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Daily Overview

Day Destination Activities
1 Frankfurt

Curaçao

Flight from Frankfurt to Curaçao

EMBARKATION

2 At Sea Enjoy a relaxing day at sea
3 Cartagena Experience UNESCO-listed Cartagena

Optional guided tour of the city’s highlights

4 San Blas Islands Swim, snorkel, and relax on sandy beaches

First glimpse of the Panama Canal

5 The Panama Canal Pass through the magnificent Panama Canal

Learn about the canal’s fascinating history

6 Gulf of San Miguel Discover the lush Darien jungle

Encounter the Embera tribespeople

7 Utria National Park Spot exotic flora and fauna in the park

See tropical birds, reptiles, and amphibians

8 Isla Gorgona Explore the former “Alcatraz of Colombia”
9 At Sea Enjoy a relaxing day at sea
10 Peru Visit the Huaca el Dragon temple and Chan Chan

See Moche Valley and Sun and Moon Pyramids

11 Callao

Frankfurt

DISEMBARKATION

Flight to Frankfurt

12 Frankfurt Arrival in Frankfurt

Detailed Itinerary

DAY 1 / FRANKFURT / CURAÇAO 

Fly from Frankfurt to the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao, where you’ll embark the ship in the evening, setting sail along the northern coast of South America.

 

DAY 2 / AT SEA 

Spend a relaxing day at sea, taking in spectacular ocean views from the deck, participating in on-board activities, or enjoying luxury amenities.

 

DAY 3 / CARTAGENA 

In one of South America’s most beautiful cities, find a treasure trove of architectural, historical, and cultural wonders. Cartagena, Colombia, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and immortalised one year later in a novel by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez. On an optional guided tour through historic Cartagena, discover the picturesque old town, magnificent colonial buildings, and the imposing San Felipe fortress.

 

DAY 4 / SAN BLAS ISLANDS

The Kuna indigenous people of the San Blas Islands, Panama, claim a past steeped in tradition. Their small autonomous island reserve is a postcard-perfect world of palm trees and white sandy beaches—an ideal place to relax, swim, snorkel, or simply let your mind wander.

Here, you’ll get a first glimpse of the Panama Canal, a legendary structure that is over 80 kilometres long and undeniably one of the world’s most important straits. Since it opened more than a century ago, the canal has undergone and continues to undergo significant expansion to accommodate ever growing container ships.

 

DAY 5 / THE PANAMA CANAL 

The daytime passage through the Panama Canal will be the highlight of your voyage. The team of experts on board will ensure your picturesque views are nuanced with fascinating facts about the canal’s construction and significance. From the deck, enjoy views of grasslands, dense jungle, and wild mangrove forests. The Panama Canal will draws you, until the moment you reach an exotic new world on the Pacific side.

 

DAY 6 / GULF OF SAN MIGUEL 
In this El Dorado of lush, natural wonders, discover the green heart of Panama. Traditional boats will take you into the Darien jungle, Central America’s largest continuous rainforest, offering a rare and up-close vantage point for observation. In this diverse habitat, encounter the Embera tribe, who live in widely strewn forest villages, and learn about their traditional way of life.

 

DAY 7 / UTRIA NATIONAL PARK 

Colombia’s eco-tourism objectives are in line with our high standards on board, so you can follow a trail instead of leaving one behind. Look forward to the exotic flora and fauna in the almost untouched rainforests of Utria National Park, which offers extraordinary biodiversity, from tropical birds to reptiles and amphibians. Which species will you see? With a little luck, you may even spot humpback whales from the deck, which give birth in these warm waters.

 

DAY 8 / ISLA GORGONA 

A paradise for plant researchers, Isla Gorgona once served as a base for pirates and later, as the “Alcatraz of Colombia” before it was turned into a nature reserve. Coral reefs, secluded beaches and varied hiking routes—this is the perfect place to dream and discover!

 

DAY 9 / AT SEA 

Spend a relaxing day at sea, taking in spectacular ocean views from the deck, participating in on-board activities, or enjoying luxury amenities.

 

DAY 10 / PERU 

The propeller of the ship seems to turn back time, reviving ancient civilisations, including the impressive legacy of the Chimu near Salaverry. On an optional excursion here, explore the Huaca el Dragon temple and Chan Chan, the continent’s most important archaeological site. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was constructed around 1300, is one of the largest adobe cities in the world. Marvel at the former centre of the Mochica culture, around 2,000 years old, and the ruins of important Chimu shrines in the Moche Valley and the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, two imposing structures. One of the structures is made from millions of adobe bricks, while the other is decorated with colourful paintings and friezes. Imagine people praying here to gain the favour of the gods.

The Islas Guanape were created by the raw forces of nature, and appear on this route for the first time. Their rugged cliffs are populated by gannets, Inca terns, and pelicans. The islands are also home to sea lions and Humboldt penguins. Your thirst for discovery will be inspired both here and off the Islas Grupo de Huaura. Both archipelagos are remote conservation areas, which means your visits are subject to official approval. All visitors must respect the ecological sensitivity of the islands, in keeping with our environmental philosophy.

 

DAY 11 / CALLAO / DISEMBARKATION / FRANKFURT 

Enriched by unforgettable impressions and with your yearning for adventure fulfilled, you can look back on the many contrasts of your expedition from the coastal city of Callao. Disembark here in the morning, and board a flight from Lima to Frankfurt.

 

DAY 12 / FRANKFURT   

Your journey comes to an end in Frankfurt.

Dates & Prices

Itinerary Code (Name of Itinerary)  Itinerary Start Date  Ship Name  Route Duration (Nights) Category – Cruise Only Pricing PP
1 (Guar. Outside Cabin) 2 (Outside Cabin) 3 (Outside Cabin) 4 (Outside Cabin) 5 (Outside Cabin) 6 (Outside Cabin) 7 (Suite)
ENLA-01
(Both Sides of the Panama Canal)
11/2/2017 MS Hanseatic Curaçao/Callao 11 $8,990 $9,870 $11,130 $11,570 $11,990 $13,250 $18,510

Prices are per person based on double occupancy.

ENLA-01 Port Charges: N/A

ENLA-01 Single Supplement:

  • Category 2-4: ranging from 30-37%
  • Category 5: 45%
  • Category 6 and 7: 100%

*Note: Category 1 is not offered as a single option

Inclusions

  • Expedition in the booked category
  • Full board on the ship (early bird breakfast, breakfast, bouillon, lunch and dinner, afternoon coffee and tea with pastries, midnight snack).
  • All landings or rides in the ship’s own Zodiacs or tenders (potential admission fees or guided tours by local tour guides not included)
  • Experienced experts who give lectures, provide in-depth answers to questions about the cruising area and accompany Zodiac landings.
  • Champagne awaits you in your cabin on your day of arrival.
  • Mini bar filled with soft drinks in the cabin (refilled daily)
  • Flat screen, DVD player and private email account as well as an integrated video-on-demand system in every cabin
  • Sending and receiving emails (up to 1MB) free of charge
  • German ship, cruise and expedition management as well as a German- and English-speaking service crew on board
  • Comprehensive information about the cruise, service handbooks about the flora and fauna of the Amazon, the Arctic and Antarctica as well as expedition maps
  • Information about the port or destination (when available) in the cabin in the form of pocket-size travel guides
  • Depending on the destination, warm parkas and rubber boots as well as snorkeling equipment and Nordic Walking Poles are provided on loan (subject to availability)
  • Free use of all on-board facilities (except the services of the phot shop, hairdresser, massage, boutique, internet)
  • Harbour and airport fees
  • Bankruptcy insurance

Ship Details

MS Hanseatic

BuiltLengthDecksCabinsPassengersCabin Size
1993123m69217522 - 44m²More Details

Travel Tips

Tip Test

Testing tips

Lower Mekong

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to Cambodia and Vietnam. While uncommon for most of our guests, technically you may need to provide evidence of ‘sufficient funds’ for your stay. Some cash and credit cards normally suffice.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visas

Vietnam: A valid tourist visa is required for Canadians. It must be obtained in advance and details for this can be found here.

Cambodia: A valid tourist visa is required for Canadians. It can be obtained at either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap airports upon arrival or onboard the ship if you are travelling upstream from Ho Chi Minh (in which case it is necessary to take passport photos with you). It is probably more convenient to get it online in advance. Please visit the Kingdom of Cambodia website where you can find the E-Visa application form.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

The temperature is fairly consistent in the high 20s for most of the year. April and may are the hottest months where daytime highs usually go into the mid to high 30s.

The rainy season extends from May to October where intermittent rain can be expected 2 out of 3 days. It typically does not rain all day long however.

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on where your pickup point is on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from this pickup point (typically a hotel in the centre of Ho Chi Minh / Siem Reap). We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 8-9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account well before this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before. You will then be transferred by coach to the designated point for your onward journey.

Please note that the travel time between Siem Reap and Kampong Cham (embarkation / disembarkation point) is approximately 5 hours.

 

Money

The currency of Vietnam is the Dong (VND).

The currency of Cambodia is the Riel. (KHR)

Credit cards may be accepted for larger purchases in retail shops, but usually not in restaurants, cafés and certainly not in street markets or small shops along the way. It is recommended to carry some local currency with you for shopping or for a drink along the way.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in the major cities but during the cruise, they will be difficult to find in the smaller towns. It is best to stock up on local currency before you embark.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities for the ship’s crew are included in your cruise fare. If you feel the desire to reward specific members of staff for extraordinary service, you are at liberty to do so. In this case, please put the funds in a small envelope and hand it to the person discreetly.

Tips for services provided onshore are at your discretion. Typically USD$1 or 2 per service rendered (i.e. Taxis, pedicabs, porters, etc.) would be considered very fair.

Laundry

A laundry bag is provided in each stateroom for your laundry needs. Laundry is collected each morning when your room is made up and will be returned to you by the following day. We regret that dry cleaning services are not available.

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on dirt roads and through stone temples. If you have difficulty walking any distance or up and down a lot of stairs, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Etiquette

South-East Asians are generally tolerant and easy going. Please try to avoid political discussion and remember that the Vietnamese national hero “Uncle” Ho Chi Minh enjoys near divine stature and any disrespect shown to his name or memory can cause extreme offence. Despite opening the door to capitalism, Vietnam remains a fervently Communist society with a dominant Communist Party.

In Cambodia, any form of disrespect for the national religion, Theravada Buddhism, is inappropriate. Unlike many faiths, Buddhists make their temples open to foreigners, permitting the taking of pictures (not always!) and general invasion of their sacred space. They ask only one thing: that we take our shoes and socks off.  In addition please pay particular attention to the following:

  • Do not point with your feet.
  • In the company of monks or elders never cross your legs.
  • Do not touch people on the head or upper body.
  • When beckoning someone to come over do not flap your hand in the standard Western ‘come over here’ motion; instead turn your hand around so that your palm points down towards yourself.
  • Do not attempt to shake hands with monks or nuns. Note that people in general rarely shake hands here but rather smile and nod.
  • Women should never sit down next to a monk.
  • Shorts and skirts must cover the knees for both men and women. Arms can be exposed by shoulders should be covered. (i.e. No tank tops or sleeveless blouses)

 

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – The ship will often dock on a riverbank with a gangplank. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths. Temples often have many stairs which are mostly not obligatory to climb, but for the full benefit you will need to. Note that the high temperatures and humidity may also make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

We regret that we cannot accommodate those in a wheelchair on this program.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

Plenty of complimentary bottled water is provided on board and for your shore excursions. It is not safe to drink water directly from the taps.

If you get the chance, a Vietnamese favourite (available in more and more restaurants here at home) is “Phở” or, basically noodles. “Phở Ga” is essentially the local version of chicken noodle soup but once you’ve tried it, you may never go back.

“Gỏi cuốn” are scrumptious Vietnamese spring rolls with pork, shrimp and vegetables in a rice paper wrap. If you don’t get them aboard the ship, order some along the way.

In Cambodia, a couple of things worth trying are Khmer Red Curry (less spicy than the Thai version) and Lap Khmer which is a beef salad marinated in lime juice and served with lemongrass, garlic, mint, green beans and other veg. If you’re not included for hot spice, ask them to go easy on the chili.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk will likely speak little English in Vietnam. In Cambodia, English skills are amazingly good amongst locals, particularly the younger ones.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

We recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel.

Although, there are no vaccinations required to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia, we recommend that you consult your physician or a travel medical clinic with any specific concerns in regard to the itinerary in this program. Malaria is prevalent in some areas at some times of the year and you may wish to consider a prophylaxis.

Safety & Security

The general situation for tourists visiting these countries is good.

Crime is generally limited due to harsh penalties, particularly when tourists are affected. However, petty theft and pickpocketing is definitely something to be aware of, particularly in the larger cities and around large groups of people.

It is always prudent to be constantly aware of your surroundings and to not take unnecessary valuables with you. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

Please refer to the following information for specifics:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/vietnam

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/cambodia

Suggested Reading

The Mekong: Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future

Across the Mekong River

Ho Chi Minh City & Mekong Delta

Phnom Penh: A Cultural and Literary History

Siem Reap: 20 Must See Attractions

The Yangtze

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel in China.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

A visa is required for citizens of Canada travelling to China.

Details on how to obtain a visa can be obtained here.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

March: Temperatures in the high 10s to low 20s. Occasional rain.

April/May & September/October: Warm with temperatures in the mid 20s. Relatively dry.

June – August: Very hot. Temperatures in the mid to high 30s.

 

Arrival / Departure

The program includes all transportation beginning in Beijing and ending in Shanghai or the opposite.

 

Money

The currency is the Chinese Yuan (Renminbi). It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any other currency.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in the larger cities at the start and end of the cruise but may not be so easy to find at stops en route.

Gratuities (Tipping)

On the cruise, there is a bulk gratuity of USD$25 per guest for the entire trip to be distributed amongst the whole crew.

It is suggested to budget USD$5 per guest for the river guide and USD$ 1 or 2 per shore excursion for local drivers and guides, to be given out based on your level of satisfaction.

Laundry

Laundry services are available on board at an extra charge.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable to those confined to a wheelchair.

 

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare. During the land portion of the program, not all lunches and dinners are included so you will have ample opportunity to sample the local cuisine.

Local food consisting of rice noodles and tofu are best and very authentic, most meats are delicious, but ensure they are properly cooked and not raw. The famous dish known as “Hot Pot” originates from Chongqing and if you haven’t had it before, it is worthwhile.

In Yichang, try the snack known as”Liangxia” which is basically cold shrimp, rice, corn, and brown sugar.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk will probably speak little English.  Since your Mandarin is probably limited, you might want to have a phrasebook handy.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

During the cruise, Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Hotels during the land portion of the program all have phone and internet facilities which may be subject to varying charges.

 

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to China unless you are travelling from a country where yellow fever occurs. There are other vaccines which you may wish to consider, and we suggest that you check with your physician or a travel medical clinic for specific advice.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your personal physician with any specific concerns about this program.

Safety & Security

The police in China are generally very friendly, though they speak very little English except for police in Beijing or Shanghai who generally can speak a few words of English. If you are lost do ask for directions as they will usually be happy to help.

By and large China is safe as penalties are harsh, but crime does occur and tourists may be vulnerable so precautions and common sense are still advisable, particularly at night

This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

You can access current information about the security situation in China by referring to the Canadian government travel advisory site at https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/china

Suggested Reading

The River at the Center of the World

China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power

China: A History

The Po

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the last date of travel in Italy (EU).

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada travelling to Italy for leisure stays of up to 90 days.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

March to May, temperatures in the 10s/20s can be expected,

From June to September, the Po valley is hot and humid with daily averages around the mid 20s with highs often reaching the mid 30’s. Between May and August early evening thunderstorms are common.

In October, temperatures in the high 10s are normal.

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

 

Money

The currency is the EURO. It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any other currency.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

As always, gratuities are at your own discretion. If you feel the service has met or exceeded your expectations, the ship suggests an amount of EURO $ 5-10 per person per day.

Laundry

Unfortunately there are no laundry facilities on board so bring what you need for the cruise.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on cobblestone streets and in Venice, over lots of bridges with steps. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for those in a wheelchair.

 

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

Something worth trying is “Sarde in Saor” which his essentially marinated sardines with onions, raisins and nuts usually served as antipasto. On the sweeter side of things, Fritole are a kind of ball shaped fritters with nuts and raisins inside and coated with icing sugar. Simply delicious !

Italian wine needs to introduction and both reds and whites from the local region of Veneto are our recommendation.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk may have little English. Most places in Venice will have English-speaking staff. Nevertheless, bringing your Italian phrase book or an app would not be a bad idea.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Italy. As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events in Europe, Italy is extremely safe. Particularly the small cities and towns on this voyage, you should have nothing to be concerned about. This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

You can access current information about the security situation in Italy by referring to the Canadian government travel advisory site at https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/italy

Suggested Reading

19 Days from the Apennines to the Alps

Milan to Venice 

The Elbe

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the last date of travel in the Czech Republic or Germany (EU).

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada travelling to the Czech Republic or Germany for leisure stays of up to 90 days.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Weather

April / May & October: Day time temperatures typically from the mid to high 10s. At night it can dip into the single digits. Occasional spring rains.

June and September: During the day the temperature is typically in the low 20s and in the evening it often dips into the high 10s. Usually fairly dry.

July/August: Very warm during the day in the mid to high 20s and the low 20s at night.

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The currency is the EURO. It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any other currency.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

As always, gratuities are at your own discretion. If you feel the service has met or exceeded your expectations, the ship suggests an amount of EURO $ 5-10 per person per day.

Laundry

Unfortunately there are no laundry facilities on board so bring what you need for the cruise.

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on cobblestone streets. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable to those confined to a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

Czech cuisine is quite heavy with meat/poultry and potatoes or dumplings being standard fare. Classic dishes include “Sviĉkova” which is a braised beef in sauce usually served with bread dumplings. Our personal favourite is the roast duck with red cabbage and dumplings. You will find this on menus everywhere. Of course the drink of choice in the Czech Republic is beer with the most well-known brand being Pilsener Urquell.

In Germany, pork dishes are very popular and if you’re looking for a quick snack, try one of the many sausages that you can find at street vendors all over. One of the most hearty dishes to try in Berlin is the “Eisbein” or pork knuckle. It tastes much better than it sounds.

Germany is also well known for its beer, but you might try some German white wine from the Rhine or Mosel regions. Generally known to be sweeter, if you opt for a dry variety, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk may have little English, particularly in the Czech Republic. A phrasebook or translation app is highly recommended.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel in Germany or the Czech Republic. As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events in Europe, both the Czech Republic and Germany are extremely safe. Particularly the small cities and towns on this voyage, you should have nothing to be concerned about. This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

Suggested Reading

Riverboat Trip up the Elbe River and on to Prague, Brno, and Karlovy Vary

Here I Stand, The Life of Martin Luther

Prague, A Cultural History

Berlin: Then and Now (soon to be released)

The Danube

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the last date of travel to enter European Union (EU) countries which include all destinations on this itinerary.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada travelling to any country on the Danube itinerary.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

The weather will vary somewhat depending what part of the Danube you are travelling on.

In the early spring (March-April), the weather will likely be in the 10s but some cooler evenings may be expected. Occasional rain is normal.

In May, June and September, temperatures will typically be in the low 20s during the day and in the high 10s during the night time.

In July and August, temperatures are usually in the mid 20s but could range up to the high 20s or low 30s. Evenings typically in the low 20s.

In November and December the temperatures will typically be in the low 10s during the day and in the 0s (but usually above freezing) during the night.

 

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

 

Money

The currency in Germany, Slovakia and Austria is the EURO. In Czech Republic, the Czech Crown or Kronor is used (CZK), although many shops will accept Euros. In Hungary the local currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF) and similarly, many shops will accept Euros.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities suggested by the cruise line are:

EUR 3.00 per guest per day for the cruise director

EUR 12.00 per guest per day to be divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available onboard at a nominal additional cost. Unfortunately dry cleaning services are not available.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on cobblestone streets. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for those in a wheelchair.

 

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine, though.

In Prague, depending on the time of year, local kiosks on the main squares will offer delights such as ‘Trdelnik’, a tube-shaped sweet pastry with various fillings. You may also wish to give the Prague Ham a try, which is a very tasty variation of black forest ham. If you do get the chance for a full meal, roast duck, red cabbage and dumplings is probably one of the most typical Czech meals.

In Germany, particularly in Nuremberg, try the ‘Lebkuchen’ (gingerbread) which is absolutely delicious. A fast food favourite in the whole country is the famous ‘Currywurst’ which is a sausage served with a curry mustard sauce.

Austria is of course famous for its pastries, particularly in the coffee shops of Vienna. You can’t not try a ‘Sachertorte’ (chocolate cake with apricot jam). The home of the ‘Wiener Schnitzel’ is also here with the original version being a breaded veal cutlet and the more common version being made with pork.

Hungary is known for its delectable ‘Gulasch’ soup, made usually with beef chunks. ‘Letscho’, a zesty red sauce with sweet peppers is another favourite, often served with shishkebabs and on a bed of rice.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk may not speak so much English, particularly in the former eastern European states (i.e. Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, Serbia etc.) A phrasebook or translation app would come in very handy.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to the EU. As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events in Europe, these countries are all extremely safe. Particularly the small cities and towns on this voyage, you should have nothing to be concerned about. This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

You can access current information about the security situation in Europe by referring to the Canadian government travel advisory site at https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/

Suggested Reading

Danube

The Danube

Danubia A personal history of Habsburgs Europe

The Dutch Canals

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the last date of travel to enter the Netherlands or Belgium (EU).

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada travelling in the Netherlands for leisure up to 90 days.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

In March the temperatures are still quite cool averaging in the high single digits to low 10s. There is a 50:50 chance of rain during this month.

