How many shades of sparkling blue and green can you imagine? How many picture perfect postcard images of tiny islands fringed with pure white sand can you count? Situated South West of Sri Lanka, on the equator, the Maldives comprises 1190 coral reef islands, forming an archipelago of 26 major atolls. Its geography stretches 820 km north to south and 120 km east to west. Scattered across its waters are some of the most majestic holiday hideaways you can possibly imagine. Like precious gems casually dropped into the temperate waters of the Indian Ocean, only 200 islands are in fact inhabited. This is a luxury holiday destination where the sun shines all year round and the average daily temperature is around 30 degrees C. What better way to explore all that this tropical paradise has to offer in terms of culture and natural splendour than by taking the Azalea Cruise experience?
The official language of the Maldives is Dhiveli. English is however widely spoken. Maldivian culture is a rich mixture of different customs and traditions, historically influenced by India, Sri Lanka, Arab and North African cultures. Rhythmic music and dance remain important cultural attributes. The country converted to Islam in 1135 AD. Maldivians are respectful people, devoted to their beautiful country, its culture and traditions. Maldivians are smiling, hospitable and welcoming people. The sea is central to the lives of Maldivian people and many ancient myths and rituals are still preserved and observed. Some of the smaller, less commercialised islands are still steeped in folklore and traditional craftsmanship. This blend of cultures makes it a very special place to visit.
The capital of the Maldives is Male. Located on the east side, it is the busiest and most populated island in the archipelago. It is the political and commercial centre and the location of many important historical and religious landmarks. The country’s National Museum, where you can find ancient Buddhist artefacts, is located in Male. The capital is too small to have an airport. International flights land nearby on the neighbouring island which has the only runway in the world that begins and ends in water. The first holiday resort opened in the 1970s. Since then, the tourism industry has flourished in the Maldives and is now widely regarded as being one of the best in the world.
The Maldives offers a wide choice of holiday experiences including luxurious and exclusive five star resorts; family holidays; diving and spa holidays. It is a romantic destination popular with couples who choose to get married here or to enjoy their honeymoon. The Azalea Cruise offers you the best of all worlds.
The Maldives enjoys a dry and wet season. The dry season typically runs from November to April. The skies are generally blue; the sun is strong and the ocean waves are calm. This is the perfect time for sun worshippers and divers. The wet season can bring torrential rain to the Maldives, along with the occasional thunderstorm and strong winds. This is a great time to go surfing! Weather extremes are rare in the Maldives. Hot and humid weather is tempered by cooling sea breezes and periodic rain. On average the daily temperature may fluctuate from 31 °C during the day to 23 °C in the night. There is never a bad time to visit the Maldives!