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According to the popular 1960 beach movie, Fort Lauderdale is “where the boys are.” The city’s reputation as America’s Spring Break capital, however, has been replaced with the more favorable image of a prime family tourist destination, attracting more than 10 million visitors annually. The most popular beach resort in Florida is even more rightly famed as the “Yachting Capital of the World,” with more than 40,000 registered crafts calling its waters home. The city also prides itself on being the “Venice of America” with more than 300 miles of navigable waterways. Fort Lauderdale boasts world-class theaters, museums, sightseeing, and shopping.
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.
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.
Nicaragua is the largest Central American nation and has stunning landscapes, vast cultural treasures, and an intriguing history.
Until recent times Nicaragua was unfortunately known for the civil war (Sandinistas and Contras) that raged from the late 70s through much of the 80s. Today, the soldiers and guerrillas have given way sightseeing in a beautiful country. From strolling the cobblestone streets of colonial Granada on Lake Nicaragua, to exploring one of the many volcanoes, Nicaragua has something for even the most seasoned traveler.
This small beach and fishing village is perfectly situated at the foothills of the Sierra Madre and the Pacific coastline, providing over 20 miles of unspoiled beaches to explore. For an unforgettable adventure, go in search of the secret coves and hidden lagoons within its nine bays. These nine bays bordered by 36 golden-sand beaches form the beautiful Las Bahias de Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca.
Puerto Vallarta is a resort town on Mexico’s Pacific coast, in Jalisco state. It is known for its beaches, water sports and nightlife scene. Its cobblestone center is home to the ornate Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church, boutique shops and a range of restaurants and bars.
The City of Angels always hovers between dream and reality. Once a near-forgotten colonial outpost, the pueblo metamorphosed into an agrarian paradise before reinventing itself as a movie colony. Perhaps no other city owes so much to the technological innovations of the 20th century, from the automobile to the airplane. Little wonder that LA is oft described as the “dream machine.” In LA, reinvention is a way of life. Yet this talent for change has created a city with a rich ethnic diversity and a sizzling culture. LA is the source for trends that migrate across the country and then the world. Where else can you enjoy a Thai taco or munch on a kosher burrito? Or travel from downtown’s high rises to the beaches of Malibu, shopping in Beverly Hills along the way?
Los Angeles is a port of embarkation and disembarkation for some cruises.
Home to nearly half a million people, Honolulu is Hawaii’s state capital and only major city. The city of Honolulu and the island of Oahu offer a wealth of historic, cultural and scenic attractions. Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head are two of the city’s enduring symbols. Pearl Harbor, site of the USS Arizona Memorial and the “Punchbowl,” are haunting reminders of the tragic events of December 7, 1941, when the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor forced America into World War II. Honolulu is also home to the historic Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii’s last royals. Beyond the city lie tropical rain forests, the Pali Lookout and the North Shore known for its surfing beaches.
The fourth largest island in the Hawaiian group, Kauai is known as the “Garden Island.” The terrain ranges from the volcanic slopes of Mt. Waialeale and the desert-like beauty of Waimea Canyon to the Wailua River’s lush Fern Grotto. Ironically this once isolated island was the site of the first meeting between Europeans and Hawaiians. On January 19, 1778, Captain James Cook anchored his ships off the mouth of the Waimea River, becoming the first in a long line of enthusiastic visitors.
The International Date Line is an imaginary line extending from the North Pole to the South Pole through the Pacific Ocean. It serves as the 180th meridian of longitude, and is used to designate the beginning of each calendar day.
As you know, each adjacent time zone on the map has an hour time difference. However, at the International Date Line, +12 hours and -12 hours meet, bringing about a 24-hour time change. So while a person standing just to the west of the line may be celebrating Christmas Eve at 6 pm, someone just to the east will already be sitting down to Christmas dinner on December 25th.
Therefore, when your ship crosses this line heading west, a day is added, and while crossing in an easterly direction, a day is subtracted.
Crossing the International Date Line has long been a rite of passage for sailors, who often must participate in a line-crossing ceremony to become part of the sacred “Order of the Golden Dragon”, an honorary naval fraternity.
The first Polynesians arrived in Western Samoa around 1000 B.C. Three millennia later, the islands formed one of the last bastions of traditional Polynesian culture. Apia, the capital of Western or Independent Samoa, is a city of 40,000 on the island of Upolu. Its picturesque waterfront is lined with public buildings, shops and trading companies. The town now comprises of modern 3-5 story buildings all along the waterfront. Government has built some very modern buildings to house most of the government offices. The village settings can only be seen in the outskirts of town within a radius of 15 miles.
