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From soft sandy beaches to famous 19th century architecture, experience a taste of Texas history in a Victorian setting. Galveston Island is Texas’ top historic resort destination, offering 32 miles of beaches, fine hotel accommodations, superb restaurants, shopping, art galleries, a championship golf course and more.
One of the more interesting cities on your itinerary steeped in history. This was the transit port for all the wealth Spain derived from South America. The famous “Old City” is comprised of 12 square blocks filled with attractions, boutiques and restaurants.
Throughout Colombia, the Spanish Empire’s influence in the New World is self-evident. Its fortress walls, quaint narrow streets, and balconied houses are all vivid reminders of Spain’s hold on Cartagena and throughout the Caribbean and South America. This is the land of El Dorado and flamboyant adventurers in search of the ever-elusive gold. Cartagena’s well-constructed fortifications defended its borders against seafaring pirates whose attacks lasted for more than 200 years. Today this modern and bustling city, seaport, and commercial center still boasts much of its original colonial architecture. Your journey here will provide you with a significant link to the region’s grand past.
**Please note that passengers may encounter numerous local vendors at various tourist locations and may find them to be persistent in their sales offers.
Cruising through the Panama Canal will be one of the unforgettable experiences of your voyage.
It takes approximately eight hours to navigate the 50-mile waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, allowing you to experience firsthand one of the engineering marvels of the 20th century. Completed in 1914, the canal marks the culmination of a dream born in 1513, when Balboa became the first European to cross the Isthmus of Panama and sight the Pacific. In 1880 Ferdinand de Lesseps and the French Canal company, builders of the Suez Canal, began construction in Panama, only to be defeated by disease, staggering cost overruns, and massive engineering problems. The French sold their claim and properties to the United States for $40 million, a staggering loss of $247 million on their investment. The United States began construction in 1904, completing the project in 10 years at a cost of $387 million. Building the canal meant solving three problems: engineering, sanitation, and organization. The project, for example, required carving a channel through the Continental Divide and creating the then-largest man-made lake ever built, as well as defeating yellow fever and other tropical maladies. The United States oversaw the operation of the Panama Canal until December 31, 1999, when the Republic of Panama assumed responsibility for the canal’s administration. The Panamanian government controls the canal through the Panama Canal Authority, an independent government agency created for the purpose of managing the canal.
Fuerte Amador, situated at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, is a man-made peninsula extending out into the Pacific Ocean.
The one-mile causeway was created by connecting four small islands with rocks excavated from the Panama Canal. There are several shops, restaurants, and other specialty stores centered around a large marina that serves as a tender dock. The causeway also affords a panoramic view of Panama City’s impressive skyline and serves as the home for the Smithsonian Institute of Tropical Research.
To Spanish explorers, the rumors of gold and vast riches could only mean that this section of Central America was the costa rica – the “Rich Coast.”
Hailed as the Switzerland of the Americas, Costa Rica occupies a unique position, lying between two oceans and two continents. On both coasts, tropical rainforests rise to the mountains of the interior, many of which soar over 13,000 feet above sea level. In the west, a seemingly endless succession of brown-sand beaches forms the nation’s Pacific coast. Puntarenas is your gateway to Costa Rica’s wonders – and to its capital city of San Jose.
The oldest city under the American flag, San Juan vibrates to a lively salsa beat. There’s an unmistakable zest in the air here. Perhaps it’s the stunning natural setting: the verdant peaks, tropical forests, and gleaming white-sand beaches. Or maybe it’s Puerto Rico’s mix of cultures, the blend and occasional clash of four centuries of Spanish heritage overlaid with a century spent as America’s only Commonwealth. Whatever the reason, San Juan is one of the most enticing ports in the Caribbean, and it only gets lovelier with age.
Millennia ago, Cabo San Lucas was part of the Mexican mainland. Then a massive rupture of the San Andreas Fault sent the waters of the Pacific crashing into the newly formed depression, creating the Sea of Cortez and the Baja Peninsula. Lying at the very tip of Baja, where the Pacific meets the Sea of Cortez, Cabo San Lucas – or “Cabo” – is one of the premier resort destinations in the Western Hemisphere. Swim in the transparent waters, marvel at the wealth of marine life, relax on one of the white-sand beaches or try your hand at some of the finest sportfishing in the world.
Note: Your ship will anchor in Cabo San Lucas and use launches to transport all passengers ashore.
Cable cars, the Golden Gate rising from the fog – welcome to San Francisco, arguably the most romantic and cosmopolitan city in the United States. San Francisco has it all: a colorful history, superb restaurants, sophisticated museums, world-class shopping, and that elusive air of romance and abandon that’s part of the tang of the city.
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