By April temperatures warm up to the low to mid 10s although there is a still a likelihood of rain at least 50% of the time. A good, warm raincoat is a must.

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

 

Money

The currency is the EURO. It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any other currency.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities suggested by the cruise line are:

EUR 3.00 per guest per day for the cruise director

EUR 12.00 per guest per day to be divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available onboard at a nominal extra charge. Unfortunately, dry cleaning service cannot be provided.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on cobblestone streets. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable to those confined to a wheelchair.

 

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

Raw herring may sound a little scary to the uninitiated, but every visitor to the Netherlands should give it a go. You’ll spot haringhandels (herring carts) serving up this Dutch specialty all over the city – ask for a ‘broodje haring’ to get the fish served in a small sandwich with pickles and onions.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course. The Netherlands has a very high degree of English literacy and you will mostly likely not have a problem communicating with the locals here.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to the Netherlands. As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events in Europe, the Netherlands is extremely safe.

This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/netherlands

Suggested Reading

Lonely Planet The Netherlands

Tulipomania

Why The Dutch Are Different: A Journey Into the Hidden Heart of the Netherlands

The Rhine

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the last date of travel in Europe.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada travelling in the EU for leisure stays of up to 90 days.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

March-April: Cool with occasional rain. Weather is typically in the mid to high 10s

May-June: Warm days and dryer. Low to mid 20s. Night time in the high 10s.

July-August: Daytime usually in the mid to high 20s, sometimes warmer.

September-October: Typically in the mid 20s during the day. Often cooler into the mid to high 10s at night

November – December: Cool with occasional precipitation. Mid 10s during the day and in the single digits at night.

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 8-9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

 

Money

The currency is the Euro except in Switzerland where it is the Swiss Franc.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities suggested by the cruise line are:

EUR 3.00 per guest per day for the cruise director

EUR 12.00 per guest per day to be divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Regrettably, dry cleaning is not available.

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on cobblestone streets. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

 

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

Switzerland is known for its cheese. If you have the opportunity, try the real cheese fondue or raclette.

Germany has of course fantastic sausages. Try a bratwurst or a ‘Augsburger’ which are mini sausages that are very delicious. Of course while passing through the Black Forest, the cake named after this region is not to miss.

When in the Netherlands, you must try the cheese for which they are so famous. You could give the local ‘Pannenkoeken’ a try. Basically they are pancakes filled with either sweet or savoury ingredients like bacon, cheese or apple sauce and vanilla.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk may have little English so some phrase books will come in handy, specifically German and French. In the Netherlands most people speak very good English.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to these European destinations . As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events in Europe it is considered a safe and secure place to visit. This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/

Suggested Reading

The Rhine: Europe’s River Highway

A Time of Gifts

All Along the Rhine

The Red River

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to Vietnam. While uncommon for most of our guests, technically you may need to provide evidence of ‘sufficient funds’ for your stay. Some cash and credit cards normally suffice.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visas

Vietnam: A valid tourist visa is required for Canadians. It must be obtained in advance and details for this can be found here.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

January to March & December:

  • Daytime temperatures usually in the high 10s.
  • Evenings are cooler in the low to mid 10s.

April and October:

  • During the day in the mid 20s. Evening is the low 20s.

May to September:

  • During the day in the low 30s. Night time lows in the high 20s.

Precipitation:

  • May through September is ‘rainy season’. You can except periodic rain every day although seldom continuous downpours.
  • January to April and October to December are the dry season where there is a low likelihood of rain.

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on where your pickup point in Hanoi is on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from this pickup point. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 8-9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account well before this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before. You will then be transferred by coach to the designated point for return trip to Hanoi.

 

Money

The currency of Vietnam is the Dong (VND).

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but generally not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in Hanoi but once on the river it will become more difficult. It is suggested to stock up on Dong before embarking on the cruise.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities for the ship’s crew are included in your cruise fare. If you feel the desire to reward specific members of staff for extraordinary service, you are at liberty to do so. In this case, please put the funds in a small envelope and hand it to the person discreetly.

Tips for services provided onshore are at your discretion. Typically USD$1 or 2 per service rendered (eg. Taxis, pedicabs, porters, etc.) would be considered very fair.

Laundry

A laundry bag is provided in each stateroom for your laundry needs. Laundry is collected each morning when your room is made up and will be returned to you by the following day. We regret that dry cleaning services are not available.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on dirt roads and through stone temples. If you have difficulty walking any distance or up and down a lot of stairs, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Etiquette

South-East Asians are generally tolerant and easy going. Please try to avoid political discussion and remember that the Vietnamese national hero “Uncle” Ho Chi Minh enjoys near divine stature and any disrespect shown to his name or memory can cause extreme offence. Despite opening the door to capitalism, Vietnam remains a fervently Communist society with a dominant Communist Party.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – The ship will often dock on a riverbank with a gangplank. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths. Temples often have many stairs which are mostly not obligatory to climb, but for the full benefit you will need to. Note that the high temperatures and humidity in the summer months may also make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

Plenty of complimentary bottled water is provided on board and for your shore excursions. It is not safe to drink water directly from the taps.

If you get the chance, a Vietnamese favourite (available in more and more restaurants here at home) is “Phở” or, basically noodles. “Phở Ga” is essentially the local version of chicken noodle soup but once you’ve tried it, you may never go back.

“Gỏi cuốn” are scrumptious Vietnamese spring rolls with pork, shrimp and vegetables in a rice paper wrap. If you don’t get them aboard the ship, order some along the way.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, your chances of being understood are minimal. Bring along a phrasebook or keep your local guide in sight for assistance.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

Although, there are no vaccinations required to travel to Vietnam, we recommend that you consult your physician or a travel medical clinic with any specific concerns in regard to the itinerary in this program. Malaria is prevalent in some areas at some times of the year and you may wish to consider a prophylaxis.

Safety & Security

The general situation for tourists visiting these countries is good.

Crime is generally limited due to harsh penalties, particularly when tourists are affected. However, petty theft and pickpocketing is definitely something to be aware of, particularly in the larger cities and around large groups of people.

It is always prudent to be constantly aware of your surroundings and to not take unnecessary valuables with you. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

Please refer to the following information for specifics:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/vietnam

Suggested Reading

Changing Worlds: Vietnam’s Transition from Cold War to Globalization

Culture and Customs of Vietnam

The Quiet American

Upper Mekong

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to Thailand, Laos, China and Myanmar.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visas

Laos: A valid tourist visa is required for Canadians. It can be obtained upon arrival at Vientiane or Luang Prabang airports provided you have 2 passport photos and the current fee.

Thailand: No tourist visa is required for stays of up to 30 days.

China:  A visa is required for citizens of Canada. Details on how to obtain a visa can be obtained here.

Myanmar: Canadians require a tourist visa to enter Myanmar. Visas can be obtained online in advance by visiting the Myanmar Department of Immigration website.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

January/February and December: Temperatures during the day in the low to mid 20s. Evenings can be cooler in the high 10s.

March/April and August/September: Daytime temperatures are typically in the upper 20s. Night time seldom gets cooler than 20.

May – July: The hottest time of the year with temperatures in the 30s. Not much relief at night with temperatures in the mid to upper 20s.

The rainiest season is from June to September when you can expect rain, very heavy at times, almost every day (although usually not throughout).

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on where your pickup point is on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from this pickup point (typically a hotel in the centre of Vientiane, Jinghong, Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai). We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 8-9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account well before this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before. You will then be transferred by coach to the designated point for your onward journey.

 

Money

The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB).

In Laos, the currency is the Laotian Kip (LAK).

In Myanmar the currency is the Burmese Kyat (MMK).

The currency of China is the Yuan or Renminbi (RMB).

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but usually not in restaurants or cafés other than in hotels in the larger cities.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in the major cities but will be few and far between in the smaller towns. Take an adequate supply of local currency with you for shopping or snacks along the way.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities for the ship’s crew are included in your cruise fare. If you feel the desire to reward specific members of staff for extraordinary service, you are at liberty to do so. In this case, please put the funds in a small envelope and hand it to the person discreetly.

Tips for services provided onshore are at your discretion. Typically USD$1 or 2 per service rendered (i.e. Taxis, pedicabs, porters, etc.) would be considered very fair.

Laundry

A laundry bag is provided in each stateroom for your laundry needs. Laundry is collected each morning when your room is made up and will be returned to you by the following day. We regret that dry cleaning services are not available.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on dirt roads and on stone steps. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Etiquette

South-East Asians are generally tolerant and easy going, however discussions about politics and religion are probably best avoided.

In Myanmar, any form of disrespect for the national religion, Theravada Buddhism, is inappropriate. Unlike many faiths, Buddhists make their temples open to foreigners, permitting the taking of pictures (not always!) and general invasion of their sacred space. They ask only one thing: that we take our shoes and socks off.  In addition please pay particular attention to the following:

  • Do not point with your feet.
  • In the company of monks or elders never cross your legs.
  • Do not touch people on the head or upper body.
  • When beckoning someone to come over do not flap your hand in the standard Western ‘come over here’ motion; instead turn your hand around so that your palm points down towards yourself.
  • Do not attempt to shake hands with monks or nuns. Note that people in general rarely shake hands here but rather smile and nod.
  • Women should never sit down next to a monk.
  • Shorts and skirts must cover the knees for both men and women. Arms can be exposed by shoulders should be covered. (i.e. No tank tops or sleeveless blouses)

 

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – The ship will often dock on a riverbank with a gangplank. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths. Temples often have many stairs which are mostly not obligatory to climb, but for the full benefit you will need to. Note that the high temperatures and humidity in summer may also make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

Regrettably, we cannot accommodate guests in a wheelchair on this program.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

Thai cuisine is familiar to most Canadians and so trying any of it there is highly recommended. It is suggested to avoid the classic Pad Thai dish and be a bit more adventurous. Note that local spice levels are much hotter than westerners are accustomed. The phrase “Mai Phet” (pronounced ‘my pet’) meaning, ‘no chili’ would be well worth memorizing.

In Laos, “Laap” (similar to “Lab” in Thailand) is a spicy meat salad from beef, pork or chicken that is marinated in lime juice. “Oh Lam” stew which is native to the Luang Prabang area is a delicious, usually vegetarian mix of beans, eggplant, mushrooms seasoned with cilantro, chili and lemongrass.

Among the more interesting dishes in Myanmar is “Mohinga”, which is a bowl of rice noodles in a fish soup. You’ll often find it on the breakfast menu which takes some getting used to, but is well worth the try. Burmese curry, particularly the fish curry has a flavour which is quite different from those of its neighbours, but also to be recommended.

In this region of China, you may well wish to give one of the many variations of “Hot Pot” a try. It comes from nearby Chongqing.

It perhaps goes without saying that there are no local wines from this region that will be suitable for a western palate. Beer in all of these countries is well worth sampling !

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk will likely not understand you. Phrasebooks or translation apps would be very handy.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

We recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel.

Although, there are no vaccinations required to travel to the countries on this itinerary, we highly recommend that you consult your physician or a travel medical clinic with any specific questions. Malaria is prevalent in some areas at some times of the year and you may wish to consider a prophylaxis.

Safety & Security

The general situation for tourists visiting these countries is good.

Crime is generally limited due to harsh penalties, particularly when tourists are affected. However, petty theft and pickpocketing is definitely something to be aware of, particularly in the larger cities and around large groups of people.

It is always prudent to be constantly aware of your surroundings and to not take unnecessary valuables with you. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

Please refer to the following information for specifics:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/laos

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/china

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/myanmar

Suggested Reading

Notes of  a Journey on the Upper Mekong, Siam

Bamboo Palace: Discovering the Lost Dynasty of Laos

The River’s Tale: A Year on the Mekong

The Guadiana/The Guadalquivir

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to enter Spain or Portugal (EU).

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada travelling to Spain or Portugal for leisure stays of up to 90 days.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Weather

April / May – warm days usually in the high 10’s to low 20’s. Occasional rain.

June to September – warm to hot days in the mid to high 20’s. Evenings in the low 20’s. Mostly dry.

October – cool days in the low to mid 20’s. Minimal rain.

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The currency is the EURO. It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any other currency.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

As always, gratuities are at your own discretion. If you feel the service has met or exceeded your expectations, the ship suggests an amount of EURO $ 5-10 per person per day.

Laundry

Unfortunately there are no laundry facilities on board so bring what you need for the cruise.

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on cobblestone streets. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable to those confined to a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

Food in Andalusia is among the best in Spain. A few things that you must try include ‘Secreto Ibérico’ which is a superb local ham that melts in your mouth. Similar to this is the ‘Serranito’ which is a sandwich made with salty Serrano ham, green pepper and tomato.

On the sweet side, Torrijas are kind of like a tastier form of French toast. Bread dipped in eggs and deep fried served with honey or sweet condensed milk. Delicious!

The wines of Andalucia are also very well known for their quality. Both white wines like Crianza and red wine varieties like Temperanillo are prevalent in this area. Of course sherry also finds its home here, particularly in the “Sherry Triangle” in the area around Cadiz.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk may have little English. If your Spanish is limited to “Buenos Dias” or “Una cerveza por favor”, you might want to have a phrasebook or .

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to France. As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events, France is extremely safe. Particularly the small cities and towns on this voyage, you should have nothing to be concerned about. This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

You can access current information about the security situation in France by referring to the Canadian government travel advisory site at https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/france 

Suggested Reading

In the Valley of the Rhone

Wines of the Northern Rhone

Rough Guide to the Rhone Valley

The Rhone

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to enter France (EU).

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Please note that if you are commencing this itinerary in Geneva, Switzerland, it is not part of the EU and different entry requirements may exist for non-Canadians.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada travelling to France or Switzerland for leisure stays of up to 90 days.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Weather

April / May – cool days in the high 10’s and low 20’s. Occasional rain but seldom steady.

June to September – warm days in the mid to high 20’s and cool evenings. Mostly dry.

October – cool days in the mid to high 10’s. Occasional frost but mostly dry.

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The currency is the EURO. It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any other currency.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

As always, gratuities are at your own discretion. If you feel the service has met or exceeded your expectations, the ship suggests an amount of EURO $ 5-10 per person per day.

Laundry

Unfortunately there are no laundry facilities on board so bring what you need for the cruise.

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on cobblestone streets. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable to those confined to a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though. Lyon, the starting or ending point for most Rhone cruises, is the culinary capital of France.

There are so many tasty things to try. You might consider ‘saucisson de Lyon’, a type of air-dried sausage which comes in various dishes. ‘Quenelles de brochuet’ which are dumplings made from pike fish, are also a local specialty.

There is also the cheese of course with the best of the region being Saint Marcellin which is a soft goat’s cheese.

The wines are also not to be missed. Côte du Rhone wines are world renowned, with the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape being the most recognized.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk may have little English. Time to brush up on that high school French or bring along a phrasebook or translation app.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to France. As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events, France is extremely safe. Particularly the small cities and towns on this voyage, you should have nothing to be concerned about. This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

You can access current information about the security situation in France by referring to the Canadian government travel advisory site at https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/france 

Suggested Reading

In the Valley of the Rhone

Wines of the Northern Rhone

Rough Guide to the Rhone Valley

The Seine

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to enter France (EU).

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for France for leisure stays of up to 90 days.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Weather

April / May – cool days in the 10’s and low 20’s. Occasional rain but seldom steady.

June to September – warm days in the mid 20’s and cool evenings. Mostly dry.

October – cool days in the mid to high 10’s. Occasional frost but mostly dry.

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The currency is the EURO. It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any other currency.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

As always, gratuities are at your own discretion. If you feel the service has met or exceeded your expectations, the ship suggests an amount of EURO $ 5-10 per person per day.

Laundry

Unfortunately there are no laundry facilities on board so bring what you need for the cruise.

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on cobblestone streets. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable to those confined to a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though. Dishes with apple are a local favourite here, whether it’s a cider, jam, jelly or some delicious pies.

If you have the opportunity for dinner, the Rouen specialty Duckling à la Rouennaise (Duck in blood sauce) is a superb dish where the duck is pressed to extract all of the flavour.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk may have little English. Time to brush up on that high school French or bring along a phrasebook or translation app.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to France. As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events, France is extremely safe. Particularly the small cities and towns on this voyage, you should have nothing to be concerned about. This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

You can access current information about the security situation in France by referring to the Canadian government travel advisory site at https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/france 

Suggested Reading

The Secret Life of the Seine

D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

Michelin Green Guide Normandy

The Garonne/The Dordoge

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to enter France (EU).

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for France for leisure stays of up to 90 days.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Weather

April / May – cool to warm days in the high 10’s / low 20’s. Occasional rain

June to September – warm days in the mid to high 20’s and cool evenings. Mostly dry.

October – cool days in the mid to high 10’s. Occasional frost but mostly dry.

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The currency is the EURO. It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any other currency.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

As always, gratuities are at your own discretion. If you feel the service has met or exceeded your expectations, the ship suggests an amount of EURO $ 5-10 per person per day.

Laundry

Unfortunately there are no laundry facilities on board so bring what you need for the cruise.

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on cobblestone streets. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable to those confined to a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though. If you do get the chance, try the Entrecôte Marchand de Vin which is a local steak specialty best enjoyed with the red wine of the region. Also Agneau de Pauillac (lamb) is a favourite among the residents.

Obviously the wine of the region needs no introduction. There are many great Bordeaux wines that taste fantastic but don’t have the price tags of the big name vineyards like Chateau Lafite-Rothschild.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk may have little English. Time to brush up on that high school French or bring along a phrasebook or translation app.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to France. As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events, France is extremely safe. Particularly the small cities and towns on this voyage, you should have nothing to be concerned about. This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

You can access current information about the security situation in France by referring to the Canadian government travel advisory site at https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/france 

Suggested Reading

Eyewitness Guide to Dordogne, Bordeaux & the Southwest Coast

Intoxicating Southern France

Essential Guide to Bordeaux Wines 

The Loire

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to enter France (EU).

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for France for leisure stays of up to 90 days.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Weather

April / May – cool days in the 10’s and low 20’s. Occasional rain but seldom steady.

June to September – warm days in the mid 20’s and cool evenings. Mostly dry.

October – cool days in the mid to high 10’s. Occasional frost but mostly dry.

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The currency is the EURO. It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any other currency.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

As always, gratuities are at your own discretion. If you feel the service has met or exceeded your expectations, the ship suggests an amount of EURO $ 5-10 per person per day.

Laundry

Unfortunately there are no laundry facilities on board so bring what you need for the cruise.

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on cobblestone streets. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable to those confined to a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though. Goat cheese is a local favourite as is “rillettes” (pâté), and sablé – a tasty local biscuit.

If you are a wine lover, the Loire Valley is of course famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre and Chenin Blanc grapes.

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk may have little English. Time to brush up on that high school French or bring along a phrasebook or translation app.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to France. As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events, France is extremely safe. Particularly the small cities and towns on this voyage, you should have nothing to be concerned about. This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

You can access current information about the security situation in France by referring to the Canadian government travel advisory site at https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/france 

Suggested Reading

The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages

The Road from the Past

Chateaux of the Loire Valley

The Most Beautiful Villages of the Loire

The Irrawaddy

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel in Myanmar.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

Canadians require a tourist visa to enter Myanmar. Visas can be obtained online in advance by visiting the Myanmar Department of Immigration website here.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

January – February:  Warm days in the  mid to high 20’s. Very dry. Seldom rains.

March – May: Hot days in the mid to high 20’s and cool evenings. Mostly dry.

October – cool days in the mid to high 10’s. Occasional frost but mostly dry.

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. In some cases, the transfer from a pre-designated pickup point will be included in your cruise fare. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation or the pickup point. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before midday (unless otherwise stipulated in the itinerary). If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 7-8am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

 

Money

The currency is the Burmese Kyat. It is approximately 1,000 Kyat for 1 $CAD.

Relatively few places accept credit cards. There are ATMs available in the major cities and airports, but in the country they are difficult to find.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities are included in the price of your Myanmar cruise. If you feel that a member of the crew provided exceptional service, you are welcome to discreetly show your appreciation by personally giving them a tip in an envelope.

Onshore, local drivers and guides can be tipped at your discretion. Typically USD$1 or 2 is very well received.

Laundry

A laundry bag is provided in each stateroom for your laundry needs. Laundry is collected each morning when your room is made up and will be returned to you by the following day. We regret that dry cleaning services are not available.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on dirt roads and on stone steps. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Etiquette

South-East Asians are generally tolerant and easy going, however discussions about politics and religion are probably best avoided. In Myanmar, any form of disrespect for the national religion, Theravada Buddhism, is inappropriate. Unlike many faiths, Buddhists make their temples open to foreigners, permitting the taking of pictures (not always!) and general invasion of their sacred space. They ask only one thing: that we take our shoes and socks off.  In addition please pay particular attention to the following:

  • Do not point with your feet.
  • In the company of monks or elders never cross your legs.
  • Do not touch people on the head or upper body.
  • When beckoning someone to come over do not flap your hand in the standard

Western ‘come over here’ motion; instead turn your hand around so that your palm points down towards yourself.

  • Do not attempt to shake hands with monks or nuns. Note that people in general

rarely shake hands here but rather smile and nod.

  • Women should never sit down next to a monk.
  • In all temples and pagodas, shorts and skirts must cover the knees for both men and women. Arms can be exposed by shoulders should be covered. (ie. No tank tops or sleeveless blouses)

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – The ship will often dock on a riverbank with a gangplank. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths. Temples often have many stairs which are mostly not obligatory to climb, but for the full benefit you will need to. Note that the high temperatures and humidity in summer may also make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

Regrettably, we cannot accommodate guests in a wheelchair on this program.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry.

