Cruise West (www.cruisewest.com), the leader in small-ship voyages, will offer four memorable international itineraries to commemorate 2008’s fall and winter holidays. Intrepid explorers can combine an enriching cultural exchange with traditional holidays by celebrating Thanksgiving in Asia, Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Mexico’s Seas of Cortés or Panama & Costa Rica, and New Year’s Eve in the South Pacific.
Chairman Richard West will host the November 24, 2008 departure of the 18-night Grand Asia itinerary (http://www.cruisewest.com/destinations/grand_asia/). The Grand Asia cruise highlights gardens, temples, coastal ports, castle towns, bustling cities and remote villages in Japan, China and Vietnam. To commemorate the Thanksgiving holiday, guests will enjoy special excursions and hosted dinners with Mr. West and family. The voyage travels from Kobe, Japan, to Hanoi, Vietnam, making port calls at Miyajima; touring the peace parks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; a visit to Shanghai, China’s premier cultural, commercial and financial center; Xiamen; Hong Kong; and UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ha Long Bay; Hoi An and Hue, Vietnam’s Imperial City. Guests can extend their journey with pre- and/or post-land tours to UNESCO World Heritage Sites Angkor Wat and/or Kyoto. Prices start at $7,549 per person.
Festive Costa Rican & Panamanian holiday activities and traditional cuisine complement a relaxing Christmas on the December 20, 2008 departure of the 9-night Between Two Seas (http://www.cruisewest.com/destinations/costa_rica_panama/) voyage, sailing Panama City to San José, Costa Rica or reverse, onboard the 100-guest Pacific Explorer. Revelers will ring in Feliz Año Nuevo on the December 29 New Year’s sailing. Festivities include a New Year’s bash with a midnight toast and late night buffet. Additional highlights include the San Blas Islands and a Kuna Indian Village, Portobelo and traversing the entire Panama Canal. Guests will continue to the remote Emberá Village in the Darién Jungle, Coiba National Park, Golfo Dulce, Caletas Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its prolific wildlife and bird viewing. Prices start at $4,399 per person based on double occupancy.
Serenity-seekers will unwind for a Feliz Navidad on a remote beach with festive Mexican holiday activities on the Sea of Cortés Whales & Wildlife (http://www.cruisewest.com/destinations/sea_of_cortes/) cruise, offered on the 138-guest Spirit of Yorktown. Guests aboard the Christmas sailing, departing December 20, 2008, will enjoy a traditional Nochebuena Christmas Eve feast. New Year’s guests on the December 27, 2008 departure will celebrate the Feliz Año Nuevo with a midnight toast and late night buffet. All Sea of Cortés cruises are eight days, round trip from Cabo San Lucas and include the picturesque seaside village and mission town Loreto and Isla Espiritú Santo, home to several plant and animal species only found on this island. Active guests will enjoy kayaking, snorkeling and nature walks at the serene islands Los Islotes and Isla Partida. Guests may also add on a spectacular four-night Copper Canyon post-cruise land tour. Prices start at $2,599 per person.
The 16-night Legends of the Pacific (http://www.cruisewest.com/destinations/south_pacific/) journey will ring in the New Year while exploring Micronesian islands, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Departing December 28, 2008, this evocative itinerary travels between Guam and Fiji onboard Cruise West’s flagship vessel, the 120-guest all-suite Spirit of Oceanus. Guests will explore areas seldom visited by other travelers on an insider’s expedition of native villages, World War II sites and tiny islands. SCUBA divers can choose from three separate scuba excursions in Honiara/Guadalcanal, Chuuk and Pohnpei. Prices start at $7,249 per person.
For additional information or to book a Cruise West cruise, call 1-800-296-8307 or visit www.cruisewest.com.