The 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.” From humble beginnings, the program went on to attract world-famous guest speakers including Mikhail Gorbachev, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela. Today, the cruising university onboard the MV Explorer offers two-week Enrichment Voyages for learners of all ages, with educational programming that digs deep into each port of call's culture and history. This 15-day cruise incorporates both lectures and hands-on exploration as it passes along Mexico’s Baja peninsula toward the Isthmus of Panama and Ecuador. At each port on the itinerary, available excursions range from dive trips to volunteer service projects, such as plastering houses or feeding kindergarteners (additional fees apply for shore trips). Or you can set off on your own, armed with knowledge acquired from the recommended reading list.Days 1–3: After cruising from Ensenada, Mexico, to the southern tip of the Baja peninsula, the ship anchors at Cabo San Lucas. El Arco, the city’s iconic seaside arch, forms a scenic backdrop for a day of kayaking and snorkeling.Day 6: Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala lies within easy range of Antigua, named an 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. Day 7: 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.Days 9–10: Balboa, Panama, stands at the entrance to the Panama Canal—still an engineering marvel. The nearby overflow reservoir, Gatún Lake, is home to crocodiles, iguanas, and sloths.Days 12–13: Dipping toward South America, the ship docks at Manta, Ecuador, a trade city dating to pre-Columbian times. Pounding waves on Playa Murciélago create attractive surfing conditions.Day 15: The journey concludes at Puntarenas, Costa Rica, leaving you free to explore inland rainforests or head home. During each day at sea, college professors and other experts lead a string of seminars. Subjects are as varied as marine ecology, cultural anthropology, and photojournalism, and they often relate 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, for instance, testifying to the space's former role as the ship's tavern. Despite the emphasis on education, there’s still plenty of relaxation aboard. The Wellness Center spa offers massages, manicures, and other pampering services. Nightly live entertainment offerings include an all-male a cappella group, a magician, and staged readings of old Love Boat scripts. During the day, you can even skip class to lounge by the pool, located on deck 7.See the full trip overview for more information.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
Riverside Outfitters works to get Richmond-ers out on the water, up into the trees, and out on the trails with a variety of natural outdoor excursions. The staff helps locals and visitors engage with the area's rich landscape, guiding fleets of rafts, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and inner-tubes down the James River, which the Daily Press described as having "the only urban whitewater rafting experience available in the country." High ropes courses and climbing seminars teach first-timers how to nimbly break from gravity's embrace, while outdoor summer camps teach kids to engage wildlife without the scratchy fingers that come from texting with tree bark.
By the time Blue Bee Cider's signature drink is ready in the spring, it's been three seasons in the making. The process begins in the fall and winter pressing season, when baskets upon baskets of Virginia apples, their ripe red skins shocked with gold, are crushed to loose their sweet juice. The juice lies dormant for the winter, undisturbed by the needless addition of sugar or water, slowly fermenting. Finally, come the break of spring, it takes on the fizzy character of carbonation and is bottled, ready to take its place on the shelves behind the tasting bar. Each of the three varieties takes on a different characteristic from its different blend of apples and ingredients, from the Charred Ordinary's dryness lent by heirloom apples, to the Harvest Ration's surprising kick supplied by fortification with brandy.
In 1784, George Washington stood before the Virginia General Assembly, lobbying for a canal system that would connect the James River to the Ohio River via the Kanawha River. His vision began to materialize in 1789, when construction began on the canals, leading to further westward expansion and the canals becoming a hub of American history. Today, the guides of River District Canal Cruises lead both public tours and private charters through the canal system, unveiling its storied past to passengers. The Canal Walk, for example, teems with historic significance, from hosting the world’s first successful electric streetcar system to having one of the world’s last functioning triple main-line railroad crossings. Throughout each tour, the boat’s cover keeps guests comfortable by providing shade and deflecting falling satellites.
Whether exploring the historic riverfront, countless landmarks, architectural points, or celebrated sites, RVA Historic Tours transports visitors and locals there in comfort. Cushioned seats line the 26-person frames of their enclosed trolleys, which cruise through the streets for daily public tours and special events such as holiday-lights tours and private charters for all occasions. They also conduct daily historical tours on segways.
The streets and buildings of Richmond breathe with history. Patrick Henry’s famous words, “Give me liberty or give me death,” echo in St. John’s Church, where the statesman gave his infamous speech; the ghost of Poe wanders the streets of the Church Hill district, where he lived and wrote; and the bones of presidents James Monroe and John Tyler lie peacefully under the lush grass of the Hollywood Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark. These are just a few of the locations that segway riders glide through during educational tours organized by Segway of Richmond.
The company’s most popular jaunt, the two-hour Landmark Tour, takes groups to nearly 20 historic buildings, churches, and museums, whereas other ventures focus on specific aspects of the city’s past, such as the Black History Tour or the Edgar Allan Poe Tour. In addition to learning about the men and women who shaped the culture of Richmond and practicing their preferred mode of transportation, tour-goers can explore the architecture of Victorian and Edwardian homes during a Fan District Tour or think about murals, mosaics, and sculptures during a Public Art Tour.