Friday, 4 December 2009

CRUISE WEST EXPLORES THE ATLANTIC COAST AND CENTRAL AMERICA WITH FIVE DIVERSE VOYAGES IN 2010


Free Airfare and Early Booking Savings; Extraordinary Excursions Included

Cruise West (www.cruisewest.com), one of the world's leading providers of small-ship exploration cruises to the most fascinating destinations on earth, offers five new voyages of discovery along the scenic Atlantic Coast in 2010 -- including a Caribbean island hop with Dietmar Wertanzl, Cruise West president and chief executive officer, a transit through the Panama Canal and a visit to remote and mysterious Easter Island.

From St. John's to Halifax, Halifax to Palm Beach, Palm Beach to Panama, Panama to Ecuador, and Ecuador to Easter Island – all five distinct voyages offer intriguing port calls and an authentic experience.   And, all voyages include shore excursions at every port and one extraordinary 'Ultimate Explorers Experience' (UEE) per voyage, designed to bring guests into direct personal contact with fascinating peoples, cultures and natural wonders.  Engaging presentations by notable experts on the region's culture, history and current events further enhances the guests understanding.

Set sail from the Great North

Nature lovers will appreciate the Canadian coast's rugged natural beauty evident in St. John's to Halifax voyage which includes an excursion to Newfoundland's largest seabird colony; a visit to Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and Île-Saint-Pierre, part of an archipelago that is the last remnant of the former colonial French empire. 

Starting in St. John's -- the oldest English-founded settlement in North America – guests will visit the quaint village of Huntington Harbour, accessible only from the sea; Louisbourg, separated from Nova Scotia by the narrow Strait of Canso; and the Perce Rock, one of the most dramatic natural sites in Quebec.

A two-day guided tour of historic Québec City (UEE) offers such man-made wonders as Le Château Frontenac, Québec's most celebrated landmark, and Haute-Ville, declared a UNESCO Site as the only walled fortress in North America.  Among the tour highlights are sweeping views of the St. Lawrence River, Île d'Orléans and the Laurentian Mountains; the Place-Royale; Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, the oldest standing catholic church in North America; the Shrine of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré; the Memorial Chapel; and Montmorency Falls, nearly twice the size of Niagara Falls.

Concluding in the thriving port of Halifax -- noted for its idyllic waterfront, and active art galleries -- this 15-night voyage departs September 7, 2010; prices start at $9,695 per person before savings.

Halifax to Palm Beach

From New England's rugged coastline and small fishing villages to historic colonial settlements in the South to the blue waters of Palm Beach, Halifax to Palm Beach traverses nearly the entire Atlantic Coast.  Famed oceanographer Dr. Don Walsh – named one of the world's great explorers by Life magazine – will lead onboard lectures and discussions.

Among the voyage highlights: an excursion to historic Jamestown, site of the first English settlement in America where a resident archeologist will explain the history and progress of excavations; and a tour of meticulously restored Colonial Williamsburg for a step back to the days before the American Revolution (UEE). 

Other excursions include visits to the Maine villages of Bar Harbor, Portsmouth and Eastport, the seaside community of Nantucket, and Newport, site of 19th-century mansions and 400-year old taverns.  After stops at picturesque Savannah and Charleston, the journey concludes in the 21st century with a Cape Canaveral tour -- hosted by an astronaut.

This 13-night itinerary departs September 21; prices start at $7,395 per person before savings.

Palm Beach to Panama

Hosted by Cruise West President and CEO Wertanzl, the Palm Beach to Panama voyage features three UNESCO sites: Playa del Carmen on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula for a tour of Mayan ruins; Belize's Lighthouse Reef for world class snorkeling, and the historic Panamanian city of Portobello, founded by Columbus in 1502.

