18 Days

Panama Canal Cruise

Enjoy the wonderful experience of cruising to multiple destinations onboard the luxurious NCL Joy ship, while soaking in those warm days at see and ample time to relax. Embark in Miami and cruise to Los Angeles with a full transit of the Panama Canal.  The 48-mile-long Canal, one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, took ten years to build and was one of the most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken.  See more with our included shore excursions – visit farms growing pineapple, macadamia nuts, bananas, sugarcane as well city tours, Weekend Market, Old Walled City and much more! This is truly a relaxing getaway to melt those winter blues!

Dates Available
  • January 16 - February 2, 2020
  • February 13 - March 1, 2020

January Itinerary

Day 1: Thursday, January 16                         Flight to Los Angeles
Welcome to Los Angeles, a city with spectacular natural beauty as well as interesting and exciting sites!   We have arranged a shuttle to provide you a comfortable ride from the airport to your hotel. Here you will check-in to your hotel room and meet your Rupiper Tour Manager.  Overnight in Los Angeles. 

Day 2: Friday, January 17                               Los Angeles                             Sail at 5:00PM
This morning prepare to board the NCL Joy.  Arrive on the ship in time for lunch. Get acquainted with the ship and all its luxurious amenities, as this will be your home for the next two weeks. Every evening you may enjoy a professional show, be it a Broadway production, musical talent, comedy, trapeze or juggling.  With NCL entertainment, you’ll think you’re in Vegas!  Visit several ports and along the way have unique opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture and view many incredible sights. (B, L, D) 

Day 3: Saturday, January 18                           At Sea
After traveling and getting yourself settled, you can sleep in and treat yourself to a day of relaxation.  Forget the cold of winter – sit by the pool, read a book from the ship’s library, take in a lecture, catch a movie onboard in the ship’s theater or make new friends over your favorite card game. (B, L, D) 

Day 4: Sunday, January 19                            Cabo San Lucas, Mexico        10:00AM – 8:00PM    You will love how close and convenient everything is to Cabo San Lucas’ Port.  Easily walk to shops, the market, and several bars and restaurants.  Cabo’s signature landmark is El Arco (The Arch,) a rock formation at the tip of “Land’s End.” Glass bottom boat rides to see this are available just at the end of the pier.  Cabo is the jewel of the Baja Peninsula and is famous for its world-class sportfishing, as well as its high-end resorts and exclusive gated communities that line an area simply called “the Corridor.”  Enjoy the day relaxing in the beautiful sunshine.  This is a great opportunity to go whale watching, ride a pedi-cab, or take a water taxi to Playa del Amor “Lovers’ Beach.”  There is always a variety of things to do in Cabo. (B, L, D) 

Day 5: Monday, January 20                          Mazatlán, Mexico                  8:00AM – 5:00PM
Combine a first-class beach resort with a city with an illustrious, colonial past and you've got Mazatlán.  Tequila is Mexico's national drink, hugely popular with locals and tourists alike.  Mexico is the only country in the world where Tequila is grown, harvested, and distilled, and now you can be part of the process!  You'll visit the blue agave plantations where the tequila plants are grown, and see La Vinata, the oldest tequila distillery in Sinaloa state. We also have time to get a taste of the “real” Mexico, with a visit to the colonial town of La Noria, where the natives make pottery, leather goods, and other items. 

Day 6: Tuesday, January 21                           Puerto Vallarta                      8:00AM – 6:00PM
Smaller and more subdued than Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta has retained a good deal of its small village charm along with 26 miles of spectacular beaches along the Banderas Bay. Look for a row of Romanesque arches along the waterfront across from the main plaza. Known as Los Arcos, the arches are a symbol of the city. Take time to stroll the mile-long Malecón, a 12-block esplanade featuring an array of contemporary sculptures., walk the cobblestone streets to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, peruse the many local wares for sale at the open-air markets, or relax and enjoy the sunny weather. This is the day to do whatever you like… Go ahead, you’ve earned it! 