Western Samoa has long lured Westerners to its islands. The most famous expatriate of all was Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived at Vailima, and was buried near the summit of Mt. Vaea.
Straddling a narrow isthmus created by 60 different volcanoes, New Zealand’s former capital boasts scenic beauty, historical interest and a cosmopolitan collection of shops, restaurants, museums, galleries and gardens. Rangitoto, Auckland’s largest and youngest volcano, sits in majestic splendor just offshore. Mt. Eden and One Tree Hill, once home to Maori earthworks, overlook the city. One of New Zealand’s fine wine districts lies to the north of Auckland.
Auckland served as New Zealand’s capital from 1841 until 1865, when the seat of government moved to Wellington.
New Plymouth is a city on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s known for its coastal walkway stretching from Bell Block to Port Taranaki. Te Rewa Rewa Bridge has views of towering Mount Taranaki. The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery shows contemporary exhibitions. Close by, Pukekura Park has botanical gardens and birdlife. Subalpine forests and waterfalls characterise Egmont National Park to the south.
Located at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, Picton is your gateway to the South Island’s famed Marlborough District. Once known primarily for its lush farm lands and many sheep stations, Marlborough came to international attention thanks to a new agricultural product – wine. The release of the 1985 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc put New Zealand on the map and changed the world’s focus on winemaking in the Southern Hemisphere. Today, the Marlborough region boasts dramatic sea and landscapes, fascinating wine country, excellent restaurants and a number of the nation’s finest gardens.
Military names abound in this corner of New Zealand – the region is named for the first Duke of Marlborough, while the largest town, Blenheim, is named after his most famous battle. Picton is named for Sir Thomas Picton, a favorite of another general, the first duke of Wellington.
Perched on the hills above one of New Zealand’s loveliest harbors, Dunedin is a Kiwi city with a Scottish heart. Hailed as the “Edinburgh of New Zealand,” Dunedin is proud of its heritage. A statue of famed Scottish poet Robert Burns graces downtown, and the presence of New Zealand’s only kilt maker and whisky distillery – as well as many bagpipe bands – keep Dunedin’s ties to Scotland alive. The city also boasts a distinguished architectural and cultural history, a legacy of New Zealand’s 1860s gold rush.
Port Chalmers, gateway to Dunedin, is located eight miles from the city center. Dunedin is a planned city: its streets and suburbs fan out from the city’s octagon.
New Zealand’s largest national park was formed millennia ago by massive glacial flows that carved deep fiords into the coast of New Zealand’s South Island. At the heart of Fiordland National Park lies Milford Sound. Lined by cliffs that soar nearly a mile above its surface, Milford Sound cuts into the heart of the Southern Alps. Rainforest clings to the cliffs and graceful waterfalls plummet into the void. Mile-high Mitre Peak dominates the upper reaches of the sound.
The town of Te Anau in Fiordland National Park is also your gateway to the South Island’s other natural wonders including Lake Wakatipu, the resort of Queenstown and Mt. Cook National Park.
Sydney, capital of New South Wales and one of Australia’s largest cities, is best known for its harbourfront Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Massive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port are hubs of waterside life, with the arched Harbour Bridge and esteemed Royal Botanic Garden nearby.
Located on Bass Strait, Burnie is Tasmania’s fourth-largest city and a major port. Burnie, surrounded by prime productive farmlands is the gateway to scenic northwest Tasmania, an area rich in picturesque old villages, homesteads and historic homes. Inland lies the rainforest and wilderness of Cradle Mountain National Park, a World Heritage Site.
Founded in 1836, this graceful city lies nestled on the coastal plain between Gulf St. Vincent and the Adelaide Hills. Adelaide was the vision of Colonel William Light, Australia’s Surveyor General, who created a one-mile-square grid for the city’s center and surrounded it with a belt of stunning parkland. Today, Adelaide is a metropolis of over one million people, boasting wide, tree-lined boulevards, superb Victorian and Edwardian architecture, tranquil parks, world-class shopping, and the highest number of restaurants per capita of any city in Australia.
Beyond the city and the rugged Adelaide Hills lie the Barossa and Eden Valleys. Here Australian vintners are winning international acclaim for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz.
