Cruise West is offering four exciting, international itineraries for the 2008 holiday season. Small ship adventures can combine an enriching cultural exchange with traditional holidays by celebrating Thanksgiving in Asia, Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Mexico’s Seas of Cortés or Panama & Costa Rica, and New Year’s Eve in the South Pacific.
- Grand Asia: For Thanksgiving, this 18-night cruise highlights gardens, temples, coastal ports, castle towns, bustling cities and remote villages in Japan, China and Vietnam. To commemorate the holiday, you’ll enjoy special excursions and hosted dinners with Cruise West Chairman Richard West and family. The voyage travels from Kobe, Japan, to Hanoi, Vietnam, making port calls at Miyajima; touring the peace parks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; a visit to Shanghai, China’s premier cultural, commercial and financial center; Xiamen; Hong Kong; and UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ha Long Bay; Hoi An and Hue, Vietnam’s Imperial City. You can extend your journey with pre- and/or post-land tours to UNESCO World Heritage Sites Angkor Wat and/or Kyoto.
- Between Two Seas: Festive Costa Rican & Panamanian holiday activities and traditional cuisine complement a relaxing Christmas on this 9-night, December 20, 2008 departure, sailing between Panama City to San José, Costa Rica onboard the 100-guest Pacific Explorer. Revelers will ring in Feliz Año Nuevo on the December 29 New Year’s sailing. Festivities include a New Year’s bash with a midnight toast and late night buffet. Additional highlights include the San Blas Islands and a Kuna Indian Village, Portobelo and traversing the entire Panama Canal. You’ll continue to the remote Emberá Village in the Darién Jungle, Coiba National Park, Golfo Dulce, Caletas Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its prolific wildlife and bird viewing.
- Whales & Wildlife: Serenity-seekers will unwind for a Feliz Navidad on a remote beach with festive Mexican holiday activities on the Sea of Cortés Whales & Wildlife cruise, offered on the 138-guest Spirit of Yorktown. Guests aboard the Christmas sailing, departing December 20, 2008, will enjoy a traditional Nochebuena Christmas Eve feast. New Year’s guests on the December 27, 2008 departure will celebrate the Feliz Año Nuevo with a midnight toast and late night buffet. All Sea of Cortés cruises are eight days, round trip from Cabo San Lucas and include the picturesque seaside village and mission town Loreto and Isla Espiritú Santo, home to several plant and animal species only found on this island. Active guests will enjoy kayaking, snorkeling and nature walks at the serene islands Los Islotes and Isla Partida. You may also add on a spectacular four-night Copper Canyon post-cruise land tour.
- Legends of the Pacific: This 16-night journey will ring in the New Year while exploring Micronesian islands, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Departing December 28, 2008, this evocative itinerary travels between Guam and Fiji onboard Cruise West’s flagship vessel, the 120-guest all-suite Spirit of Oceanus. You’ll explore areas seldom visited by other travelers on an insider’s expedition of native villages, World War II sites and tiny islands. SCUBA divers can choose from three separate scuba excursions in Honiara/Guadalcanal, Chuuk and Pohnpei.