16 Days

Panama Canal Cruise

Enjoy the wonderful experience of cruising to multiple destinations onboard the luxurious NCL Jewel 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, La Quebrada Cliff Divers, Weekend Market, Old Walled City and much more! This is truly a relaxing getaway to melt those winter blues!

Dates Available
  • January 17 - February 1, 2019 (Half Full)
  • February 14 - March 1, 2019 (Half Full)

Itinerary

Day 1:  Home Airport or Omaha / Miami
Welcome to Miami, a city with spectacular natural beauty as well as interesting and exciting sites!  A shuttle will provide you a quick and comfortable ride from the airport to your hotel. Here you will check-in to your hotel room and meet your Rupiper Tour Manager.  Overnight.

Day 2:  Miami                                    Sail at 5:00PM
This morning prepare to board the NCL Star.  Enjoy a late checkout and begin boarding the ship at noon. 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, comedian, trapeze or juggling act.  With NCL entertainment, you’ll think you’re in Vegas!  Visit several ports and have unique opportunities to immerse yourself in the local cultures and view many incredible sights. (B, L, D)

Day 3:  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:  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 5:  Cartagena, Columbia                        8:00AM – 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 flamingos and monkeys that welcome you back to the ship.   (B, L, D)

Day 6:  Panama Canal (Cruising)       6:30AM - 5:30PM
This is what you have been looking forward to... THE PANAMA CANAL!  Although built more than 100 years ago (1904 - 1914), it offers up-to-date movement through the three monstrous locks as you cross the Continental Divide.  Also get a glimpse of the new canal expansion project, which was designed for the new neopanamax ships to transit. You will want to be on deck for this day-long unforgettable experience. (B, L, D)

Day 7:  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 8:  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 board smaller vessels in search of wild crocodiles.  We also visit our lucky spot where we always witness monkeys in the wild.  Next we travel to a plantation growing melons.  (B, L, D)

Day 9:  Corinto, Nicaragua                9:00AM - 6:00PM
Nicaragua’s largest port, Corinto, sits on an island connected to the mainland by bridges.  Nicaragua is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, and the area offers long stretches of white sand and clear blue waters.  Journey with us on an included tour to a local farm, where the women formed a Co-Op collective that grows plantains.  Learn how their crops are grown and how their work is managed.  Here we also see a small corn farm. See how good you have it back home when comparing your planting process with theirs in Nicaragua! We may be greeted by special guests from the community.  (B, L, D)

Day 10:  Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala  8:00AM – 6:00PM
This afternoon’s included tour leads us to Antigua Guatemala, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the central highlands of Guatemala. La Antigua, the Guatemalan capital during Spanish colonial times, was partially destroyed by major earthquakes in 1717 and 1773. Today La Antigua is noted for its very elaborate religious celebrations during Lent and its beautiful Spanish Baroque architecture. During our excursion we walk the cobblestone streets of La Antigua and enjoy a delicious and authentic meal.   First we travel to a coffee farm that also contains a small museum on site. See workers drying the coffee beans and make sure to pick up some coffee at their shop.   Next we visit a commercial Macadamia nut farm.  See trees producing in the nut orchard as well as learn about the harvest and drying systems.  Here they explain the oil extraction process which creates a hot new product used in cosmetics and hair care items. You may have an opportunity to sample some of these products with a mini rejuvenation treatment.  (B, L, D)

Day 11:  At Sea
Wake up early and watch the sunrise or 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:  Acapulco, Mexico                  8:00AM – 6:00PM
As one of Mexico’s oldest coastal tourist destinations, Acapulco has much to offer both tourists and travelers.  Shop, swim or simply take a siesta on the beach.  Our included shore excursion will take you to an authentic bakery, a local farm growing coconuts, pineapples and other produce, as well as show you around this famous resort town.  Later in the afternoon, join us to see the legendary La Quebrada cliff divers.  This has long been a popular tradition in Acapulco, and it is included!  An interesting option for your free afternoon that is a little less “death-defying” than jumping off cliffs is a visit to the Fuerte de San Diego “Fort San Diego,” which looks back to Acapulco’s past as an important trading center and a target for pirates and rival foreign powers.  The Fort provides a museum as well as an opportunity to get magnificent views over the city and ocean.  This is only a short walk along the coast.  (B, L, D)

Day 13:  At Sea
As the tour winds down, you realize you only have two 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.  There is always something to do - day or night.  (B, L, D)

Day 14:  Cabo San Lucas, Mexico        7:00AM – 2:00PM
Cabo’s signature landmark is El Arco (The Arch,) a rock formation at the tip of “Land’s End.”  This 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 15:  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 16:  Los Angeles, CA / Chicago    Arrive 8:00 AM
Today you disembark the NCL Star with fond memories and a world of new experiences.  Transfer to the 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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