Among the more interesting dishes in Myanmar is “Mohinga”, which is a bowl of rice noodles in a fish soup. You’ll often find it on the breakfast menu which takes some getting used to, but is well worth the try. Burmese curry, particularly the fish curry has a flavour which is quite different from those of its neighbours, but also to be recommended.

Language

Your shipboard staff almost all speak English of course, but onshore, few of the locals will be able to. For this reason it is wise to have a guidebook with a few of the most common and polite phrases. The crew will also be more than happy to teach you a few words of Burmese.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors. It will almost certainly be much slower than you are accustomed to at home.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in Myanmar. It would be wise to consult your physician or a travel medical clinic for advice on any precautions that should be taken.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel.

Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Myanmar has undergone significant political change in the last few years. Regardless of this, most places you will visit are very safe and even petty crime against tourists happens seldom.

In larger cities it is always wise to be aware of your surroundings and to avoid large gatherings of people.

You can access current information about the security situation in Myanmar by referring to the Canadian government travel advisory site at:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/myanmar

Suggested Reading

Letters from Burma

On the Irrawaddy

The Pandaw Story: On the Rivers of Burma and Beyond

Myanmar: An Illustrated History and Guide to Burma

The Douro

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to enter Spain or Portugal (EU).

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada travelling to Spain or Portugal for leisure stays of up to 90 days.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

April / May – warm days usually in the high 10’s to low 20’s. Occasional rain.

June to September – warm to hot days in the mid to high 20’s. Evenings in the low 20’s. Mostly dry.

October – cool days in the low to mid 20’s. Minimal rain.

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

 

Money

The currency is the EURO. It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any other currency.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but often not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities suggested by the cruise line are:

  • EUR 3.00 per guest per day for the cruise director
  • EUR 12.00 per guest per day to be divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry  service  is  available  onboard  at  a  nominal  additional  cost.  Unfortunately  dry cleaning services are not available.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on cobblestone streets. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, many of our excursions are not suitable to those in a wheelchair due to the amount of stairs involved.

 

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances and some stairs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

The ‘catch of the day’ (so to speak) in Portugal are “sardinhas” which are sardines. In fact a large variety of seafood is available in this region and it’s all well worth sampling. If seafood isn’t your fancy, try the “Quejo da Serra da Estrela” which is a superbly rich cheese, among the best in the country.

While stopping over in Lisbon, you would be remiss for not trying the “Pastéis de nata” which are basically little custards in pastry shells. One will unfortunately not be enough.

Portugal is probably also most famous for its port wine, which originates from the area of the Douro Valley. However, there are many other fantastic red and white wines to choose from.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk may have little English. Bring along an English-Portuguese phrasebook or a suitable translation app.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Portugal. As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events in Europe, Portugal is extremely safe. Particularly the small cities and towns on this voyage, you should have nothing to be concerned about. This being said, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

You can access current information about the security situation in Portugal by referring to the Canadian government travel advisory site at https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/portugal

Suggested Reading

The Portuguese: The Land and Its People

Portugal: A Companion History

Port and the Douro

The Kapuas

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to enter Malaysia and Indonesia. You should have at least one free page for the necessary entry stamp.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

Malaysia: No visa is required for a stay of up to 3 months.

Indonesia: Holders of regular Canadian passports arriving for the purposes of tourism may obtain a 30 day visa upon arrival. You may be required to produce evidence of your return or onward travel out of Indonesia (i.e. copies of flight tickets).

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

The temperature in Borneo is fairly constant year round. Daytime highs are in the low to mid 30s and at night the temperature is in the mid 20s. The rainiest time of year is from November until February where rain can be expected as much as 50% of the time.      

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon confirmation of your booking, we will provide detail instructions on where your pickup point in Kuching is on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from this pickup point. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 8-9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account well before this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before. You will then be transferred by coach back to Kuching to the same pickup point.

Please note that the travel time between Kuching and Tayan is about 4 hours and between Kuching and Lanjak it is about 6 hours. The exact time will depend on the duration of customs formalities on the Malaysia / Indonesia border.

 

Money

The currency in Malaysia is the Ringgit (MYR) and in Indonesia it is the Rupiah (IDR).

It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any currency other than that of the particular country you are in. (In other words, you need Ringgit for your time in Malaysia and Rupiah for the Indonesian portion.)

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops in the cities (i.e. Kuching), but they will be of little use while in the Bornean jungle along the river.

You will find ATM’s at the airports in Kuala Lumpur and Kuching as well as in the city centre, but once you depart for the Kapuas River, they will be few and far between.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities for the ship’s crew are included in your cruise fare. If you feel the desire to reward specific members of staff for extraordinary service, you are at liberty to do so. In this case, please put the funds in a small envelope and hand it to the person discreetly.

Tips for services provided onshore are at your discretion. Typically USD$1 or 2 per service rendered (i.e. Taxis, pedicabs, porters, etc.) would be considered very fair.

Laundry

A laundry bag is provided in each stateroom for your laundry needs. Laundry is collected each morning when your room is made up and will be returned to you by the following day. We regret that dry cleaning services are not available.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on dirt roads and sometimes on jungle paths. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Etiquette

Indonesians are generally very friendly people. It is important however to show respect as a visitor to their country, particularly to the local religion which is 85% Muslim.

Before going onto someone’s property or taking their picture, it is polite to say “Boleh” which basically means “May I”. This is probably the most important phrase to memorize

Always remove your shoes or sandals at the door to a house.

Don’t use your left hand for anything. Don’t touch anyone with it, don’t eat with it and don’t pick things up with it – it is considered the hand you use to wipe yourself in the bathroom.

Use your right thumb to point as opposed to pointing with your index finger which is considered impolite.

Above all, be patient. People and things in Indonesia do not run as quickly or efficiently as we are accustomed to. At the end of the day you are on holiday, so best to leave the stress at home.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – The ship will usually dock on a riverbank with a gangplank. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths through the jungle. Note that the high temperatures and humidity may also make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to relative to the climate at home.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

The food in Borneo is quite tasty, even if you have to be a bit adventurous to try it. You should try the “Sarawak Laksa” which is a soup made of prawns, coconut milk, vermicelli, egg, coriander and lime and it is probably the most famous dish across the island.

Another delight is “Midin” which is a fern from the jungle that is fried with shrimp paste or anchovies and often served as a side dish.

One thing to avoid is “Bird’s Nest Soup” which is actually a Chinese dish, but due to the high demand, the harvesting of the actual nests is done in an unsustainable way. Often unscrupulous collectors will even throw the chicks out of the nest just to get their hands on the nest !

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, it is highly unlikely that the local folk will speak any English. Take a phrasebook or a translation app.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

Due to the remote nature of this river expedition, Wi-Fi, although technically available on the ship, will likely not work for most of the journey due to the reliance on a mobile network which doesn’t exist in most of the Bornean jungle.

The ship will have access to a phone, a satellite phone where no other options are available, the use of which will be charged at the applicable rates.

Beyond the river itinerary, if you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Borneo unless you have previously been in a Yellow Fever infected country. Malaria can occur at times in certain parts of the country and it would be wise to consult with a travel health clinic to determine if a prophylaxis for this or any other potential illnesses, should be considered.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

Indonesia is an extremely populous country and varying security incidents have occurred at different locations over the years.

This being said, West Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) has been free of any major issues since 2001, although some local tension exists. Given the remote route of this program, the likelihood of any problems is low. However, given the massive wealth disparity between guests and locals, it is always prudent to be constantly aware of your surroundings and to not take unnecessary valuables with you. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

Please refer to the advisories concerning travel to Indonesia and Malaysia, particularly as it relates to any travel beyond that described in this program:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/indonesia

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/malaysia

Suggested Reading

Indonesia, Etc. – Exploring the Improbable Nation

Brief History of Indonesia

Into the Heart of Borneo

Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo

The Brahmaputra

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to India and has at least one full blank page for the visa.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

You will require a tourist visa that must be obtained in advance. Assuming you are arriving through one of the designated international airports, you can apply for an e-visa by visiting the E-Tourist Visa page.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

October / November and March: Daytime temperatures from the mid 20s to low 30s. Evenings as much as 10 degrees cooler.

December to February: Daytime temperatures in the 20s with evenings as cool as the low 10s.

It is generally fairly dry between October and March with 5 days of rain or less.

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on how to meet your ship on embarkation day. If you are not on a full land and cruise program or have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the port of embarkation. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before mid-afternoon. If you have luggage that you need to deposit so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

 

Money

The currency is the Rupee (INR). Sometimes local merchants will accept US currency in small denominations but this is not always a certainty.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops in the cities, but in the remote areas of Assam, they will be of little use.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found at the airports and larger cities but you should have an adequate supply of rupees for the cruise portion.

Gratuities (Tipping)

As always, gratuities are at your own discretion.  If you feel the service has met or exceeded your expectations, the ship suggests an amount of USD$10 per person per day to be divided amongst the crew.

Laundry

Basic laundry services are available onboard M.V. Mahabaahu for a nominal charge. Dry cleaning is not available.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on dirt roads and up and down stairs. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for those in a wheelchair.

 

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Moderate to Challenging – The ship will often dock on a riverbank with a gangplank. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths. Temples often have many stairs which are mostly not obligatory to climb, but for the full benefit you will need to.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

The cuisine of Assam is obviously similar to other parts of India but nevertheless unique in many ways. A few things you might want to try include ‘Masor tenga’, a delicious fish curry, or ‘Sungat diya maas’ which is basically fish in bamboo.

If fish isn’t your fancy, ‘Kolposola aru murgi mangxor aanja’ (don’t try to pronounce it) is a chicken curry made with the trunk of a banana tree (which is actually very tender).

While we encourage trying as many local specialties as possible, we do caution guests to avoid drinking water from any source other than a sealed bottle. Similarly, exercise caution when eating vegetables or anything that is uncooked and may have been washed in water.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course. Off the ship will be more interesting and it would be useful to have a phrasebook to at least be able to communicate the usual pleasantries.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Wi-Fi is available but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors. As the ship moves away from larger urban centres, it will undoubtedly be very slow.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to India, however we do suggest ensuring that your regular shots are up-to-date. Furthermore, malaria does occur in the Assam region of India and your physician may recommend a prophylaxis.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. Consult your physician with any specific concerns in regard to this program.

Safety & Security

The security situation along the Brahmaputra river itself is stable and there are no known issues. Regions adjacent to Assam such as Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur (border areas) have elevated advisories due to local insurgencies. Please consult the website below for the most up-to-date information.

While participating on this and any program in a foreign country, being constantly aware of your surroundings and not taking unnecessary valuables with you is always recommended. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/india

Suggested Reading

Brian on the Brahmaputra

Tales from the River: Brahmaputra

Assam

The Amazon

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel in Brazil (and Argentina if you participate in the tour there from Iguacu)

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

A tourist visa is required though to enter Brazil. Once you obtain it, it is valid for stays of up to 30 days for a total period of 5 years. You can obtain information on how to obtain a Brazilian visa here.

To participate in the tour of the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls, a reciprocity fee must be paid at the border upon crossing.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

On the Amazon River, which is very close to the equator, temperatures remain in the low 30s pretty much all year round. The evenings will drop to the mid 20s. Given that it is the rainforest, it can be rainy anytime but the driest season is between May and October.

In the south part of Brazil around Iguacu Falls, the daytime temperature from October to April is typically in the mid 20s. Between May and September, the temperatures are usually in the high 10s or low 20s and at night during this time of year, temperatures can drop as low as 10C. Rainfall is pretty consistent throughout the year, roughly 30% of the time.

On the coast in Rio de Janeiro, the temperature also remains fairly consistent all year ranging from the low to the high 20s during the day and about 5 degrees cooler at night. It is relatively dry in Rio, particularly in July and August.

 

Arrival / Departure

Your program includes all ground and air transportation from the meeting point at a hotel in central Rio de Janeiro until the completion of the tour at Santarem. You need to make your own arrangements to travel from Santarem, back to your airport of departure, probably either Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo. Details will be provided following confirmation of your booking.

 

Money

The currency of Brazil is the Real (BRL) [pronounced Ray-al]

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops and major restaurants, but usually not in smaller restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance in Rio and Iguacu, but they will be few and far between along the Amazon River and they often don’t work. Also, your onboard bill must be paid in cash (USD or BRL) as credit cards cannot be accepted.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities are at your own discretion. If you feel the service has met or exceeded your expectations, the ship suggests an amount of approximately USD$10 per person per day.

Laundry

Unfortunately there are no laundry facilities on board so bring what you need for the cruise. Hotels in the program will have laundry services before and after the cruise portion.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on dirt roads or through jungle paths. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – The ship will often dock on a riverbank with a gangplank. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths. Note that the high temperatures and humidity may also make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to relative to the climate at home.

Regrettably, this program is not suitable for those in a wheelchair.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though

If you can, sample the famous Tabaqui and Pirarucu fishes of the Amazon which are really delicious and not to be missed.

While in Rio, try the “Leão Veloso” soup, which is a fish stock with shrimp and mussels. It is absolutely zesty.

Of course, the drink of choice in Brazil is Cachaça, the principal ingredient in Capirinhas. The locals drink it straight up… we leave that decision to you.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the small Amazonian villages, it’s unlikely the locals will speak any English. If your Portuguese is limited or a little rusty you might want to have a phrasebook handy.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases, although response times may vary dependent on distance from major towns or settlements.

Phone & Internet

We regret that internet is not available onboard the ship due to the distance from major settlements. In hotels during the rest of the program it will not be a problem to have Wi-Fi.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection (noting that service will be poor or non-existent on the Amazon), we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

Although there is a risk of yellow fever in the country, proof of vaccination is not required. However, depending on your destination of onward travel, you may wish to consider it.

Malaria may also be present in the Amazon basin and in Iguacu or other parts of the country. You may wish to consider a prophylaxis.

As has widely been reported in the media, the Zika virus is also present in Brazil and appropriate precautions should be taken.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. We strongly recommend consulting your physician about your intention to travel on this program to receive specific advice for your own self.

Safety & Security

In the major cities of Brazil (like Rio), crime is a persistent problem. However, if one remains aware and vigilant, it should not affect your journey. It is recommended not to take any valuables at all, in some cases even cameras and/or smartphones are best left in the hotel safe. Your local guide will inform you accordingly.

On the Amazon River, you are far from the troubles of the city and generally there are no safety or security risks. One should always be aware and never take unnecessary valuables or display any jewellery.

Please read the specific advice as provided by the Canadian government:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/brazil

Suggested Reading

The Amazon: River in a Rain Forest

Tree of Rivers: The Story of the Amazon

Antarctica

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a valid passport for the entire duration of their stay in Chile or Argentina.

Our cruise partner Hurtigruten requires that your passport be valid for 6 months after the end date of your trip.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada to enter either Chile or Argentina.

Reciprocity Fee – Argentina (MS Fram expedition programs)

The Argentine government charges a reciprocity fee to Canadians travelling to Argentina. This fee must be prepaid online at the website of the National Immigration office. It is valid for multiple entries for the validity of your passport provided you retain copies of the receipt.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

You MUST have travel insurance to participate in any Antarctica program. Options on coverage are available from your travel agent or here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks. It is also not permitted to smoke on land in Antarctica in the interest of protecting the environment.

 

Weather

Cold…

More specifically, during the ‘summer’ months between November and March (the only time of the year that tourist vessels go), the daytime temperatures are usually in the single digits (0-5C). In the evening, temperatures will dip below freezing. It should be noted that the weather in Antarctica at this time of year is usually warmer than most Canadian cities at the same time.

Please remember though, it is really summer in the gateway cities of Buenos Aires and Santiago at this time of year – temperatures could easily be in the 30s. You will need to have both some summer wear and proper winter attire for this trip.

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on where to check-in for your trip to Antarctica in either Buenos Aires or Santiago (It will be a centrally located hotel.) You must check in the day prior to departure to receive last minute instructions on where and when you will be picked up for the transfer to the airport. Your trip will begin and end at this same point.

On your return, the charter flight back to the city of commencement will arrive sometime in the afternoon. If you are flying back home this same day, we strongly recommend that you do not book a flight prior to 8:00 PM. We cannot assume any responsibility for missed flights due to any delay of the charter flight.

Money

The currency of Argentina is the Argentinian Peso (ARS).

The currency of Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP).

Antarctica does not have currency as it is not a sovereign state.

Onboard, you will be issued a cruise card which you can use to charge all purchases during your voyage. You must provide a Visa, American Express, Diners or MasterCard that is valid for at least 3 months after your trip date.

The final bill will be charged to your account in Norwegian Kronor (NOK).

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance in both Santiago and Buenos Aires. However, after you leave these cities for the trip, it is extremely unlikely you will see another ATM until you return. We regret, there is no currency exchange facility onboard the ship.

For small purchases in the Antarctica research stations (i.e. Port Lockroy), you can use US Dollars, while British Pounds and Euros are also accepted.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities suggested by the cruise line are:

USD 12.00 per guest per day to be divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Regrettably, dry cleaning is not available.

Excursions

All regular shore landings as noted in the itinerary are included in your voyage. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Your shore landings will start a zodiac boat ride to shore where you will land and be assisted onto shore via some portable steps. The ground is usually small rocks / gravel and sometimes could be snow-covered.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – Participation in the shore landings requires the ability to board (with assistance) a zodiac boat from the main ship and on to shore. There are no long distances to walk in Antarctica.

Environmental Protection

Antarctica is one of the last ‘pristine’ environments remaining on the planet. It is a privilege to be able to visit it. As the numbers of visitors are increasing each year, the risk of damage to the fragile ecosystem is large. As a result, relatively drastic measures are undertaken by our ships to ensure the impact is kept to a minimum. All voyages will follow the guidelines set out by the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). We encourage you to read a copy of those guideline which are available on the IAATO Visitor Guideline webpage.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare.

If travelling via Argentina, do try one of their fantastic steak houses. ‘Bife de Lomo’ is the equivalent of a filet. Of course no Argentinean steak would be complete without a glass of terrific local Malbec or one of the many other fine wines locally.

In Chile, the steak is probably just as good as in Argentina. However, Chilean seafood is superb.  ‘Machas a la parmesana’ or clams in parmesan cheese is a local favourite. If you’re just looking for a snack, you can go wrong with a few ‘empanadas’ (little pastry shells with various fillings). The Chilean wine is also equally as good as the Argentinian. Our advice: Avoid the big brand names you can find at home – there are literally thousands of other choices.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English and usually at least one other language. Spanish is the tongue in both Argentina and Chile. In most shops and larger restaurants, people will speak a smattering of English. A phrasebook would not be unhelpful though.

Medical Facilities

There is an English-speaking physician and nurse on board at all times. The ship has a small medical facility with the necessary equipment and drugs to handle small emergencies. In the event of a serious emergency, the nearest hospital will be contacted. Medical consultations as well as medicines will be charged to the passenger affected. If you depend on medication, remember to bring sufficient supplies to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage properly labelled and with clear instructions for its use. If you depend on vital drugs, please inform the ship’s doctor upon arrival.  Illness on board can lead to quarantine and orders from the ship’s physician and captain, must be followed.

Please note that all guests must have personal travel/health insurance and must provide a confidential medical declaration form to the onboard doctor. Details will be provided well in advance of your departure.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

Wi-Fi is available in certain areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection while in Chile or Argentina, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Antarctica or via Argentina or Chile. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

NOTE: You must provide a completed, confidential medical declaration signed by your doctor upon boarding the ship as required by IAATA guidelines. If you have any concerns about health issues that may influence your ability to be accepted for travel, please contact us at the time of booking.

You must also have travel insurance to participate on this voyage.

Safety & Security

Antarctica is probably the safest place on the planet.

Buenos Aires and Santiago are large Latin American cities where crime is prevalent and appropriate precautions are recommended.

We highly recommend leaving all valuables at home or at least in the safe deposit box in your hotel room. Be aware at all times, particularly in crowds or at night. We suggest to avoid walking alone in the city at night – best in small groups.

For current advisories, please consult the following

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/chile

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/argentina

Suggested Reading

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

The Last Place on Earth

The Ferocious Summer: Palmer’s Penguins and the Warming of Antarctica

Fixing Antarctica: Mapping the Frozen South

Ordeal by Ice: Ships of the Antarctic

Penguins: The Ultimate Guide

The Arctic

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a valid passport for entry to any of our Arctic destinations.

Our cruise partners require that your passport be valid for 6 months after the end date of your trip.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada to enter any of our Arctic destinations.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

You MUST have travel insurance to participate in any Arctic program. Options on coverage are available from your travel agent or here.

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Weather

The weather in the Arctic regions of the North Atlantic can vary greatly depending on fronts that can move fairly rapidly in conjunction with ocean currents. We advise to be on the safe and bring adequate warm cloting.

Summer days often do not exceed 10C, although it is possible for temperatures to reach into the high teens under the strong sun in protected areas like Greenlandic fjords.

It is typically quite dry in the summer months but can be very windy, particularly when crossing open stretches of sea. The wind combined with the cool temperatures could make it feel colder than it actually is. As is so often suggested, dressing in layers is the best way to stay warm and yet account for the changing temperatures.

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on where to check-in for your Arctic expedition depending upon your embarkation point.  We strongly suggest arriving at least one day prior to avoid any chance of missing the sailing since there is no easy way to join the ship after it has departed.

On your return, if you are flying back home the same day as the ship arrives (assuming you are not on a program where the charter flight is part of the program), we strongly recommend that you stay over at least one night were possible. Although very rare, weather conditions could delay the exact return time and we cannot assume any responsibility for missed flights due to any delays.

Money

The currency of Norway is the Norwegian Kronor (NOK).

The currency of Greenland is the Danish Krone (DKK).

The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic Krona (ISK).

