Take a Cruise to Raja Ampat
The traditional Indonesian ship design or Phinisi Schooner is a common sight in Raja Ampat, cutting an ominous piratical outline on the horizon.
Since a cruise ship ran aground in March 2017, the Indonesian government has restricted the size of vessel allowed to visit these waters. That incident resulted in about 20,000 square metres of coral reef destroyed.
Raja Ampat cruises advertised by larger ships (anything more than about 50 passengers) simply skirt the edge of a region where local operators take tourists into all the curious nooks and crannies. At one point you can be passing down the narrow Saguin Strait between the islands of Batanta and Salawati and a day later anchored off an idyllic outcrop in the Dampier Strait.
Cabotage also applies ... it is illegal for non-Indonesian-flagged ships to pick up and drop-off passengers inside the country. This means that any cruise you do to Raja Ampat has to depart from PNG, Australia or further afield, which means you spend significant time travelling and you may have to arrange visas for more than one country, join in another remote place and buy inbound/outbound flights with different airlines.
Many of our guests revisit the region after being on a cruise as they know they will get a better chance with us to meet local people and connect with the land and the wildlife more intimately.
The Phinisi Schooners are set up very professionally. Kim Kardashian recently passed through the region on board one.
The ships are mostly wooden but spacious. Cabins on board Pindito (below) are 3 x 3m with individual air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms ... and plenty of storage space.
Hospitality and experiences are often superior to a conventional cruise ship and you're only travelling with a group of about 16 people. There is a general view among those who go to sea that the smaller the ship, the more private time you can have to yourself. It's true. There is always plenty of space on board to get some peace and quiet.
So if you're considering a cruise, we would strongly recommend getting in touch with us about a local liveaboard. It's an experience that's different but no-one regrets and many come back time and time again for more.