Day 7: Wednesday, January 22                                 At Sea
Today you may choose to relax by the pool or get involved in one of the many activities offered. It’s all about doing what makes you feel special and expanding your horizons. There are so many things to do on board, like wine tasting, karaoke, ballroom dance lessons, or attend an interesting talk given by one of the guest speakers. It encourages you to go beyond the usual and create an experience that’s uniquely your own.  (B, L, D) 

Day 8: Thursday, January 23                                     At Sea
By now you’re feeling a little sorry for your friends back home. Maybe next time they’ll listen to you when you invite them to join you on a trip to paradise!  Today you might take in a feature film, sharpen your trivia skills or attend a fitness class. Of course you may choose to do nothing but lay out and enjoy the sun...which is sometimes the best choice of all! Go ahead - live it up! You deserve it! (B, L, D) 

Day 9: Friday, January 24                               Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala  8:00AM – 5:00PM
Guatemala is one of central America’s premier coffee growing countries. Visit a coffee farm with an attached museum, allowing you to see the full process.  After tasting a sample, you are sure to want to bring back one of their delicious roasts. We also travel to a Macadamia nut farm.  See trees producing in the orchard as well as learn about the harvest and drying process.  Local farmers explain the oil extraction which creates a hot new product used in cosmetics and hair care items.Next up is a visit to a sugar cane plantation, and finally we visit a school where young students are eager to smile and show off their piñata busting skills.  (B, L, D) 

Day 10: Saturday, January 25                                    At Sea
Enjoy sleeping in and catch a late breakfast. Later you can try a dance class or explore your culinary side with a tour of the main galley.  It’s never too late to learn something new or visit with the new friends you have made along the way. (B, L, D) 

Day 11: Sunday, January 26                          Puntarenas, Costa Rica          8:00AM – 6:00PM
Puntarenas is a lovely seaport town with multi-colored cottages and local markets.  Costa Rica is home to Carara Tropical Rainforest, where you will find exotic flora and fauna unique to Central America.  Today’s included tour takes you to a plantation that grows produce, typically including melons. Discuss the local markets and what life is like living on a farm in Costa Rica.  Also enjoy local wildlife on a small boat excursion and call in the wild monkeys for a photo-op!  (B, L, D) 

Day 12: Monday, January 27                         At Sea
As the tour winds down, you realize you only have a few days left to savor the relaxing and fun atmosphere of your luxurious cruise ship.  What haven’t you experienced yet?  Maybe try your luck in the Casino or sing along in the piano bar.  Have you tried the specialty restaurants yet?  There is always something to do - day or night.  (B, L, D) 

Day 13: Tuesday, January 28                         Gatun Lake / Colón    7:00AM – 11:59PM
Sail into the Caribbean seaport of Colón and grab a good spot on deck so you can take in the view. What a picture it is. Behold the Atlantic Ocean entrance to the famous Panama Canal. Born from a desire to get to California (and its Gold Rush) as fast as possible, this industrious town was the last stop on the 19th century Panama Railroad. It’s now home to Canal Zones, U.S. military bases and of course, beauty.  Here you may choose to take an extended tour of the canal, or explore the vibrant city of Colón. 

Day 14: Wednesday, January 29                   Panama Canal (Cruising)       5:00AM - 7:00PM
This is what you have been waiting for... THE PANAMA CANAL!  Although built long ago (1904 - 1914), it offers up-to-date movement through the six monstrous locks as you cross the Continental Divide.  In addition, you will also get a great view of the new canal expansion project.  Here you can see the new canal, the concrete and all of the materials that go into making this unbelievable feat.  You will want to be on deck for this unforgettable experience.  (B, L, D) 

