Long flight times and expensive air fares to these regions make them rather distant to many prospective cruise passengers. However, those who do make the effort are rarely disappointed, especially if a stay is included as a pre or post cruise option.
It is many a cruise fan's dream to take a voyage around the coast of Australia and maybe on to New Zealand or from Hong Kong to the stunning Thai Islands. Several world cruises include a variety of ports in the region in the itinerary but there are very few options for the traveller to explore this area of the South Pacific on individual activities. This however is changing with ships both large and small beginning to enter this growing market.
Snorkelling is a favourite activity in the region of Australasia and the Pacific as well as trips to explore the unspoilt coral sea gardens. Some ships have retractable water sports platforms enabling guests to go waterskiing, kayaking and windsurfing straight from the vessel. Whether it is the intricate coast of New Zealand, the sweeping beaches of Australia or the natural beauty of the South Pacific islands, a cruise in this region creates lifelong memories.
Further west, into the Indian Ocean, The Maldives, Sri Lanka and the west coast of India have all become favourites amongst UK based holidaymakers. Mauritius and the Seychelles have also been identified by the British as luxurious tropical destinations in which to escape the European winter.
Cruising in this region is still in its early stages; however the calm seas and the welcoming, friendly ambience of its island and mainland ports are helping to make the Indian Ocean a preferred cruise region for many. Alongside the fantastic excursions on offer: dolphin watching and short sea trips are particularly popular throughout the region, as are diving and snorkelling.
Combined with the sun and sand of these beautiful Indian Ocean islands, an itinerary in this area will often start further north in India, well known for its rich culture and vibrant surroundings. This region offers incredible shore excursion opportunities and combined with a stay before or after your cruise, a trip to the Indian subcontinent can be a truly unique and once in a lifetime experience. While the larger lines often only stop in India during their World Cruises, smaller lines offer itineraries leaving from the incredible cities of Chennai and Mumbai.
Warm weather, with most rainfall occurring in the evenings in the form of short showers, makes this an amenable region for year round cruising, although the monsoon season on India's west coast is best avoided. The Maldives, Goa and Kerala receive similar weather patterns to each other with humidity and rainfall at its highest between May and October.
The region, thanks to its warm climate, attracts Europeans wishing to escape winter as well as Chinese and Japanese tourists who are experiencing cruising for the first time. Australian passengers also frequent the area, thanks to its proximity to home when compared with the other main affordable cruise areas of the world.
Shore excursions sometimes require rather long road journeys, especially when visiting Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or Tokyo. A cruise in the Far East also provides magnificent opportunities to those seeking to view the enormous development that has taken place in such cities as Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City and Yokohama.
It has been suggested that the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games were probably the last to be seen on a grand scale. All cruise itineraries visiting Tianjin have shore excursions arranged to view the Bird's Nest Stadium and its surrounding sights.