Onboard, you will be issued a cruise card which you can use to charge all purchases during your voyage. You must provide a Visa, American Express, Diners or MasterCard that is valid for at least 3 months after your trip date.

The final bill will be charged to your account in Norwegian Kronor (NOK).

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance in Norway and Iceland. However, after you leave these cities for the trip, it is extremely unlikely you will see another ATM until your voyage ends. We regret, there is no currency exchange facility onboard the ship.

For small purchases in Iceland and Greenland, you should have some of the local currency as USD may not be accepted.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities suggested by the cruise line are:

USD 12.00 per guest per day to be divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Regrettably, dry cleaning is not available.

Excursions

All regular shore landings as noted in the itinerary are included in your voyage. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Many shore landings will start a zodiac boat ride to shore where you will land and be assisted onto shore via some portable steps. The ground is sometimes covered with small rocks / gravel.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – Participation in the shore landings requires the ability to board (with assistance) a zodiac boat from the main ship and on to shore. There are generally no long distances to walk on the Arctic programs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare.

Should you have the opportunity to sample Greenlandic fare, you should jump at the chance. Much of the food here comes either from the sea like the infamous Greenlandic halibut, but also truly ‘free range’ meat from animals like the reindeer, muskox, and local lamb.

When in Iceland, you’ll find that the food is somewhat more “Europeanized”. However, local dishes such as “Hangikjöt” (smoked lamb) or “Skyr” (kind of like yoghurt but not), are well worth trying. If you are really brave, look for “Svið” which is boiled sheep’s head. They say it’s delicious.

Language

In all the stops along the way, you will find that the local people speak at least some, if not fluent, English. You may find run into a real native Greenlander who doesn’t understand you, but then you’d be lucky.

Medical Facilities

There is an English-speaking physician and nurse on board at all times. The ship has a small medical facility with the necessary equipment and drugs to handle small emergencies. In the event of a serious emergency, the nearest hospital will be contacted. Medical consultations as well as medicines will be charged to the passenger affected. If you depend on medication, remember to bring sufficient supplies to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage properly labelled and with clear instructions for its use. If you depend on vital drugs, please inform the ship’s doctor upon arrival.  Illness on board can lead to quarantine and orders from the ship’s physician and captain, must be followed.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

Wi-Fi is available in certain areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Arctic destinations. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

You must also have travel insurance to participate on this voyage.

Safety & Security

Our ships are equipped with the latest in emergency communication, life boats and other equipment to deal with any kind of problematic event. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office for more details.

The destinations involved do not currently have any security threats.

Suggested Reading

This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland

Arctic: A Guide to Coastal Wildlife

Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga

Baffin Island: Field Research and High Arctic

 

Iceland – Hurtigruten

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a valid passport which is valid for 3 months after the last date of your trip in Iceland.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada to enter Iceland.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We highly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside Canada. Details about the policy available through GLP Worldwide can be found here.

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Weather

The weather will differ from the south side of the island to the north so expect that temperatures at Akureyri may be 3-5C cooler than these which are based on Reykjavik:

May:Usually very dry with temperatures in the high 0s during the day, approaching the freezing point at night.

June-August:Temperatures during the day in the low to mid 10s. At night the temperature could easily drop to the high 0s.

September:Weather starts to get a bit wetter. Average daytime temperatures around the high 0s. Winds get strong and nighttime temperatures are typically in the low 0s.

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on where in Reykjavik to check-in for your Iceland expedition.

Although it’s a small city, it offers a lot to see and do and we highly recommend a stay here before or after your voyage.

Money

The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic Krona (ISK).

Onboard, you will be issued a cruise card which you can use to charge all purchases during your voyage. You must provide a Visa, American Express, Diners or MasterCard that is valid for at least 3 months after your trip date.

The final bill will be charged to your credit card account in Norwegian Kronor (NOK).

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance in Reykjavik and the other larger towns. However, given your itinerary, it may not be convenient to find one. We regret, there is no currency exchange facility onboard the ship.

For small purchases in Iceland, you should have some of the local currency as USD may not be accepted.

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 12 per guest per day

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are completely satisfied. All gratuities will be divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Regrettably, dry cleaning is not available.

Excursions

All regular shore landings as noted in the itinerary are included in your voyage. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Many shore landings will start a zodiac boat ride to shore where you will land and be assisted onto shore via some portable steps. The ground is sometimes covered with small rocks / gravel.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – Participation in the shore landings requires the ability to board (with assistance) a zodiac boat from the main ship and on to shore. There are generally no long distances to walk on our Icelandic programs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare.

When in Iceland, you’ll find that the food is somewhat more “Europeanized”. However, local dishes such as “Hangikjöt” (smoked lamb) or “Skyr” (kind of like yoghurt but not), are well worth trying. If you are really brave, look for “Svið” which is boiled sheep’s head. They say it’s delicious.

You may also wish to take a sip of the schnapps called “Brennivín” which is sometimes referred to by the Icelanders as “Black Death”…. We will let you be the judge.

Language

In all the stops along the way, you will find that the local people speak at least some, if not fluent, English.

Medical Facilities

There is an English-speaking physician and nurse on board at all times. The ship has a small medical facility with the necessary equipment and drugs to handle small emergencies. In the event of a serious emergency, the nearest hospital will be contacted. Medical consultations as well as medicines will be charged to the passenger affected. If you depend on medication, remember to bring sufficient supplies to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage properly labelled and with clear instructions for its use. If you depend on vital drugs, please inform the ship’s doctor upon arrival.  Illness on board can lead to quarantine and orders from the ship’s physician and captain, must be followed.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Outgoing call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

Wi-Fi is available in certain areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Iceland. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

Safety & Security

Our ships are equipped with the latest in emergency communication, life boats and other equipment to deal with any kind of problematic event. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office for more details.

Iceland does not currently have any security threats.

More details about travelling to Iceland can be found here:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/iceland

Suggested Reading

Ring of Seasons: Iceland–Its Culture and History

Iceland Imagined: Nature, Culture, and Storytelling in the North Atlantic

Last Places, A Journey in the North

Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Covered a Continent in Darkness 

Iceland – Variety

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a valid passport which is valid for 3 months after the last date of your trip in Iceland.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada to enter Iceland.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We highly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside Canada. Details about the policy available through GLP Worldwide can be found here.

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Weather

The weather will differ from the south side of the island to the north so expect that temperatures at Akureyri may be 3-5C cooler than these which are based on Reykjavik:

May:Usually very dry with temperatures in the high 0s during the day, approaching the freezing point at night.

June-August:Temperatures during the day in the low to mid 10s. At night the temperature could easily drop to the high 0s.

September:Weather starts to get a bit wetter. Average daytime temperatures around the high 0s. Winds get strong and nighttime temperatures are typically in the low 0s.

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detailed instructions on where to check-in for your Iceland expedition depending if you are commencing in Reykjavik for Akureyri.

Money

The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic Krona (ISK).

Onboard, you can charge all of your additional expenses to your shipboard account provided you give an imprint of your credit card upon embarkation. The currency onboard the ship is the Euro although most major currencies and travellers cheques are accepted.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance in Reykjavik and the other larger towns. However, given your itinerary, it may not be convenient to find one. We regret, there is no facility to exchange for Icelandic currency onboard the ship.

For small purchases in Iceland, you should have some of the local currency as EUR or USD may not be accepted.

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 13-16 per guest per day.

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are completely satisfied. All gratuities will be divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Regrettably, dry cleaning is not available.

Excursions

A complete list of the available shore excursions which may be purchased on board is available from our office upon request.

Some shore excursions will be conducted via tender. There is generally no great challenge to get on or off the ship.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – There are generally no long distances to walk on our Icelandic programs.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare.

When in Iceland, you’ll find that the food is somewhat more “Europeanized”. However, local dishes such as “Hangikjöt” (smoked lamb) or “Skyr” (kind of like yoghurt but not), are well worth trying. If you are really brave, look for “Svið” which is boiled sheep’s head. They say it’s delicious.

You may also wish to take a sip of the schnapps called “Brennivín” which is sometimes referred to by the Icelanders as “Black Death”…. We will let you be the judge.

Language

In all the stops along the way, you will find that the local people speak at least some, if not fluent, English.

Medical Facilities

While the ship does not have a doctor onboard, some crew members are trained in first aid. Ports of call are seldom very far away and in the event of an emergency, arrangements for evacuation of a patient can be made.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin for intra-ship communication. Outgoing calls may be possible from the ship’s phone depending on proximity to cellular service.

Wi-Fi is available in certain areas of the ship. As it is either a satellite connection or through a local mobile network (which will be sporadic), internet speed will be very slow.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection (where available in the various ports of call), we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Iceland. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

Safety & Security

Our ships are equipped with the latest in emergency communication, life boats and other equipment to deal with any kind of problematic event. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office for more details.

Iceland does not currently have any security threats.

More details about travelling to Iceland can be found here:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/iceland

Suggested Reading

Ring of Seasons: Iceland–Its Culture and History

Iceland Imagined: Nature, Culture, and Storytelling in the North Atlantic

Last Places, A Journey in the North

Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Covered a Continent in Darkness 

Spitsbergen

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a valid passport for entry to Norway.

Our cruise partners require that your passport be valid for 6 months after the end date of your trip.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada to enter Norway.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

Travel medical insurance is mandatory for programs to Spitsbergen. Details on coverage available through our website can be found here.

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Weather

June/September:Daytime highs in the low 0s. At night the temperature will likely dip below freezing. May is the driest month of the year whereas in September, some precipitation could be expected.

July/August:Daytime highs typically in the high 0s, sometimes into the 10s. At night the temperature usually remains above 0C.

Although July and August have the highest levels of precipitation, total amounts are usually quite small.

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on where to check-in for your Spitsbergen voyage depending on where your trip begins. If you are sailing with MS Nordstjernen, you will have to make your way to Longyearbyen, the principal town of Spitsbergen, on your own. We strongly suggest arriving at least one day prior to avoid any chance of missing the sailing since there is no easy way to join the ship after it has departed.

On your return, if you are flying back home the same day as the ship arrives (assuming you are not on a program where the flight is included), we strongly recommend that you stay over at least one night were possible. Although very rare, weather conditions could delay the exact return time and we cannot assume any responsibility for missed flights due to any delays.

Money

The currency of Norway is the Norwegian Kronor (NOK).

Onboard, you will be issued a cruise card which you can use to charge all purchases during your voyage. You must provide a Visa, American Express, Diners or MasterCard that is valid for at least 3 months after your trip date.

The final bill will be charged to your account in Norwegian Kronor (NOK).

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in Oslo and Longyearbyen. However, after you leave these cities for the trip, it is extremely unlikely you will see another ATM until your voyage ends. This being said, you will probably not find anything to buy as there are almost no shops in Spitsbergen outside Longyearbyen.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities suggested by the cruise line are:

USD 8.00 per guest per day to be divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Onboard the MS Nordstjernen, we regret that laundry service is not available.

Onboard the MS Fram, laundry service is available for a fee.

Excursions

All regular shore landings as noted in the itinerary are included in your voyage. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Many shore landings will start with a zodiac boat ride to shore where you will land and be assisted onto shore via some portable steps. The ground is sometimes covered with small rocks / gravel.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – Participation in the shore landings requires the ability to board (with assistance) a zodiac boat from the main ship and on to shore. There are generally no long distances to walk in Spitsbergen.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare. Beverages are available for purchase onboard but coffee and tea is complimentary.

The food in Spitsbergen is not that different that the rest of Norway. That being said, one particular restaurant in Longyearbyen called Huset, features various kinds of Arctic specialties such as seal, reindeer, ptarmigan and polar fish. Of course more conventional fare is also on the menu and the place is well worth a try !

Language

Norway educates their people in English from a very young age. You will not likely run into any language difficulties.

Medical Facilities

MS Fram: There is an English-speaking physician and nurse on board at all times. The ship has a small medical facility with the necessary equipment and drugs to handle small emergencies. In the event of a serious emergency, the nearest hospital will be contacted. Medical consultations as well as medicines will be charged to the passenger affected. If you depend on medication, remember to bring sufficient supplies to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage properly labelled and with clear instructions for its use. If you depend on vital drugs, please inform the ship’s doctor upon arrival.  Illness on board can lead to quarantine and orders from the ship’s physician and captain, must be followed.

MS Nordstjernen: While there is no doctor onboard, some of the ship’s personnel are trained in dealing with first aid and medical emergencies. In the most urgent cases, medivac evacuation is possible.

All guests on these programs must have travel medical insurance.

Phone & Internet

On the MS Fram, there is a telephone in each cabin. Call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible. On the MS Nordstjernen, we regret that there are no telephones in the cabins.

On the MS Fram, while Wi-Fi is available in certain areas of the ship, due to the relative geographic location, there will be limited or no connectivity during the voyage.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Norway including Spitsbergen. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

You must have travel insurance to participate on this voyage.

Safety & Security

Our ships are equipped with the latest in emergency communication, life boats and other equipment to deal with any kind of problematic event. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office for more details.

Spitsbergen does not currently have any security threats unless you wander around aimlessly in which case a polar bear might get you.

Details can be found at: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/norway

Suggested Reading

Polar Bears: The Natural History of a Threatened Species

Svalbard: Spitzbergen, Jan Mayen, Frank Josef Land

The Svalbard Archipelago

Norway Fjords

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a valid passport for entry to Norway. It should be valid for at least 3 months after your return.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visa

No visa is required for citizens of Canada to enter Norway.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend purchasing travel medical insurance for travel outside Canada. Details on coverage available through our website can be found here.

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Weather

Bergen

Winter: January – March / November – December

  • Days in the low 0s, nights around freezing or somewhat below.

Spring/Fall: April – May / September – October

  • Days in the mid to high 0s, nights in the low 0s. September a bit warmer.

Summer: June – August

  • Days in the high 10s to low 20s, nights in the low 10s.

Being a coastal climate, rain can be expected on 2 out of 3 days. The heaviest Rainfall / sometimes snow is in the winter months.

Tromsö

Winter: January – March / November – December

  • Days around or slightly below freezing. Nights as cold as -5 to -8C.

Spring/Fall: April – May / September – October

  • Days in the mid to low 0s. Nights around freezing.

Summer: June – August

  • Days in the low to mid 10s. Nights in the  high 0s.

Tromsö is noticeably dryer than Bergen in the winter months, but in summer  it is similar with 2 out of 3 days likely precipitation.

Arrival / Departure

If you are booking a cruise-only program, you must make your own way to the port of departure:

1. Northbound and Roundtrip: Bergen

In Bergen, the Hurtigruten ships sail from: Hurtigruten Terminal, Nøstegaten 30, N-5010 Bergen. You can pre-book through our office the Hurtigruten shuttle bus between the airport and the port.

If you are taking a taxi, you can simply ask the taxi driver to get you to “the Hurtigruten Terminal”.

Luggage lockers are available in the terminal and cost NOK 30 (3 x 10 kr.) The terminal is staffed and open for luggage check-in from 1:00PM until 2:30PM.Passenger check-in begins at 3:00PM and boarding takes place from 4:00PM to 7:30PM. Cabins are available from 6:00PM. Please note that the latest check-in time in the terminal is at 7:30PM during the entire year for all voyages.

2. Southbound: Kirkenes

In Kirkenes, Hurtigruten ships sail from the port which is about 20 mins bus/taxi ride from the airport. Similarly, there is a Hurtigruten shuttle which can be pre-booked with your cruise.

Please ensure that your arrival travel arrangements give you adequate time to get to the port taking into account potential travel delays (particularly from overseas). Assuming you are connecting, take into account the potential for luggage delays as it is very difficult to get delayed luggage forwarded to the ship.

When disembarking in Bergen, luggage will be delivered to the baggage belt in the terminal. On the last day of the roundtrip voyage you will be asked to vacate your cabin a few hours before arrival. Information regarding luggage handling and disembarkation at other ports is available on board.

Money

The currency of Norway is the Norwegian Kronor (NOK).

Onboard, you will be issued a cruise card which you can use to charge all purchases during your voyage. You must provide a Visa, American Express, Diners or MasterCard that is valid for at least 3 months after your trip date.

The final bill will be charged to your account in Norwegian Kronor (NOK).

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in most towns and cities in Norway. Regrettably, currency exchange facilities do not exist aboard the ship.

Gratuities (Tipping)

It is not usual practice to leave a tip onboard Hurtigruten ships in Norway. However, if you feel that a crew has provided exemplary service, there are tip boxes in the restaurant onboard.

Laundry

Laundry rooms with washing machines, dryers and irons are available on all ships. You can buy laundry payment tokens at the ship’s reception desk.

Excursions

There are numerous shore excursions available at all major ports along the way. To obtain the most up-to-date list of shore excursions and costs, please contact our office for details.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – Ultimately the activity level depends on you. Some guests are content to spend the majority of time on board enjoying some of the world’s most beautiful coastline as it passes by.

Depending on the time of year, there are excursions ranging from zodiac boats to dogsledding and more. Please consult us to determine the right mix of activities for you.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare (unless you have booked a port-to-port ticket). Beverages are available for purchase onboard but coffee and tea is complimentary.

Breakfast is usually served from 7:30AM (open seating), lunch from 12:00PM-1:00PM (open seating) and dinner from 6:30PM (assigned seating). During the high season, there may be two lunch and evening meal sittings – the times will be displayed on board. The voyage begins with a buffet dinner on departure from Bergen, and (for roundtrip voyages only) ends with brunch on the arrival day back in Bergen. Breakfast consists of a wide selection of cold meats, cheeses, eggs, cereals and fruit, with fresh-baked bread, pastries and often “sveler” (small pancakes) and waffles freshly cooked in the restaurant. The all-inclusive package includes a mixture of buffets and set menus for lunches and dinners, while for those guests who wish to enjoy an enhanced dining experience, the à la carte menu available for a small additional charge.

Language

Norway educates their citizens in English from a very young age. You will not likely run into any language difficulties.

Medical Facilities

There are no doctors aboard the ships as typically there are many ports of call each day and medical assistance is seldom far away. Some crew members will be trained in first aid and in the most urgent cases, medivac evacuation is readily available.

Noise

By this point you will know that travelling on Hurtigruten is not like a conventional cruise, but rather a hybrid between a cargo ship, car and passenger ferry and cruise line. To this end, docking and departing, loading and unloading activities occur day-in and day-out, every single day. Some cabins, particularly on lower decks adjacent to the cargo doors, will experience noise. While most passengers take this in stride given the nature of the journey, if you are someone who is particularly bothered by this, then please make your concerns known at the time of booking so that we can endeavour to secure a cabin away from such areas. Please note that there is no part of any ship which is completely silent and noise free.

Phone & Internet

Most of the ships have a telephone in each cabin. Charges will vary depending on the destination called as it is obviously a ship-to-shore system.

Mobile phones will work in proximity to many of the ports along the way. Check with your mobile provider about roaming packages for Norway or alternatively, if your phone is unlocked, you can obtain a prepaid SIM card for Norway which will undoubtedly be considerably less expensive than any roaming plan if you plan to do a lot of phone calls or use a lot of internet data.

All ships have Wi-Fi although not all ships have Wi-Fi available in the cabins. Please contact us at the time of booking and we can advise if the ship you are considering has the facility you require.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Norway. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

You must have travel insurance to participate on this voyage.

Safety & Security

Our ships are equipped with the latest in emergency communication, life boats and other equipment to deal with any kind of problematic event. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office for more details.

There are currently no security threats in Norway, one of the safest countries in the world.

Details can be found at: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/norway

Suggested Reading

Norway and its Fjords

History of Norway

Norway and the Norwegians

Galapagos

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel in Ecuador.

2. Visa

No tourist visa is required for Canadians to enter Ecuador.

Citizens of other countries should inquire with their travel agent or our office about required documentation.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

Please note that smoking is absolutely forbidden on land in any part of the Galapagos National Park.

 

Weather

The weather in the Galapagos is fairly steady all year round because of its location on the equator. However, due to the ocean currents, it is not always a tropical humid climate as one might expect.

From December to June it is the warmer period where temperatures can reach the low 30s and the ocean temperature is in the mid 20s.

Between July and November is the cool period where temperatures can be in the low to mid 20s, occasionally a bit cooler at night. Rain is more frequent at this time of year, particularly in September. The ocean temperature can drop to 20C or even cooler.

Tropical storms almost never occur.

Arrival / Departure

Your program will likely include the flights to and from the Galapagos Islands from either Quito or Guayaquil. If you are making your own flight arrangements, please obtain detailed instructions from us on how to reach the ship. In such instance, there is no liability on the part of the ship operator if you do not arrive on time for the sailing.

Departure from the mainland will be in the early morning. Local assistants will meet you either at your hotel or at the airport depending upon your transfer arrangements with us. At the airports in both Quito and Guayaquil, there will be a special luggage check by SICGAL to inspect for plants, animals, seeds and anything else that is forbidden on Galapagos. For this reason you are required to arrive at least 1.5 hours before the flight time.

Upon arrival in the Galapagos, crew members and local guides will be there to direct you to the shuttle buses going to the port. Embarkation will be via zodiac type boats. Your luggage will be transferred separately.

On departure you will be transferred from the ship to the airport in time for the regular flight taking passengers back to the mainland. If you are not taking our flights, please advise us accordingly and ensure  you have flights that are scheduled no earlier as we cannot guarantee a special transfer to the airport.

 

Money

The currency of Ecuador is the US Dollar.

You may settle your onboard account with a major credit card or in US currency. Elsewhere in Ecuador, credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops and major restaurants, but usually not in smaller restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance in Quito and Guayaquil as well as at the airports in Galapagos. However, there is not much to buy while in the Galapagos National Park as there are no shops or food & beverage facilities.

