Raja Ampat & Philippines Boutique Expedition Cruise

Raja Ampat & Philippines Boutique Expedition Cruise

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Firstly explore the Raja Ampat archipelago, one of the most richly biodiverse places on earth. Then it’s off to the Philippines, an island nation where palm-lined beaches meet magnificent dive sites. Made up of 7,641 tropical islands, the Philippines is inhabited by some of the world’s friendliest people, who speak approximately 175 languages. A rare culture mixing pot of a place, this archipelago has been influenced by those who colonised these islands before it declared independence after World War II, such as the Spanish, the Americans and the Japanese. The result is a lively mix as you’ll experience on your 15-day luxury cruise in style and comfort, aboard a ship crewed by a passionate and knowledgeable team. Enjoy unique onshore excursions and extraordinary underwater adventures.

Trip Name
Raja Ampat & Philippines Boutique Expedition Cruise
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 115 meters Passenger Capacity: 152 Built: 2020-2021 Arriving in November 2021, our 5 star elegant Scandi-design boutique ship offers you an intimate setting from which you will be fully immersed in all the sights and scenery of your voyage. Introducing SH Minerva Our brand new ship has been designed to journey to off the beaten path destinations and remote polar regions in style and comfort. The ship incorporates a PC5 ice-strengthened hull combined with extra-large stabilisers to make your journey as smooth as possible. Sophisticated Elegance We know how important outdoor space is, so our spacious, relaxing public spaces provide wide open, unobstructed views throughout the ship. The destination will always be in view. Your Wellbeing  The safety & happiness of our guests is paramount to our 120-strong crew on board as well as our passionate expedition team who'll be serving up thrilling shore excursions and lasting memories. Cabin Types Our 76 cabins including 6 suites have all the amenities you will need to feel comfortable including dressing gowns, hairdryers, personal safes and minibars. Our stylish cabins all have desks, a dressing area and comfy seating. En suite bathrooms all feature glass-enclosed rain showers.


