The nicko cruises Ocean Experience


For more than 30 years, the nicko brand has been synonymous with unforgettable river travel experiences, offering top service and a personal touch at the best value for money, and all on a full programme of award-winning European River Cruises. Now, nicko cruises also offers the opportunity to experience this same level of service, hospitality and adventure onboard our splendid ocean vessel – Vasco da Gama.

As a specialist in small-ship cruising, we not only draw on our own experience, but also on an international network of partners, in order to implement the nicko cruises philosophy. We venture deep into the heart of destinations that larger ocean ships simply cannot reach, and we deliver a cruise experience like no other.

English is spoken and fluent across our entire fleet, and as you travel in the company of like-minded people, the experiences of the places you will visit combine with relaxing moments of onboard wellbeing. A nicko cruises is more than just a cruise, it’s a journey into the unforgettable.

Small ships. Great experiences.

World Voyager Nicko Cruises UK

Discover Our Ocean Cruise Destinations

Atlantic Islands

Madiera & The Azores nicko cruises uk

African Coast


Island hopping in greece nicko cruises UK

Iberian Coast

Northern Europe

Scandinavian Taster Cruise

Asia & Pacific

Islands of the South China Sea

South America

General Information – OCEAN CRUISES

Animals/bicycles/sports equipment

Due to the lack of space on board, we are unfortunately unable to take on pets or to transport sports equipment, such as bikes, surfboards, etc. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


Onboard VASCO DA GAMA you can choose between five different restaurants with a free choice of seating. We serve breakfast a la carte or in a buffet style; at lunchtime and at dinner, you can choose from a variety of different menus. Depending on your itinerary the catering may also include local cuisine. In Club Bistro global cuisine and buffet style themed evenings are included. In the evening you can dine in any of our restaurants any time between 5:30pm – 9pm (last entry approx. 8:15pm). Exclusive menus are offered in The Grill restaurant for a surcharge. Please note it is recommended to reserve your place to avoid disappointment. The Alfresco Grill offers light meals outside of normal meal times. Please inform us of any special dietary requirements you have when making your booking. Suitable catering options will usually always be provided.

Changes to prices and services

1. The details printed in our brochure are correct at the time of printing in May 2022. Please understand we reserve the right to make changes to the services for objective reasons up until your booking request is submitted. We will, of course, inform you of these changes before concluding the contract.

2. The prices stated in our brochure and on our website are correct at the time of printing/publishing, however we reserve the right to make necessary changes were necessary. Please refer to our Booking Conditions for more information.

3. Price adjustments may be necessary in the case of increased transport costs (particularly fuel costs), port fees aviation costs, the so called ‘bed tax’ or a change in exchange rates applicable to the cruise in questions.

Changes to routes and services

Sea voyages are subject to the special factors of seafaring that we have no influence over. The shipping company therefore reserves the right to make changes to the cruise itinerary without prior notice, should they become necessary for safety reasons or due to sea, weather or ice conditions or due to travel warnings issued by the Foreign Office.

Children on board

VASCO DA GAMA Children under 16 years cruise for free when accompanied by two full-paying adults. When accompanied by one full-paying adult, children under 16 years get a 50% discount of the cruise only fare. Please note that other package costs such as flights, gratuities, drinks package etc will still apply. The minimum age for children onboard is 24 months. For children aged 3 and over, we have a spacious supervised indoor and outdoor play areas extended over two decks. The children’s area may only be used by children who have been vaccinated against measles. The vaccination record must be submitted as proof. For more information on child prices please call our Reservations team on 01223 568907.


We recommend wearing sporty, casual clothing on the ship. You should wear non-slip shoes on the outside decks. Smart/casual clothes are required for dinner and guests are welcome to wear more formal attire for the gala dinner. For shore excursions we recommend clothing suitable for the weather conditions. For cruises in cold regions, we recommend warm clothing with layers, even during the summer months, as well as waterproof and comfortable footwear. Due to infection risks associated with mosquitos, we recommend full-body, light clothing (long trousers, long shirts), as well as repeated insect repellent application on uncovered body parts when travelling in tropical areas. A laundry and ironing service is available on board VASCO DA GAMA at an extra charge.