Day 15: Thursday, January 30                       Cartagena, Columbia             10:00AM – 6:00PM
Today on our included tour we experience a spectacular panoramic view of the city from the literal high point of the city located on the summit of the sole sentinel-like hill that exists in Cartagena, known as La Popa. La Popa is the site of a convent built of stone in the early 1700s which is still occupied to this day by the Augustinian order. From La Popa on a clear day you can distinguish the Rosario Islands far off shore, while at the same time it offers a bird’s eye view of our next stop, the labyrinthine Fortress of San Felipe, which lies not far away from the foot of the hill. From there it’s just a few minutes to the Old Walled City, where we head for a stroll through the narrow streets and open fortress walls. Quaint, narrow streets and balconied houses are all vivid reminders of the former colonialists. The city’s numerous monasteries, plazas and noble mansions are significant links to this region’s grand past. (B, L, D) 

Day 16: Friday, January 31                             At Sea
Your friends and neighbors are home surviving the cold!  You’re basking under the warm sunny skies of the tropics enjoying five course meals each night, and best of all, no cooking or dishes!  Too bad all good things must come to an end.  (B, L, D) 

Day 17:  Saturday, February 1                       At Sea 

Day 18:  Sunday, February 2                         Miami, Florida                        Arrive 8:00 AM
Today you disembark the NCL Jewel with fond memories and a world of new experiences.  Transfer to the Miami airport for your flight home, or stay an extra day in Florida if you’re so inclined…we’ll help with the arrangements. (B)

February Itinerary

 

Day 1: Thursday, February 13           Home Airport / Miami
Welcome to Miami, a city with spectacular natural beauty as well as interesting and exciting sites! Begin your vacation stress-free with an included overnight at a nice hotel near the airport. Don’t worry about airline delays causing you to “Miss the Boat!”

Day 2: Friday, February 14                 Miami                                    Sail at 5:00PM
This morning prepare to board.  Arrive on the ship in time for lunch. Get acquainted with the ship and all its luxurious amenities, as this will be your home for the next two weeks. Every evening you may enjoy a professional show, be it a Broadway production, musical talent, comedy, trapeze or juggling.  With NCL entertainment, you’ll think you’re in Vegas!  Visit several ports and along the way have unique opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture and view many incredible sights. (B, L, D) 

 

Day 3: Saturday, February 15              Great Stirrup Cay                   8:00AM – 6:00PM
Enjoy a whole day visit to Great Stirrup Cay, our idyllic island paradise reserved just for NCL guests. Stroll along soft, white-sand beaches and enjoy the many activities available. Snorkel and see underwater delights, kayak in crystal-clear water, then get revved up on a WaveRunner® adventure. The fun is endless here. Grab a bite at our new 8,500- square foot beach buffet and simply relax in your private beachfront cabana. This tropical paradise is just for you, and the options are all yours. 

 

Day 4: Sunday, February 16              At Sea
After traveling and getting yourself settled, you can sleep in and treat yourself to a day of relaxation.  Forget the cold of winter – sit by the pool, read a book from the ship’s library, take in a lecture, catch a movie onboard in the ship’s theater or make new friends over your favorite card game. (B, L, D) 

 

Day 5: Monday, February 17             At Sea
Today you may choose to relax by the pool or get involved in one of the many activities offered. It’s all about doing what makes you feel special and expanding your horizons. There are so many things to do on board, like wine tasting, karaoke, ballroom dance lessons, or attend an interesting talk given by one of the guest speakers. It encourages you to go beyond the usual and create an experience that’s uniquely your own.  (B, L, D) 

 

Day 6: Tuesday, February 18            Cartagena, Columbia             7:00AM – 2:00PM
Today on our included tour we experience a spectacular panoramic view of the city from the literal high point of the city located on the summit of the sole sentinel-like hill that exists in Cartagena, known as La Popa. La Popa is the site of a convent built of stone in the early 1700s which is still occupied to this day by the Augustinian order. From La Popa on a clear day you can distinguish the Rosario Islands far off shore, while at the same time it offers a bird’s eye view of the labyrinthine Fortress of San Felipe, which lies not far away from the foot of the hill. From there it’s just a few minutes to the Old Walled City, where we head for a stroll through the narrow streets and open fortress walls. Quaint, narrow streets and balconied houses are all vivid reminders of the former colonialists. The city’s numerous monasteries, plazas and noble mansions are significant links to this region’s grand past. Upon returning to the port, you will have time to take pictures of exotic birds and monkeys that welcome you back to the ship.  (B, L, D) 