Gratuities (Tipping)

If you are satisfied with your experience, the suggested gratuity is USD$15 per person per day to be divided amongst the crew and USD$10 per person per day for the naturalist guide. Envelopes will be provided on the day before departure.

Laundry

Unfortunately there are no laundry facilities on board so bring what you need for the cruise.

 

Excursions

All shore landings are included in your cruise fare. Some additional excursions (eg. kayaking) may be available on board at a modest extra cost. Please check with the purser onboard for additional information.

Shore landings will be both dry and wet (meaning you may have to disembark in up to about 30cm of water). Appropriate footwear is recommended.

The tours will usually involve a fair amount of walking on sandy beaches and over dirt paths and rocky terrain. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Moderate – As noted above, walks on land can be somewhat lengthy on uneven terrain. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on rocky terrain, occasionally near cliff faces.

Regrettably, this program is not suitable for those in a wheelchair.

Food and Beverage

Breakfast and lunch are typically buffet style and dinner is served. There is also an on deck BBQ at least once during your cruise.

Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are subject to charge.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through Ecuadorian towns and cities on the mainland, you may want to have a phrasebook if your Spanish isn’t up to par.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, crew members are trained in first aid and the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a telephone in each cabin for intra-ship calling.

Wi-Fi is available in the onboard café at a fee of USD$32 for 10 minutes (satellite connection).

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection (noting that service will be poor or non-existent away from the major ports), we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

It is recommended to ensure you are up-to-date on your regular vaccinations.

Malaria is not present in the Galapagos or in Quito and Guayaquil, but if you are travelling outside these areas, you should consult a physician to determine whether a prophylaxis is recommended.

As has widely been reported in the media, the Zika virus is also present in Ecuador and appropriate precautions should be taken.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. We strongly recommend consulting your physician about your intention to travel on this program to receive specific advice for your situation.

Safety & Security

Quito is relatively safe in the main areas of the downtown that are frequented by tourists. Caution should be exercised at night and avoid walking alone.

Guayaquil is the major commercial hub of Ecuador and has a markedly greater security risk. This being said, if one remains aware and vigilant, it should not affect your journey. It is recommended not to take any valuables at all, in some cases even cameras and/or smartphones are best left in the hotel safe. Your hotel can inform you accordingly.

Needless to say there is no security risk in the Galapagos.

Please read the specific advice as provided by the Canadian government:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/ecuador

Suggested Reading

Galapagos Islands: A Different View

Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World

The Origin of Species

Pure Panama

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a valid passport to enter Panama.

2. Visa

No tourist visa is required for Canadians to enter Panama.

Citizens of other countries should inquire with their travel agent or our office about required documentation.

Please note that Panama has departure taxes which may or may not be included in the price of your airline ticket which are payable at the airport.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

Temperatures in Panama remains steady throughout most of the year, with daytime highs typically in the high 20s or low 30s. At night the temperature drops to the mid or sometimes low 20s but never below that.

The driest period is between January and April where rain is uncommon and for short periods. Somewhat more rain can be expected for the rest of the year but on average not more than every other day.

Arrival / Departure

You will be met at the airport by our local representative and transferred to Panama City to commence your expedition program. At the end of the trip, you will be brought back to the airport, unless you are booking an extension program with us in which case your trip will end at a centrally located hotel in Panama City.

 

Money

The currency of Panama is the Panamanian Balboa but the US Dollar is also recognized as legal tender. The Balboa is pegged to the US Dollar at 1:1 so it is easy to exchange and US Dollars are accepted as readily as the local currency.

You may settle your onboard account with a major credit card or in US currency. Elsewhere in Panama, credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops and major restaurants, but usually not in smaller restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance in the cities in Panama. However, as this expedition is largely in remote areas, they will not be as easy to find. Hence, you should have adequate cash with you.

Gratuities (Tipping)

If you are satisfied with your experience, the suggested gratuity is USD$25-35 per person per day to be divided amongst the crew and the guides. Envelopes will be provided on the day before departure.

Laundry

Unfortunately there are no laundry facilities on board so please bring what you need for the cruise.

 

Excursions

All shore landings are included in your cruise fare.

Shore landings will be both dry and wet (meaning you may have to disembark in up to about 30cm of water). Appropriate footwear is recommended.

The tours will may involve a fair amount of walking on sandy beaches and over dirt paths and rocky terrain.  The choice of how much or how little you wish to do is entirely up to you ! However, if you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light – Difficult: As noted above, the choice of how much you wish to undertake rests entirely with you ! You can have a wonderful, full experience without doing a 10km hike or kayak ride. We note that if you participate on longer hikes, it can be somewhat lengthy on uneven terrain.

Regrettably, this program is not suitable for those in a wheelchair.

Food and Beverage

All meals are included on your expedition voyage but if you get the chance, you should try to sample some of the local fare.

Panama’s cuisine is similar to much of Latin America but there are a few things to note. “Yuca Frita” is fried yuca root and kind of like eating tropical French fries. “Tamales” will be familiar from the Mexican kitchen, but each country does them a bit differently and the ones here are worth trying.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, and although the official language of Panama is Spanish, many local people will speak at least some English.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, crew members are trained in first aid and the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There are no telephones in the cabins, nor is their Wi-Fi or any internet access onboard the ship.

If you need to have a data and phone connection (noting that service will be poor or non-existent away from the major ports), we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required for Panama although we recommend you being up-to-date on all your regular ones.

Malaria may also be present and you inform yourself accordingly whether a prophylaxis is recommended.

The Zika virus is also present in Panama and appropriate precautions should be taken.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. We strongly recommend consulting your physician about your intention to travel on this program to receive specific advice for your situation.

Safety & Security

Panama is relatively safe, although as in all Latin American cities, we suggest that our guests remain constantly aware and vigilant, particularly while out at night. It is recommended to leave your valuables in the hotel safe.

For further information, we suggest to consult the following website:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/panama

Suggested Reading

Panama Fever: The Epic Story of One of the Greatest Human Achievements of All Time– the Building of the Panama Canal

The Birds of Panama: A Field Guide

The Darien Gap: Travels in the Rainforest of Panama

Coming Soon!

Please stay tuned for travel tips tailored for this itinerary!

For any immediate questions, please contact us as 905.258.7778.

Greece – Jewels of the Cyclades

Travel Documents

Passport

Greece is a European Schengen area country. Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 3 months after the last date of travel in the Schengen area.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Visa

Canadian citizens are allowed entry into Greece without tourist visas when visiting for less than 3 months (90 days).

Packing List

        A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship but there are designated areas on the outside decks where one can smoke. It’s also not permitted in Greece to smoke in hotel guestrooms.

Weather

Summer temperatures ranging from mid 20’s to mid 30’s.

April to June – Warm climate with temperatures in the low 20’s to low 30’s.

July-September- Warmer climate with temperatures in the high 20’s to mid 30’s.

August- Hottest month of the year. Temperatures in the 30’s and sometimes even in the 40’s so make sure you protect yourself from the sun. Average temperature of the sea is mid 20’s.

Arrival / Departure

The closest airport to Athens is the Athens International Airport, which is about a 50 minute drive away from the port of Piraeus where you will embark the ship.

Once you have booked your trip, we will provide detailed instructions on where in Athens, Greece to check-in for your cruise.

There are a lot of interesting tourist attractions and activities in Athens, we highly recommend a stay here before or after your voyage. Have a look at some of our Pre and Post Tours.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before midday (unless otherwise stipulated in the itinerary). If you have any luggage that you need to have booked in so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The official currency in Greece is the Euro.

All major credit cards and debit cards are accepted by larger shops and restaurants in Greece. However, when possible, carry enough Euros for the day and charge what you can to your credit cards.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in towns/cities.

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 13 – 16 per guest per day.

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are thoroughly satisfied with services rendered. All gratuities will be equally divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Unfortunately, dry cleaning is not available.

Services & Activities On board

Aboard your yacht you will find an elegant dining room, spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges. No pools are on board as it is common for our guests to swim off our ships or for passengers to reach beaches by tender.  

There are fins, masks and snorkels available on board for use during the swim stops which are subject to availability. You can also find a small borrowing library as well as board games and playing cards for your amusement. Movies are often shown in the vessels’ Lounges, so please check in the Daily Program for show times.

Sports activities: Swimming off the ships is possible as well as snorkeling. At some stops it may also be possible to organize diving excursions.

Excursions

Shore excursions will be offered on board but are always subject to weather and docking conditions and a minimum number of participants. They can be purchased on board at an extra cost.

Excursions will usually involve a fair amount of walking on sandy beaches and up stairs. If you have difficulty walking any distances, please let us know in advance and we will advise you on the best way that we can accommodate you.

Please refer to our website or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances.

Note that the high temperatures may make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your voyage. All drinks on board (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) are subject to extra charges.

You can’t have a Greek dish without olive oil. Olive oil is used liberally in cooking, salads, and drizzled over most dips and dishes. Olive oil is also said to be very healthy so don’t feel bad when indulging in some deliciously made Greek dishes.

Greek meals usually include classic dips such as tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber and garlic), melitzanosalata (aubergine), and fava (creamy split pea purée). The delectable taramasalata (fish roe dip) is a must.  This mouth watering creamy blend of pink or white fish roe with either a potato or bread base is best with a drizzle of virgin olive oil or a squeeze of lemon.

If you have a sweet tooth you’ll enjoy this favourite Greek dish. Greeks love sweets, often based in olive oil and honey combinations, with flaky filo pastry.  The classic baklava is a start, layering honey, filo and ground nuts.

The Greek Ouzo is considered the national drink of Greece. Ouzo is either produced by partial distillation or the admixture of plain alcohol with aromatic herbs. Traditional Raki and Tsipouro.
 Apart from ouzo, Greece is known for these considerably stronger distilled local drinks that are homemade with the harvest of grapes from autumn.

Language

The language spoken on board is primarily English. In general, there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities. Excursions and public announcements are always in English.

The official language of Greece is Greek. However, in most of the stops along the way, you will find that the local people speak at least some, if not fluent, English.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel on board the ship. However, crew members are trained in first aid and the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and nonemergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Cabin Amenities

All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms fitted with showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and connected to a central music system. There is a telephone for intra ship communication. Our ship contains in lounge TV’s with satellite channels with at least a few English speaking programs. There are hairdryers in each cabin, flat-screen TV’s, public address system, safe boxes, mini-fridges and DVD players in the cabins.

The ship’s generator provides an electric voltage of 220V. Cabins are fitted with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.

For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Outgoing call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

WIFI is available in certain areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection while on land, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Children

Aboard the M/S Galileo there are no recreational facilities for children and reservations for those under the age of eleven are not advised. However, should you choose to bring children along please take into consideration that children onboard are their parents’/guardians sole responsibility.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Greece. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel.

Safety & Security

Greece like any place in the world is generally but not completely safe. Greece has undergone significant governmental change in the last few years. Late night strolls alone are not advisable especially for women. Being tourists in a city, security measures should be taken. When going out it’s recommended that you not take any valuables or travel documents along to reduce the chances of having an unfortunate incident. Petty crime including pickpocketing and bag snatching may occur in Athens, Greece.  When in Athens, it’s advised that you not walk in the Monastiraki and Omonia districts or after dark as well as around the Larissa and Peloponissos railway/bus stations.

Jewelry, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge.

To enhance public safety, police officers patrol subway stations, bus terminals and other public places. They are dedicated to improving the security of foreigners.

More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/greece

Suggested Reading

Greek, A Language Map

Lonely Planet Greek Islands

Eyewitness Guide Greek Islands

Fodor’s Greece: with Great Cruises & the Best Islands

Seychelles – Garden of Eden

Travel Documents

Passport

Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid up until their date of departure from the Seychelles.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Visa

Canadian citizens are allowed entry into the Seychelles without tourist visas when visiting for less than 3 months (90 days).

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship but there are designated areas on the outside decks where one can smoke. It’s also not permitted in the Seychelles to smoke in all enclosed public places and workplaces, with the one limited exception of hotel guestrooms.

Weather

In the Seychelles the temperature in February to November is high 20’s to low 30’s.

February to May- Warm climate with temperatures in the mid 20’s to low 30’s.

February- Hottest month of the year with temperatures in the low 30’s, so make sure you protect yourself from the sun.

June to November- Warm climate with temperatures in the mid to high 20’s.

July- Coolest month of the year with temperatures in the low 20’s.

Arrival / Departure

The only international airport is the Seychelles International Airport, which is about a 15 minute drive from the Port Victoria where you will embark the ship.

Once you have booked your trip, we will provide detailed instructions on where in Mahe, Seychelles to check-in for your cruise.

There are a lot of riveting tourist attractions and activities, we highly recommend a stay here before or after your voyage. Have a look at some of our Pre and Post Tours.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before midday (unless otherwise stipulated in the itinerary). If you have any luggage that you need to have booked in so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9:00AM – 10:00AM) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

In the Seychelles, the official currency is the Seychellois Rupee. However, the US Dollar and Euro are accepted throughout the country as well.

All major credit cards and debit cards are widely accepted by larger shops and restaurants in the Seychelles. When possible, only carry enough Rupees for the day and charge what you can to your credit cards.

There are ATM machines located in Victoria and Praslin. They are located in shopping areas and other various places throughout the towns. ATM machines only disburse Rupees.

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 13 – 16 per guest per day.

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are thoroughly satisfied with services rendered. All gratuities will be equally divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Unfortunately, dry cleaning is not available.

Services & Activities On board

Aboard your yacht you will find an elegant dining room, spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges. No pools are on board as it is common for our guests to swim off our ships or for passengers to reach beaches by tender.  

There are fins, masks and snorkels available on board for use during the swim stops which are subject to availability. In the Seychelles, you will also find kayaks aboard the ship. You can also find a small borrowing library as well as board games and playing cards for your amusement. Movies are often shown in the vessels’ Lounges, so please check in the Daily Program for show times. The M/Y Pegasus offers a small wellness suite with massage and other beauty treatments.

Sports activities: Swimming off the ships is possible as well as snorkeling, kayaking and canoeing. At some stops it may also be possible to organize diving excursions.

Excursions

Shore excursions will be offered on board but are always subject to weather and docking conditions and a minimum number of participants. They can be purchased on board at an extra cost.

Excursions will usually involve a fair amount of walking on sandy beaches and over dirt paths. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Please refer to our website or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths.

Note that the high temperatures may make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your voyage. All drinks on board (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) are subject to extra charges.

Most meals in the Seychelles consist of seafood and chillies. There are so many exquisite and mouth watering dishes to look out for on your visit.

Shark chutney is a typical Seychellois dish that is made with shark meat that is boiled and mashed then cooked with bilimbi, a small cucumber, and lime juice. Fried onion, turmeric, salt and pepper are added. It is usually served with lentils and shredded green papaya with rice. This complex dish is not only delicious but highly nutritious. Seychelles beef is a local name for turtle meat.  

Another tasty dish to keep an eye out for is called “ladob”. It may be eaten as a savoury or a dessert. The dessert is made of sweet potatoes and ripe plantain and may include breadfruit, cassava or corossol. It is boiled in coconut milk and nutmeg, sugar and vanilla are added. The dessert is creamy and soft.

There’s also a variety of local drinks such as their palm wine or calou which is an alcoholic beverage that is locally made from coconut sap. Its also used in the preparation of many Seychellois dishes.

Bacca is another alcoholic beverage that is made from sugarcane liquor and used for ceremonial events. Coco d’Amour is a tropical coconut liqueur that is made with coconut extract. Local beers that you absolutely must try are Ekyu and Seybrew. It’s particularly refreshing when served chilled.

Language

The language spoken on board is primarily English. In general, there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities. Excursions and public announcements are always in English.

The official languages of the Seychelles are Seychellois Creole, English and French. Seychellois Creole is a French-based creole language also known as Seselwa, it is the most commonly spoken language in the archipelago. English and sometimes French and are also widely spoken on all ports visited by our small ships.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel on board the ship. However, crew members are trained in first aid and the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and nonemergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Cabin Amenities

All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms fitted with showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and connected to a central music system. There is a telephone for intra ship communication. Our ship contains in lounge TV’s with satellite channels with at least a few English speaking programs. There are hairdryers in each cabin, flat-screen TV’s, public address system, safe boxes, mini-fridges and DVD players in the cabins

The ship’s generator provides an electric voltage of 220V. Cabins are fitted with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.

For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Outgoing call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

WIFI is available in certain areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection while on land, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Children

Aboard the M/Y Pegasus there are no recreational facilities for children and reservations for those under the age of eleven are not advised. However, should you choose to bring children along please take into consideration that children onboard are their parents’/guardians sole responsibility.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to the Seychelles. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel.

Safety & Security

The beautiful islands of the Seychelles is generally a quiet and safe place. However, being tourists in a city one should always take security measures. Late night strolls alone are not advisable after dark. When going out it’s recommended not to take any valuables or travel documents along to reduce the chances of having an unfortunate incident. Petty crime including pickpocketing and bag snatching may occur in the Seychelles.

Jewelry, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge.

The police departments in the Seychelles have set up beach security units composed of policemen and women that patrol the main public beaches. They are dedicated to improving the security of foreigners.

More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/seychelles

Suggested Reading

Edge of Eden

Insight Pocket Guide Seychelles

Lonely Planet Mauritius, Reunion & Seychelles

Panama – Treasures of Panama & Costa Rica

Travel Documents

Passport

Canadian citizens must have a valid passport for at least 3 months after the last date of travel in Panama and Costa Rica.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Visa

No tourist visa is required for Canadians to enter Panama for visits up to 6 months (180 days).

No tourist visa is required for Canadians to enter Costa Rica for visits up to 3 months (90 days).

Other entry requirements

While uncommon for most of our guests, when entering Costa Rica you may need to provide evidence of a return or onward ticket as well as ‘sufficient funds’ for your stay. Some cash and credit cards are normally sufficient.

Packing List

        A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship but there are designated areas on the outside decks where one can smoke. It’s also not permitted in Panama as well as Costa Rica to smoke in all indoor public places and public transport. In addition, smoking is not permitted in outdoor sports venues.

Weather

The Panama Canal Zone has a climate ranging from the high 20’s to low 30’s with high humidity.

January to February- Warm days in the high 20’s. Mostly dry and humid.

March to April- Hot days in the high 20’s to low 30’s. Very dry and humid. Seldom Thunderstorms.

April is the hottest month of the year with temperatures in the low 30’s, so make sure you protect yourself from the sun.

In Costa Rica the summer temperatures range from low to high 20’s with high humidity.

The Dry season this lasts from December to April.

January to February- Warm days in the low to high 20’s. Mostly dry and humid. February is the driest month of the year.

March to April- Hot days in the high 20’s and low 30’s. Very dry and humid. Seldom Thunderstorms.

March is the hottest month of the year with temperatures in the low 30’s, so make sure you protect yourself from the sun.

Arrival / Departure

In Costa Rica, the most logical place to fly into or out of will be the San Jose International airport, in the capital, a couple of hours from the port of Punta Arenas.

In Panama, you will fly into/out of the Panama City International Airport, which is about a 45 minute drive from downtown and the port area.

Upon booking, we will provide detailed instructions on where your pickup point is on embarkation day in Panama City. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from this pickup point (Flamenco Marina). We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before midday (unless otherwise stipulated in the itinerary). If you have any luggage that you need to have booked in so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 9:00AM to 10:00AM) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account well before this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before. You will then be transferred by coach to the designated point for your onward journey.

Money

In Panama the official currency is the Panamanian Balboa.  

In Costa Rica the official currency is the Costa Rican Colón.

However, in both countries the US Dollar is more commonly used and accepted throughout the country as the primary currency.

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops in the cities, but in the smaller, remote areas, they will be of little use.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance.

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 13 – 16 per guest per day.

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are thoroughly content with services rendered. All gratuities will be equally divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Unfortunately, dry cleaning is not available.

Services & Activities On board

Aboard your yacht you will find an elegant dining room, spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges. No pools are on board as it is common for our guests to swim off our ships or for passengers to reach secluded beaches by tender.  

There are fins, masks and snorkels available on board for use during the swim stops which are subject to availability. You can also find a small borrowing library as well as board games and playing cards for your amusement. Movies are often shown in the vessels’ Lounges, so please check in the Daily Program for show times.

Sports activities: Swimming off the ships is possible as well as snorkeling, kayaking and canoeing. At some stops it may also be possible to organize diving excursions.

Excursions

Shore excursions will be offered on board but are always subject to weather and docking conditions and a minimum number of participants. They can be purchased on board at an extra cost.

Excursions will usually involve a fair amount of walking on sandy beaches and over dirt paths. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Please refer to our website or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths.

Note that the high temperatures and humidity in summer may also make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are part inclusive in your voyage. All drinks on board (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) are subject to extra charges.

Food in Panama is mildly spicy when compared to their neighbouring countries. There are so many exquisite and tasty dishes to look out for on your visit.

Meals to keep an eye out for are Hojaldras (popular breakfast), Carne salchicha guisada, a tomato sauce filled with beef or hot sauce that can be served with Patacones (fried green plantain discs), Bollos (corn dough) or Tortillas de maíz con queso fresco (corn dough with cheese topping). Their fish based dishes would definitely leave you asking for more. Be sure to try Corvina (sea bass), sole, cod, calamari, shrimp, mixed seafood prepared with cilantro, lime juice, celery, onions and aji chombo (habaneros).

There lots of refreshing beverages like Chicha de Saril (Hibiscus Limeade), Raspadura, Hibiscus flowers, lime juice, cinnamon and ginger, wonderful for a hot day, or as a mixer for that classic cranberry vodka drink.

