15591
Caribbean/Panama Canal
The Southern Caribbean and Panama Canal: A Journey Through History and Nature
Come explore the Southern Caribbean and learn about its colonial architecture, natural monuments and a world-renowned cathedral. Plus, make a partial transit of the Panama Canal!
Rating (4)
Program No. 15591RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
3,595
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
12 days
11 nights
32 meals
11 B 10 L 11 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Embark on Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
D
M/S Zuiderdam

Activity note: For those participants that have arranged their flights with Road Scholar, please see the Holland America desk located inside the airport where a representative will direct you to the Cruiseport Shuttle. Please note that the shuttle runs only on the day of embarkation and disembarkation. Please plan for flight arrivals of no later than 11:30am or noon. You may board as early at 11:30 am, but no later than 90 minutes prior to sail time (departs at 4:00 pm). Cabins should be ready by 1:00 pm.

Afternoon: After embarkation to the ship, check-in at the Front Desk and then proceed to the dining room for lunch. The Embarkation Buffet Lunch will be at the Lido Deck which opens at 12:00 pm. You will then participate in the ship's Safety Drill followed by a Welcome orientation at approximately 2:00pm. Your Group Leader will leave information for you designating the location of the meeting place. Meet your group leader and fellow Road Scholar participants during a welcome and introduction session. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding . **Note: Participants will receive a full itinerary once onboard. The Road Scholar group leader will deliver an itinerary to each participant's stateroom and try to meet all members of the group prior to the program orientation.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, dine with the group in the main dining room. You may also choose to dine at another location on any evening and your group leader can assist you with other locations.

Evening: Time at leisure to enjoy the ships amenities. Please ask your group leader for suggestions on classes and demonstrations that are given during the cruise.

DAY
2
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Half Moon Cay
B,L,D
M/S Zuiderdam

Activity note: The ship is scheduled to arrive to Half Moon Cay at 8:00 AM

Breakfast: This will be onboard in the ships’ dining room.

Morning: We’ll disembark at Half Moon Cay and take a short exploratory nature walk with our leader for almost ½ mile on flat, even terrain. For the next hour or so we will take a leisurely stroll and uncover interesting facts about the nature and history of the Bahamas. We will also have the chance to take a seat in the shade and rest at the chapel if necessary. Half Moon Cay is located on 65 pristine acres of the 2,400-acre Little San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. The island is so unspoiled that the Bahamian National Trust designated it as an international wild bird preserve. Next, we will board a glass bottom boat to view marine life and listen to a lecture about the Marine life of the Islands and the Caribbean. Afterwards, you will have time at leisure to enjoy water activities before returning to the ship by tender.

Lunch: Enjoy a BBQ buffet lunch on the island or perhaps take lunch back on the ship.

Afternoon: Return to the ship and cruise for Aruba. Enjoy a Welcome Happy Hour on the ship and get to know your fellow Road Scholar participants.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, dine with the group in the main dining room. You may also choose to dine at another location at any time.

DAY
3
At Sea
Day at Sea
B,L,D
M/S Zuiderdam

Breakfast: This will be onboard in the ships’ dining room.

Morning: You will now have time at leisure to enjoy some of the ship-board activities.

Lunch: There will be a lunch buffet onboard.

Afternoon: This afternoon you will have a lecture, “The European Influence in the Caribbean”, a light-hearted look at some lingering traditions inherited from bygone days.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, dine with the group in the main dining room. You may also choose to dine at another location at any time.

DAY
4
Oranjestad, Aruba
Oranjestad
B,L,D
M/S Zuiderdam

Activity note: The ship is scheduled to arrive to Aruba at 1:00 PM

Breakfast: This will be onboard in the ships’ dining room.

Morning: You will now have time at leisure to enjoy shipboard activities.

Lunch: There will be a lunch buffet onboard.

