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36 Nights aboard Zuiderdam
3 Jan 2024
3 Jan 2024
First of our Vista-class ships, Zuiderdam boasts classic nautical lines and finishes, modern amenities and a spectacular art and antique collection. While on board, explore the world’s wonders through BBC Earth Experiences. Enjoy regional cooking demonstrations and food and wine tastings with EXC Port to Table. Relax with a rejuvenating treatment at the Greenhouse Spa & Salon. Enjoy the wide array of delectable cuisines in our restaurants.
Queen’s Show Lounge
Greenhouse Spa & Salon
Hydro Massage Pool
Lido Casual Restaurant
Vista Dining Room
Culinary Arts Center
Future Cruise Sales
Shore Excursion Office
There is an abundance of things to see and do in the Ft. Lauderdale area: visit the newly redesigned Ft. Lauderdale Beach and cafes, stroll the historic Riverwalk, shop the luxurious stores on Las Olas Boulevard or adventure to the Everglades for an intriguing air boat excursion.
Perched on the hillsides above the Southern Caribbean Sea, Scarborough was the site of numerous territorial disputes between England, France, and the Dutch Republic; the island gained independence in 1962. Explore Fort King George, an 18th century fortification and historic and archaeological museum; discover rare flora at the Botanical Gardens and Orchid House; and shop for local crafts and taste treats at the local market.
Devil’s Island, part of a three-island chain called Îles du Salut, in French Guiana, was home to one of the most infamous—and impregnable—prisons of the 19th and 20th centuries. Opened in 1852, it received worldwide renown in the mid-1890s when French military captain Alfred Dreyfus was sentenced to life imprisonment after being wrongly convicted of selling military secrets to Germany. Although Dreyfus’s sentence was commuted after five years, more than 80,000 political prisoners and hardened criminals endured years of mistreatment and abuse among disease-ridden conditions. Few were able to escape, though Henri Charrière, author of the book Papillon, allegedly succeeded by filling sacks with coconuts in order to float to the mainland. The prison was officially closed in 1953. In 1965, the French government transferred responsibility of the island to the Guiana Space Centre, and in recent years, tourism facilities have been added. Devil’s Island and its two smaller neighboring islands receive more than 50,000 visitors each year.
At the mouth of the mighty Amazon River, Macap is a city surrounded by encroaching jungle and the lush greenery of the Brazilian rainforest. The Amazon region is unique, in that it is home to an estimated one third of the planet’s living species, including birds, sea and river turtles, giant alligators and more. The many rivers of the basin, through which one-fifth of the world’s fresh water flows, lead to the heart of the jungle. The Amazon River itself is 4,000 miles long. Take a jungle cruise along the Amazon River to see the jungle in more detail – and from the safety of a boat. Nearby, art and pottery from native Indian tribes can be found in the popular Ver-o-Peso market.
Not for nothing is Alter do Chão known as the Caribbean of the Amazon. Taken as a whole, the village’s white powdery beaches, transparent blue-green waters and hang-loose vibe would make a perfectly convincing addition to the Lesser Antilles. Of course, there are tip-offs that you’re still in the midst of South America’s River Sea, not least the neighboring rain forest and the pink dolphins—those local mascots—that periodically surface in the water. This uncommon tropical charm lies at the heart of Alter do Chão’s appeal—but the place becomes outright irresistible when you factor in the curiously cosmopolitan inhabitants (expat hippies, herbalists and nature lovers in addition to Brazilians) and the cute little shops, cafés and businesses they’ve created. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more relaxing or beautiful stop in which to enjoy a drink by the water (or even sometimes in the water, seated in a slightly submerged chair—a local tradition) before doing a little exploring by boat or on foot.
Surrounded by the Amazonian rain forest, Boca da Valeria, a small Brazilian settlement of fewer than 100 people, boasts no tourism infrastructure. Yet the destination lures travelers by offering an authentic glimpse of the simple river life that the Amerindians have followed for centuries. Meaning “Mouth of the Valeria River,” the remote fishing and trading village sits at the convergence of the Amazon and the Rio da Valeria. The local children guide visitors along a dirt footpath and pose for pictures in their native costumes, often with exotic animals in tow. Boca da Valeria, which is located between the towns of Parintins and Santarém, stands in stark contrast to nearby urban centers such as Manaus, where residents live with all the comforts, and complications, of contemporary life—but therein lies the appeal to the world adventurer.
If ever a city were a model for boom and bust, it would be Manaus, which lies at the confluence of Brazil’s Amazon River and Rio Negro, more than 1,450 kilometers (900 miles) from the Atlantic Ocean. Like in America’s Old West, great fortunes were amassed in no time here and vanished just as quickly during the boom years of rubber production in the late 19th century. The most enduring memorial of that time is the great opera house and theater that are still in use today, and whose existence in the Amazon helped inspire the 1982 movie Fitzcarraldo, about one man’s maniacal obsession with bringing opera to the jungle. These days, Manaus is downright huge—perhaps surprisingly, it’s Brazil’s seventh-largest city. A swank new soccer stadium was added for the 2014 World Cup, and a three-kilometer-long (two-mile-long), cable-stayed bridge opened in 2011 across the Rio Negro. The Ponta Negra suburb has modern high-rises, buzzing restaurants and beaches that rival those of any town on the sea. But within minutes, visitors can find themselves in the watery jungle, the source of the Amazonian specialties like pirarucu fish and acai berries on the menus of Manaus’s restaurants.
