Ships making long voyages between the Mediterranean and via Suez to and from Southeast and East Asia will make intermediate calls at Indian and/or Sri Lankan ports. On India’s West Coast, Mumbai (Bombay) reveals a heavy dose of modern urban life in a teeming city, air access to Agra and the Taj Mahal; Goa has its Indian-Portuguese-Catholic culture and popular beach scene; and Kochi (Cochin), layers of influence by the Chinese, Jews, Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch, British and Indian occupiers and traders. Chennai (Madras) located on the East Coast is well known for its temples, museums, British influences, and beaches offering a respite from the heat and humidity. Colombo, on most Indian Ocean passages, is Sri Lanka’s cosmopolitan capital with frenetic street life and open air markets, and trip up to nearby Kandy, the former capital, a religious pilgrimage site. Very few small ships venture into the Gulf States.
India has many ports that are primary tourist destinations such as Mumbai (Bombay), Goa, Kochi (Cochin) on the west coast, and Puducherry (Pondicherry), Chennai (Madras) and Kolkata (Calcutta) on the east coast. Northern India’s river system is now being developed for cruises, including on the Brahmaputra River.
Sri Lanka/Indian Ocean
A potpourri of islands include the large country of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and its main access port, Colombo, and resort island chains of the Maldives, Seychelles, and off Madagascar, lesser known Comoros and Mayotte.
Middle East/Persian Gulf
Most cruise ports are strung along the Arabian Peninsula, and beginning in the Persian Gulf — Bahrain, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and in Sultanate of Oman, Muscat and Salalah. Aqaba, Jordan serves the ancient ruins at Petra and the capital at Amman.