcanoes, forests, jungles, caves and of course the clove and nutmeg trees that give the islands their nickname. Coupled with a rich colonial history the Banda Islands are a step back in history, as remote as they are beautiful.
More than 1,500 wild islands, cays and shoals make up Raja Ampat’s 40,000 square kilometre area, which lies on northwest tip of the Bird’s Head Peninsula in Papua New Guinea. Underwater, the marine habitats are among the most biodiverse in the world with 1,200 species of fish and 550 species of hard and soft coral. Giant manta rays, black and white-tipped reef sharks, wobbegong sharks, sea turtles, pygmy seahorses, and schools of barracuda and grouper are just a few of the creatures you can encounter here.
Raja Ampat’s landscapes resemble something out of Jurassic Park with dense tropical jungle giving way to hidden waterfalls and jutting limestone cliffs. Prehistoric wall paintings can be found alongside cave bunkers and seabed wreckage from WW2. Birdsong from parrots, hornbills and birds-of-paradise are your soundtrack as you paddle through mangroves on a kayak, stroll on beaches fringed by thick tropical jungle, or meet the indigenous tribes.
Historically, the Phinisi was born from a legend from an ancestral tradition of the Southern islands of Sulawesi. For the longest time, this vessel was reserved for the commercial trade. Today however, the Phinisi has become a sophisticated maritime tradition.
Its architecture is the unique combination of old constructions typically found in the Bugis-Makassar culture, and inspiration from modern European and American ships from the early 19th century.
Centuries ago, Indonesia’s wooden Phinisi boats were used to carry exotic spices, sandalwood and textiles through the ancient spice trading route. Boat builders in Sulawesi would take years to handcraft the vessels on the beach, a labour intensive yet methodical process that was guided by ritual. In December 2017, UNESCO recognised South Sulawesi’s hand-crafted sailing yachts as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ and their unique legacy lives on today in our modern Phinisi yachts, re-purposed for cruising, diving and recreation.
For a history lesson, click here History of Phinisi