The Rondon dish in Costa Rica dates back to earlier times of subsistence diets in the Caribbean. Though the only thing consistent is that it changes, there are a few fundamentals to this spicy coconut soup. Typically, you’ll find a fish head and assorted catches of the day, along with a variety of tubers like sweet potatoes and yucca, simmered in coconut milk for hours over an open wood flame that imparts a smoky depth. Mixed with a couple of Panamanian chilies for that signature lip singe. There are other dishes like the Chifrijo, Ceviche Tico which is a combination of rice, beans, meat and chimichurri, a tomato-based salad with lime juice.

Costa Rica has some delicious home grown fruits like Cacao fresco. Be sure to try their fruit cocktails called Naturales, and exotic drinks like Granizados.

Language

The crew members are English speaking so communication with them should not be a problem. Be sure to have a Spanish phrasebook when going sightseeing in Costa Rican towns and cities if your knowledge of Spanish is limited.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel on board the ship. However, crew members are trained in first aid and the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and nonemergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Cabin Amenities

All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms fitted with showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and connected to a central music system. There is a telephone for intra ship communication. Our ship contains in lounge TV’s with satellite channels with at least a few English speaking programs. There are hairdryers in each cabin, flat-screen TV’s, public address system, safe boxes, mini-fridges and DVD players in the cabins.

The ship’s generator provides an electric voltage of 220V. Cabins are fitted with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.

For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Outgoing call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

WIFI is available in certain areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection while on land, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Children

Aboard the M/Y Callisto there are no recreational facilities for children and reservations for those under the age of eleven are not advised. However, should you choose to bring children along please take into consideration that children onboard are their parents’/guardians sole responsibility.

Health / Vaccinations

Health measures should be taken before going on any trip. It is advisable to be up-to-date on your vaccinations.

Malaria is not present in Panama City, the Canal Zone and Western Panama Province, but if you are travelling outside these areas, you should consult a physician to determine whether a prophylaxis is recommended.

As has widely been reported in the media, the Zika Virus may also be present in Costa Rica as well as Panama and appropriate precautions should be taken.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. We strongly recommend consulting your physician about your intention to travel on this program to receive specific advice for your situation.

Safety & Security

The beautiful and historic countries of Costa Rica and Panama like any country in the world, it is generally but not completely safe. Being tourists in the city, security measures should be taken. When going out it’s recommended not to take any valuables along at all, in some cases even cameras and/or smartphones out of one’s hotel to reduce the chances  of an unfortunate incident occurring. Late night strolls alone are especially not advisable for women. Petty crime including pickpocketing and bag snatching may occur in both Panama and Costa Rica.

Jewelry, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge.

While places like Coronado have well placed security measures and low crime rates, one should be vigilant when visiting towns like Colon (the commercial hub of Panama) and regions beyond the town of Yaviza. Costa Rica has created the “Policía Turística”, a tourism police force dedicated to improving the safety and security of foreigners.

More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/panama

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/costa-rica

Suggested Reading

Lonely Planet Panama

The New Panama Canal, A Breathtaking Journey Between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans

Lonely Planet Costa Rica

Culture and Customs of Costa Rica

From Africa to Brazil

Travel Documents

Passport

Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 6 months after the last date of travel within Morocco and Brazil.

Spain: Spain is a European Schengen area country. Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 3 months after the last date of travel in the Schengen area.

Cape Verde: Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid up for the duration of their stay in Cape Verde.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Visa

Canadian citizens are allowed entry into Morocco without tourist visas when visiting for less than 3 months (90 days).

Canadian citizens are issued tourist visas when entering Brazil that are valid for multiple entries and usually for five years from the date of issue.

Packing List

        A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship but there are designated areas on the outside decks where one can smoke. In both Morocco and Brazil it’s not permitted to smoke in most public buildings/spaces except for specifically designated smoking areas. In Spain it’s not permitted to smoke in bars and restaurants.

Weather

In Morocco the average temperature in September is  high 10’s to mid 20’s.

September- Warm climate with temperatures in the low 20’s.

In both Spain and Cape Verde the average temperature in September is high 20’s.

In Fortaleza, Brazil the average temperatures in August to December is high 20’s to low 30’s.

September- Cooler months with temperatures in the mid 20’s.

Arrival / Departure

In Morocco, the most logical place to fly into will be the Mohammed V International Airport, located in Nouaceur, 55 minutes away from the port of Casablanca.

In Brazil, you will fly out of the Fortaleza International Airport, which is about a 40 minute drive from the port area.

Once you have booked your trip, we will provide detailed instructions on where in Casablanca, Morocco to check-in for your cruise.

There a lot of tourist attractions and activities, we highly recommend a stay here before or after your voyage. Have a look at some of our Pre and Post Tours.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before midday (unless otherwise stipulated in the itinerary). If you have any luggage that you need to have booked in so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The official currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham.

The official currency in Spain is the Euro.

The official currency of Cape Verde is the Cape Verdean Escudo, (CVE). Euros are commonly accepted, although you might receive change in escudos.

In Brazil, the official currency is the Brazilian Real, however, the Euro and US Dollar may also be accepted by larger merchants in the country as well.

All major credit cards and debit cards are accepted by larger shops and restaurants in Morocco, Spain, Cape Verde and Brazil. However, when possible, carry enough of the local currencies for the day and charge what you can to your credit cards.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance in Morocco, Spain and Cape Verde. However, in Brazil not all ATM machines accept international credit cards. When travelling outside the city or to remote areas, it will be a bit more difficult to find an ATM machine so carry enough of the local currency for the day.

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 12 per guest per day.

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are thoroughly pleased with services rendered. All gratuities will be equally divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Self-laundry service is available. Unfortunately, dry cleaning is not available.

Services & Activities On board

Aboard your ship you will receive a glass of champagne and fruit as a welcome gift. You will also find elegant dining rooms, restaurants, bars, a shop, spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges to relax in.

There are fins, masks and snorkels available on board for use during the swim stops which are subject to availability. You will find a borrowing library as well as board games and playing cards for your amusement. There’s an observation lounge that has panoramic windows. Movies are often shown in the vessels’ Lounges, so please check in the Daily Program for show times. The MS Midnatsol offers a fitness room, sauna, pool and Jacuzzi. On board there is a resident photographer who invite you out on deck and enable you to take the best possible pictures from your voyage.

Sports activities: Snorkeling.  In Cape Verde it may be possible to organize a diving excursion.

Excursions

Shore excursions will be offered on board but are always subject to weather and docking conditions and a minimum number of participants. They can be purchased on board at an extra cost.

Excursions will usually involve a fair amount of walking. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Please refer to our website or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

Etiquette

Moroccans are extremely hospitable and very tolerant. Though most people are religious, they are generally easy-going, and most young Moroccan women don’t wear a veil, though they may well wear a headscarf. Nonetheless, you should try not to affront people’s religious beliefs, especially those of older, more conservative people, by, for example, kissing and cuddling in public, or eating or smoking in the street.

In addition please pay particular attention to the following:

  • Drinking public is not permitted.
  • Hotels will refuse to allow couples who are unable to provide proof that they are married to stay in the same room, although foreigners are almost always exempt from having to provide proof.
  • Public displays of affection are frowned upon.
  • In mosques, shorts and skirts must cover the knees for both men and women. Arms can be exposed but shoulders should be covered. (ie. No tank tops or sleeveless blouses)

Cape Verde

  • Cape Verdeans stand close together when talking and are physically demonstrative, often touching and holding hands (men as well as women).
  • Greetings are somewhat lengthy, and include shaking hands (or kissing for women), and inquiring about each other’s health and family. This is usually done each time two people meet, even if it is more than once in the same day.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast, lunch and dinner  are included in your voyage. All drinks on board (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) are subject to extra charges.

Couscous is a typical Moroccan dish that is made from semolina (coarsely ground hard wheat with the bran removed) and is served with meat, vegetables, and possibly nuts and fruit. Another famous local cuisine is Tajines. It is slowly cooked in a shallow earthenware pot of the same name having a conical lid, often made with lamb or chicken plus vegetables. Tajines are mildly spiced with saffron, cumin and coriander giving a distinctive flavour. An important part of any Moroccan meal is Bread. The bread will be and usually broken and used as a tool to help eat and soak up gravy.

In Morocco Tea is the national drink. They usually drink it at various times of the day and after meals. It’s always flavoured with mint, and usually sweetened with plenty of sugar. The tea is traditionally made in ornate metal tea pots and served in a glasses, poured from a height to make it frothy.

The cuisine on Cape Verde can be called as relatively hearty. The Cachupa is the National dish of the Cape Verde islands. This is a type of stew, consisting of mashed maize, onions, green bananas, manioc, sweet potatoes, squash, yams, tomatoes, cabbage and possibly bacon.

Tortilla Española is a traditional dish in Spain which is made up of eggs, potatoes, onions… The Spanish omelette is so much more than the sum of its parts. The potatoes and onions are slow fried in olive oil then mixed with the beaten eggs for the flavours to mix before cooking.  You can add chorizo, ham, spinach and/or courgettes.

A special Brazilian dish that you have to try, is the Moqueca. It’s more than a mere fish stew, the fish and/or seafood are stewed in diced tomatoes, onions and coriander. Sometimes either a natural red food colouring urucum (annatto seeds) is added or a heavier version, with dendê (palm oil), peppers and coconut milk is served. It’s teamed with rice, farofa (fried manioc flour – ideal for mopping up juices) and pirão (a spicy, manioc flour fish porridge, that’s far tastier than it sounds). Another traditional yet absolutely divine dish you should try is the Feijoada. The feijoada is a hearty stew of black beans, sausages and cuts of pork of varying quality – traditionally veering towards the lower end, with trotters, and ears all going into the mix. Rice, kale, orange slices, farofa (toasted manioc flour) and pork scratchings are served on the side, with a tipple of cachaça to ease digestion.

If you feel like indulging yourself then go ahead and try Quindim. It is a glossy yellow sweet made with nothing more than eggs, sugar and coconut (with butter a common addition). Baked in cupcake-sized moulds, the bottom is toasted and golden, dense with grated coconut, while the top is a smooth, firm custard that sticks pleasingly to the roof of the mouth.

Cachaça is made from fermented sugarcane juice, and is best known as the fiery kick in caipirinhas – Brazil’s national cocktail. While caipirinhas are often made with uncoloured, unaged cachaças, there are thousands of better-quality golden varieties, aged in wood barrels, and sipped straight up by aficionados. For the morning after, clear your head with a Guaraná (a sweet, fizzy energy drink), an água de coco (coconut water, best sipped straight from the coconut) or caldo de cana (freshly pressed sugarcane juice).

Açai is made from fruits from the Amazon. It’s traditionally eaten by indigenous tribes for energy, the hard purple berry is also used in Amazonian cooking, as a sauce with fish. Served as a sweet, gloopy, frozen sorbet, sometimes topped with granola and slices of banana, or whizzed up in juices, it can found in every café, bakery, juice bar and supermarket across the country. You can even buy açaí  vodka, and açaí  beer.

Language

The language spoken on board is primarily English. In general, there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities. Excursions and public announcements are always in English.

The official language of Morocco is Arabic. However, most government and official business is carried out in French. In their own homes they may speak Moroccan Arabic, a Berber dialect, or perhaps Spanish. A traveler’s phrasebook would undoubtedly be helpful.

The official language spoken in Cape Verde and Brazil is Portuguese. However, you will find that the local people speak at least some, if not fluent, English in Cape Verde.  Be sure to have a Portuguese phrasebook when going sightseeing in Cape Verde and Brazil if your knowledge of the Portuguese language is limited.

The official language in Spain is Spanish. A traveler’s phrasebook would be helpful when communicating with the locals.

Medical Facilities

There is an English-speaking physician and nurse on board MS Midnatsol at all times. The ships have a small medical facility with the necessary equipment and medication to handle small emergencies. In the event of a serious emergency, the nearest hospital will be contacted. Medical consultations as well as medication will be charged to the passenger affected. It is compulsory to carry sufficient travel/health insurance.

Cabin Amenities

All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms fitted with WC/showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and connected to a central music system. There is a telephone for intra ship communication. Your ship has modern technology with flat-screen TVs and tablet computers, DVD players, Media4Cruises with a selection of around 150 of the latest film releases, classic films, TV series and documentaries as well as all kinds of music.

There are hairdryers and heated floors in each, safe boxes, Nespresso machine, mini-fridges, mini-bars filled with soft drinks, water and beer every day in the cabins. 24-hour suite service, 24-hour butler service in the Penthouse, Grand Penthouse and Owner Suites. Cabins are cleaned daily on board MS Midnatsol. Fresh towels are available at all times.

Our ship generators provide an electric voltage of 220V. Cabins are fitted with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.

For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Buy a phone card in the reception to call from the ship.

Wi-Fi is available in most areas at additional cost. Both Wi-Fi and telephone lines will from time to time be out of range due to the vessel’s location.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection while on land, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Children

Aboard MS Midnatsol ships there are no age restrictions. For safety reasons, reservations for those under the age of 12 are not advised. However, should you choose to bring children along please take into consideration that children onboard are their parents’/guardians sole responsibility.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Morocco and Spain.

Health measures should be taken before going on any trip. It is advisable to be up-to-date on your vaccinations.

In Cape Verde there is a low risk of Malaria between August and November in the Islands of Santiago, and a Low to No risk in the other islands. You should consult a physician to determine whether a prophylaxis is recommended.

As has widely been reported in the media, the Zika Virus may also be present in Cape Verde and Brazil and appropriate precautions should be taken.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. We strongly recommend consulting your physician about your intention to travel on this program to receive specific advice for your situation.

Safety & Security

The beautiful and historic countries of Morocco and Brazil are like any country in the world, it is generally but not totally safe. Being tourists in the city, security measures should be taken. When going out it’s recommended not to take any valuables along at all, in some cases even cameras and/or smartphones out of one’s hotel to reduce the chances  of an unfortunate incident occurring. Late night strolls alone are especially not advisable for women. Petty crime including pickpocketing, bag snatching and theft may occur in larger cities Brazil and in the medina, market areas, in parks and on beaches in Morocco as well in the city of Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente, and in Praia, on the island of Santiago, Cape Verde.

Jewelry, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge.

More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/morocco

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/spain

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/cabo-verde

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/brazil

Suggested Reading

Eyewitness Guide Morocco

The Caliph’s House, A Year in Casablanca

We Share Walls, Language, Land, and Gender in Berber Morocco

Cape Verde Art and Culture: Custom, Tradition and Environment

Eyewitness Guide Spain

Rough Guide Brazil

Lonely Planet Brazil

A Short History of Brazil, From Pre-colonial Peoples to Modern Economic Miracle

Greece – Antiquity to Byzantium

TRAVEL TIPS

OCEAN – Antiquity to Byzantium (Europe)

Travel Documents

Passport

Greece is a European Schengen area country. Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 3 months after the last date of travel in the Schengen area.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Visa

Canadian citizens are allowed entry into Greece without tourist visas when visiting for less than 3 months (90 days).

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship but there are designated areas on the outside decks where one can smoke. It’s also not permitted in Greece to smoke in hotel guestrooms.

Weather

In the Peloponnese Peninsula, the average temperatures in March/April and

October/November are high 10’s to low 20’s.

Arrival / Departure

The closest airport to Piraeus is the Athens International Airport, which is about a 55 minute drive away from the port of Marina Zea where you will embark the ship.

Once you have booked your trip, we will provide detailed instructions on where in Piraeus, Greece to check-in for your cruise.

There are a lot of interesting tourist attractions and activities in Athens, we highly recommend a stay here before or after your voyage. Have a look at some of our Pre and Post Tours.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before midday (unless otherwise stipulated in the itinerary). If you have any luggage that you need to have booked in so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The official currency in Greece is the Euro.

All major credit cards and debit cards are accepted by larger shops and restaurants in Greece. However, when possible, carry enough Euros for the day and charge what you can to your credit cards.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in towns/cities.  

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 13 – 16 per guest per day.

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are thoroughly pleased with services rendered. All gratuities will be equally divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Unfortunately, dry cleaning is not available.

Services & Activities On board

Aboard your yacht you will find an elegant dining room, spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges.  

You can also find a small borrowing library as well as board games and playing cards for your amusement. Movies are often shown in the vessels’ Lounges, so please check in the Daily Program for show times.

Excursions

Shore excursions will be offered on board but are always subject to weather and docking conditions and a minimum number of participants. They can be purchased on board at an extra cost.

Excursions will usually involve a fair amount of walking. If you have difficulty walking any distances, please let us know in advance and we will advise you on the best way that we can accommodate you.

Please refer to our website or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your voyage. All drinks on board (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) are subject to extra charges.

Peloponnese have an abundance of regional dishes that primarily focus on the freshness of ingredients and simple yet delicious food.

Olive oil, a key ingredient in all parts of Greece, it is especially important in the Peloponnese. In Nafplio, the southern tip of the peninsula, pork is the meat of choice it is also preserved in olive oil.

An interesting yet succulent dish is Lagotó. It is is made of pieces of pork which are cooked in a very garlicky sauce that is thickened with bread crumbs and spiked with vinegar.

In addition to the renowned olive oil and table olives, the southern Peloponnese have extended citrus groves that produce juicy and fragrant lemons and oranges. Lemon is ubiquitous in Greek cooking, as it beautifully complements the flavor of olive oil, but in the Peloponnese, oranges also find their way into the pork and vegetable stews. Oddly, there are very few typical Peloponnesian dishes, except for seasonal vegetables stews, made with vegetables, including zucchini, eggplant, green beans, leafy greens, and artichokes. The stews sometimes contain meat or poultry and are flavored with lemon in the winter and tomatoes in the summer.

The Greek Ouzo is considered the national drink of Greece. Ouzo is either produced by partial distillation or the admixture of plain alcohol with aromatic herbs. Traditional Raki and Tsipouro.
 Apart from ouzo, Greece is known for these considerably stronger distilled local drinks that are homemade with the harvest of grapes from autumn.

Language

The language spoken on board is primarily English. In general, there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities. Excursions and public announcements are always in English.

English is spoken in most places along the Peloponnese peninsula, in the more touristy places you won’t have problems with speaking German or Italian either. If you’d like to communicate in Greek then take a phrasebook along when sightseeing, however almost all speak from some words to quite fluent English.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel on board the ship. However, crew members are trained in first aid and the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and nonemergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Cabin Amenities

All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms fitted with showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and connected to a central music system. There is a telephone for intra ship communication. Our ship contains in lounge TV’s with satellite channels with at least a few English speaking programs. There are hairdryers in each cabin, flat-screen TV’s, public address system, safe boxes, mini-fridges and DVD players in the cabins.

The ship’s generator provides an electric voltage of 220V. Cabins are fitted with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.

For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Outgoing call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

WIFI is available in certain areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Children

Aboard the M/S Galileo there are no recreational facilities for children and reservations for those under the age of eleven are not advised. However, should you choose to bring children along please take into consideration that children onboard are their parents’/guardians sole responsibility.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Greece. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel.

Safety & Security

Greece is like any place in the world, it is generally but not completely safe. Greece has undergone significant governmental change in the last couple of years. Being tourists in a city, security measures should be taken. When going out it’s recommended that you not take any valuables or travel documents along to reduce the chances of having an unfortunate incident.  Late night strolls alone are not advisable especially for women. Petty crime including pickpocketing and bag snatching may occur in Athens, Greece.  When in Athens, it’s advised that you not walk in the Monastiraki and Omonia districts or after dark as well as around the Larissa and Peloponissos railway/bus stations.

Jewelry, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge.

To enhance public safety, police officers patrol subway stations, bus terminals and other public places. They are dedicated to improving the security of foreigners.

More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/greece

Suggested Reading

PÉLOPONNÈSE

Eyewitness Guide Greek Islands

Byzantium, From Antiquity to the Renaissance

Eyewitness Guide Greece, Athens and the Mainland

Greece – Adriatic Odyssey

Travel Documents

Passport

Croatia: Croatia is not part of the European Schengen area. Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 3 months after the last date of travel within the country.

Greece: Greece is a European Schengen area country. Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 3 months after the last date of travel in the Schengen area.

Montenegro: Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 6 months after the last date of travel within the country.

Albania: Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 3 months after the last date of travel within the country.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Visa

Canadian citizens are allowed entry into Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece without tourist visas when visiting for less than 3 months (90 days).

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship but there are designated areas on the outside decks where one can smoke. It’s also not permitted in Greece to smoke in hotel guestrooms as well as in Croatia to smoke in workplaces, public buildings, 100 meters around hospitals and schools. In Montenegro it is not permitted to smoke in public places. Smoking is not permitted in Albania in bars, clubs, restaurants, and most commercial indoor areas.

Weather

In both Croatia and Greece, the average temperatures in June to October are mid to high 20’s.

June to September- Warm climate with temperatures in the mid to high 20’s.

July- Hottest month of the year with temperatures in the high 20’s to low 30’s, so make sure you protect yourself from the sun.

August- Average temperature of the sea is mid 20’s.

October- Warmer climate with temperatures in the low to mid 20’s.

Rainfall between June and September will vary, but it is not typically very wet.

In Montenegro, the average temperature in June to October is low 20’s to low 30’s.

In Albania the average temperatures in June to october are low 10’s to high 20’s.

June to August- Warm climate with temperatures in the mid to high 20’s.

September to November- Cooler climate with temperatures in the mid 10’s to low 20’s

 

Arrival / Departure

The closest airport to Dubrovnik is the Dubrovnik Airport, which is also referred to as Čilipi Airport – which is about a 25 minute drive from the port area.

Once you have booked your trip, we will provide detailed instructions on where in Dubrovnik, Croatia to check-in for your cruise.

