10-Country Enrichment Cruise - Central America, South America, and Mexico

25-Day, 10-Country Latin America Enrichment Cruise Departing December 8 from Institute for Shipboard Education

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Country-Hopping Cruise with Expert Speakers

Institute for Shipboard Education was born from an idea to create a floating campus that reflected the ideals of the United Nations and the realities of globalization. As Chinese shipping magnate C.Y. Tung put it, “Ships can transport more than cargo—they can carry ideas.” The institute has attracted world-famous guest speakers including Mikhail Gorbachev, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela. The Institute for Shipboard Education also administers the study abroad program Semester at Sea. Today, the cruising university offers two-week Enrichment Voyages for adventurers of all ages, with educational programming that digs deep into each port of call's culture and history. This 25-day cruise incorporates both lectures and hands-on exploration. Departing from Nassau, the MV Explorer passes through 10 countries in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America before ending in San Diego.

At each port on the itinerary, available day trips range from whitewater rafting to volunteer-service projects (additional fees apply for shore trips). You’re also free to explore each site on your own.

Days 1–3: After departing from Nassau, the ship cruises to Montego Bay, Jamaica, known for its duty-free shopping and picturesque scenery along the Caribbean.

Day 4¬–7: Sail to Cartagena, Colombia, a historical South American city fortified by 400-year-old stone walls. You can wander down cobblestone paths that lead to Old-World–style plazas. Next, the city of Colón, Panama, stands over the Caribbean side of the Panama Canal—still an engineering marvel. The nearby overflow reservoir, Gatún Lake, is home to crocodiles, iguanas, and sloths.

Days 8–14: Dipping toward South America, the cruise makes its way to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s biggest city and the site of a massive urban-renewal project. Explore Malecón 2000, a waterfront walkway lined with urban gardens and a contemporary-art museum, or stroll through the Las Penas district and marvel at the colonial architecture. The journey continues to the trip’s most southern port, Callao, Peru. One of the country’s most important ports, Callao dates back to 1537, when it was founded by conquistador Francisco Pizarro.

Days 15–19: Next, the ship heads at Manta, Ecuador, a trade city dating to pre-Columbian times. Pounding waves on the city’s Playa Murciélago create attractive surfing conditions. On Christmas Day, you’ll arrive at Puntarenas, Costa Rica, to explore its inland rainforests.

Days 20–21: Nicaragua’s largest Pacific port, Corinto, borders León, an Old-World town dotted with 17th-century Spanish colonial churches such as the Cathedral of the Assumption. The next day, you’ll arrive at Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala, which lies within easy range of the town of Antigua, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved baroque architecture. It's ringed by mountains playing a very slow-moving game of duck duck goose.

Days 22¬–24: Head to Cabo San Lucas, where the iconic El Arco seaside arch forms a scenic backdrop for a day of kayaking and snorkeling. Known for its festive nightlife, Cabo San Lucas is where you’ll ring in 2013.

Day 25: The journey concludes in San Diego.

During each day at sea, college professors and other experts lead a string of seminars. Subjects vary from history to the Spanish language to biodiversity, often relating to the next port of call.

The ship retains vestiges of its former life as a commercial liner. There are barstools in the 9,000-volume library, a nod to the space's former role as the ship's tavern. Despite the emphasis on education, the ship provides several opportunities to relax. The Wellness Center spa offers massages, manicures, and other pampering services.

Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.

What You Get

Read about different purchase options here

25-day, 10-country Enrichment Voyage throughout Central and South America aboard the MV Explorer, departing December 8

Travel with a Friend Packages (two Groupons required)

  • $2,199 for a shared inside cabin, or pay an additional $1,100 supplement fee to travel solo
  • $2,998 for a shared outside ocean-view cabin, or pay an additional $1,499 supplement fee to travel solo

Included in both options:

  • All onboard meals
  • All onboard lectures and most workshops

Book by: 8/17/12

Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.

Amenities

  • Talks by professors and other experts
  • Two dining halls and a piano bar
  • Approximately 9,000-volume library
  • Outside pool with snack bar
  • Computer and multimedia labs
  • Two gym areas and a spa center
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The Fine Print

  • Book by 8/17/12 or promo value expires
  • Must begin travel by 12/8/12
  • Limit 1/person, multiple as gifts
  • Limit 1/visit
  • 91-day cancel required in writing or fee of 25% Groupon price applies; 61-day notice required or 1/2 Groupon price applies; 31-day notice or Groupon price applies
  • Must be 18+ to checkin & 2+ to stay
  • CC required at checkin
  • Valid for inside or outside cabin only
  • Passport required
  • $280 port fee & possible fuel fee up to $9/day not included & due at booking
  • Airfare not included
  • Fee of 1/2 Groupon price for traveling alone; may opt for room matching
  • Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Other Details

Room Details

  • Two twin beds
  • Standard occupancy: 2
  • Maximum occupancy: 2–4 on a case-by-case basis during reservations, based on availability
  • Adding occupants above standard: in a limited number of cabins, each additional occupant 17 or older may be added for $795 per trip plus $280 in port fees; each additional occupant 16 or younger may be added for $395 per trip plus $280 in port fees
  • Fridge, phone, and safe
  • Built-in desk and wardrobe
  • Closed-circuit TV with movies
  • Private bathroom with hair dryer
  • 110- and 220-volt outlets
  • Outside rooms include a picture window or porthole
  • Closet-size shower

Hotel Policies

  • Rollaways: not available
  • Smoking policy: no smoking in cabins; smoking restricted to designated areas
  • Pet policy: pets are not allowed onboard.
  • Accessibility: handicap-accessible cabins are available upon request during booking.
  • Room upgrades: guests can pay a single-supplement fee (additional 50% of Groupon price) to have their own cabin with single occupancy.

What It's Worth

Read about different purchase options here

25-day, 10-country Enrichment Voyage throughout Central and South America aboard the MV Explorer, departing December 8

Travel with a Friend Packages (two Groupons required)

  • $2,199 for a shared inside cabin (up to a $3,849 value), or pay an additional $1,100 supplement fee to travel solo
  • $2,998 for a shared outside ocean-view cabin (up to a $4,949 value), or pay an additional $1,499 supplement fee to travel solo

Included in both options:

  • All onboard meals
  • All onboard lectures and most workshops

Getting There

  • Beginning airport: Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) in Nassau
  • Beginning port: Nassau, the Bahamas
  • Final port: San Diego
  • Final airport: San Diego International Airport (SAN)

Traveler's Tips

  • Before international travel, always check the State Department's website for important info on the destination and its entry/exit requirements.

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