Day 1 - DAY 1, SORONG
Arrive in Sorong in West Papua today. This bustling port is known as the gateway to the crystalline waters of Raja Ampat, the most biodiverse marine habitat on earth. Its tourist attractions include the hilltop Sapta Ratna Pagoda and the Pasar Jimbutan Puri market. Explore if timings allow or head straight to your home for the next 15 days. After a seamless check-in, settle into your cabin or stateroom and take time to explore your ship’s luxurious facilities.
The name Raja Ampat means ‘four kings’. It refers to Waigeo, Salawati, Batanta and Misool, the biggest of Raja Ampat’s islands, however, the region is made up of more than 1,500 small atolls, isles and islets spread across some 40,000 square kilometres of ocean. Most of the archipelago is located in the southern hemisphere, but a few islands northwest of Waigeo sit in the northern hemisphere (just). Sajang is one such island. Uninhabited with powdery beaches, you won’t be Sajang’s only visitors when you disembark to swim, snorkel or dive – endangered green turtles nest on the island.
Gem-coloured seas and untrammelled white beaches, Pandanga Bay certainly looks a lot like paradise. This sandy spit where the ship stops today protrudes from the south of Morotai, a rugged, wooded island in the Halmahera group of eastern Indonesia’s Maluku Islands. This little island saw some big action during WWII. It was the site of a major Japanese military base, which was captured by the Allied Forces in 1944. General MacArthur and his troops quickly went on to establish an airbase here and used it to assist with the liberation of the Philippines. The island made the news around the world in 1974 when Private Teruo Nakamura, a Japanese ‘holdout’ soldier, convinced the war was still raging and that Morotai remained a battleground, was found in the island’s jungly interior. This place has some fascinating stories to tell.
Day 4 - DAY 4, AT SEA
Spend the day at sea savouring the ship’s facilities. Perhaps attend an onboard talk or take in the magnificent seascapes. You could indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa, work out in the well-equipped gym, enjoy some down-time in your cabin, get to know new friends: the options are numerous.
With landscapes reminiscent of Vietnam’s Halong Bag, the region in which Sohoton Bay is located on the west coast of the Philippines’ Bucas Grande island is mainly mountainous, with thick jungled karsts ringed by immaculate sandy bays. It feels totally off-grid. As you approach by Zodiac, you’ll notice the semi-submerged, alluring entrance to the Sohoton Cave, in which visitors enjoy swimming, snorkelling or diving with stingless jellyfish (time of year dependent) in a maze of interconnecting, transparent pools. The bay’s other attractions include kayaking, exploring the sandy coves, or simply enjoying the calm murmurings of the waves.
Serene Limasawa is a small island of enormous historical and religious significance. Located south of Leyte in the east-central region of the Philippines, Limasawa saw Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first make proper contact with Filipino people in early 1521. It is said that the country’s first Roman Catholic mass was celebrated here on Easter Sunday of that same year. This mass was a baptism for the country, and some 500 years later, the Philippines is one of only two Christian countries in South-east Asia. From the supposed site of the mass, visitors can climb some 450 steps to see Magellan’s Cross and admire the God-given views. The water around Limasawa is renowned for its whale shark assemblages, for which scuba enthusiasts will travel long and far. Gatherings are migration dependent, but if you’re lucky, you might enjoy swimming with the ocean’s largest fish, whose placid nature belies its name.
Forming part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines has hundreds of volcanoes, including those on Camiguin Island, which has more volcanoes per square kilometre than any place on earth. Stop today at Mambajao, located at the tip of Camiguin, where you’ll find cold- and hot-water natural springs, countless waterfalls including Katibawasan and Tuasan, and eminently hikeable forested peaks such as Mount Hibok-Hibok, also known as Mount Timpong. Mambajao is also known for its beautiful white-sand beaches such as those on the ‘White Island’ tidal sandbar if you need your daily dose of that mellow, sand-between-your-toes feeling.
Any stop in Cagayan de Oro is sure to involve three things: great food, great people and the great outdoors. Located in northern Mindanao, this friendly city is very much a base for outdoor activities such as rafting, hiking, rock climbing and caving – some of which can be undertaken in nearby Mapawa National Park. Back in town, if you fancy some culture instead of adventure, the Malasag Eco-Tourism Village and Museum of Three Cultures come highly recommended. The town’s exciting food scene spotlights the deliciousness of Filipino cuisine in all its bold sour, sweet and tangy glory. Adobo, kare-kare, lechon and halo-halo are all must-tries. Wash it all down with a beer: San Miguel founded its original brewery here in 1890, and it’s the nation’s go-to drink.
Having sailed across the Bohol Sea, you’ll arrive today at tiny Balicasag Island, which is located about six kilometres southwest of Panglao. Circled by a reef that has been declared a marine sanctuary, it’s one of the most popular diving spots in the Philippines. The sea here drops away to impressively deep submarine cliffs. Soft and hard corals can be found around the drop-offs, as well as sublime multicoloured shoals. Afterwards, head to the city of Tagbilaran, a gateway to Bohol’s jungly interior. Home of (arguably) the world’s cutest animal, tarsiers – nocturnal primates less than 16 centimetres high that have distinctive bulbous eyes – live in Bohol and can be seen at its conservation centre and sanctuary. Bohol is also famous for its Chocolate Hills, a quirk of geology that must be seen.
Lighthouses: these beacons of light have been sought by sailors for millennia, but some are just as striking up-close on the land. They provide safe sailing but some stand as historic reminders – of colonial times, of a military past, and more. On the forested island of Capul, located west of Dalupiri, sits a landmark lighthouse, which served as a guidepost for the Acapulco-Manila trade vessels passing through the San Bernardino Strait during Spanish colonial days. There’s also a well-preserved 15th-century church and a ruined fort complex.
Ticao Island is one of the three major islands in the Masbate province. It is separated from the Bicol Peninsula by the Ticao Pass. On the island, the vibe is laid-back, and the culture remains authentic and unspoilt. Visitors enjoy seeing 30-metre-tall Catandayagan Falls and visiting the lovely beaches on the west coast. Ticao is surrounded by great snorkelling spots full of manta rays, but the nutrient rich-waters also host a large variety of other marine life. Closeby, Donsol is renowned as one of the best places in the world to see – and maybe swim alongside – the gentle giants of the seas: whale sharks. The largest species of fish, a whale shark can grow to be 12 metres long and weigh up to 15 tonnes.
Today, disembark at San Fernando in the south of crescent-shaped Sibuyan Island, which sits west of the Masbate Islands. The island’s big draw is Mount Guiting-Guiting National Park. Keen amateur botanists and birders take note, this vast park is home to an estimated 700 plant species, more than 120 bird species and a scattering of rare mammals, including the small, nocturnal tube-nosed fruit bat; some of which are endemic. The park’s namesake peak, whose name means ‘jagged’ in the local Romblomanon dialect, is truly spectacular – and it’s often called the Philippines’ best climb.
Day 13 - DAY 13, APO REEF
Welcome to an underwater utopia. Today the ship will anchor so that you can explore the Apo Reef Natural Park. It’s the largest contiguous coral reef in the Philippines and the second largest one in the world, and as such it’s being considered for UNESCO World Heritage List status. Above the waterline, the area consists of three islands, and mangrove-strewn Apo Reef is the largest. Below the surface, the diving is something special, with sightings of sharks, barracuda, tuna and turtles reasonably frequent. There are around 400 species of coral here, from tiny effervescent bubble corals to bulging brain corals, along with hundreds of species of smaller reef fishes.
This morning, the historically curious will be delighted to stop at the fortress island of Corregidor. Known locally as ‘The Rock’, Corregidor stands fast at the entrance of Manila Bay and was the site of two major battles during World War II. Learn about these actions at the Malinta Tunnel and experience its sound and light show. History buffs can also enjoy visiting the Pacific War Memorial or the ruins of the Mile-Long Barracks. Military history aside, be sure to take in the spectacular view of this volcanic island, Manila Bay, the South China Sea and the neighbouring provinces of Bataan and Cavite from the Spanish Lighthouse, which is located at the highest point of the island. Next, sail to your final destination: Manila, the capital of the Philippines. In this teeming, sprawling metropolis, its flaws are no match for its creative, exciting energy, which infused everything from the art to food. There’s so much to see and do here: the city’s museums, Fort Santiago, San Agustin Church and the Chinese Cemetery are some of the highlights. And be sure to explore Intramuros – the old Spanish walled town at the heart of the city.
Day 15 - DAY 15, MANILA
Day 15 is the last day of your luxury expedition cruise through Raja Ampat and the Philippines. Having overnighted on your comfortable ship in Manila, disembark your ship after breakfast and transfer to the airport to begin your journey home.
Day 16 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

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    • Immerse yourself in Manila, the Philippines’ bustling, creative and intoxicating capital.
    • Head underwater in numerous sites in Raja Ampat and the Philippines. These places form part of the Coral Triangle, where more coral reef species are found than anywhere else on the planet.
    • Witness natural wonders such as the Sohoton Cave and the Chocolate Hills.
    • Go swimming with gentle giants of the ocean, whale sharks, in Donsol.
    • Explore the role the region played during World War II in Pandanga Bay and Corregidor.