Afternoon: We’ll dock in Aruba, disembark and receive an for orientation of Oranjestad, the capital city of the Island from the local guide. Board the Road Scholar motorcoach for a field trip to various historic sites on the island. Visits will include the Fort Zoutman Historical Museum, the Archaeological Museum, and the geological site and botanical gardens at Casibari. The Group leader will host on-site discussions and highlight the history of the island. You may choose to take time at leisure to explore the city on your own before returning to the ship.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, dine with the group in the main dining room. You may also choose to dine at another location at any time.

DAY
5
Willemstad, Curacao
Willemstad, Curacao
B,L,D
M/S Zuiderdam

Activity note: The ship is scheduled to arrive to Curacao at 8:00 AM

Breakfast: This will be onboard in the ships’ dining room.

Morning: Arrive to Curacao, disembark and take part in a short walk before boarding the Road Scholar motorcoach for an orientation to Willemstad and nearby areas. This field trip will include visits to the historic down town, the Governor's Palace, and a floating fresh fruit market and will be led by the local guide.

Lunch: Enjoy a buffet lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Proceed by motorcoach and visit the Hato Caves used by the Amerindian Arawaks 1,500 years ago and in later years were used as a refuge for escaped slaves. There is a climb of approximately 50 steps to reach the cave entrance. Return back to the port and then to the ship and cruise to Panama.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, dine with the group in the main dining room. You may also choose to dine at another location at any time.

DAY
6
At Sea
Day at Sea
B,L,D
M/S Zuiderdam

Breakfast: This will be onboard in the ships’ dining room.

Morning: Take time to read or lounge on the deck or enjoy shipboard activities.

Lunch: There will be a lunch buffet onboard.

Afternoon: This afternoon you will have a lecture, “The Concept of a Canal from Dreams to Reality”, discussing the history of the canal and the construction of the new Panamax Canal.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, dine with the group in the main dining room. You may also choose to dine at another location at any time.

DAY
7
Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena
B,L,D
M/S Zuiderdam

Activity note: The ship is scheduled to arrive to Cartagena at 7:00 AM

Breakfast: This will be onboard in the ships’ dining room.

Morning: You will disembark from the ship and walk several blocks to the motorcoach and then enjoy a field trip in the city of Cartagena led by the local guide. Travel to the hill at La Popa, the highest point in the city, to visit the Convento de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, founded in 1607 by the order of St. Augustine. Continue your area explorations with a stop at nearby Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. Learn about the fort's impressive history while walking through its fortified tunnels, galleries, and lookouts. Before heading into Old Town to uncover more of Cartagena's colonial treasures, stop at a local museum devoted to educating visitors about the history and characteristics of Colombia's famous emeralds. In the early 16th century, Pedro de Heredia established the Spanish town of Cartagena on the site of a coastal, Indian settlement. The town quickly grew into an important port and a strategic gateway for Spanish interests in northern South America. The incredible riches obtained through Spain's colonial conquests in the southern continent were stored in Cartagena prior to being shipped to Spain. Unfortunately, this news attracted the unwanted attention of pirates working in the Caribbean. After suffering various sieges, including one by Sir Francis Drake in 1586, the city began constructing forts and protective walls to safeguard it from further attacks. Present day Cartagena is Colombia's largest port and a vital industrial hub; a place where visitors can enjoy both the rich history and architectural beauty of the city's colonial center (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the modern lifestyle found in the surrounding suburbs. Return to the ship by motorcoach and then walk several blocks back to the pier.

Lunch: There will be a lunch buffet onboard.

Afternoon: You will have time at leisure to enjoy shipboard activities.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, dine with the group in the ships’ main dining room or you may also choose to dine at another location at any time.

DAY
8
Colonial Panama & Miraflores Locks
Gatun Locks Panama
B,L,D
M/S Zuiderdam

Activity note: The ship is scheduled to arrive to Locks at 5:00 AM.

Breakfast: This will be onboard in the ships’ dining room.

