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Treasures of Central America

Guayaquil to Colon - Example 14 Day Cruise aboard Le Boreal (CDP)
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From Puerto Quetzal, visit Antigua Guatemala. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this city, overlooked by majestic volcanoes, is often considered to be the country’s most beautiful. The Le Boréal stops in Quepos, the gateway to one of Costa Rica’s finest natural treasures, the Manuel Antonio National Park. Combining lush tropical rainforest and abundant wildlife, this unspoiled park is fringed with idyllic beaches. As you leave Fuerte Amador in Panama, have an exceptional opportunity to journey back in time as you discover the Embera tribe. These proud people have successfully preserved their traditions and their ancestral way of life. Cross the mythical Panama Canal. Spanning the Isthmus of Panama, this marvel of engineering will take you from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Guayaquil, Ecuador | Embark
Days 2-3 : At Sea
Day 4 : Golfito
Day 5 : At Sea
Day 6 : Puerto Quetzal
Day 7 : At Sea
Day 8 : San Juan del Sur
Day 9 : Herradura
Day 10 : Quepos
Day 11 : Cebaco
Day 12 : Fuerte Amador, Flamenco Island
Day 13 : Crossing the Panama Canal
Day 14 : Colón, Panama | Disembark

Highlights

  • Visit the pyramids of Tikal a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Discover the national parks of Costa Rica, pristine natural sanctuaries that cover almost a quarter of the country
  • Observe rich and varied tropical plants and wildlife
  • Admire exceptional architecture, alternating Baroque and Andalusian styles

Ship

Le Boreal (CDP)

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Guayaquil Street View Puerto Quetzal,Guatemala Gatun Lock of the Panama Canal Green Wooden Shack at San Juan del Sur Nicaragua Beach San Juan del Sur

Day 1 Guayaquil, Ecuador | Embark

Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Pacific”, Guayaquil is the most inhabited city in Ecuador. Founded by the conquistadors in 1535, it borders the coasts of the province of Guayas. You can stroll without any cares in the world, in the upper part of the city, next to the Las Peñas district. This Bohemian district with its colourful houses offers an impressive view of the city, if you’re courageous enough to climb the steps which separate the chapel rooms from Cerro Santa Ana lighthouse. The city is also blessed with many parks and gardens, perfect for taking a breather.

Day 2-3 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
During your days at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they are able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
 

Day 4 Golfito

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Optional Excursions: 

BOTANICAL GARDEN & BEACH ESCAPE

Golfo Dulce is one of the most intense rainforest landscapes in the world, unfolding and exposing what's been described by National Geographic as “the most biological intense place on earth.” More than 400 species of tropical birds, over 500 species of vascular plants, 140 species of tropical mammals, hundreds of butterfly species and many more tropical organisms call this place home. Disembark your ship by Zodiac® for a wet-landing on a beach. A 600-yard (600 m) leisurely walk brings you to Casa Orquideas, a beautiful botanical garden project that holds an amazing collection tropical flora of both native and species of around the world. A place to learn about edible, ornamental, medicine plants, a place to let our senses go wild, touching, tasting and smelling some of the most incredible plants and flowers of all shapes and colours. Before or after (or both) your close encounter with Mother Nature, and if the weather and swell permit, there is time for swimming at leisure in the warm ocean of this remote and isolated corner of this beautiful country.
 

Day 5 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they are able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
 

Day 6 Puerto Quetzal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located on the Pacific coast, 100 kilometres south of the capital, the city of Puerto Quetzal is the largest port in the country. Close to the city, the ravishing little old city of Antigua, is a former colonial capital listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Admire the wealth of its historical monuments.

