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Indonesia is one of the world’s top adventure cruise destinations, offering an exotic archipelago of over 17,000 islands. From the vibrant coral reefs of Raja Ampat to the lush greenery of Bali and the cultural richness of West Papua on New Guinea, each island in Indonesia offers a unique and unforgettable experience.

By far the finest and easiest way to explore the often remote islands of Indonesia is by embarking on a cruise. Cruising allows you to uncover hidden gems, immerse yourself in local culture, and really embrace the natural side of this tropical paradise.

Join us as we embark on a journey through Indonesia’s archipelago, where every island promises new discoveries and unforgettable moments on the open seas. We’ll introduce you to some of the magical islands that await, whether it’s a cruise to Bali or one of Indonesia’s more remote islands.

Unforgettable Indonesian Cruise Tours & Packages: Exploring Islands from Bali to New Guinea


Bali is often considered by many travelers to be a party destination, particularly in certain areas such as Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu. These areas are known for their vibrant nightlife scene, with bars, clubs, and regular beach parties featuring live music and fire dancers.

However, it’s important to note that while Bali does offer a vibrant party scene, there are many areas on the island that are perfect for travelers seeking adventure and the more natural side of Bali which cruises can offer.

Those who get to really know Bali soon realize it offers stunning natural beauty, with lush rice terraces, volcanic mountains, and pristine beaches. Cruising allows you the chance to approach the island from the sea, offering breathtaking views of Bali’s impressive coastline.

Immerse yourself in the island’s cultural heritage, from exploring ancient temples like Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, and Besakih, to witnessing traditional dance performances and ancient ceremonies.  If you get the chance, embark on a pre-dawn trek to the summit of Mount Batur for breathtaking sunrise views over Bali.

Bali is also dotted with picturesque waterfalls, such as Tegenungan, Gitgit, and Sekumpul. Then there’s the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, where you can watch cheeky macaques as you hike lush jungle pathways lined with ancient temples.

Cruising allows you to visit multiple destinations in Bali and its neighboring islands in a single trip. From the laid-back vibe of Lombok to the pristine beaches of the Gili Islands, there are plenty of nearby destinations to explore on a cruise from Bali.

Many cruise tours of Bali and surrounding islands also offer luxurious onboard amenities and accommodations, allowing you to relax and unwind in style after exploring the islands all day. From onboard spas and gourmet dining to entertainment and activities, cruises offer a comfortable and convenient way to experience Bali.

Cruising to Bali eliminates the need for multiple flights or long overland journeys, making it a convenient and hassle-free way to explore the island itself and other nearby islands if they are included as part of your cruise itinerary.

Komodo Island

Komodo Dragon RF

Most people associate Komodo Island with the world’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon. These real-life dragons definitely have a prehistoric appearance and seeing them in their natural habitat instead of a zoo feels like stepping back in time to the age of the dinosaurs.

Komodo Island and the surrounding Komodo National Park boast breathtaking natural beauty, including rugged coastlines, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life. You can explore lush forests, hike scenic trails, and snorkel or dive in some of the world’s most diverse coral reefs that provide a home for colorful tropical fish, manta rays, and even whale sharks certain times of the year.

While Komodo Island receives most of the attention, it’s just one of several islands that make up Komodo National Park. A cruise can offer the chance to enjoy an island-hopping excursion to explore nearby islands such as Rinca and Padar, each offering its own unique attractions and experiences.


As mentioned before, Rinca Island is located within Komodo National Park and is one of the few places in the world where you can see the famous Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. In addition to Komodo dragons, Rinca Island is home to a variety of other wildlife species, including deer, wild boar, monkeys, and diverse birdlife.

Cruises often offer the chance to embark on guided trekking tours of the island, exploring its hidden trails and encountering wildlife along the way. Snorkeling and diving are also popular activities, allowing you to discover vibrant coral reefs and marine life beneath the waves.

Getting to Rinca Island often involves a scenic boat trip through the picturesque waters of Komodo National Park. Rinca Island is inhabited by local communities whose traditional way of life is closely tied to the natural environment, and you’ll likely learn about their local customs and traditions when visiting local villages.


Like Komodo and Rinca, Padar Island is also a part of the Komodo National Park, however, it is not home to Komodo dragons. You can still encounter other wildlife like monitor lizards, cockatoos, kingfishers, and eagles on land, and beneath the seas, you can encounter sharks, sea turtles, and dolphins.