Morning: The ship will make a partial transit through the Panama Canal - Gatun Locks. You will disembark at the Lake Gatun Locks Pier, tender ashore and then drive to Casco Viejo or Old City to discover Panama's rich history and culture on foot and by motorcoach led by the local guide. Casco Viejo was established in 1673 by the Spanish Conquistadors; it was the second city settled in Panama. Enjoy a field trip to the Biomuseo, also known as The Biodiversity Museum: Panama Bridge of Life. The vividly hued concrete and steel museum was designed by the renowned architect Frank Gehry and is his first design for Latin America. It spans 43,000 square feet and features exhibitions that focus on the rich and diverse ecosystems of Panama. Next you will explore the French Plaza on foot and visit the famous golden altar in the St. Joseph Cathedral. Continue your exploration of the city by motorcoach and time permitting, we will make a stop at a craft market to view local handicrafts including molas, embroidery, jewelry, leather, wood and much more.

Lunch: We will eat at a nearby restaurant featuring local cuisine.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we will travel by motorcoach for a field trip to Miraflores Locks to view ships passing through the first series of locks in the Canal. Also visit the on-site interpretive museum where you'll explore the exhibits as well as watch a movie about the history of the canal. Transfer back to the Colon Pier by motorcoach and board the ship.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, dine with the group in the ships’ main dining room or you may also choose to dine at another location at any time.

DAY
9
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
Limon
B,L,D
M/S Zuiderdam

Activity note: The ship is scheduled to arrive to Puerto Limon at 6:30 AM

Breakfast: This will be onboard in the ships’ dining room.

Morning: Early in the morning you will visit a Banana Plantation, a working farm whose production is exported to the US. The visit includes a guided walk on easy trails through the plantation, where the participants will be receiving an introduction to the farming and practices of this crop led by the local guide. Transfer to the Costa Rica Sloth Sanctuary dedicated to the rescue of abandoned or injured endangered and rare animals. Learn about these extraordinary creatures and the sanctuaries’ efforts in researching their behavior, lifestyle and environmental welfare.

Lunch: Enjoy a typical lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Return to the pier by motorcoach and board the ship to begin your journey back to Ft. Lauderdale.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, dine with the group in the ships’ main dining room or you may also choose to dine at another location at any time.

DAY
10
At Sea
Day at Sea
B,L,D
M/S Zuiderdam

Breakfast: This will be onboard in the ships’ dining room.

Morning: You will have time at leisure to enjoy shipboard activities.

Lunch: There will be a lunch buffet onboard.

Afternoon: This afternoon you will have a lecture: “A Geographical Overview of Central America”.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, dine with the group in the ships’ main dining room or you may also choose to dine at another location at any time.

DAY
11
At Sea, Farewell Dinner
Day at Sea
B,L,D
M/S Zuiderdam

Breakfast: This will be onboard in the ships’ dining room.

Morning: You will have time at leisure to enjoy shipboard activities.

Lunch: There will be a lunch buffet onboard.

Afternoon: This afternoon you will have a lecture: “Conservation and Wildlife Projects in Central America”. Enjoy some free time spending your last evening on the ship with your new Road Scholar friends, finish your packing, or get a good night's sleep in preparation for international departures tomorrow .

Dinner: Enjoy a Farewell Dinner with the group in the ships’ main dining room.

DAY
12
Program Concludes, Disembark Ft. Lauderdale
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
B

Activity note: The ship is scheduled to arrive in Ft. Lauderdale at 7:00 AM. Upon departure participants will be directed by your group leader to the airport shuttle on disembarkation day. Please do not book departure flights before 12:30 or 1:00pm on this day.

Breakfast: This will be onboard in the ships’ dining room.

Morning: Disembark at the completion of the program. This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels. Note: Although the ship is expected to dock around 7AM, it should take a few hours before the ship is cleared by local authorities and guests are allowed to disembark. Upon leaving the ship, guests will undergo routine Immigration/Customs proceedings. Participants with flight arrangements out of Ft. Lauderdale should take all of this into consideration when scheduling the return flights.