 

Day 7: Wednesday, February 19                   Panama Canal (Cruising)       5:00AM - 7:00PM
This is what you have been looking forward to... THE PANAMA CANAL!  Although built long ago (1904 - 1914), it offers up-to-date movement through the six monstrous locks as you cross the Continental Divide.  In addition, you will also get a great view of the new canal expansion project.  Here you can see the new canal, the concrete and all of the materials that go into making this unbelievable feat.  You will want to be on deck for this unforgettable experience.  (B, L, D) 

 

Day 8: Thursday, February 20                       Panama Canal / Gatun Lake  7:00AM – 11:59PM 
Sail into the Caribbean seaport of Colón and grab a good spot on deck so you can take in the view. What a picture it is! Behold the Atlantic Ocean entrance to the famous Panama Canal. Born from a desire to get to California (and its Gold Rush) as fast as possible, this industrious town was the last stop on the 19th century Panama Railroad. It’s now home to Canal Zones, U.S. military bases and of course, beauty.  Here you may choose to take an extended tour of the canal, or explore the vibrant city of Colón. (B, L, D)

 

Day 9: Friday, February 21                             At Sea
By now you’re feeling a little sorry for your friends back home. Maybe next time they’ll listen to you when you invite them to join you on a trip to paradise!  Today you might take in a feature film, sharpen your trivia skills or attend a fitness class. Of course you may choose to do nothing but lay out and enjoy the sun...which is sometimes the best choice of all! Go ahead - live it up! You deserve it! (B, L, D) 

 

Day 10: Saturday, February 22                      Puntarenas, Costa Rica          7:00AM – 5:00PM
Puntarenas is a lovely seaport town with multi-colored cottages and local markets.  Costa Rica is home to Carara Tropical Rainforest, where you will find exotic flora and fauna unique to Central America.  Today’s included tour takes you on a ride through the rainforest to a lofty vantage point.  But first we check out our lucky spot to spot monkeys in the wild.  Next we travel to a plantation growing local produce.  (B, L, D) 

 

Day 11: Sunday, February 23                         At Sea
Enjoy sleeping in and catch a late breakfast. Later you can try a dance class or explore your culinary side with a tour of the main galley.  It’s never too late to learn something new or visit with your new friends! (B, L, D)

Day 12: Monday, February 24                       Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala  8:00AM – 6:00PM
Guatemala is one of central America’s premier coffee growing countries. Visit a coffee farm with an attached museum, allowing you to see the full process.  After tasting a sample, you are sure to want to bring back one of their delicious roasts. We also travel to a Macadamia nut farm.  See trees producing in the orchard as well as learn about the harvest and drying process.  Local farmers explain the oil extraction which creates a hot new product used in cosmetics and hair care items.Next up is a visit to a sugar cane plantation, and finally we visit a school where young students are eager to smile and show off their piñata busting skills.  (B, L, D)

 

Day 13: Tuesday, February 25                                   At Sea
As the tour winds down, you realize you only have a few days left to savor the relaxing and fun atmosphere of your luxurious cruise ship.  What haven’t you experienced yet?  Maybe try your luck in the Casino or sing along in the piano bar.  Have you sampled the specialty restaurants? There is always something to do - day or night.  (B, L, D) 

 

Day 14: Wednesday, February 26                             At Sea
Your friends and neighbors are home surviving the cold!  You’re basking under the warm sunny skies of the tropics enjoying great food and entertainment!  Too bad all good things must come to an end.  (B, L, D) 

 

Day 15: Thursday, February 27                                  Puerto Vallarta          7:00AM – 4:00PM
Puerto Vallarta has retained a good deal of its small village charm along with 26 miles of spectacular beaches along the Banderas Bay. Stroll the cobblestone streets to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Or peruse the many local wares for sale at the open-air markets. 