Optional Excrusions: 

CASA SANTO DOMINGO & ANTIGUA GUATEMALA

Depart from the pier for a scenic 90-minute drive to La Antigua. As you pass through rugged mountains and towering volcanoes, Antigua reveals itself. It is one of the best preserved colonial cities in Latin America. Founded in 1543 by Spanish conquistadors, Antigua was the capital and seat of the Spanish colonial government of Guatemala for two centuries. Upon arrival, discover La Merced Church completed in 1767. Then start to explore Antigua on foot. Enjoy strolling through the narrow cobblestone streets to Plaza Mayor. This central park is surrounded by historic buildings.  After some free time, walk to visit Casa Santo Domingo Cultural Centre and Church. Once Santo Domingo was one of the largest and richest Capuchin convent buildings of Guatemala. In 1773 a colossal earthquake devastated most of the city and almost entirely destroyed the church and the convent.  During this visit of the former convent and of the Capuchin ruins, learn about what life must have been like for the cloistered women of the colonial period. The ruins include a small museum, gardens, bathhouse and restored nun's cells. Lunch is served at Casa Santo Domingo.
After lunch, reboard your coach for a 15-minute drive to Jocotenango for a visit to La Azotea Cultural centre, which houses Casa K'Ojom, showing antique and folk musical instruments, as well as Mayan clothing and paintings. It is also a research centre for the traditional music of Guatemala. Visit also the adjacent coffee museum, and learn about the coffee making process; from seed, to crop, the drying period, and finally marketing. Then re-board your coach for the 90-minute drive back to the ship.

GUATEMALA HIGHLANDS, LAKE ATITLAN & PANAJACHEL

From the pier, embark your coach for a 2 ½-hour scenic drive in the highlands of the country. See the lowlands near the pier and its sugar cane plantations, volcanic mountains, farmland and agricultural communities along the way. As you climb to the highlands, see quaint Indian villages and small towns alongside the highway. Your destination is the lake side village of San Lucas Toliman. Here, you have the opportunity to freshen up and then board one of the local typical Guatemalan boats for a one-hour long trip across Lake Atitlan.
Lake Atitlán is a large endorheic lake (one that does not flow to the sea) in the Guatemalan Highlands. Atitlan is recognized to be the deepest lake in Central America with maximum depth about 1,120 feet (340 m). The lake is shaped by deep escarpments which surround it and by three volcanoes on its southern flank. Lake Atitlan is further characterized by towns and villages of the Maya people.
Enjoy the lovely views in this area of natural beauty, as you make your way to Panajachel. This small community village is an 800-year-old pueblo, and is home to around 14,000 inhabitants, most of which are Mayans. The Mayan culture remains noticeably strong amongst the community. As you stroll around Panajachel, browse the local handicrafts stalls and continue to enjoy views of Lake Atitlán (weather permitting).
After a typical buffet lunch in a local hotel, reboard the local boat and sail back to San Lucas Toliman. Next, sit back and relax on the return journey as you enjoy the Guatemalan scenery once more, before arriving into Puerto Quetzal.

Day 7 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they are able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
 

Day 8 San Juan del Sur

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Considered Nicaragua's surfing capital, the attractive seaside resort of San Juan del Sur is an idyllic location for chilling in the waves. You're guaranteed to fall in love with this former fishing town on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, now a popular seaside holiday spot. Less than a two-hour drive away is the city of Granada, founded in 1524 at the foot of the Mombacho volcano. Clinging to the shores of Lake Nicaragua, the town is a stunning example of colonial architecture, with its narrow streets and Al-Andalus houses painted in bright colours. Don't miss out on a tour of its La Merced church, wander around the main square and explore the San Francisco convent.

Optional Excursions: 

COLONIAL GRANADA

From the pier, embark your coach for the approximately 1 ¾-hour drive to the charming colonial city of Granada, founded in 1524. Sitting in the shadow of Mombacho Volcano and on the edge of Lake Nicaragua, this extremely picturesque city is a mosaic of colonial churches, narrow streets, and Spanish-style homes with beautiful indoor patios, tiled roofs, and bright colonial colours.
Upon arrival, a photo stop are made at La Polvora Fort. Then visit La Merced Church. Next, discover the main plaza and dozens of colonial homes, as well the famous Convent of San Francisco which dates from 1529. Because of Granada's rich historical and cultural heritage, the city is currently in the process of being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After the visits, enjoy a lunch at a colonial restaurant in Granada. Before returning to the ship, have time to explore by yourself some of the sight which impressed you most during your guided tour, and why not take a memorable horse carriage ride around Granada (ride not included).

