Begins On: November 8th 2020
Ends On: November 15th 2020
Location: Embarking from Tampa. Florida on the Veendam. Prices from $599.00 per person based on double occupancy, All pricing options are quoted below.
Welcome to the Western Caribbean, where European powers have all planted their flags bringing with them a rich diversity of cultures and influences for you to experience.
The sprawling subtropical metropolis of Tampa sits along the Gulf Coast of Florida, encircling Tampa Bay from Sarasota to Clearwater Beach. It’s a quintessentially American spot, with white-sand beaches sharing space with shopping malls, and a multicultural mix of residents that ensures flavors from Mexican to Vietnamese are always close at hand. The local lore is rich with moneyed magnates: Both Henry B. Plant and John Ringling, of the Ringling Brothers Circus, left their marks on the region in the form of palatial buildings which now house museums.
A tour of Ybor City offers a look at the other side of Tampa and its working-class past. Small cigar makers first opened here at the end of the 19th century. After the cigar industry's eventual decline, the neighborhood managed to rise—pun intended—from the ashes, and it has become a thriving, colorful destination steeped in history. While there, grab a Cuban sandwich from Florida’s oldest restaurant and shop for cigars and other souvenirs at Centro Ybor. And, of course, Florida has no shortage of family fun. The Pier 60 Park in Clearwater Beach makes for a perfect day on the sand, while the Busch Gardens amusement park boasts adrenaline-pumping rides and exotic animals.
One of the first things you’ll notice on your Key West cruise is the colorful gingerbread wooden houses and the amazing sunsets, and the constant crowing of roosters. Hundreds of the noisy birds—along with their quieter-clucking mates—roam the streets at all hours, and are nearly as synonymous with Key West cruises as its six-toed cats, the famous furry residents of Ernest Hemingway’s mansion in the Old Town district. They’re all part of the quirky charm of the United States' southernmost point, whose compact 11 square kilometers (4.2 square miles) pack in everything from gorgeous historic architecture and spectacular fishing and sailing to a raucous party scene along famed Duval Street. All of which is truly enjoyed by vacationers who cruise to Key West, Florida.
Uncharted and authentic—that's the best way to describe a visit to the Central American country of Guatemala. Mexico's neighbor to the south is blissfully devoid of overdevelopment, even as the port of Santo Tomás de Castilla—established in the 1960s and only recently open to cruise ships—expands. The former Belgian colony (Belgium occupied Guatemala from the 1840s to 1854) now welcomes visitors seeking soft adventure. Activities include hikes to waterfalls, explorations of the surrounding rain forest, tropical bird–watching and treks around ancient Maya cities, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There is also a smattering of colonial buildings, including a 16th-century Spanish fort, Castillo de San Felipe. Plus, look for excellent authentic shopping: Handicrafts are made by locals and—the best part—prices are negotiable. Nearby Puerto Barrios offers a lively mix of restaurants, bars and nightlife.
Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula is, in some ways, a world apart from the rest of Mexico, thanks in part to its geography. That's never deterred visitors from coming here, however; Costa Maya, like the larger resort towns on the Yucatán, attracts scores of visitors each year. Eager to enjoy the sun and fun, they are also keen to explore the region's cultural attractions, including dozens of Maya sites, some of which were only recently rediscovered, excavated and opened to the public. In addition to seeing the pyramids, temples and ceremonial centers of Maya sites like Chacchoben and Kohunlich, modern-day visitors to Costa Maya can experience the Western Hemisphere's longest reef and cenotes, the sinkhole-formed pools that dot the region. Freshly caught fish and seafood dominate the menus here, as is to be expected, and restaurants are mostly casual in ambiance, with friendly, welcoming service. Shoppers will likely be drawn to Costa Maya's many jewelry shops, where you can buy rare gems set into stunning souvenirs or more affordable pieces that are believed to have healing properties.