 

Day 16: Friday, February 28                           Cabo San Lucas, Mexico        7:00AM – 3:00PM
Cabo’s signature landmark is El Arco (The Arch,) a rock formation at the tip of “Land’s End.”  The jewel of the Baja Peninsula is famous for its world-class sportfishing, as well as its high-end resorts and exclusive gated communities that line an area simply called “the Corridor.”  Enjoy your day relaxing in the beautiful sunshine.  This is a great opportunity to enjoy whale watching, ride a pedi-cab, or take a glass bottom water taxi to Playa del Amor “Lovers’ Beach.”  Or maybe walking to Medano Beach is just right for you.  Many bars and restaurants near the port make this town best absorbed on foot.  (B, L, D) 

 

Day 17: Saturday, February 29                      At Sea 

 

Day 18: Sunday, March 1                               Arrive Los Angeles                 7:00AM
Today you disembark the NCL Star with fond memories and a world of new experiences.  Transfer to the LAX airport for your flight home. (B)

 

 

Rupiper Tours reserves the right to make minor adjustments to the itinerary if necessary.

What's Included

Round-trip Airfare from Omaha, NE or most major U.S. Airports
(Slight price adjustment may be necessary from certain airports)
Miami Pre-Cruise Hotel including Transfer
Norwegian Cruise Fare including Port Charges and Taxes
Meals on board Ship (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner)
Full Transit of the Panama Canal
Gratuities for Local Tour Guides and Motorcoach Drivers
Gratuities for Ship Staff

 

Special Events and Sights

Included Shore Excursions

Cartagena, Columbia
La Popa Convent • “The Old Walled City” • Exotic Bird & Monkey Sanctuary

Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Crocodile Boat Ride • Rain Forest Drive 
• Melon Farm • Wild Monkeys

Corinto, Nicaragua
Plantain
 Farm CO-OP • Small Corn Farm • Small Sugarcane Factory

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
Coffee Farm 
• Macadamia Nut Farm • Antigua City

Acapulco, Mexico
City Tour • Local Coconut & Pineapple Farm • La Quebrada Cliff Divers





Testimonials

Testimonials from 2018 Panama Canal Cruise Tour Participants

"The tour manager did an excellent job on everything. The local tour guides were great! I especially liked the coffee farm - so much more information than we have ever received on other coffee farm visits. Also really enjoyed the bakery in Mexico."
Cliff & Joyce B. (Ohio)

"We thoroughly enjoyed Brent! He was very informative and respectful to us, as well as to the people we visited. He listened to peoples' questions and concerns and addressed them quickly and appropriately. Tour guides were great, and they were easy to understand. We enjoyed the ag slant - and definitely would go on another tour with you."
- Ed & Barb T. (New York)

"The tour manager went above and beyond!! Even though the group was scattered on the ship and were not together every day, Cindy had things organized and kept us informed. Our local guides were very accommodating and informative. They made sure to answer the group's questions. All spoke and understood English very well. The narration the day of the canal was VERY Good!!"
- Roy & Trish R. (Nebraska)

"Brent is always very pleasant and available. Enjoyed the whole trip. Any time I called or had a question, everything was handled great."
- John & Nancy E. (Illinois)

"It was a great trip, no problems. We'll enjoy the video and re-live our trip. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour manager, Cindy, she took good care of all of us."
- Linda W. (Oklahoma)

"A great tour all the way! The tour manager is a professional and in any situation she was there to help. This made our tour a success!"
- Dick G. (Minnesota)

"Brent was Spot On!! Very thorough and patient. Knowledgeable and accessible. Everything we need in a guide. Great move to meet daily for dinner. It was so nice to have reservations and not having to wait to be seated. Best thing on the ship was the evening entertainment - thoroughly enjoyed everything in the theater."
- Mike & Linda D. (South Dakota)

"Tour manager was engaging, fun, and took good care of us. All the guides were easy to understand. Really enjoyed your planned excursions and the canal crossing (it's what we signed up for)."
- Ken & Jeannie S. (Minnesota)

