California Tour & Panama Canal Cruise

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  • Group Tour
  • Starting Price: $2,099
  • Length: 20 days
  • Operator: YMT Vacations
  • 800-922-9000
    Destinations: Central and South America, North America, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, United States, California, Los Angeles
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Tour Description

This unforgettable vacation begins with some time to get to know and tour sunny Miami, Florida before embarking on an exciting and relaxing “freestyle” cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl. After stopping in Cartagena, Columbia, marvel at the amazing engineering workmanship as you cruise through the Panama Canal - a remarkable manmade wonder, and a highlight of this cruise and tour vacation itinerary! Next, pick from a wide assortment of activities, sights, and excursions as you cruise to unique ports of call, including Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Chiapas, Mexico; Huatulco, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Disembark in Los Angeles, California - the “City of Angels” - and enjoy a city tour that highlights Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and more! Then, fall in love with beautiful Santa Barbara area before transferring to the quaint Danish community of Solvang. The scenic drive on Highway One and views of Big Sur en route to some time to visit the “City by the Bay,” San Francisco, finishes your wonderful vacation itinerary.

  • Miami, Florida
  • Cartagena, Columbia (port of call)
  • Panama Canal Crossing (scenic cruising)
  • Puntarenas, Costa Rica (port of call)
  • Puerto Chiapas, Mexico (port of call)
  • Huatulco, Mexico (port of call)
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (port of call)
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (port of call)
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Santa Barbara, California
  • Solvang, California
  • San Francisco, California via Scenic Highway One and Big Sur


Day 1

(Sunday, April 15, 2012) - Fly to Miami, FL and board NCL’s Pearl (4:00 PM):

Upon arrival guests who have purchased their airline tickets from YMT Vacations, will meet a YMT representative in the baggage claim area for meet and greet services and transfers to the port of Miami to board NCL’s Pearl. Guests who have made their own air arrangements will have to arrange for their individual transfers. Once aboard, you’ll treasure everything about the award winning Pearl; she’s brand new and full of exciting features, making your vacation just that... yours. Onboard, you’ll find 12 unique places to eat and 11 exciting bars and lounges! There’s even a bowling alley (a cruise industry first!) and rock climbing wall onboard, so enjoy yourself!

Days 2-3

(Monday-Tuesday, April 16-17, 2012) - At Sea:

With these two days aboard your “freestyle” cruise ship, be sure to take full advantage of the amenities available. Try your luck at the casino, see the exciting evening entertainment, or simply relax by the pool.

Day 4

(Wednesday, April 18, 2012) - Cartagena, Columbia (7:00 AM - 3:00 PM):

Cartagena is full of history and charm. For example La Popa Monastery, you have a panoramic view of the city and harbor. You can enjoy the artisan center of Las Bovedas (The Dungeons), Plaza Bolivar, the Palace of Inquisition, and the Church of San Pedro Claver. If you-re hunting for a great souvenir, you can shop for Colombian emeralds, the finest in the world. Optional shore excursions are also available.

Day 5

(Thursday, April 19, 2012) - Scenic Cruising of the Panama Canal:

Linking the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Panama Canal provides one of cruising’s most unforgettable experiences. Over ten years were needed to complete the canal’s 51 miles in 1914, offering an alternative to the lengthy and often dangerous voyage around Cape Horn. “The Big Ditch” lifts vessels by a fascinating feat of mechanics, aided by on-shore “mule” locomotives, through three great locks, traversing man-made lakes, channels, and dense jungle. Two other special highlights of the canal are Gatun Lake, one of the world’s largest man-made lakes (163 square miles), and the Gaillard cut, an eight-mile channel built through solid rock and the most difficult excavation in the canal construction.

Day 6

(Friday, April 20, 2012) - At Sea:

At sea again is the time to take full advantage of the “freestyle” life-make sure you get a chance to try all the fun activities onboard at least once!

