202X VIKING CARIBBEAN
PANAMA, CENTRAL AMERICA, & CUBA
Trace the lush coast of Central America, uncovering rich history and culture, magnificent natural beauty and a breathtaking manmade wonder. Discover the colonial past of Cozumel, and glimpse the ways of Belize’s Mayan civilization and Panama's Emberá people. Gaze upon sand beaches and turquoise waters in Honduras and Jamaica. Marvel at the workings of the Panama Canal during a thrilling partial transit. And admire the stunning architecture of Santiago de Cuba.
I’ll take only the included excursions.
This cruise does seem to have “a little bit of everything” so is better choice than some of the Oceania ones.
Day 1 – Miami
Arrive in Miami today, Florida’s sun-kissed city of glimmering high-rises and vibrant culture on scenic Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Settle in to your (veranda) stateroom and take time to explore your ship amid Miami’s coastal beauty.
Day 2 – Key West
Experience the carefree culture of Key West, the southernmost city in the continental US and a rich blend of Caribbean, Latin and American culture. Soak up its atmosphere with a stroll along Duval Street to Mallory Square, passing old Bahamian-style homes and Spanish-influenced Victorian mansions. See Ernest Hemingway’s home, where he wrote several novels, and former president Harry S. Truman’s Winter White House, preserved today as a historic monument.
TROLLEY OR CONCH TRAIN TOUR OF KEY WEST 1.5 HOURS INCLUDED
AN ENTERTAINING AND INFORMATIVE VIEW OF THE CONCH REPUBLIC
Explore the southernmost continental US city in true Key West spirit: during a fun tour by trolley or conch train. From our berth, you will walk the short distance to the station where your vehicle waits. Then begin your tour into the historic streets of Key West, hearing about this remote town’s marriage to the sea along the way. Stop at the corner of Truman Avenue and Duval Street, known as Truval Village. From here, you can walk to Ernest Hemingway’s house, now a museum, the Key West Lighthouse, the famous Southernmost Point, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory and the art galleries and shops of upper Duval Street. Continue to Flagler Station, the terminus of the first “railway over the sea” that stretched 130 miles here from the mainland. After free time in the historic Key West Seaport, walk back to your ship.
Day 3 – Cruising the Gulf of Mexico #1 of 5
Day 4 - Cozumel, Mexico
Discover the Mayan and colonial past of the island of Cozumel, located off Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Explore the colorful streets of San Miguel or visit Mayan and Toltec ruins at San Gervasio to gain insight into the island’s ancient beliefs and customs. View the scenic lighthouse at Punta Sur and the many pristine beaches for which the island is world renowned.
No included excursions and none of any interest offered though maybe they will come up with something I would like to do.
Day 5 - Belize City, Belize
Call on Belize today, inhabited by Mayans for more than 5,000 years. Journey to the mysterious ancient site of Altun Ha, one of Central America’s most accessible temples. Enjoy a cruise along the tropical Belize River. Or embark a small boat along the Belize River, a tranquil and pristine ribbon of beauty lined with lush jungle, vividly hued birds taking wing and monkeys hollering from the treetops.
OLD BELIZE CITY & ALTUN HA 4 HOURS, INCLUDED
COLONIAL AND MAYAN TREASURES
Tour Old Belize, then journey to the mysterious Mayan ruins of Altun Ha, one of Central America’s ancient temples. Tender ashore and meet your guide for a panoramic tour of Belize’s Old Town, city of contrasts where Caribbean culture meets a rich British heritage. Drive past St. John’s Cathedral, built in the early 1800s from bricks used as ballast in ships that brought British settlers here, and pass by an array of colonial-era buildings. Later, head north to the fascinating ruins of Altun Ha, where five square miles of Mayan history emerge from the thick jungle. Here, several Mesoamerican temple-pyramids stand as testament to an advanced civilization that dates back as far as 900 BC. Its most famous, the Temple of the Masonry Altars, is 54 feet tall. After a guided walking tour and free time to explore, return to your ship.
Day 6 - Roatán, Honduras
Bask in the Caribbean beauty of Roatán, one of the spectacular Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras. A snorkeler’s paradise, the coral reefs that skirt these islands boast the highest diversity of corals in the Caribbean. Enjoy a guided walk along the lush Carambola Botanical Gardens pathways, 40 acres of impeccably maintained trails, and travel through a protected forest that hugs the hillside of Carambola Mountain.
CARAMBOLA GARDENS & PANORAMIC CITY TOUR 2.5 HOURS INCLUDED
ROATÁN’S FERTILE JUNGLES
Enjoy a guided walk along the lush Carambola Botanical Gardens pathways, 40 acres of impeccably maintained trails. You will travel through a protected forest that hugs the hillside of Carambola Mountain. You will tender to shore and drive with your local host to the gardens in Sandy Bay. As you explore, admire dozens of types of native plants from orchids and fruit trees to spice and medicinal plants, and the famous Honduran mahogany tree. Follow charming bridges over babbling brooks and keep your eyes open for monkeys cavorting in the canopy. Perhaps you’ll pass Iguana Wall, a cliff side where the small creatures and a few choice parrots converge. If you wish, you may follow trails to the summit, about a half-mile, and marvel at sweeping views of the emerald-hued island and the turquoise shades of distant coral reefs. En route back to your ship, enjoy a brief tour of Roatán.
Day 7 – Cruising the Caribbean #2 of 5
Day 8 - San José (Puerto Limón), Costa Rica
Explore the magnificent natural wonders of Costa Rica as you call on its Caribbean port of Puerto Limón. Celebrated as one of the world’s most picturesque countries, Costa Rica is home to an astonishing diversity of landscapes and climate zones. About 5% of the world’s species of flora and fauna thrive in this tiny country, lush with rainforests. Keep your eyes open for some of them when you cruise the canals of Tortuguero, an aquatic highway linking villages and traversing palm forests and swamps dense with wildlife.