"The tour guides were easy to understand and able to answer all our questions. Interesting to hear about their lives also. The tour manager was very personable and knowledgeable. Kept track of everybody. Made the trip memorable. Really enjoyed the coffee farm visit."
- Roger & Gloria H. (Illinois)

"Very good experience. Loved that you helped us fly out of our home airport. Brent did an excellent job. He knew his stuff and was very kind, patient, and pleasant to us and everyone on the trip - especially in areas where some of us needed extra help. Very happy and pleased with all."
- Allen & Cheryl B. (South Dakota)

"The Panama Canal cruise was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We learned so much about the workings of the canal and about life in Central America. Seeing the way people live and work in this part of the world really made us appreciate our own country. The wonderful people we met in the Rupiper group were icing on the cake. The tour manager made it a point to connect with everyone regularly. She kept popping up all over! She was very pleasant and informative."
- Gary & Joyce R. (South Dakota)

Testimonials from 2017 Panama Canal Cruise Tour Participants

"Couldn't have been better! We really enjoyed Columbia.  Thanks again for another great trip!"
- Daniel & Zada C. (Texas)

"Guides and motorcoach drivers were all excellent. Brent was always willing to help with any needs and did an excellent job sharing information. Our favorite visits were the farms, schools, and the bakery. The food was beyond excellent!"
- David & Brenda O. (South Dakota)

"The tour manager was wonderful - very attentive to everyone and very helpful. We enjoyed all our tour guides. Everyone was always friendly and helpful. Enjoyed the trip - no suggestions for improvement!"
- Dewayne & Carolyn W. (North Carolina)

"Enjoyed the tour - met a lot of nice people! Enjoyed the coconut farm and plantain farm the most. Good Job!"
- Glenn & Fannie K. (Pennsylvania)

"Tour manager was fun - easy going - helpful - no pressure! All the guides spoke good English and answered questions. The staff was always good - available and helpful."
- Don & Sally A. (Ohio)

"Super job Brent! Thanks for everything!"
- Duane & Jan S. (South Dakota)

"Everything was great! Thanks for the DVD!"
- Ron G. (Pennsylvania)

Testimonials from Previous Panama Canal Cruise Tour Participants

"We want to thank you for all you did to make the cruise so enjoyable. It was a great trip and we really appreciated all you did. We really enjoyed seeing the DVD. We could relive our favorite port, Cabo San Lucas."
- Larry & Maggie C. (Illinois)

"I really liked our stop in Acapulco. All the local guides showed the group interesting locations - we saw the lows of an area and the highs - friendly & considerate. I will continue to travel with Rupipers."
- Don & Jeannette D. (Nebraska)

"Suzanne was very knowledgeable and always available. The tour guides all seemed very knowledgeable and showed us the true flavor of the area. I loved Columbia and going through the Canal."
- Anonymous

"Everything was done very professionally. The tours went smoothly. There was not a minute wasted - very efficient. Excellent!!"
- Jim & Marlene E. (Illinois)

“Loved it, ready to go again!!  Caught the sailing bug – will be looking into cruising with you again!!  Suzanne was SUPER!  Will tour with her again for sure!  Was always there when needed and with answers.  Very organized – made sure everyone knew when and where they had to be.”
- Kevin & Ellen S. (Wisconsin)

“The cruise was total RELAXATION!  We completely lost track of time – thankfully Suzanne kept track for us.  She was very knowledgeable and sought out answers for our questions.  Suzanne was very friendly and welcomed everyone to her cruise ship family.”
- Robert & Phyllis B. (Iowa)

"Received the nice DVD slide show. Enjoyed the Panama Canal Cruise and your tours."
- Anonymous

“The ship was very nice, good food, great entertainment.  Crew was very friendly, helpful and always making sure we were very comfortable and well fed!  Tour group was much fun – great group of individuals!  Suzanne was excellent in every aspect, accessible at all hours, informative, fun and organized.”
- Anonymous

“One of the better cruise lines.  Larry, you and your people do a great job!  Suzanne was excellent for the entire tour.”
- Kermit & Carol A. (Iowa)

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