MASAYA VOLCANO & COLONIAL GRANADA

Be amazed by the still-active volcano at the Masaya Volcano National Park and explore colonial Granada. From the pier, board your coach for the 2-hour drive to Masaya Volcano. The coach takes you near the active volcano's crater from where you can view the steam rising from the fumaroles. The area around the volcano is covered by a lush forest with distinctive wildlife and vegetation which will be explained by the guide, as well as a short visit to the visitor centre and its nature exhibition.
A Nicaraguan lunch is served at a local restaurant at your next stop: Granada. Granada is the oldest European-founded city in Central America and is well known for its colonial architecture. Prior to returning to the ship stroll around the Main Square and visit La Merced Church, which offers an incredible view of the entire city of Granada.

MOMBACHO VOLCANO CRATER HIKE

Exuberant rainforests, a volcano hike, and unmatched views makes this tour a favourite for those with a sense of adventure. From the pier, board your coach for the 1 ½ hour drive to the base of the Mombacho Nature Reserve. From here a four-wheel drive vehicle takes you to the volcano's peak, some 3,200 feet (1,000 m) in elevation. Begin a guided one-mile (2 km) hike, (approximately 1 ½ hour) around one of Mombacho's four craters. The hike is on primarily natural paths and there are a couple of medium inclines along the way. Learn about this unique ecosystem which consists of several climates, many indigenous species of flora, 90 different types of orchids, steaming fumaroles and gorgeous landscapes. After returning to base camp, drive to Granada for lunch at a local restaurant.
You will have time at leisure to discover the colonial city on your own or for some shopping before returning to your ship.

Day 9 Herradura

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Herradura takes its name in Spanish from the horseshoe form of its bay, covered in lush tropical vegetation, its beauty enhanced by the hills that loom over it. This small town is surrounded by national parks that are remarkable for the rich variety of fauna and flora they protect. When your ship calls here, is the moment to take a journey in small covered boats along the Tarcoles River, whose banks are home to crocodiles and iguanas. This mangrove also hosts the loyal and flamboyant Scarlet Macaw, with its red, blue and yellow plumage, known for mating with the same partner for life.

Optional Excursions: 

PURA VIDA GARDENS

A 30-minute drive brings you to Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls. This garden has been named the No. 1 garden in Central America by the Tropical Sierra Foundation. The design trail begins with the country’s natural beauty of spectacular flora, fauna, waterfalls and views of the Pacific. See the hundreds of flowers planted there, as well as several varieties of orchids from Costa Rica and from all over the world. The manicured walkways meander along a river or at the crest of a mountain and most are easily accessible. Enjoy a guided 1 ½-hour nature walk to cascades and look-out points.
A fruit buffet and beverages are served at Pura Vida's main hall.

MANGROVE RIVER CRUISE

This unique tour, narrated by a local guide, is an absolute must for nature lovers. At Herradura,  board your air-conditioned coach for the one-hour scenic drive to the mouth of the Tarcoles River, located near the Carara Biological Reserve.
Here,  board your covered river boat for an approximately two-hour cruise along the stunning Guacalillo Estuary. Your guide provides a fascinating ongoing commentary as you glide along the waters of the estuary, world-renowned for its rich bird life. This particular mangrove forest, one of the most important in the mid-Pacific Coast, is home to the endangered Scarlet Macaw.
While these exotic birds spend most of the day in the forest, they also roost in the mangroves along with hummingbirds, herons, egrets, ospreys, pelicans, and storks. The mangrove, a group of unrelated woody plants that grow in protected tropical coasts, is also home to crocodiles, lizards and iguanas, which are often seen foraging along the shore. This adventure will provide you with a solid understanding of life in the mangroves and more importantly, you will learn about why it is important to conserve the forests and the many incredible species that live here.
After the cruise, upon arrival at the boat station, you will then enjoy a delicious buffet of fresh fruits, including fresh, watermelon and pineapple, before heading back to your ship.
 