TORTUGUERO CANALS 2.5 HOURS INCLUDED
NATURE’S SPLENDOR IN A COASTAL PARADISE
Explore a lush network of natural waterways and manmade canals in one of Costa Rica’s unique coastal environments. Tortuguero National Park, stretching 14 miles along the shore, was created to preserve the nesting site of the green turtle. Today, its maze of watery passageways connects lagoons, deltas and even small villages. The park’s many eco-zones support a diverse array of wildlife, from manatee to howler monkeys, making it one of Costa Rica’s most rewarding nature experiences. You will drive with your guide to our dock. A canal boat takes you into the heart of it all, as the park is inaccessible by car. As you cruise, silent drifting along wide canals often affords up close wildlife viewing as all manner of birds, such as toucans and jacamars, dot the shoreside trees. As you traverse narrower canals overgrown with jungle, keep your eyes and ears open for white-faced monkeys.
Day 9 - Colón, Panama
More than a gateway to the Caribbean side of the Panama Canal, Colón also introduces you to the unique native traditions of an ancient people. Witness centuries-old tribal life firsthand during a visit to Chagres National Park and an Emberá village, where people live in thatched-roof huts, travel by dugout canoe and keep the craft of basket weaving alive. Experience all of these enduring traditions and many others during your time in Colón.
PANORAMIC COLÓN & PANAMA CITY 6.5 HOURS INCLUDED
EXPERIENCE CENTRAL AMERICA’S MOST COSMOPOLITAN CAPITAL
Discover Panama’s most exciting city on this excursion to the capital, Panama City. A 90-minute drive from Colón brings you across the isthmus to the gleaming waterfront of Panama City, lined with modern glass skyscrapers that are reminiscent of Miami. Enjoy the sights of this vibrant cosmopolitan capital, which has been likened to Singapore for its booming city skyline, and Dubai for its aspirations of becoming an economic powerhouse. Next, you will travel to Casco Viejo (Old Town), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a brief orientation, follow old cobblestone lanes past pastel-colored colonial buildings, stopping to admire the stately cathedral. Join the elderly men chatting amicably, and relax on the shaded benches in the main square. Along with the antique charm, the Casco offers some of the city’s most stylish hotels, bars and boutiques.
Day 10 – Cruising the Panama Canal #3 of 5
Cruise through the canal but with no sightseeing stops.
Day 11 – Cruising the Caribbean Sea #4 of 5
Day 12 - Montego Bay, Jamaica
Embrace the relaxed atmosphere of Jamaica today when you call on Montego Bay. Christopher Columbus landed here in 1494 and declared the island part of the Spanish Empire. The British later took hold, paving the way for one of the island’s most pivotal moments: an uprising of slaves led by Samuel Sharpe, the country’s national hero. Glimpse some of that colonial past at the Rose Hall Great House, an elegant Georgian mansion whose owner had some 250 slaves. The fascinating house chronicles life during a turbulent time that gave rise to the legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall. I haven’t been here in a long time.
ROSE HALL GREAT HOUSE & SHOPPING 3 HOURS INCLUDED
JAMAICA’S FAMOUS AND NOTORIOUS GREAT HOUSE
Glimpse a rich past at the Rose Hall Great House, an elegant Georgian mansion from the British colonial period. The fascinating house chronicles life during a turbulent time. Its wealthy owner John Palmer and his wife hosted the island’s most gala parties here. In 1831, slaves ransacked the house during the Christmas Rebellion. It was left in decay until 1966, when preservationists brought back its luster. Mahogany staircases, silk-covered walls fashioned after those designed for Marie Antoinette and other lush touches have made this the most important Great House in Jamaica. But the house is also known for the legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall, whose ghost is said to haunt the halls. You will drive with your guide to the house for a tour. Then you will have time to browse the Old Fort Craft Park in Montego Bay before returning to your ship.
Day 13 - Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Explore Cuba’s former capital city, also known as the “Cradle of the Cuban Revolution.” Monuments that commemorate Santiago de Cuba’s rebel leaders can be found all over the city, from Antonio Maceo—who led the fight in Cuba’s wars of independence—to Fidel Castro. Uncover Santiago’s 500-year history on a visit to the Emilio Bacardi Moreau Provincial Museum, featuring a vast collection of artifacts and paintings collected by the city’s former mayor. Immerse yourself in Santiago’s diverse culture, influenced by its early immigrants from Africa, Haiti and Jamaica. Or, get a taste of Cuba’s coffee industry with a visit to a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site coffee plantation, in the heart of the Sierra Maestra mountain range with its gigantic rock formation La Gran Piedra.
PANORAMIC SANTIAGO DE CUBA INCLUDED
MAJOR SIGHTS OF THE “CRADLE OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION”
Discover the rich history and major sights of Cuba’s second largest city, Santiago de Cuba. Considered the birthplace of the current government, the city is an eclectic mix of African and Caribbean influences. Set off by motor coach for a scenic drive past pastel-colored homes and colonial-era architecture, from baroque to neoclassical. See Céspedes Park, located in the heart of the city and surrounded by many notable examples of colonial-era buildings, including the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption with its two neoclassical towers. This 16th-century landmark, its interior full of striking frescoes and hand-carved woodwork, has survived pirates, earthquakes and tropical storms. View Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, where many famous Cubans are interned, including iconic revolutionaries Frank País and José Martí. Stop briefly for photographs at San Pedro de la Roca Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 17th-century fortress overlooks the bay and is considered the best preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture.
Day 14 – Cruise the Caribbean #5 of 5
Day 15 – Miami - disembark
Disembark and head home.