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Whether you opt for an epic journey embarking from the UK and travelling along the coasts of Africa and Asia before returning via the Mediterranean, or cross the sea from Africa to India, you'll visit a vast range of exotic countries rich in contrasting cultures and experiences on India Ocean cruises.

One popular port of call on a number of longer Indian Ocean cruise itineraries is the African beach city of Durban. Its colonial and Indian influences are clearly visible in the arresting architecture of its buildings, such as the Hare Krishna Temple of Understanding and West Street Mosque. A walk through the Indian Quarter offers an authentic taste of the East, while a stroll along the Golden Mile presents the quintessential beach lifestyle.

Few Indian Ocean cruises would be complete without a visit to Mumbai. The city formerly known as Bombay is the fourth most populous metropolis in the world and home to over 20 million people. It's an experience in itself soaking up the atmosphere of the bustling streets while looking for a bargain on the lively markets, but there are some real architectural gems to discover too, such Shree Siddhivinayak, Mahalakshmi Temple and World Heritage Site Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus - a gothic masterpiece which looks more like a church than a railway station.

Galle is the capital of Sri Lanka's southern province and is famous for its Old Town, where you can explore the historic fortifications, stroll along the ramparts of the fort, and visit the Lighthouse or the Dutch Reformed Church. The Maritime Archaeology Museum is also a great place to visit and find out more about the history of Indian sea exploration, while the beautiful Rumasalla Mountain offers amazing views of the city.

Oman's capital Muscat is well known for its Royal Opera House, which is a must-see when visiting this popular port of call. It's an architectural treasure in its own right, but if you're in the city during the evening, be sure to take in a concert and experience for yourself the amazing atmosphere and acoustics. If relaxing on the beach is your thing, then Oman more than delivers by way of Qurum Beach, which is a great place for a coastal stroll, and Qantab Beach, a beautiful escape where you can watch the local fishermen bring in their catch.

Singapore is an Asian city state and actually comprises 63 islands, though its namesake capital remains its most popular destination. Although the areas is famous as a dazzling metropolis with a skyline which showcases contemporary architecture, it's also in touch with its heritage and there's plenty to do in the city. Marina Bay is perhaps the city's most distinguishable coastal site and the triple linked towers are home to a wealth of culinary and retail choices. You can also enjoy great panoramic views from the top. If you're in need of a peaceful escape from the hustle bustle of the city, there's plenty to choose from, whether it be The National Orchid Garden, the Singapore Botanical Gardens or the award-winning Gardens by the Bay.

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