There is a dialysis station on board VASCO DA GAMA, which can be used by dialysis patients. Please contact our partner Cruise Dialysis directly on 0844 995 1214 who can handle your dialysis booking requirements.

Drinking water

As the fresh water on board the ships is always stored in tanks, we recommend not drinking the tap water and that you use the mineral water in your cabin and, if necessary, get mineral water from the bar, in the restaurant or at the coffee point on Deck 4 instead. The tap water is perfectly suitable for brushing teeth.

Electrical appliances

Irons, hair straighteners, immersion heaters and similar electrical appliances must not be used in the cabins for safety reasons. The voltage in your cabin is 220 volts. Two-pin European plug adapters are required. A hairdryer is located in your cabin and is free to use.

Embarkation and disembarkation

Ships must sometimes change their berths at short notice despite what has been officially confirmed. If you arrive on your own, we recommend you arrive at the pier at least 3 hours before the ship is due to depart. Please note the precise embarkation times detailed on your final cruise documentation. Even if the ship arrives in the port earlier than planned, the crew must use this time to clean the ship. Please understand that you will not be able to board the ship until the specified time. Disembarkation on the day of departure is usually by 9:00 am (local time).

Environmental protection

VASCO DA GAMA is driven by low sulphur MGO (Marine gasoil) and has an SCR catalytic converter, which reduces nitrogen oxide by up to 95 per cent. VASCO DA GAMA thus far exceeds the exhaust emission regulations set out by the International Maritime organisation (IMO). A new waste water system using the latest membrane technology make sit possible to treat wastewater without the use of chemicals and achieve bathing water quality.


For almost every cruise, nicko cruises offers you an excursion package with interesting trips, which we particularly recommend and which can be booked before you travel. Additional excursions can also be booked on board. These excursions often have a minimum or maximum number of participants. Detailed excursion descriptions and prices will be sent to you approx. three weeks before departure, or in exceptional cases at shorter notice too. They will also be displayed once you are on board. If you do not participate in an excursion you have booked, the cost will not be reimbursed. Arrival and departure times are guidelines. All cruises may require schedule changes. The captain will decide the best course possible depending on the conditions. We reserve the right to change times, itineraries, excursion programmes and prices.

Excursions on Zodiacs

The manoeuvrable Zodiac boats (robust, motorised inflatable boats) allow you to explore the waters and land in scenic areas and in places that are usually less developed. Excursions on Zodiacs offer unique and special sights and sounds; however, they are dependent on official approvals and weather conditions. They are added to the excursion programme whenever possible. For all landings in Zodiac boats, travellers will be expected to wear suitable (preferably non-slip and waterproof) footwear. Each traveller must assess their level of physical fitness and participate in the expeditions at their own risk. Training in safety measures for landings and trips on Zodiac boats is mandatory for all participants. Please note that it is not usually possible for people with limited mobility to get in and out of the Zodiac boats, and that trips may be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions for safety reasons. This final decision is made by the captain.

First aid on board/Medical care

A doctor and a nurse sail on VASCO DA GAMA to provide first-aid assistance in the event of accidents and emergencies. Billing for the doctor’s services and, if applicable, medication that has been administered, is carried out on site. Our on-board staff (e.g., at the reception desk) are unable to dispense any medication. Please ensure that you have an adequate supply of any medication you need on a regular basis and carry it with you in your hand luggage. You should also have enough medication that you might need, such as headache tablets. We assume no liability for any medication and urgently required medical equipment that is carried in your suitcase. We strongly recommend you take out international health insurance, which also covers the cost of medically necessary repatriation to your country. 


Flights are carefully selected by us and booked through well-known airlines. Flight times detailed with your final cruise documents are non-binding, as we have no influence on any changes to these times made by the airline. Please note that requests for rebooking flights must be checked and may be subject to any charges made by the airline.