There are a lot of tourist attractions and activities in Dubrovnik, we highly recommend a stay here before or after your voyage. Have a look at some of our Pre and Post Tours.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before midday (unless otherwise stipulated in the itinerary). If you have any luggage that you need to have booked in so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

In Greece and Montenegro the official currency is the Euro.

In Albania the official currency is the Albanian lek.

In Croatia, the official currency is the Croatian Kuna. However, the Euro is accepted by some merchants in the country as well.

All major credit cards and debit cards are accepted by larger shops and restaurants in Croatia and Greece. In Montenegro and Albania credit cards are mainly accepted in larger hotels and restaurants.  It is however recommended to carry enough of the local currencies for the day and charge what you can to your credit cards.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in Croatia and Greece.  In Montenegro ATM’s can be found in larger cities/towns. In Albania ATM machines can be found in Saranda.

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 13 – 16 per guest per day.

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are thoroughly pleased with services rendered. All gratuities will be equally divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Unfortunately, dry cleaning is not available.

Services & Activities On board

Aboard your yacht you will find an elegant dining room, spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges. No pools are on board as it is common for our guests to swim off our ships or for passengers to reach beaches by tender.  

There are fins, masks and snorkels available on board for use during the swim stops which are subject to availability. You can also find a small borrowing library as well as board games and playing cards for your amusement. Movies are often shown in the vessels’ Lounges, so please check in the Daily Program for show times.

Sports activities: Swimming off the ships is possible as well as snorkeling. At some stops it may also be possible to organize diving excursions.

Excursions

Shore excursions will be offered on board but are always subject to weather and docking conditions and a minimum number of participants. They can be purchased on board at an extra cost.

Excursions will usually involve a fair amount of walking on sandy beaches. If you have difficulty walking any distances, please let us know in advance and we will advise you on the best way that we can accommodate you.

Please refer to our website or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances.

Note that the high temperatures may make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your voyage. All drinks on board (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) are subject to extra charges.

The contrast between Croatian and Greek dishes is something you’ll enjoy.

Peka is a typical Croatian dish that is a dome or bell-shaped terracotta or steel lid that you heat, by burning wood below it. You can cook any type of meat or fish using the peka.  Another famously mouth watering dish to keep an eye out for is the Skradinski Rizot. It may be eaten as a savoury or a dessert. The dessert is made of sweet potatoes and ripe plantain and may include breadfruit, cassava or corossol. It is boiled in coconut milk and nutmeg, sugar and vanilla are added. The dessert is creamy and soft.

Croatia is also known for their beer, (Karlovacko), wine (Grasevina) and spirits like sljivovica (plum brandy), travarica (herbal brandy) or lozovaca (grape brandy) as they are all homemade.

A Montenegrin dish that you really should try is “Japraci”, it is an extremely rich and nourishing meal. In a kilo of “rastan” and half a kilo of young cow’s meet rice, pepper, and even dry meat are added. With cooking the grease is being released, and the meal gets the right flavor. Other dishes you should try are Sarma, stuffed peppers, stew, pilaf.

The main meal of the Albanians is lunch, which usually consists of Gjellë (stew), the main dish of slowly cooked meat with various vegetables, and a salad of fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and olives. The salad is dressed with salt, olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice.

A special Greek dish that you have to try, is the Taramasalata (fish roe dip).  It is a mouth watering creamy blend of pink or white fish roe with either a potato or bread base is best with a drizzle of virgin olive oil or a squeeze of lemon.

If you feel like indulging yourself then go ahead and try Galaktoboureko, a sinful custard-filled pastry. Simply, pour a lovely dollop of local thyme honey over fresh Greek yogurt.

Greek Ouzo is considered the national drink of Greece. Apart from ouzo, Greece is known for these considerably stronger distilled local drinks, that are homemade from the grapes harvested in autumn.

Language

The language spoken on board is primarily English. In general, there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities. Excursions and public announcements are always in English.

While English is widely spoken in the major ports visited, as you venture away from more touristy areas, you may find communication somewhat more challenging.

In Montenegro the official language is Montenegrin. A traveler’s phrasebook would undoubtedly be helpful if your Montenegrin language skills are limited.

The official language in Albania is Albanian. Be sure to have an Albanian phrasebook when going sightseeing in Albania if your knowledge of the Albanian language is limited.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel on board the ship. However, crew members are trained in first aid and the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and nonemergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Cabin Amenities

All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms fitted with showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and connected to a central music system. There is a telephone for intra ship communication. Our ship contains in lounge TV’s with satellite channels with at least a few English speaking programs. There are hairdryers in each cabin, flat-screen TV’s, public address system, safe boxes, mini-fridges and DVD players in the cabins.

The ship’s generator provides an electric voltage of 220V. Cabins are fitted with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.

For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Outgoing call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

WIFI is available in certain areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection while on land, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Children

Aboard the M/S Panorama there are no recreational facilities for children and reservations for those under the age of eleven are not advised. However, should you choose to bring children along please take into consideration that children onboard are their parents’/guardians sole responsibility.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events in Europe it is considered a safe and secure place to visit. Croatia like any place in the world is generally but not completely safe. Being tourists in the city, security measures should be taken. Late night strolls alone are not advisable. When going out it’s recommended not to take any valuables or travel documents along to reduce the chances of having an unfortunate incident. Petty crime including pickpocketing and bag snatching may occur in Croatia along the Adriatic coast,  in Montenegro during May to September, in Albania in touristy areas and in Athens, Greece.

Jewelry, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit the items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge.

More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/croatia

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/montenegro

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/albania

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/greece

Suggested Reading

A Taste of Croatia

Lonely Planet Croatia

Footprint Croatia

Bradt Guide Montenegro

Bradt Guide Albania

Greek, A Language Map

Eyewitness Guide Greek Islands

Fodor’s Greece: with Great Cruises & the Best Islands

Cuba – Sights and Sounds of Cuba

Travel Documents

Passport

Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid up until 1 month after their date of departure from Cuba.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Due to restrictions of U.S. law, this program is not available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Visa

Canadian citizens are required to have a tourist visa (tourist card) prior to entry in Cuba which is valid for up to 3 months (90 days). Tourist cards will be handed out by the airline on all flights departing Canada.

Other entry requirements

While uncommon for most of our guests, when entering Cuba you may need to provide evidence of a return or onward ticket as well as ‘sufficient funds’ for your stay. Some cash and credit cards are normally sufficient.

Canadian citizens must also present proof of health insurance that is valid for the period of your stay in Cuba; such proof includes an insurance policy, insurance certificate or medical assistance card (photocopies are accepted). More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/cuba

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship but there are designated areas on the outside decks where one can smoke.

Weather

February to March- Cooler temperatures in the high 10’s to mid 20’s.

April- Warmer climate with temperatures in the mid 20’s to low 30’s. Slightly humid.

Arrival / Departure

The closest airport to Havana, is the José Martí International Airport, which is about a 45 minute drive from the port area.

The closest airport to Cienfuegos, is the Jaime González Airport, which is about a 15 minute drive from the port area.

Once you have made your booking, we will provide detailed instructions on where your pickup point is on embarkation day in Havana/Cienfuegos, Cuba. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from the Port of Havana and Cienfuegos. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The cruise will finish in the morning on the final day (Usually around 9:00AM). It is necessary to have settled your onboard account well before this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before. You will then be transferred by coach to the Melia Cohiba Hotel for your onward journey.  When embarking in Cienfuegos, an overland transfer from Havana is included.

Please note that the travel time between Havana and Cienfuegos (embarkation/ disembarkation point) is approximately 3 hours.

There are a lot of historic and fascinating tourist attractions and activities in Cuba, we highly recommend a stay here before or after your voyage. Have a look at some of our Pre and Post Tours.

Money

In Cuba, the official currency is the Cuban Convertible Pesos, CUC. However, the Canadian Dollar is also accepted in small denominations.

All major credit cards and debit cards are widely accepted by larger shops and restaurants  in Cuba. When possible, only carry enough Cuban Convertible Pesos for the day and charge what you can to your credit cards.

There are ATM machines located in Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba and Varadero.

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 13 – 16 per guest per day.

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are thoroughly satisfied with services rendered. All gratuities will be equally divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Unfortunately, dry cleaning is not available.

Services & Activities On board

Aboard your yacht you will receive a Welcome Cocktail as a welcome gift. You’ll find an elegant dining room, restaurant, spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges. No pools are on board as it is common for our guests to swim off our ships or for passengers to reach beaches by tender.  

You can also find a small borrowing library as well as board games and playing cards for your amusement. Movies are often shown in the vessels’ Lounges, so please check in the Daily Program for show times.

Excursions

All CUBAN excursions must be Pre-Booked and Pre-Paid 20-days prior to embarkation, with no possibility for last-minute notice/participation.

Excursions will usually involve a fair amount of walking. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise you on the best way that we can accommodate you.

Please refer to our website or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are are included in your voyage. All drinks on board (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are subject to extra charges).

Most meals in Cuba consists of meat, fruit and chillies.  

National dishes you should definitely try are the “Ropa Vieja”. It’s shredded beef (or sometimes lamb) served as a kind of stew, prepared over a slow heat with green peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic; ajiaco is another rich stew whose ingredients vary from region to region, but always includes at least one kind of meat, corn and usually some green vegetables; and tasajo, a form of fried dried beef. One particularly divine delicacy is lechón, or suckling pig, commonly marinated in garlic, onions and herbs before being spit- or oven-roasted. Meat and seafood is often cooked enchilado, meaning in a tomato and garlic sauce with mild chilli.

Fruit is generally eaten at breakfast and rarely appears on a lunch or dinner menu.

Cuba’s most beloved drink is its cocktails, including the ubiquitous Cuba Libre.

Language

The language spoken on board is primarily English. In general, there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities. Excursions and public announcements are always in English.

Be sure to have a Spanish phrasebook when going sightseeing in Cuban towns and cities if your Spanish skills are limited.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel on board the ship. However, crew members are trained in first aid and the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and nonemergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Cabin Amenities

All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms fitted with showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and connected to a central music system. There is a telephone for intra ship communication. Our ship contains in lounge TV’s with satellite channels with at least a few English speaking programs. There are hairdryers in each cabin, flat-screen TV’s, public address system, safe boxes, mini-fridges and DVD players in the cabins.

The ship’s generator provides an electric voltage of 220V. Cabins are fitted with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.

For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Outgoing call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

WIFI is available in all cabin areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection while on land, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Children

Aboard the M/S Panorama there are no recreational facilities for children and reservations for those under the age of eleven are not advised. However, should you choose to bring children along please take into consideration that children onboard are their parents’/guardians sole responsibility.

Health / Vaccinations

Health measures should be taken before going on any trip. It is advisable to be up-to-date on your vaccinations.

For most short-term travellers the usual recommended vaccinations include cover against the childhood diseases (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis and Poliomyelitis, Varicella, Measles, Mumps and Rubella) as well as cover against the food and water borne diseases of Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

There is no vaccine or medication that protects against chikungunya virus.  The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that travellers protect themselves from mosquito bites when travelling to areas where chikungunya may occur.

As has widely been reported in the media, the Zika Virus may also be present in Cuba and appropriate precautions should be taken.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. We strongly recommend consulting your physician about your intention to travel on this program to receive specific advice for your situation.

Safety & Security

The beautiful island of Cuba is like any other country, it is usually but not completely safe.  Being tourists in the city, security measures should be taken. Late night strolls alone are especially not advisable for women. When going out it’s recommended not to take any valuables all, in some cases even cameras and/or smartphones out of one’s hotel to reduce the chances of having an unfortunate incident occurring. Petty crime including pickpocketing, bag snatching and assault may occur in Havana, Cuba.

Jewelry, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge.

More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/cuba

Suggested Reading

Unseen Cuba

Planet Cuba

Embracing Cuba

Croatia – The Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro

Travel Documents

Passport

Croatia: Croatia is not part of the European Schengen area. Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 3 months after the last date of travel within the country.

Montenegro: Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 6 months after the last date of travel within the country.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Visa

Canadian citizens are allowed entry into Croatia and Montenegro without tourist visas when visiting for less than 3 months (90 days).

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship but there are designated areas on the outside decks where one can smoke. It’s also not permitted in Croatia to smoke in workplaces, public buildings, 100 meters around hospitals and schools. In Montenegro it is not permitted to smoke in public places.

Weather

June to August- Warm climate with temperatures in the mid to high 20’s.

July- Hottest month of the year with temperatures in the high 20’s to low 30’s, so make sure you protect yourself from the sun.

September- Warm climate with temperatures in the low to mid 20’s.

August- Average temperature of the sea is mid 20’s.

Rainfall between June and September will vary, but it is not typically very wet.

In Montenegro, the average temperature in June to October is low 20’s to low 30’s.

November- Wettest month of the year, with temperatures in low to high 10’s.

 

Arrival / Departure

The closest airport to Dubrovnik is the Dubrovnik Airport,also referred to as Čilipi Airport, which is about a 25 minute drive from the port area.

Once you have booked your trip, we will provide detailed instructions on where in Dubrovnik, Croatia to check-in for your cruise.

There are a lot of fascinating tourist attractions and activities in Dubrovnik, we highly recommend a stay here before or after your voyage. Have a look at some of our Pre and Post Tours.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before midday (unless otherwise stipulated in the itinerary). If you have any luggage that you need to have booked in so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

In Croatia, the official currency is the Croatian Kuna. However, the Euro is accepted by some merchants in the country as well.

In Montenegro the official currency is the Euro.

All major credit cards and debit cards are accepted by larger shops and restaurants in Croatia. In Montenegro credit cards are mainly accepted in larger hotels. It is however recommended to carry enough of the local currency for the day and charge what you can to your credit cards.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in Croatia.  In Montenegro ATM’s can be found in larger cities/towns.

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 13 – 16 per guest per day.

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are thoroughly pleased with services rendered. All gratuities will be equally divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Unfortunately, dry cleaning is not available.

Services & Activities On board

Aboard your yacht you will receive a Welcome Cocktail as a welcome gift. You’ll find an elegant dining room, restaurant, spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges. No pools are on board as it is common for our guests to swim off our ships or for passengers to reach beaches by tender.  

There are fins, masks and snorkels available on board for use during the swim stops which are subject to availability. You can also find a small borrowing library as well as board games and playing cards for your amusement. Movies are often shown in the vessels’ Lounges, so please check in the Daily Program for show times.

Sports activities: Swimming off the ships is possible as well as snorkeling.  

Excursions

Shore excursions will be offered on board but are always subject to weather and docking conditions and a minimum number of participants. They can be purchased on board at an extra cost.

Excursions will usually involve a fair amount of walking. If you have difficulty walking any distances, please let us know in advance and we will advise you on the best way that we can accommodate you.

Please refer to our website or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances.

Note that the warm temperatures in summer may make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your voyage. All drinks on board (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) are subject to extra charges.

Peka is a famous Dalmatian dish which consists of vegetables and meat or seafood—lamb and octopus are favorites. Ingredients are placed in a covered pan and roasted in an open fire. This traditional method of cooking is referred to as cripnja (“under the bell”) because the pan’s lid is often bell-shaped. Another famous dish in Dubrovnik is “dirty pasta”. The sauce comprises beef chunks and a blend of special spices, and has a sweet cinnamon flavor. In the olden days, the nobles were served their portions first; they took the lion’s share of the meat sauce, and only “dirty pasta” was leftover.

Most Croatian coastal dishes include grilled ligne (squid) or local Adriatic white fish accompanied by blitva, a signature Dalmatian dish of boiled potatoes and Swiss chard (mangold). Seafood is simply prepared with local olive oil and parsley. Throughout Dalmatia, you’ll find green tagliatelle with shrimp or other seafood on most konoba (tavern) menus. Tagliatelle, derived from the Italian tagliare, meaning “to cut,” is a traditional type of pasta from the Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions of Italy—which are located directly across the Adriatic Sea from Dalmatia. This pasta sauce from the island of Korčula was sweetened with prošek, a sweet dessert wine.

Rožata is a traditional Croatian custard pudding from the Dubrovnik region, similar to flan and crème brûlée. Its name comes from rozalin (rose liqueur), which gives the dessert its unique flavor and aroma.

Croatia is known for their beer, (Karlovacko), wine (Grasevina), Malvasia (white wine) and spirits like Sljivovica (plum brandy), Travarica (herbal brandy) or Lozovaca (grape brandy) as they are all homemade.

Kacamak is a traditional dish in Montenegro. It is a mushy, strong meal which made of wheat, buckwheat, barley, or corn flour and which is being served with cheese and sour milk. Wet “kacamak” is called the one to which the cheese is added, or “kajmak” and which is being stirred for a long time with a special wooden spoon. The taste is even better, and people in the villages prefer it because it gives them the energy which they are using in hard labor. It is found in the offer of every national restaurant. Kacamak made of potato is maybe to most interesting variant of this meal.

Another Montenegrin dish that you really should try is “Japraci”, it is an extremely rich and nourishing meal. In a kilo of “rastan” and half a kilo of young cow’s meet rice, pepper, and even dry meat are added. With cooking the grease is being released, and the meal gets the right flavor. Other dishes you should try are Sarma, stuffed peppers, stew, pilaf.

 

Language

The language spoken on board is primarily English. In general, there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities. Excursions and public announcements are always in English.

While English is widely spoken in the major ports visited, as you venture away from more touristy areas, you may find communication somewhat more challenging.

In Montenegro the official language is Montenegrin. A traveler’s phrasebook would undoubtedly be helpful if your Montenegrin language skills are limited.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel on board the ship. However, crew members are trained in first aid and the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and nonemergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Cabin Amenities

All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms fitted with showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and connected to a central music system. There is a telephone for intra ship communication. Our ship contains in lounge TV’s with satellite channels with at least a few English speaking programs. There are hairdryers in each cabin, flat-screen TV’s, public address system, safe boxes, mini-fridges and DVD players in the cabins.

The ship’s generator provides an electric voltage of 220V. Cabins are fitted with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.

For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Outgoing call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

WIFI is available in certain areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection while on land, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Children

Aboard the M/S Panorama there are no recreational facilities for children and reservations for those under the age of eleven are not advised. However, should you choose to bring children along please take into consideration that children onboard are their parents’/guardians sole responsibility.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Croatia and Montenegro. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events in Europe it is considered a safe and secure place to visit. Croatia like any place in the world is generally but not completely safe. Being tourists in the city, security measures should be taken. Late night strolls alone are not advisable. When going out it’s recommended not to take any valuables or travel documents along to reduce the chances of having an unfortunate incident. Petty crime including pickpocketing and bag snatching may occur in Croatia along the Adriatic coast and in Montenegro during May to September.

Jewelry, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit the items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge.

More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/croatia

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/montenegro

Suggested Reading

DK Eyewitness Top Ten Dubrovnik & Dalmatian Coast

Fodor’s Croatia, with a Side Trip to Montenegro

The Islands of Croatia, 30 Walks on 14 Adriatic Islands

Bradt Guide Montenegro

Lonely Planet Montenegro

Greece – Classical Greece

Travel Documents

Passport

Greece is a European Schengen area country. Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 3 months after the last date of travel in the Schengen area.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Visa

Canadian citizens are allowed entry into Greece without tourist visas when visiting for less than 3 months (90 days).

Packing List

        A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship but there are designated areas on the outside decks where one can smoke. It’s also not permitted in Greece to smoke in hotel guestrooms.

Weather

Summer temperatures ranging from mid 20’s to mid 30’s.

April to June – Warm climate with temperatures in the low 20’s to low 30’s.

July-September- Warmer climate with temperatures in the high 20’s to mid 30’s.

August- Hottest month of the year. Temperatures in the 30’s and sometimes even in the 40’s so make sure you protect yourself from the sun. Average temperature of the sea is mid 20’s.

Arrival / Departure

The closest airport to Piraeus is the Athens International Airport, which is about a 45 minute drive away from the port of Marina Zea where you will embark the ship.

Once you have booked your trip, we will provide detailed instructions on where in Pireaus, Greece to check-in for your cruise.

There are a lot of interesting tourist attractions and activities in Athens, we highly recommend a stay here before or after your voyage. Have a look at some of our Pre and Post Tours.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before midday (unless otherwise stipulated in the itinerary). If you have any luggage that you need to have booked in so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The official currency in Greece is the Euro.

All major credit cards and debit cards are accepted by larger shops and restaurants in Greece. However, when possible, carry enough Euros for the day and charge what you can to your credit cards.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in towns/cities.

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 13 – 16 per guest per day.

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are thoroughly satisfied with services rendered. All gratuities will be equally divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Unfortunately, dry cleaning is not available.

Services & Activities On board

Aboard your yacht you will will receive a Welcome Cocktail. You’ll find an elegant dining room, spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges. No pools are on board as it is common for our guests to swim off our ships or for passengers to reach beaches by tender.  

There are fins, masks and snorkels available on board for use during the swim stops which are subject to availability. You can also find a small borrowing library as well as board games and playing cards for your amusement. Movies are often shown in the vessels’ Lounges, so please check in the Daily Program for show times.

Sports activities: Swimming off the ships is possible as well as snorkeling.  

Excursions

Shore excursions will be offered on board but are always subject to weather and docking conditions and a minimum number of participants. They can be purchased on board at an extra cost.

Excursions will usually involve a fair amount of walking and quite a lot of stairs. If you have difficulty walking any distances, please let us know in advance and we will advise you on the best way that we can accommodate you.

Please refer to our website or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances.

Note that the high temperatures in the summer months may make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast and one meal daily are included in your voyage. All drinks on board (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) are subject to extra charges.

You can’t have a Greek dish without olive oil. Olive oil is used liberally in cooking, salads, and drizzled over most dips and dishes. Olive oil is also said to be very healthy so don’t feel bad when indulging in some deliciously made Greek dishes.

