Celebrating the Festival of Akwasidae with Silversea

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Silversea is offering luxury cruise guests the opportunity to gain unique insights into the culture, history, and people of Ghana as part of Silver Clouds 16 March 2016 West Africa cruise, a 16-day sailing from Tema (Accra) to Barcelona. The highlight of this optional six-day pre-cruise “Accra & the Ashanti Kingdom” land adventure is the rare opportunity to participate in the Festival of Akwasidae. Set within the walls of the royal palace in Kumasi, this centuries-old ceremony, honouring the community’s ancestors, is presided over by the king of the Ashanti people.

One of the most powerful nations in Africa until the British annexation at the end of the 19th century, the traditions of the Ashanti empire still live on in Kumasi, a city of nearly one million inhabitants that features one of the largest central markets in Africa. Beginning in Accra, Silversea guests will have the opportunity to tour this fascinating cultural hub with a three-night stay in Kumasi.

The crown jewel of the experience for travellers is the rare occasion to attend the Akwasidae Festival, presided over by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the 16th ruler of the Ashanti people. Perched beneath a colourful umbrella and adorned in gold ornaments and ceremonial dress, the king’s dignitaries are assembled at his feet, surrounded by elders and advisers under the authority of the royal speaker. During the ceremony, griots tell stories of past Ashanti rulers while drum and ivory-horn players serve as the inspiration for traditional dance performances.

Darius Mehta, Silversea’s vice president of air and land programmes, said: “In addition to being an amazing journey, this unique programme provides our guests with the exclusive opportunity to participate in the Akwasidae Festival in Kumasi. Like all of our overland adventures, this exciting programme has been hand-crafted to enhance our guests’ experiences ashore, and to provide them with cultural immersion opportunities that would simply not be possible otherwise.”

Programme participants will also be able to roll up their sleeves and learn how the traditional adinkra textile, developed by the Ashanti people, is made. A traditional hand-painted fabric used by royalty in religious ceremonies, the people of Ghana decorate this cloth with Ashanti symbols by using a black dye made of bark called adinkra aduru. The workshop chosen for this event is one of the most important in the country, sought-after by international scholars and students.

Guests on the “Accra & the Ashanti Kingdom” land adventure will enjoy two nights’ accommodation at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra, along with a three-night stay at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi. Daily breakfast is included, along with five lunches, four dinners, and all ground transportation. The price for this six-day pre-cruise excursion starts at USD$3,979 per person.

In addition to West Africa, Silver Clouds 16 March sailing will feature calls in Las Palmas, Arrecife, Agadir, Casablanca, Gibraltar, Cartagena, and Valencia.

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