Guests with physical limitations

Your ship will be as comfortable as possible, but there will of course be staircases, as well as narrow doors and corridors. Even boarding or disembarking from the ship is usually via narrow gangways, which are not always at ground level and, depending on the tide, can also be very steep. If you are not able to handle these obstacles on your own, an ocean cruise on our ships is not recommended. Our crew is of course on hand to help, however, please bear in mind that our onboard employees are not trained caregivers and are not permitted to carry out any nursing activities. If you require specialised help, you must travel with a companion. Guests who are wheel-chair dependent may travel on VASCO DA GAMA but must bring their own collapsible wheelchair. Please note that the number of guests per cruise who are wheelchair dependent is limited for safety reasons and embarkation may be refused without prior registration. Please ensure you advise us of any specific needs, limited mobility or other physical limitations prior to making your booking.

Internet on board

VASCO DA GAMA is equipped with a satellite reception system and offers WLAN internet connection (up to 250MB) which is not included in the fare cost. Continuous reception cannot always be guaranteed; there may be interruptions to network coverage on the high seas. Please understand that we are unable to reimburse you for costs caused by coverage interruptions. In order to guarantee a stable internet service, there are restrictions on certain streaming providers and internet services. For more information, please refer to the on-board ABC information in your cabin. If you have any questions, please contact the reception desk staff who will be happy to help.


There are no limitations on boar in terms of quantity and weight, although you will need to observe any restrictions imposed by airlines. Please note your empty luggage bags must be stowed away in your cabin. Your luggage must only contain personal items. It is forbidden to bring weapons, knives, alcohol or drugs on board. For safety reasons, you are not allowed to bring beverages or food on board. This also applies to anything bought for consumption during shore excursions. The hotel management is happy to store local products/souvenirs that you wish to take home with you for safekeeping until you leave the ship. In accordance with the rules of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS), every piece of luggage – including hand luggage – is examined during embarkation.

Pandemic events, in particular coronavirus variants: until further notice, the 2G rule applies to all travellers aged over 12 years wishing to come on our cruises. This means all travellers must present a valid vaccination certificate for COVID-19 or a certificate to show that they have recovered from COVID-19.

Passenger manifest

For all of our cruises we require information from you in advance of departure in order to draw up a passenger manifest. This helps the ship to be cleared faster by the authorities in the various ports we visit and therefore shortens waiting times for you. Information provided for this passenger manifest is subject to the Privacy Policy. You will receive your personal log-in details for the online registration of the manifest data with your booking confirmation.


Please check that all necessary papers and records are valid well in advance of your trip. We would like to point out that you are responsible for having the appropriate travel documentation, visas and for complying with the vaccination requirements. In the event of non-compliance with the passport, visa and vaccination regulations, travel may be prevented or it can lead to considerable costs for the passenger. If a cruise cannot be taken due to improper documentation, there will be no refund of the travel price. You will not need a visa for the Russian Federation when travelling as part of our excursion programme in St. Petersburg. If you plan on taking shore leave in St. Petersburg on your own, a visa is a mandatory requirement. The visa is not included in our travel services and each guest is responsible for procuring their own visa. You can obtain a visa for Russia either directly through the responsible consulate/embassy service centre in your country or use a visa service to apply on your behalf. Please read up about any customs regulations along your cruise route in advance of departure.

Payment on board

The currency on board is the Euro. You can pay for additional beverages you consume outside of your drinks package, on board and trips booked on board at the end of your journey in cash in Euro. You can of course also pay your onboard bill using your credit card (Mastercard, Visa, American Express) or your debit card. Please note that paying with a credit card will incur a transaction fee. In some circumstances, foreign travel charges may be incurred by your bank or credit card company for card payments, as VASCO DA GAMA sails under the Portuguese flag. Please note: money cannot be exchanged on the ship.


You can send post while on board. It will usually be sent when we reach the next port. Postcards and postage stamps can be purchased at reception, but please bear in mind that prices on board may be more expensive than ashore.

Pregnant guests

At the point of departure, pregnant travellers must present a medical certificate as verification that there are no medical concerns about their participation on the cruise. Please note that you will not be able to come on the cruise if you are already in the 24th week of pregnancy or have a high-risk pregnancy.