Greek meals usually include classic dips such as tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber and garlic), melitzanosalata (aubergine), and fava (creamy split pea purée). The delectable taramasalata (fish roe dip) is a must.  This mouth watering creamy blend of pink or white fish roe with either a potato or bread base is best with a drizzle of virgin olive oil or a squeeze of lemon.

If you have a sweet tooth you’ll enjoy this favourite Greek dish. Greeks love sweets, often based in olive oil and honey combinations, with flaky filo pastry.  The classic baklava is a start, layering honey, filo and ground nuts.

The Greek Ouzo is considered the national drink of Greece. Ouzo is either produced by partial distillation or the admixture of plain alcohol with aromatic herbs. Traditional Raki and Tsipouro.
 Apart from ouzo, Greece is known for these considerably stronger distilled local drinks that are homemade with the harvest of grapes from autumn.

Language

The language spoken on board is primarily English. In general, there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities. Excursions and public announcements are always in English.

The official language of Greece is Greek. However, in most of the stops along the way, you will find that the local people speak at least some, if not fluent, English.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel on board the ship. However, crew members are trained in first aid and the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and nonemergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Cabin Amenities

All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms fitted with WC/showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and connected to a piped music system. There is a telephone for intra ship communication. Our ship contains in lounge TV’s with satellite channels with at least a few English speaking programs. There are hairdryers in each cabin, flat-screen TV’s, safe boxes, mini-fridges and DVD players in the cabins.

The ship’s generator provides an electric voltage of 220V. Cabins are fitted with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.

For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Outgoing call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

WIFI is available in certain areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection while on land, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Children

Aboard the M/Y Harmony G there are no recreational facilities for children and reservations for those under the age of eleven are not advised. However, should you choose to bring children along please take into consideration that children onboard are their parents’/guardians sole responsibility.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Greece. However, we suggest you consult your physician with any specific personal requirements for this program.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel.

Safety & Security

Greece like any place in the world is generally but not completely safe. Greece has undergone significant governmental change in the last few years. Late night strolls alone are not advisable especially for women. Being tourists in a city, security measures should be taken. When going out it’s recommended that you not take any valuables or travel documents along to reduce the chances of having an unfortunate incident. Petty crime including pickpocketing and bag snatching may occur in Athens, Greece.  When in Athens, it’s advised that you not walk in the Monastiraki and Omonia districts or after dark as well as around the Larissa and Peloponissos railway/bus stations.

Jewelry, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge.

To enhance public safety, police officers patrol subway stations, bus terminals and other public places. They are dedicated to improving the security of foreigners.

More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/greece

Suggested Reading

Greek, A Language Map

Lonely Planet Greek Islands

Eyewitness Guide Greek Islands

Fodor’s Greece: with Great Cruises & the Best Islands

Glories of Spain & Portugal

Travel Documents

Passport

Spain and Portugal are both European Schengen area countries. Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 3 months after the last date of travel in both Schengen areas.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Visa

Canadian citizens are allowed entry into Spain and Portugal without tourist visas when visiting for less than 3 months (90 days).

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship but there are designated areas on the outside decks where one can smoke. In Portugal it’s not permitted to smoke in all public buildings/spaces except for specifically designated smoking areas. In Spain it’s not permitted to smoke in bars and restaurants.

Weather

In Spain and Portugal the average temperatures in May to October is high 10’s to high 20’s.

May – Warm climate with temperatures in the high 10’s to low 20’s. Occasional rain.

June to September – Warm to hot days in the mid to high 20’s. Evenings in the low 20’s. Mostly dry.

October – Cooler climate with temperatures in the low to mid 20’s. Minimal rain.

In Spain the hottest month of the year is July with temperatures in the high 20’s. With an average sea temperature of low 20’s.

In Portugal the hottest month of the year is August with temperatures in the high 20’s. With an average sea temperature of mid 20’s.

Arrival / Departure

In Spain, you will to fly into/out of the Málaga–Costa del Sol Airport, which is 20 minutes away from the port of Málaga.

In Portugal, you will fly into/out of the Lisbon Portela Airport, which is about a 20 minute drive from the port area.

Once you have booked your trip, we will provide detailed instructions on where in Málaga or Lisbon to check-in for your cruise.

There a lot of captivating tourist attractions and activities, we highly recommend a stay here before or after your voyage. Have a look at some of our Pre and Post Tours.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before midday (unless otherwise stipulated in the itinerary). If you have any luggage that you need to have booked in so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 7:00AM – 10:00AM) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The official currency in Spain and Portugal is the Euro. It is uncommon for local shops and restaurants to accept any other currency.

All major credit cards and debit cards are accepted by larger shops but often not in restaurants or cafés in Spain. In Portugal all major credit cards and debit cards are widely accepted. However, when possible, carry enough of the local currencies for the day and charge what you can to your credit cards.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in abundance in both Spain and Portugal.

Gratuities (Tipping)

The gratuity suggested by the cruise line is USD 13 – 16 per guest per day.

Of course, gratuities are always at your discretion and the above recommendations are assuming you are thoroughly pleased with services rendered. All gratuities will be equally divided amongst the entire crew.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Self-laundry service is available. Unfortunately, dry cleaning is not available.

Services & Activities On board

Aboard your yacht you will receive a Welcome Cocktail as a welcome gift. You’ll find an elegant dining room, restaurant, spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges. No pools are on board as there is a swimming platform that enables you to swim when weather and anchorage conditions permit it.

You will find a small borrowing library as well as board games and playing cards for your amusement. Movies are often shown in the vessels’ Lounges, so please check in the Daily Program for show times.

Excursions

Shore excursions will be offered on board but are always subject to weather and docking conditions and a minimum number of participants. They can be purchased on board at an extra cost.

Excursions will usually involve a fair amount of walking. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Please refer to our website or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily are included in your voyage. All drinks on board (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) are subject to extra charges.

Spain’s eating and drinking culture is one of its greatest attractions, and a very sociable one too, with people rubbing shoulders in tapas bars and cafés. The Spaniards take their food seriously – be it diner-style menus del dia (menus of the day) or elaborate, nouveau cuisine in gourmet restaurants. Food is generally dictated by the seasons and fresh, whichever corner of Spain you go to.

An excellent way get the feel of Spanish cuisine is to sample tapas (pintxos in the Basque Country): small snacks served with drinks in local bars across the country. They can range from gourmet canapés to simple plates of olives, cheeses and cured meats, and may be charged or given free.

Some of the traditionals dishes that you should try in Spain is Paella, a Valencian rice dish loaded with seafood and chicken or rabbit, saffron and vegetables. Gazpacho, a chilled tomato-based, tangy vegetable soup from Andalucía. Jamón is one of many cured Spanish meats, Jamón is a type of finely sliced cured ham. Pulpo á feira, is a tender, boiled lobster seasoned with paprika and salt and drizzled in olive oil. Last but not least Tortilla Española is a traditional dish in Spain which is made up of eggs, potatoes, onions… The Spanish omelette is so much more than the sum of its parts. The potatoes and onions are slow fried in olive oil then mixed with the beaten eggs for the flavours to mix before cooking.  You can add chorizo, ham, spinach and/or courgettes.

Spanish drinks have also brewed up quite a storm worldwide – from the thirst-quenching sangria to bubbly Cava to the sophisticated Rioja wine. Rioja is Spain’s flagship red wine, made from Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes and Cava is a sparkling wine from Catalonia made using the same method used to produce Champagne. Another local wine that’s worth tasting is Sherry, a fortified wine available in several styles- Fino and Manzanilla (pale and dry), amontillado (dry, richer in body and darker in colour), Oloroso (medium, full-bodied, fragrant and golden) and sweet sherries such as Pedro Ximénez.

The ‘catch of the day’ (so to speak) in Portugal are “sardinhas” which are sardines. In fact a large variety of seafood is available in this region and it’s all well worth sampling. If seafood isn’t your fancy, try the “Queijo da Serra da Estrela” which is a superbly rich cheese, among the best in the country.

While in Lisbon, you would be remiss for not trying the “Pastéis de nata” which are basically little custards in pastry shells. One will unfortunately not be enough.Portugal is probably also most famous for its port wine, which originates from the area of the Douro Valley. However, there are many other fantastic red and white wines to choose from.

Language

The language spoken on board is primarily English. In general, there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities. Excursions and public announcements are always in English.

The official language in Spain is Spanish. A traveler’s phrasebook would be helpful when communicating with the locals.

The official language in Portugal is Portuguese. Be sure to have a Portuguese phrasebook when going sightseeing in Portugal towns/cities if your knowledge of the Portuguese language is limited.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel on board the ship. However, crew members are trained in first aid and the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and nonemergency situations and evacuation can be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Cabin Amenities

All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms fitted with showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and connected to a central music system. There is a telephone for intra ship communication. Our ship contains in lounge TV’s with satellite channels with at least a few English speaking programs. There are hairdryers in each cabin, flat-screen TV’s, public address system, safe boxes, mini-fridges and DVD players in the cabins.

The ship’s generator provides an electric voltage of 220V. Cabins are fitted with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.

For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. Outgoing call rates are very high as a satellite connection is the only one possible.

WIFI is available in certain areas of the ship at a modest charge. As it is a satellite connection, internet speed will be very slow and we suggest it be used for urgent matters only.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection while on land, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Children

Aboard the M/S Panorama II there are no recreational facilities for children and  reservations for those under the age of eleven are not advised. However, should you choose to bring children along please take into consideration that children onboard are their parents’/guardians sole responsibility.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to Spain and Portugal.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. We strongly recommend consulting your physician about your intention to travel on this program to receive specific advice for your situation.

Safety & Security

Despite recent events in Europe, Spain and Portugal are like any country in the world, it is generally but not totally safe. When visiting the small cities and towns on this voyage, you should have nothing to be concerned about. Being tourists in the city, security measures should be taken. When going out it’s recommended not to take any valuables along at all, in some cases even cameras and/or smartphones out of one’s hotel to reduce the chances  of an unfortunate incident occurring. Late night strolls alone are not advisable. Petty crime including pickpocketing, bag snatching and theft may occur in both Spain and Portugal.

Jewelry, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge.

More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/spain

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/portugal

Suggested Reading

Lonely Planet Spain

Eyewitness Guide Spain

Lonely Planet Portugal

The Portuguese: The Land and Its People

From Cape Town to Mauritius

Travel Documents

Passport

South Africa: Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 1 month after the last date of travel in the country.

Canadian citizens should ensure that their passports are valid for 6 months after the last date of travel in Madagascar and Mauritius.

Reunion (France): Reunion is a French ‘department’ and as such part of France as a European Schengen area country. The other countries’ passport validity are stricter than that of the EU.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

Visa

Canadian citizens are allowed entry into South Africa, Mauritius and France without tourist visas when visiting for less than 3 months (90 days).

Tourist visa’s are required for Canadians to enter Madagascar please inquire us about the need to pre-arrange a visa.

Other entry requirements

While uncommon for most of our guests, when entering South Africa and Mauritius you may need to provide evidence of a return or onward ticket as well as ‘sufficient funds’ for your stay. Some cash and credit cards are normally sufficient.

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

Insurance

We strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship but there are designated areas on the outside decks where one can smoke. It’s also not permitted in South Africa, Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius to smoke in all enclosed public places and workplaces, with the one limited exception of hotel guestrooms. In Reunion you are also not permitted to smoke in restaurants and bars. There are designated areas in indoor places in all the locations to smoke.  

Weather

Africa’s Southern Coasts climate temperatures are mid 10’s to high 20’s.

January- Warm climate with temperatures of low to high 20’s.

February- Hottest month of the year with temperatures of mid to high 20’s and low 30’s, so make sure you protect yourself from the sun.

In Madagascar the average temperatures in January to February is mid 20’s to low 30’s. Rainy Season. However despite being the rainy season during this period, the central parts will be a lot drier and cooler.

In Reunion the average temperatures in January to February is mid 20’s to low 30’s.

January- Wettest month of the year with temperatures of mid 20’s.

February- Hottest month of the year with temperatures of high 20’s and mid 30’s, so make sure you protect yourself from the sun.

In Mauritius the average temperature in January to March is low to high 20’s.

January- Hottest month of the year with temperatures of high 20’s to low 30’s, so make sure you protect yourself from the sun.

February-Warmer climate with temperatures in high 20’s and average sea temperature of high 20’s.

Arrival / Departure

In Cape Town, you will fly into Cape Town International Airport, which is a 50 minute drive from the port area.

In Mauritius, you will fly out of the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, which is about a 1 hour drive from the port area.

Once you have booked your trip, we will provide detailed instructions on where in Cape Town, South Africa to check-in for your cruise.

There are lot of exciting of tourist attractions and activities, we highly recommend a stay here before or after your voyage. Have a look at some of our Pre and Post Tours for Cape Town and Mauritius.

The ship will not be ready for check-in before midday (unless otherwise stipulated in the itinerary). If you have any luggage that you need to have booked in so you can enjoy some free time in port, the purser may be able to accommodate you provided we know in advance.

The cruise will finish in the morning on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account and to have disembarked by this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before.

Money

The official currency in South Africa is the South African Rand.

In Madagascar, the official currency is the Malagasy Ariary. However Euro’s and US Dollars are also accepted.

In Reunion, France the official currency is the Euro.

In Mauritius, the official currency is the Mauritian Rupee.

All major credit cards and debit cards are accepted by larger shops and restaurants in South Africa, Mauritius and Reunion. In Madagascar there a very few places that credit cards can be used. When possible, carry enough of the local currencies for the day and charge what you can to your credit cards.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in both South Africa and Mauritius in abundance. In Reunion ATM’s can be found in major cities. In Madagascar there are ATM machines available in the major towns and the most widely accepted card is Visa. All ATMs will only disburse Ariary.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities are not mandatory on board as they are included in your voyage. If you feel that a member of the crew provided exceptional service, you are welcome to discreetly show your appreciation by personally giving them a tip in an envelope.

Laundry

Laundry service is available for a small fee. Unfortunately, dry cleaning is not available.

Services & Activities On board

Aboard your ship you will receive a glass of champagne and fruit as a welcome gift. You will also find elegant dining rooms, restaurants, bars and spacious sun decks and comfortable lounges to relax in. Not to mention you will also receive your own Personal Europa 2 e-mail account.

You will find an auditorium with film screenings and geography lectures, library, board games, golf simulator for your amusement. Movies are often shown in the vessels’ Lounges, so please check in the Daily Program for show times. The MS Europa 2 has a pool, gym, sauna and an authentic wellness centre with massages and other beauty treatments.

Excursions

Shore excursions will be offered on board but are always subject to weather and docking conditions and a minimum number of participants. They can be purchased on board at an extra cost.

Excursions will usually involve a small amount of walking over dirt paths. If you have difficulty walking any distance, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Please refer to our website or consult the purser on board for additional information.

Regrettably, most of our excursions are not suitable for guests in a wheelchair.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – At most, participation in the shore excursions requires the ability to walk reasonable distances.

Food and Beverages

Breakfast, late morning bouillon, lunch, dinner, afternoon coffee and tea with pastries, hot waffles and midnight snack are all included in your voyage. Individual meal selections are  also possible. All drinks on board (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) are subject to extra charges.

The coastline of South Africa guarantees fresh seafood and it’s numerous vineyards produce excellent wines. The country’s cosmopolitan heritage means all types of cuisine are available, from fruity and sweet Cape Malay cuisine a speciality of Cape Town, to a strong Indian influence making Durban’s curries absolutely divine.

Braais (barbecues) are hugely popular and most campsites, self-catering resorts and picnic spots have braai facilities. Local dishes that you should try:

  • Boerewors (a fairly spicy high-quality sausage).
  • Bobotie (a curried mince stew).
  • Potjiekos (a spicy casserole cooked in an iron pot).
  • Bredie (meat, tomato and vegetable casserole).
  • Bunny Chow (Hollowed loaf of bread filled with curried meat or beans)
  • Biltong (dried meat, typically beef or venison). – Snack

There’s also a variety of local drinks such as Amarula, this sweet and creamy liqueur can be added to anything from Irish coffee to ice cream – or simply enjoyed on the rocks. Witblits is a grape-fermented amateur brandy or Umqombothi beer which is made from corn, it is high in vitamin-B and has a lower alcohol content than most commercial beers.

Romazava is considered the national dish of Madagascar, and each family makes their own version. It is a one-pot dish, usually eaten with rice for lunch or dinner. The basic ingredients are beef, pork and chicken cut into equal-size cubes, chopped onions, tomatoes, spinach and crushed garlic.

Reunion’s unique flavours come from many centuries of mixed French, Malagasy, Chinese and Indian influences, almost every meal contains chillies and spices such as ginger, dishes are not overly spicy. They typically consist of rice and pulses served together with vegetables and fish or meat curry or stew.

Local Mauritian cuisine is an inspiring combination of Indian, Creole, French and Chinese influences that are adapted to the local produce. Nearly every restaurant will list Indian, Creole, Chinese and European dishes.

As you would expect from a tropical island, the seafood is excellent and is prepared in a number of ways; in soups and curries as well as grilled or baked. Meats, such as beef, chicken and pork are prepared in traditional curries and Chinese stir fries. Venison and Wild Boar are often served at special occasions but are found on many restaurant menus too.

Local drinks that you should try is Phoenix, which is a local lager. Rum such as Green Island and Pink Pigeon. Alouda which is an Almond-flavoured milk drink.

Language

The language spoken on board is both English and German. In general, there is a multilingual environment and you will have a chance to mix with a variety of nationalities. Excursions and public announcements are also in English.

South Africa has 11 official languages, however, the most commonly used languages are English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. English is primarily spoken in Cape Town and Kwa-Zulu Natal, so you should not have a problem communicating with the locals when in port.

The official language in Reunion is French. Time to brush up on that high school French or bring along a phrasebook or translation app.

The official languages of Madagascar are Malagasy and French. Be sure to have a Malagasy or French phrasebook when communicating with the locals.

The Mauritian Constitution makes no mention of an official language and its one million citizens speak mostly Mauritian Creole (a French-based creole), English and French. In Mauritius, people switch languages according to the situation. French and English, which have long enjoyed greater social status, are favored in educational and professional settings. Also, most newspapers and media communications are in French.

Medical Facilities

There is an English-speaking physician and nurse on board MS Europa 2 at all times. The ships have a small medical facility with the necessary equipment and medication to handle small emergencies. In the event of a serious emergency, the nearest hospital will be contacted.

Medical consultations as well as medication will be charged to the passenger affected. It is compulsory to carry sufficient travel/health insurance.

Cabin Amenities

All cabins have private, nicely appointed bathrooms fitted with baths and showers. All cabins are air-conditioned and connected to a central music system. There is a telephone for intra ship communication. Your ship has modern technology with flat-screen TVs and tablet computers, DVD players, Media4Cruises with a selection of around 150 of the latest film releases, classic films, TV series and documentaries as well as all kinds of music.

There are hairdryers, safe boxes, Nespresso machine, mini-fridges, mini-bars filled with soft drinks, water and beer every day in the cabins. 24-hour suite service, 24-hour butler service in the Penthouse, Grand Penthouse and Owner Suites.

The ship’s generator provides an electric voltage of 220V. Cabins are fitted with European type plugs so please remember to bring an adaptor if necessary.

For more details, please visit the Ships section on our website.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. You can purchase a phone card in the reception to call from the ship.

Wi-Fi is available in most areas at additional cost. Both Wi-Fi and telephone lines will from time to time be out of range due to the vessel’s location.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection while on land, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

Children

Guaranteed on-board child care for children aged four up to and including 15 years, even as of two years on all cruises aboard the Europa 2. Should you choose to bring children along please take into consideration that children onboard are their parents’/guardians sole responsibility.

Health / Vaccinations

There are no vaccinations required to travel to South Africa, Reunion and Mauritius.

However, for most short-term travellers  recommended vaccinations may include cover against the childhood diseases (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis and Poliomyelitis, Varicella, Measles, Mumps and Rubella) as well as cover against the food and water borne diseases of Typhoid and Hepatitis A. It is best to consult with your physician or a travel vaccination clinic for specific advice.

There is no vaccine or medication that protects against chikungunya virus.  The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that travellers protect themselves from mosquito bites when travelling to areas where chikungunya may occur.

When Travelling to Madagascar it is advisable to be up-to-date with your Tetanus, Diphtheria and Poliomyelitis, Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccinations.

As always, we recommend being in good health prior to any long distance travel. We strongly recommend consulting your physician about your intention to travel on this program to receive specific advice for your situation.

Safety & Security

The stunning country of South Africa and islands of Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius are mostly but not completely safe. Being tourists in the city, security measures should be taken. Late night strolls alone are not advisable. (Be vigilant when walking on the beachfront and Victoria wharf in Durban. In Cape Town, avoid walking from downtown hotels to the waterfront) Try and avoid entering the African “townships” (large neighbourhoods of very poor people) – they are not completely safe areas to visit unless you are on an organised tour.

When going out in South Africa and Mauritius it’s recommended not to take any valuables along at all, in some cases even cameras and/or smartphones out of one’s hotel to reduce the chances of being robbed or attacked. Petty crime including pickpocketing, bag snatching and theft may occur in Port Louis and in crowded markets, in Grand Baie and in Flic en Flac, Mauritius. In Madagascar it is advised to try and avoid going to Batterie Beach, north of Toliara.

Jewelry, money, documents, etc., should be placed in your individual safe deposit boxes or given to the captain who will deposit items in the ship’s safe boxes free of charge.

More information on this from the Canadian government can be obtained at:

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/south-africa

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/mauritius

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/france

www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/madagascar

Suggested Reading

Culture Smart! South Africa

Culture Smart! Mauritius

Insight Guide Mauritius, Reunion & Seychelles