Japan’s tropical islands are postcard-perfect, and best explored from the water. To celebrate summer, Dream Cruises will set sail on a five-night Okinawa Discovery tour, which travels from Hong Kong and Guangzhou to this cluster of white-sand islands in a coral-dotted ocean. With stops in Naha and Miyakojima, this little-visited side of Japan is perfect for exploring from the comfort of your own ship. In Naha, be sure to visit Shuri Castle, which dates back to the 15th century and today, in its reconstructed form, has been declared a unesco World Heritage Site. The eastern cape of Miyakojima, with rugged limestone cliffs dropping off into the sea, is known as one of the most beautiful settings in Japan. The island is also famous for its own version of soba and its sugar-cane plantations producing brown sugar.
dreamcruiseline.com; from HK$13,340 per person; cruises depart weekly until November 25.
Aboard the Kudanil Explorer.
More Ocean Adventures
During October and November, the Kudanil Explorer offers several weeklong sailings in the Spice Islands out of Ambon. The sturdy, eight-berth, 16-passenger ship is prepped for any eventuality in the furthest reaches of the Indonesian archipelago, but with five-star accoutrements including a staff of 21, staterooms befitting a five-star hotel and even a Jacuzzi. kudanil.com; from US$1,000 per person per night.
Set to sail in December is True North Adventure Cruises’ The Mystery of Melanesia, a 10-night journey that starts with a flight out of Cairns to Alotau in Papua New Guinea. The cruise takes in the mysterious Trobriand Islands before sailing to Bougainville across the Coral Sea. Snorkel over World War II wrecks, and get a bird’s-eye view of the seascape with opportunities to explore by helicopter. truenorth.com.au; from A$20,995 per person.
For a true dose of intimacy—just you and your loved one catered to by an eight-person crew—glide along the Ganges on the one-bedroom wooden ship Nauka Vilas that will launch this year. The teakwood floor bedroom comes with Victorian furnishings and modern comforts. exoticheritagegroup.com; prices not yet set; cruises start in September.