Day 7

(Saturday, April 21, 2012) - Puntarenas, Costa Rica (7:00 AM- 6:00 PM):

Sitting amid some of the most beautiful rainforests in the country, Puntarenas is a city in transition from important historical shipping port to tourist mecca. Take time to visit the newly developed Pacific Marine Park, featuring 28 separate tanks that give visitors a glimpse of what lies below the surface of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Optional shore excursions are available, as well.

Day 8

(Sunday, April 22, 2012) - At Sea:

Enjoy the day at sea: relax, eat, and drink in one of many restaurants aboard your cruise ship.

Day 9

(Monday, April 23, 2012) - Puerto Chiapas, Mexico (8:00 AM - 4:00 PM):

Ancient Mayan ruins and lush tropical rainforest are home to the Chiapas region. Situated on the Pacific Coast in Southwestern Mexico, Puerto Chiapas serves as a small fishing and agricultural center. The archaeological museum in nearby Tapachula exhibits artifacts excavated from the region.

Day 10

(Tuesday, April 24, 2012) - Huatulco, Mexico (8:00 PM - 4:00 PM):

Boasting 20 miles of unspoiled beaches and renown as a popular tourist destination because of its nine bays, you’ll want to get to know this popular Mexican resort. Explore on your own and discover the beauties hidden in Bahia de Huatulco or shop to your heart’s content in the town of La Crucesita and the exciting Tangolunda Bay. Optional shore excursions are also available. Que bueno!

Day 11

(Wednesday, April 25, 2012) - At Sea:

Every day at sea is packed with activities, from deck games to entertainment. You can indulge yourself in a relaxing massage, exercise, shop at onboard boutiques, or take a dip in the pool. The day is yours-that’s what a “freestyle” cruise is all about!

Day 12

(Thursday, April 26, 2012) - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (8:00 AM - 4:00 PM):

When Puerto Vallarta first entered the public’s consciousness, John Huston’s 1964 movie, The Night of the Iguana, depicted it to be an almost mythical, tropical paradise. Today, it is the quintessential Mexican resort overflowing with the charm of Old Mexico. Narrow cobblestone streets, lined with shops and galleries, provide perfectly shaded patios where you may sample Carne Asada as a mariachi band plays. Then, step into the solitude of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe or stroll across the beautiful sands of Playa del Sol-both are crowd pleasers. You can bargain with local merchants for great souvenirs, or find an activity available along the over 25 miles of golden, sandy beaches. Optional shore excursions will be offered.

Day 13

(Friday, April 27, 2012) - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (7:00 AM - 2:00 PM):

Once sought after by pirates for its safe harbors, the Los Cabos region of the Southern Baja Peninsula is now home to the bustling towns of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. Each offers travelers an exciting, fun-filled destination. Cabo San Lucas, with a population of 25,000, is the faster-growing of the two. In the past few years, swanky new hotels and sleek condos have been added to round out this vacation destination. Superb sportfishing put Cabo San Lucas on the map, but non-fishermen will enjoy the thriving beach community as well. Snorkeling gear, boats, waverunners, kayaks, paddleboats and windsurf boards are all available for the active vacationer. Optional shore excursions are available.

Day 14

(Saturday, April 28, 2012) - At Sea:

As you near the end of your cruise, you-re sure to find a ship load of engaging activities, places to pamper yourself, excellent dining choices aboard the Pearl. Swim in one of the onboard pools; enjoy the card room, library, and game room; or catch up on your email at the Internet Cafe. If you want a more active choice, work out on the jogging track, take an aerobics class, or work out in the gym.

