San Diego to New York via the Panama Canal

Explore the 'jewel of the Indies' Cartagena.
Explore the 'jewel of the Indies' Cartagena.

Explore the enchanting ports and cities of Central America on a fully escorted cruise from San Diego to New York via the Panama Canal.

On this 21-day tour with The Senior and Travelrite International - April 2-23 2019 - passengers will trace the lush picture-perfect coast of Central America on board Holland America's elegant MS Volendam cruise ship.

Stopping at lively Central American cities in Mexico, Guatamala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Colombia, and soaking up their rich history and culture, another highlight of the cruise is marvelling at the workings of the engineering feat that is the Panama Canal as the MS Volendam makes its transit along the 77km canal.

The cruise departs San Diego, California, after two days spent exploring the city including a visit to the MSS Midway Museum - an enormous aircraft carrier-turned museum with 29 restored aircraft and 60 exhibits.

The vessel then meanders down the coast, reaching the Mexican city of Puerto Vallarta on day five. From here stroll along the popular Malecon oceanfront boardwalk and visit a tequila manufacturer where you can sample a drop or two.

See the delights of New York.

See the delights of New York.

The cruise then makes stops at Mexico's Hautulco (renowned for its beautiful beaches and spectacular bays) and Puerto Quetzal in Guatamala, gateway to UNESCO World Heritage city of Antigua. There will be a day to explore Guatamala's colonial history.

In Nicaragua, after setting anchor in the port of Cortino, the group travels inland to one of the country's oldest cities, Leon, with time for lunch, shopping and sightseeing. 

And in Costa Rica, Central America's largest city Puntarenas is the base for exploring the rich wildlife of this rugged rainforested country.

Take a boat ride on the Tarcoles River to see bird and plant life and even crocodiles. Then hop on an aerial tram to experience the rainforest from the ground to the treetops (and check out the amazing ocean view while you're up there!). 

After a day cruising along the awe-inspiring Panama Canal - a key link for international maritime trade - the cruise arrives in beautiful Cartagena, Colombia, with a day's sightseeing tour on the itinerary.

From the modern Bocagrande residential district to the Old City, the colonial walled city is considered the jewel of the Indies and one of the country's most charming and visited cities. 

The last port of call before taking a bite of the Big Apple is the Bahaman island of Half Moon Bay to hit the beach for a spot of snorkelling or chilling out with a good book.

The tour rounds up with three nights in New York. A sightseeing tour of the city includes visits to the Empire State Building, Wall Street, the Rockefeller Centre, Fifth Avenue, Times Square and the 9/11 Memorial. 

As well as checking out Soho, Tribeca or Central Park, be sure to take the boat out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The tour includes 15 nights on MS Volendam, including all meals, entertainment, services and charges, as well as one night's accommodation in San Diego and three in New York. Return economy class air travel from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to USA also included.

Price from $7990 twin share per person. Phone 1800-630-343, www.travelrite.com.au 

This article first appeared on www.thesenior.com.au