Nautica has spent these first months of 2011 exploring the colorful coasts of Asia. From China to Vietnam to Thailand to Myanmar, guests onboard Nautica have experienced diverse cultures, vibrant metropolises, fascinating histories, and magnificent religious shrines.
A guest onboard was kind enough to share photos of some recent excursions taken during travels with Nautica. Above you see a shot of the lovely landscape of Vietnam, and here are also some interesting and beautiful portraits of local Vietnamese people.
In nearby Cambodia, Oceania Cruises offered an excursion in which guests could see an Apsara Dance, a Khmer Classical Dance that forms an integral part of the culture of Cambodia. The apsara, a woodland spirit, is played by a woman, whose graceful, sinuous gestures are codified to narrate classical myths or religious stories. This tradition of dance has been honed for over a millennium and is depicted in works of art throughout Cambodian temples such as Angkor Wat.
Nautica then sailed on to vibrant Myanmar, where the ship lingered for two overnight stays in Yangon so that guests could delve deep into this fascinating culture.
As the majority of Myanmar’s people are Buddhist, the Novitiation Ceremony, or Shinbyu, is one of the most important events in the life of a Burmese boy. Parents deem it their duty to send forth their sons to embrace the legacy of the Buddha, enter the order of monks, and become immersed in Buddha’s teachings. This rite of passage, however long or short it may be, is of utmost spiritual importance and is expected to have a profound and lasting effect on the boy’s life.
The ceremony begins with a grand procession in which the young boys are dressed as princes in glittering robes, makeup, and ornate headpieces. They are accompanied by an orchestra and dancers in a gala affair.
Later they will have their heads shaven and don the robes of a novice, a symbol of how Buddha’s son swore off the luxuries of princely life for the life of an ascetic.
In Yangon, the procession of the novices visits the Schwedagon Pagoda to pay homage to the Buddha and do meritorious deeds. This glorious shrine is covered in gold leaf, adorned with over 5,000 diamonds and 2,000 rubies, and topped with a 76-carat diamond at its crown. Dominating the Yangon skyline, the Schwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred shrine of the Burmese, housing innumerable relics including hairs of Gautama Buddha.
Nautica will soon bid Asia adieu to sail for European shores where she will spend her summer. But Nautica‘s adventures in Asia will not soon be forgotten by any guests fortunate enough to have traveled on these remarkable journeys.