Day 15

(Sunday, April 29, 2012) - Disembark (8:00 AM) and Los Angeles, CA City Tour:

After you disembark from your cruise, you’ll board your YMT motorcoach for a city tour of Los Angeles and Hollywood, giving you a glimpse into the many sights of the “City of Angels.” Along the way, view the Los Angeles Music Center with the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Disney Hall as well as the theatre district. Head into Hollywood and see Mann’s Chinese Theatre-famous for its permanent collection of handprints, footprints, and signatures from a multitude of movie stars, including Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe-as well as the Academy Awards’ home, the Kodak Theatre, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Then, head into Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive to see where the stars shop and dine before traveling to neighboring Century City, the business mecca of the entertainment industry and home of 20th Century Fox studios. You will overnight in the LA airport area. Overnight: Marriott or similar

Day 16

(Monday, April 30, 2012) - Transfer to San Luis Obispo via Santa Barbara, CA and Solvang, CA:

On your way to Solvang, you’ll drive along the coast-through Malibu, CA and Oxnard, CA"and visit the “American Riviera,” Santa Barbara. A year-round destination for tourists, Santa Barbara boasts fair weather, plenty of beaches, and a collection of Spanish-style architecture. You’ll stop at the Santa Barbara Mission, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Then it’s on to Solvang, Danish for “Sunny Valley.” Two-thirds of Solvang’s population of 3,500 are of Danish descent and the town’s windmills and “bindingsvaerk” walls, typical old Danish hamlets constructed during the Middle Ages, are testimony to their heritage. Shops sell imported Danish china and brassware, and cafes offer tasty ball-shaped Danish buttermilk pancakes, and “Honen” streetcars pulled by blond Belgian draft horses carry visitors along the streets. At night, you will be staying in the Pismo Beach Area. Hotel: Sea Crest Resort or similar

Day 17

(Tuesday, May 1, 2012) - Transfer to Monterey, CA via Hearst Castle:

Today’s route will take you through one of the most beautiful scenic routes of the United States along the California coastline. But first you will have an opportunity to visit the world renowned Hearst Castle, the vast, elaborate and sometimes eclectic estate of former publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst. Before heading to Monterey, we travel on scenic Highway One. Keep your eyes out for the California Gray Whales migrating along the coastline around this time of year, they may show you a spout or two along the way! You are sure to enjoy breathtaking views! The day ends in Monterey, made famous by John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row.” Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn or similar

Day 18

(Wednesday, May 2, 2012) - Transfer to San Francisco, CA via Big Sur and Highway One:

California’s scenic Highway One, along the Pacific Ocean, is one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world! Experience Northern California’s spectacular 17 Mile Drive; there are few places where the meeting of land and sea is as dramatic as it is in Big Sur country. Thundering surf and rocky headlands seem to crash into each other head on; Mark Twain described it as “the most dramatic meeting of land and sea in the world.” Hotel: Hotel Whitcomb or similar

Day 19

(Thursday, May 3, 2012) - San Francisco, CA City Tour:

The “City by the Bay” never fails to surpass the expectations of the millions of visitors who leave their hearts here every year. San Francisco offers breathtaking beauty in all directions: majestic bridges, shining blue-green water, ships, sailboats, skyscrapers, rows of pastel Victorian houses along steep streets plied by cable cars, magnificent churches, and spacious parks. See this and more on your included city tour of San Francisco. Hotel: Hotel Whitcomb or similar

Day 20

(Friday, May 4, 2012) - Depart San Francisco, CA for Home


Pricing Information

April 14, 2012

From $2,099.00 per person double occupancy.

From $1,650.00 single room supplement.

Journey Includes

  • 14-Night Cruise: Aboard NCL’s Pearl. All meals on board the ship are included.
  • 5-Night Hotel Accommodations: On land portion. Based on twin/ double accommodations in moderate hotels.
  • Sightseeing: Special events as listed on land portion. A full program of optional shore excursions will be available at extra cost on the cruise.
  • Baggage Handling: To and from your hotel room and cruise ship cabin throughout your land tour for one piece of checked baggage per person
  • Service: Accompanied throughout by a professionally trained driver/ guide who is knowledgeable on the local area and will provide you with a wealth of information from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Their friendly service will make your trip a memorable experience. (YMT staff will not be onboard the NCL’s Pearl)

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

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