Steeped in tradition, Parintins celebrates its centuries-old Indian culture each June at the Boi-Bumba Festival, a lavish event that rivals Rio’s Carnivale, re-enacted for visitors at a local club. Sample shore excursions: Parintins by Tricycle; Boi-Bumba Festival Show.
A lively trading center on the Amazon (Henry Ford invested millions in rubber here in the 1920s). Here, see rubber and Brazil nut trees; learn how the locals make tapioca, staple of the Amazon; swim in the clear blue waters of the Rio Tapajos. Sample shore excursion: City Tour of Santarém; Tapajos National Forest.
St. George’s is the capital city of the Caribbean island of Grenada. In the town center, the 18th-century Fort George offers panoramic views of the island and St. George’s Bay. Nearby, Fort Matthew was formerly a battleground and, later, an asylum, and has underground tunnels. The Grenada National Museum hosts exhibits about the history of the region, including the plantation economy and the whaling industry.
Amsterdam-like canals, gabled Dutch colonial buildings, an exotic floating market. This bustling duty-free port has it all. Plus the world-famous Curaçao Liqueur Distillery and an intriguing coral reef teeming with parrotfish and queen angelfish. Sample shore excursions: Curaçao Dolphin Encounter; Curaçao See & Sea Tour; Highlights of Curaçao with Folkloric Show; Canoe Safari; Willemstad Trolley Train.
Our Panama Canal Cruises are carefully crafted itineraries that blend the region’s most popular ports with less-visited gems, such as Puerto Caldera, Coast Rica; Cartagena, Puerto Vallarta; and Oranjestad,
On a tropical inlet at the edge of a rainforest, Quepos is one of the best places in the world for sport fishing, and gateway to the amazingly diverse flora and fauna of Manuel Antonio National Park.
Unique compared to Acapulco, Cancún, Zihuatanejo and several other coastal resort towns in Mexico—many of which were created by the government as planned communities—Puerto Vallarta (“PV” to locals), on the Pacific Ocean, retains quite a bit of its colonial-era charm. Its town square, Plaza de Armas, and the gorgeous parish church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, topped with an ornate crown and overlooking the port, serve as the loveliest representations of bygone ages. While on your Puerto Vallarta cruise, we take you alongside these echoes of the past are more modern attractions, including an ambitious public art project along the seaside walkway (the malecón) and trendy restaurants such as La Leche, serving contemporary Mexican cuisine. Round these out with plenty of fun-in-the-sun outdoor activities on and along Banderas Bay (whale-watching! snorkeling! jet-skiing!), excursions that reveal the best of Puerto Vallarta’s flora and fauna, and a side trip to one of Mexico’s pueblos mágicos (magical towns, a designation conferred by the government to recognize smaller towns that possess historical and cultural value), and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more pleasant place to spend part of your cruise to Puerto Vallarta.
Water and fire reign here: This is a land of verdant rain forests bisected by sparkling falls. But the fiery element flares along the volcanic coast of Kohala and the roaring furnace of the Kilauea volcano: Lava has continued to seep from the crater since its last eruption in 1983. Nature is Hilo’s blessing, as well as its challenge. The beautiful crescent bay served as a funnel to two major tsunamis that battered the city—tragedies that are never forgotten and hopefully never repeated. (Hilo’s Pacific Tsunami Museum remains a leader in safety education.) Once a busy fishing and farming area, Hilo blossomed into a commercial center for the sugarcane industry in the 1800s. Today’s town—its waterfront rebuilt since the last destructive wall of water in 1960—flourishes as a hub of galleries, independent shops, farmers markets and homegrown destination restaurants. A world-class astronomy center has joined this mix, underlining the awe unfolding through the telescopes atop Mauna Kea (the world’s tallest peak from base to summit, outstripping Everest by 1,363 meters, or 4,472 feet!). Meanwhile, leafy Banyan Drive celebrates more earthbound stars with its arboreal Walk of Fame. Look up, look down: Wherever you glance, Hilo looks good.
Once the playground of Hawaii’s royalty, Kona is synonymous with the famous coffee that grows on the slopes of dormant Hualalai. Here, too, is Parker Ranch, the largest privately owned ranch in the U.S. Sample shore excursions: Kona Outrigger Canoe Adventure; Parker Ranch; Big Island Helicopter Spectacular.
Honolulu, on the island of Oahu’s south shore, is capital of Hawaii and gateway to the U.S. island chain. The Waikiki neighborhood is its center for dining, nightlife and shopping, famed for its iconic crescent beach backed by palms and high-rise hotels, with volcanic Diamond Head crater looming in the distance. Sites relating to the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor include the USS Arizona Memorial.
36 Nights aboard Zuiderdam
Departs 03 Jan 2024