CARARA NATIONAL PARK

From Herradura, embark your coach for the 20-minute drive to the Carara National Park, a low mountainous area of 11,600 acres (4,700 ha) going from the dry North to the very humid coast of the South Pacific.
Your experience begins at the universal footpath, specially designed to make an easier and interesting walk into the forest, where you have a wide range of audio-visual and haptic resources. Follow your guide for a 1 ½-hour leisurely walk through the park.
Endangered species like scarlet macaws, yellow-billed “cotingas”, laughing falcons, and others can be easily seen here, as well as several species of monkeys and other mammals and impressive reptilians and amphibians. On the way back to the ship a stops are made for fruit and juice tasting.

Day 10 Quepos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Quepos makes for a charming stop-off on the Pacific coast, just next-door to the famous Manuel Antonio National Park, an untouched tropical natural reserve lined with white sandy beaches. The town's seafront is an opportunity to stroll through market stalls touting pineapples and bananas in the shade of the manchineel trees. In this coastal town criss-crossed with tree-lined streets in bloom, admire the houses and their incredible sculpted balconies. Enjoy a spot of shopping in the many traditional boutiques: pick up some handmade cotton clothing, ceramics embellished with Costa Rican designs and home décor pieces in hand-painted wood.

Optional Excursions: 

SAVEGRE RIVER FLOATING

Depart Quepos on a 1 ¼-hour transfer by air-conditioned motor-coach, passing by palm, teak and Melina plantations to the rural town of El Silencio.
After a short comfort stop where you can often spot toucans and macaws, continue toward the town of Santo Domingo, where a group of qualified guides with professional equipment are awaiting you to start this 2-hour amazing river floating.
Your guide gives you an orientation about the river and its natural environment, which is considered one of the most beautiful rivers of Central America.
The scenery and wildlife along the Rio Savegre are legendary, your opportunity to enjoy beautiful landscapes, including some native African oil palm plantations, white ibis, cormorants, egrets, crocodiles and herons, experiencing both action and periods of relaxation. A snack of fresh fruits will be served at the river banks, before returning to the pier.

RIVER BOATING THROUGH THE MANGROVE LAGOONS

A ride through the mangroves is like visiting a place of another world. The species of trees that grow in the mixed waters of the ocean and the river make a unique and very fragile ecosystem. Most of these trees grow along the estuary, developing an aerial root system. As the tide goes down, the roots become suspended in the air creating a perfect place for crabs and crocodiles. In the upper part of the forest, see monkeys and a great variety of birds including herons, egrets, and spoonbills among others.
From the pier, embark your coach for the 25-minute ride to a launch from where a boat takes you to a private property for refreshments. Then your naturalist tour guide acquaints you with all the knowledge of the mangroves, an ecosystem extremely important and of which not too many people know. Your covered boat takes you deeply into the mangrove, as you try to spot all the incredible wildlife that makes their home in the mangroves. After a two-hour boat ride, arrive to the village where your coach is waiting to drive you back to your ship.

MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK

Manuel Antonio National Park is the jewel of the many Costa Rica’s national parks. Its fragile rainforest ecosystem shelters an abundant wildlife, including the easy to see monkeys and a great variety of tropical birds. The dense rainforest opens into small trails where your naturalist tour guide acquaints you with all the information regarding the forest. Another great attraction are the white sand beaches that meet the jungle. Your 1 ½-hour guided hike leads you to the beach where you can have time for sunbathing. Manuel Antonio park protects 1,688 acres (683 ha) of tropical rain forest and over a thousand different species of flora. This walk is by far one of the best in Costa Rica, and a great opportunity to get closer to the forest that kisses the beach. The trail followed is very well maintained and is easy walking with no uphill climbs. Another hour of leisurely walking will bring you back to the exit of the park with another opportunity of spotting wildlife.
An optional drop off in the town of Quepos is also available, where you will find several restaurants and shops

Day 11 Cebaco

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 12 Fuerte Amador, Flamenco Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Optional Excursions: 

MIRAFLORES LOCKS
From the pier, depart to the Miraflores Locks. Take this opportunity to pause and view the gargantuan ships that make their way through the Panama Canal and visit the four exhibition halls, organized by themes that constitute the heart of the Miraflores Visitors Centre. After the visit, return to the pier and your ship.