Ship moorings/Docking at anchor

Each ship has a berth in each port, which can be changed by the authorities at short notice. These are not always centrally located. In some cases, your ship will be ‘docked at anchor’ as indicated on your itinerary. This means that your ship will not dock at a pier – it will anchor at a safe, designated place or, in nautical terms, it will be lying “in the roads”. Please note that it is always the responsibility of the port authorities to assign our vessel another berth at anchor in the roads at short notice; this is beyond the control of the shipping company. In these cases, there will be a regular shuttle service between the ship and port, which will either be on tender boats or on the ship’s own motorised Zodiac boats. Disembarking depends on weather conditions. Unfortunately, for security reasons, customers who only have limited mobility cannot make use of this service. This also applies to guests with severely impaired vision.

Services not included in the price

Please note that the following services are not included in our package prices: travel to/from the airport, individual travel to and from the ship in destination, shore excursions – if not expressly stated as being included in the travel price – travel insurance and other personal expenses.

Ship equipment

On board your ship you will find communal facilities such as a spa area or fitness room which you are free to use. Use them at your own risk. Massage treatments are available for a fee. There are chairs, tables and sun loungers in the pool area. Please understand that there are limited numbers and there are the maximum number possible for the deck space.

On board VASCO DA GAMA we have a range of sports facilities including table tennis, shuffleboard and darts. The outdoor sports area includes a hard paddle tennis court and a jogging track as well as an outdoor pool with two whirlpools and a covered indoor pool.

The use of the pool and whirlpool is dependent on the current and forecasted swell and weather. If conditions are unsuitable, they will not be filled with water. The decision is made exclusively by the captain. Please note that the on-board shop is only open outside the 12-mile zone.

Shore excursions

Shore excursions organised and put together for you by nicko cruises take you to some of the most beautiful countryside and important sights along your cruise route. You are, of course, welcome to explore the holiday destination on your own. You are able to leave the ship when the authorities and ship’s captain have officially approved disembarkation and the corresponding announcement has been made. Please refer to the daily programme for information on when you should be back on board. The ship is unable to wait for late passengers due to the berthing times agreed with the port. Any extra costs incurred (such as hotel or additional transfer costs) will not be covered. If your ship is at anchor off the coast, landing will be in a tender boat.


Smoking is only permitted on labelled outside decks. Please only use the ashtrays provided. All internal areas such as restaurants, lounges, cabins (also balconies), corridors, etc. are non-smoking areas.

Telephones on board (communication)

It is possible to make calls on board from cabin to cabin. It is also possible to call ashore via a satellite link. The costs of this, however, are high and we recommend using your own mobile phone (please check with your provider for information on roaming charges).


It is common practice around the world for a satisfied guest to reward the services of staff accordingly. The amount tipped is, of course, at the guest’s discretion and should be in recognition of good service. For your convenience we have included the cost of gratuities in the cruise fare, however if you still wish to reward staff that have given you good service, please feel free to do so. The cruise director, local tour guides and bus drivers are not included in this. You can, however, also thank them by giving them a tip.


Transfers between the airport and the ship are included in the cruise fare. 

Travel documents

The travel documents are ready for dispatch approx. 14 days before departure and will be sent to you by e-mail. Please be aware that travel documents will not be released until full payment has been received. The travel documents contain important information, including embarkation information and vouchers for the services you have booked.


Your ship has flat screen TVs that work with a satellite dish, so television reception is guaranteed for most of the trip.  The on board TV will feature films ad selected travel shows.


A yellow fever vaccination is mandatory when travelling from yellow fever areas to the Caribbean and Cape Verde Islands. Each guest is responsible for meeting the entry requirements at each of the respective destinations.


All cabins are equipped with a small safe box in which you can store your valuables. However, we recommend that you do not take items such as expensive jewellery etc on the cruise. We sometimes visit parts of the world in which, for our standards, lower affluence levels are considered abundant riches, and the display of valuables can evoke covetousness. We would like to point out that valuables, such as cameras, jewellery, cash and other expensive items, must be carried in your hand luggage. Liability for valuables lost in unattended checked-in baggage is excluded.

Drinks Inclusions

The standard fare price includes self-serve tea, coffee and drinking water. Drinks packages can be purchased at an additional cost. Please contact our Reservations Team for more information.

Tea, coffee, juices and water are available at meal times in the Club Bistro.

Call our Reservations Team on

01223 568907

or email


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