Lying at the mouth of the Swan River, historic Fremantle – founded in 1829 – is your gateway to Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Situated on the banks of the Swan River some 15 miles upriver from Fremantle, Perth is a bustling city where soaring high-rises co-exist with elegant sandstone buildings from the colonial era. Life here moves at a slower pace, so during your visit, relax and savor the bounties of Western Australia, from the wonders of the bush to the wineries of the Swan Valley, from excellent shopping to a leisurely cruise on the Swan River.
For over a century, Bali has fascinated the Western imagination. The island embodies the very essence of the exotic and mysterious East. Steep hillsides of tropical green reveal terraced rice paddies while plantations of coffee, banana, cacao and fragrant spices line the roads. Monkeys haunt the grounds of a sacred temple in a forest, while traditional villages produce intricately stylized batik, superb jewelry and beautiful paintings. And Balinese dance, with its angular movements and rhythms, remains somehow stirring and shocking. Bali may be accessible, but it remains forever exotic.
For all Bali’s scenic beauty, the island has weathered great natural disasters, from the 1963 eruption of Mt. Agung to a massive earthquake in 1976. The island emerged relatively unscathed from the great tsunami of 2004.
Note: All motorcoaches are equipped with air-conditioning.
Singapore – the very name summons visions of the mysterious East. The commercial center of Southeast Asia, this island city-state of four million people is a metropolis of modern high-rise buildings, Chinese shop-houses with red-tiled roofs, sturdy Victorian buildings, Buddhist temples and Arab bazaars. Founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles of the fabled East India Company, the city is a melting pot of people and cultures. Malay, Chinese, English and Tamil are official languages. Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity are the major faiths. Singapore is an ever-fascinating island boasting colorful traditions, luxurious hotels and some of the finest duty-free shopping in the world.
Lying just 85 miles north of the Equator at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, the island was a haven for Malay pirates and Chinese and Arab traders.
From a lawless huddle of kampongs in the trackless jungle, Kuala Lumpur, the capital city has grown into a fascinating metropolis. Steel and glass towers stand side by side with graceful stone colonial buildings and mosques adorned with slender minarets. The commercial, financial, economic and cultural heart of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur (better known as KL), is a melting pot. Its population of 1.6 million is comprised of Malays, Chinese, Indians, and a mix of different cultures including Eurasians and others.
Sri Lanka conjures up the exotic and the mysterious. Once known as Ceylon, the island boasts a fantastic landscape that ranges from primeval rain forest to the bustling modern streets of Colombo, the capital. A visitor to Sri Lanka has a wealth of options. Relax on some of the world’s finest beaches. Explore the temples, halls and palaces of the last Sinhalese kingdom at Kandy. Or take a guided tour of an elephant orphanage. Colombo also offers an array of charms, from the Royal Botanic Gardens, once a royal pleasure garden, to the Pettah Bazaar, where vendors hawk everything under the sun.
Colombo and Sri Lanka were shaped by Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and European influences. Colombo also serves as a gateway for Overland Adventures to India.
Once upon a time, before oil transformed the Middle East, Abu Dhabi was a collection of small coastal villages, home to one of the finest pearl fisheries in the Persian Gulf. Inland, Bedouin roamed the vast expanse of Arabia Deserta, a land of gaunt mountains, wadis and immense red sand dunes. Oil brought wealth – and in 1971, oil wealth brought power. Almost overnight, the creation of the United Arab Emirates made Abu Dhabi national capital, an international commercial center and a major world metropolis. Neighboring Dubai may claim more of the world’s attention, but Abu Dhabi remains the heart of the Emirates, home to the UAE’s Central Bank and Stock Exchange as well as a headquarters for multinational corporations. The city also remains true to its origins and its traditions – Abu Dhabi boasts one of the few public falcon hospitals in the world, and a day at the track may mean wagering on the camel races.
Just over 50 miles from the metropolis is the ancient “Green City” of Al Ain, a major caravan stop for over a millennium. The city is surrounded by seven oases and is home to the last camel souk in Abu Dhabi.
Dubai has always served as a bridge between East and West. In the past, Dubai’s trade links stretched from Western Europe to Southeast Asia and China. The result was the creation of one of the most protean societies in the world. Nestled in the very heart of Islam, Dubai remains unique in its embrace of the West. Bedouin may still roam the desert, but Dubai also plays hosts to international tennis and golf tournaments. Tourists flock to its shores while the pace of development continues at a frenetic pace, from massive artificial islands to the astounding Burj Al Arab Hotel.
Dubai is actually two cities in one: the Khor Dubai, an inlet of the Persian Gulf, separates Deira, the old city, from Bur Dubai.