AUTHENTIC EMBERA INDIAN VILLAGE

This tour was designed for you to step aboard a time machine and travel back more than 600 years; to a Central America only few have had the privilege of experiencing. More than a tour, this is a journey into the lives of the Embera Indian Tribe. A proud people, who have been able to maintain their traditions and lifestyle as it was before the Spaniards colonized the region. Start out the expedition aboard an air-conditioned coach where your guide gives you an overview of Panama on the way to the jungles of the Central Region. Your host prepares you for the cultural feast you are about to experience by sharing the history and customs of the Embera Indians, who are the keepers of the rainforest and Chagres River.
When you arrive at the Chagres National Park, leave the comfort of your vehicle to board the dugout canoes that takes you to the Embera Village. Although not the most luxurious, these dug outs are sturdy and worthy craft which were critical in the conquering of the jungle and in establishing supply lifelines for both Indians and Spanish.
After motoring up river,  see the village emerge from the jungle as if by magic. Keep your eyes open along the way, as the region offers abundant wildlife that is particularly active along the rivers' edge. In the village, the Chief will welcome you with traditional Embera hospitality. A series of dances have been arranged to add to this cultural exchange.
Feel free to wander the village, ask questions or interact with these quiet people. Please remember that you are guests in their home and a good measure of common sense and sensitivity towards their privacy is appreciated. The Embera men and woman are spectacular craftsmen who have produced some beautiful items, which is available for purchase as souvenirs of this unique experience. All too soon, it is time to return to your century, where the bliss and tranquillity of older days has been all but forgotten.

Day 13 Crossing the Panama Canal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 14 Colón, Panama | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Colón is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal. Colón is today an important port, and the free trade zone created in 1953 contributed greatly to the development of the city.  Colón was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts through the isthmus of Panama; the city rapidly overshadowed the older Caribbean ports of Panama when the canal opened. Disembark after breakfast and continue your independent trip back home. 

Le Boreal (CDP)

Per person starting at
$7,470
Superior Stateroom
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Superior Stateroom
8 cabins, 226 sq ft, located on Le Champollion Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area and private bath.
Prestige or Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
28 cabins, 200 sq ft with private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
Deck 4, 200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
Deck 5, 200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
Deck 6, 200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suites
3 suites, 290 sq ft with 54 sq ft private balcony, located on the Le France Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, desk, minibar, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 5
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 6
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Owner's Suite
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Owners Suite
1 suite, 484 sq ft with 97 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living, dining areas, private bath with large tub and shower, minibar, 2 flat screen TVs, DVD, CD, and IPOD, Video on demand, Satellite phone.

Notes

Please Note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and subject to change without notice.

Cruise fares are per person and include the following:
  • All meals while on board the ship 
  • Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • Evening entertainment and events
  • Gratuities to onboard crew, local guides and drivers
  • 24h Room service (special selection)
  • English speaking lecturer 
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite
  • Highly experienced bilingual (French-English) Expedition team 
  • Park entry fees into protected areas
  • Complimentary boot rental on select cruises
  • Free and unlimited Wi-Fi (Internet access may be slower or in some situations interrupted, depending on certain geographic locations or other circumstances beyond our control).
Cruise fares do not include:
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned 
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions mentioned
  • Visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional Spa package to be booked prior to your departure
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned
  • Laundry services, hair salon and à la carte Spa treatments
  • Personal expenses, on board medical consultations and drug prescriptions
  • Cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s)
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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