And two Ultimate Explorer Excursions (UEE) are featured highlights including a narrated daylight transit of the Panama Canal, an amazing feat of engineering which ranks among the contemporary wonders of the world; and a visit to sun-drenched Corn Island, about 50 miles off the Nicaraguan coast, bewitches even the experienced traveler with its unspoiled beauty, offering snorkeling over a kaleidoscope of brightly-hued corals reefs.

The 13-night itinerary departs October 3; prices start at $7,995 per person before savings.  Add ons include a five-night pre- or post-cruise from Guayaquil, Ecuador to explore Machu Picchu, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, or to Quito and the Galápagos Islands.

Panama to Ecuador

With three UNESCO World Heritage sites on the itinerary, Panama to Ecuador delves into Central America's rich cultural history with stops along the coasts of Panama, Costa Rica and Ecuador including the village of Montecristi known for making high quality "Panama Hats."

Notable excursions to UNESCO World Heritage sites include a day in Panama's Coiba National Park –home to abundant birds and sea life, making it one of the world's top snorkeling locations.  Another world-class snorkeling destination, the Cocos Island, 300 miles off the Costa Rican coast boasts sea turtles, rays, dolphins, a dazzling array of tropical fish, and the world's largest population of hammerhead sharks.

Lastly, a true immersion experience to the remote Emberá village in the Darién Jungle (UEE), a tribe much unchanged by modern culture, marks the third UNESCO site.

The 10-night itinerary departs October 15; prices start at $4,995 per person before savings.  Add ons include a five-night pre- or post-cruise from Guayaquil, Ecuador to explore Machu Picchu, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, or to Quito and the Galápagos Islands.

Ecuador to Easter Island

The nine-night Ecuador to Easter Island voyage traveling from Guayaquil to Easter Island, features seven days at sea highlighted by sightings of migrating whales, playful dolphins, and breathtaking sunsets before landing on fabled Easter Island.  One of the most remote places in the world and a UNESCO site, Easter Island offers a fascinating study in the rise and fall of a Polynesian culture (UEE). Nearly 900 massive and mysterious moai – stylized human figures whose huge eyes gaze placidly out to sea – grace the island's grassy plains.  Smithsonian Journeys guest speaker David Aguilar -- naturalist, astronomer, author and artist -- will lead lively discussions and lectures on the region's natural history.

This nine-night itinerary departs October 15; prices start at $3,895 per person before savings.  Add ons include a five-night pre- or post-cruise from Guayaquil, Ecuador to explore Machu Picchu or to Quito and the Galápagos Islands, or a four-night Easter Island adventure.

Value-Add

Sailing on board the line's 120-guest, all-suite Spirit of Oceanus: Guests will save up to $2,000 per cabin and receive FREE round trip international airfare from six select U.S. Cities: San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (ORD), Houston (IAH), Washington D.C. (IAD or DCA) and New York (JFK), or an air credit of $750 per person when booking and paying in full by December 18, 2009.  All prices quoted are in US dollars.

Price per voyage includes a pre-cruise hotel night, all excursions and transfers and a tour of the embarkation city. Guests who book more than one voyage will save an additional five percent.  For further details, visit www.CruiseWest.com, call 800-296-8307 or a travel professional.

The five voyages mark the fourth chapter of the Voyages of the Great Explorers – a series of 24 separate and unique cruises that that combine to form a 335-day circumnavigation of the world along the major routes inspired by history's great ocean explorers.  Beginning March 5, 2010, the world voyage will sail ever westward, returning to Singapore on February 3, 2011.

~Up-Close, Casual and Personal Explorations~

Cruise West believes that small is beautiful.  Small-ship explorations allow up-close and personal experiences unmatched by the traditional larger cruise lines. For more than 63 years Cruise West has provided authentic travel experiences where the destination is the focus. The fleet of small ships with guest capacities ranging from 78-148 explores remote and distinctive destinations throughout the globe.   A robust onboard enrichment program further enhances the guest experience through topical guest lecturers, additional exploration by Zodiac and included excursions at every port.