The neighborhood experts and licensed real-estate professionals of San Diego Real Estate & Lifestyle Tours live and work downtown, making them ideally suited to teach people about San Diego's food, festivals, traditions, and culture. One or two guides usher tour groups through areas such as East Village, Little Italy and the Columbia District, or the Marina District and Gaslamp Quarter, offering spectacular views of the bay from high-rise condos and light refreshments at community eateries or bars. The tours are open to patrons of all backgrounds, from locals looking to learn more about the downtown scene to potential home buyers or extraterrestrials seeking a friendly neighborhood in which to settle down.
With an electric motor powering Ship 'N a Bottle's classic bay tours, visitors can enjoy the sounds of lapping waves rather than those of gurgling engines. Helmed by a licensed coast guard captain, the custom electric tugboat gently carries guests in and around Mission Bay as they raise their glasses to warm, sunny afternoons or colorful sunsets. The 90-minute cruises include fondue cruises, where passengers are provided with an assortment of fresh fruit to dip in melted milk chocolate. Cruises depart several times in the afternoon and in the evening every day except Tuesday, Wednesday, and during the brief seaweed mating season.
Turista Libre organizes adventuresome and exploratory day tours in Tijuana. It gathers guests into caravans for trips to local water parks or Xoloitzcuintles games, Tijuana's pro soccer team. Stops at lucha-libre matches (pro wrestling) and piñata factories are often part of the fun. All excursions provide the opportunity to sample the local cuisine and bar scene of Tijuana, the second-largest city on the West Coast after Los Angeles.
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.