Padar Island is famous for its iconic panoramic views overlooking three beautiful bays with different colored sands including white, black and pink beaches caused by the presence of coral fragments. Hiking to the island’s highest point rewards visitors with sweeping vistas of the surrounding landscapes and waters below.

Padar Island is often included in island-hopping tours of the Komodo National Park. While Padar Island is primarily known for its natural attractions, you may also get the opportunity to experience local culture by interacting with inhabitants of nearby villages. Learn about traditional customs, observe local craftsmanship, and sample authentic Indonesian cuisine during your visit.

Moyo Island

Moyo Island is found in West Nusa Tenggara and remains relatively undeveloped and untouched by mass tourism, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking an authentic natural Indonesian experience.

Moyo Island is surrounded by some of Indonesia’s most biodiverse marine ecosystems, being part of the so-called Coral Triangle which is known for its exceptional marine biodiversity. On land, you can visit waterfalls like Diwu Mbai and Mata Jitu to cool off in the refreshing waters.

When it comes to wildlife, there are a number of rare and endangered animals both on land and sea to see. Endemics include the Moyo macaque, and then there are large hornbills flying overhead and dugongs beneath the sea.

Maluku or Spice Islands

The Maluku Islands are an archipelago in eastern Indonesia renowned for their stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and unique history. The Maluku Islands played a pivotal role in the global spice trade during the colonial era which attracted traders and colonizers from both Europe and Asia. This is why the islands are often referred to as the Spice Islands.

You can explore historic sites such as the 16th-century Fort Belgica in Banda Neira, the former seat of the Dutch East India Company, and learn about the region’s fascinating history through guided tours and museum visits that can be arranged by cruise operators.

The Maluku Islands have a rich cultural heritage shaped by centuries of trade, migration, and colonial influence. They offer diverse cultures, languages, and traditions, including traditional dance and music performances, artisanal crafts, and culinary delights influenced by Malay, Arab, and Portuguese cuisines.

The Maluku Islands also offer some of the world’s best diving and snorkeling opportunities, with pristine coral reefs, abundant marine life, and excellent visibility. Dive sites such as Ambon, and the Banda Islands are renowned for their biodiversity, including colorful coral gardens, reef sharks, manta rays, and vibrant reef fish.

Then there are religious and spiritual sites to check out, including mosques, churches, and traditional animist shrines. You can visit historic mosques in Ternate and Ambon, see colonial-era churches in Banda Neira, and witness traditional rituals and ceremonies performed by local communities.

Ambon is one of the largest islands in the Maluku Islands and serves as the regional capital, in addition to serving up fresh seafood, spicy sambal sauces, and traditional Malay and Arab-inspired specialties. Be sure to try local favorites like ikan bakar (grilled fish), papeda (sago porridge), and ayam goreng Ambon (fried chicken Ambon style).

The Maluku Islands basically offers the opportunity to experience authentic and off-the-beaten-path destinations away from the crowds in one of Indonesia’s least-visited regions.

Raja Ampat Islands and West Papua

If you’re looking for an unparalleled opportunity to experience some of the most stunning and biodiverse marine environments on the planet, look no further than Raja Ampat. Raja Ampat Islands are located off the northwest tip of the island of New Guinea in Indonesia’s West Papua province.

Raja Ampat is home to the world’s most biodiverse marine ecosystem, with over 1,500 species of fish and 600 species of coral. Flying overhead are some 1,700 species of birds that have been recorded in the region. Birdwatchers will delight in spotting rare and endemic bird species such as the Wilson’s bird-of-paradise, red bird-of-paradise, and Raja Ampat pitohui.

West Papua is the western half of the island of New Guinea, home to some of the most untouched landscapes in the world, including lush rainforests, towering mountains, and pristine beaches. West Papua is also home to a several indigenous cultures including the Dani, Asmat, and Korowai tribes.

West Papua is a biodiversity hotspot, with plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. It’s home to  tree kangaroos, and cassowaries, wallabies, crocodiles, and cuscuses.

West Papua is equally popular for its world-class diving and snorkeling opportunities, particularly in areas such as Raja Ampat, Triton Bay, and Cenderawasih Bay. Many areas of West Papua are protected as national parks, marine reserves, and conservation areas, making it an ideal destination for eco-conscious travelers.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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