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14 nights
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Rainforests, Reefs & Lost Worlds

An exploration of the natural & cultural wonders of Central America aboard the MS Serenissma

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  • Expedition Cruising
  • Wildlife Tours/ Natural World
  • Capuchin monkey, Manuel Antonio National Park

Join us aboard the MS Serenissima as we explore Central America’s Pacific coastline visiting Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala. Such a comprehensive and in-depth itinerary would be difficult to comprehend or undertake by any other means than a cruise. Daily, guided excursions will introduce you to the natural and cultural wonders of the region and with the MS Serenissima as our base, we are able to visit some small islands and ports which the larger cruise vessels simply cannot access.

The history of the ancient Mayan civilisation, the colonial years and the more recent events of the region will be brought to life by our onboard team and local guides. There is also much of the natural world to occupy us on our journey including our visit to El Salvador’s most important marine ecosystem, the Jiquilisco Bay Biosphere Reserve and Costa Rica’s Curu National Wildlife Refuge and Manuel Antonio National Park.

Useful Links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  


Serenissima

Serenissima

The charming MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Since 2003, when she was extensively renovated, she has been operating as a classic cruise ship. Previously known as the MS Andrea, she was upgraded again in 2013 and started her new life as the MS Serenissima. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs, she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising. In December 2018, the vessel will once again undergo a significant refurbishment and after a re-configuration of the deck plan will accommodate a maximum of just 95 guests.

View vessel details

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to San Jose, Costa Rica.

Fly by scheduled indirect flight. Arrive this evening and transfer to the Intercontinental Real Hotel (or similar) for an overnight stay.

Day 2 - San Jose to Puerto Caldera.

After breakfast in the hotel we will have some free time in San Jose before transferring to the MS Serenissima in Puerto Caldera. Enjoy a welcome briefing, drinks and dinner as we sail tonight to our anchorage at Puerto Quepos.

Day 3 - Manuel Antonio National Park.

From our anchorage at Quepos we travel to Manuel Antonio National Park which is one of the most stunning and bio-diverse areas of the world. Spread out over 683 hectares it is filled with diverse wildlife, has both primary and secondary forests, boasts a stunning shoreline ideal for bird watching or swimming and is home to a number of endemic species of plants and animals. We will make an early start this morning allowing for the best viewing of monkeys, vividly coloured birds and the lethargic three-toed sloth. This afternoon we will have time at leisure in Quepos before setting sail this evening.

Day 4 - Curu National Park & Isla Tortuga.

We spend the morning exploring the Curu National Wildlife refuge which boasts a rich and diverse wildlife in five different habitats ranging from marine zones, including a wide beach area, mangrove swamps and tropical forests. Here on a range of walks hope to see some of the 200 species of birds, howler and capuchin monkeys, mammals such as otters, ocelots and pumas and turtles. Over lunch we sail the short distance to Tortuga Island where we have the chance to snorkel over the volcanic reef home to angelfish, morays and needlefish. Alternatively spend the afternoon relaxing on the white sand beaches.

Day 5 - Playa del Cocos.

Our final stop in Costa Rica is the beach town of Playa del Coco in the Papagayo Gulf, once a small fishing village it has grown into a popular destination for local Costa Rican tourism. We will use our Zodiacs to land before heading inland to the Palo Verde National Park where we will board local boats to travel along the Tempisque River seeing the mangroves and dry forest vegetation which is home to countless birds and multiple mammals. As we visit in the dry season we hope to see peccaries, armadillos, jaguarondis, coatis, agoutis, deer and monkeys which are attracted to the river. We enjoy lunch at the 19th century Hacienda House with views of the savannahs and sugar cane fields.

Day 6 - San Juan Del Sur for Granada, Nicaragua.

After an early breakfast we will leave from the friendly fishing village of San Juan del Sur for a full day tour to Granada and Lake Nicaragua. Founded in 1523, Granada is Nicaragua’s oldest Spanish city and has retained much of its Spanish character with colonial churches, narrow streets and colourful Spanish style homes. We will enjoy a walking tour including the cathedral and convent of San Francisco where we find around 30 pre-Colombian stone statues dating back to 800 AD sculpted by the inhabitants of Zapatera Island on Lake Nicaragua. After a local lunch we continue to Lake Nicaragua and enjoy a relaxing boat ride amongst the 365 small islands created by the volcanic activity of the Mombacho volcano around 20,000 years ago. Whilst some islands are inhabited most remain unspoiled and are home to exotic plants, howler monkeys and orchids.

Day 7 - Corinto for Leon.

The port of Corinto is our base for our visit to Leon, the former capital of Nicaragua. Here we will explore the colonial architecture and the 18th century cathedral which is one of the most prominent buildings in the city with fantastic views from the rooftop. Inside we will see the fresco paintings, statues and the lion that guards the tomb of Ruben Dario, the famous Nicaraguan poet. We will enjoy a little free time for those who wish to visit the bustling market.

Days 8 & 9 - La Union, El Salvador.

We have two days to explore the southern region of El Salvador and will offer a number of excursion options. You may wish to follow the ‘peace route’ set up to remember the events of the 1980s when El Salvador experienced a bitter civil war. It is estimated that over 100,000 were killed in the fighting whilst half a million fled into exile. We will visit Perquin, once a stronghold of the guerrillas and home to the Museum of the Revolution where former members of the rebel army are willing to share their experiences. We continue to the village of El Mozote where in December 1981 one of the worst atrocities occurred and more than 1000 people were killed in a single day. Our local guides will explain about living in the country during this time and we will see the monument erected for the victims and the memorial garden decorated with brightly coloured murals. There will also be a tour to Alegria, the birthplace of the writer Alberto Masferrer where we visit the museum before continuing to the lagoon known as the ‘Emerald of America’ located in the Tecapa Volcano. A full day tour will also visit the Jiquilisco Bay Biosphere Reserve which is El Salvador’s most important marine ecosystem with the coastal area being made up of remote islands, mangrove canals and desolate beaches whilst inland we find beautiful forests and cacao plantations. It is an important base for migratory birds as well as a nesting site for four sea turtle species including one of only two sites in the Pacific for the endangered Hawksbill Turtle. We explore the different areas of the reserve spending time with the environmentalists and scientists who will teach us about the conservation of the turtles, walking through the forest on the lookout for spider monkeys before learning about the cultivation of cacao, which creates some of the finest chocolate, on one of the local plantations.

Day 10 - Acajutla.

Today’s full day excursion discovers the Mayan route starting at the archaeological site of Joya de Ceren, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Pompeii of America. The site was covered by the Loma Caldera volcano explosion which kept the remains of pre-Hispanic civilisation for hundreds of years and provides a unique insight into everyday life in a Mesoamerican farming community of the 6th century AD. We continue to the ruins of San Andres, once an important political and religious centre and testimony of the Indigo industry during the colonial period, better known as the ‘Blue Gold’. After lunch in a local restaurant we will continue to Santa Ana and see the beautiful Gothic cathedral and National Palace before our tour ends at the ruins of Tazumal, the largest pyramid in El Salvador dating from 1500 BC and an important Mayan settlement. Return to the ship for dinner as we moor overnight.

Day 11 - Acajutla.

This morning we will explore some of the colonial towns and communities on the ‘Flower Route’ named after the abundance of flowers found along the roadsides and in the villages. Leaving the port we will drive through the beautiful mountains to the town of Nahuizalco, home to one of the most longstanding native communities and arts and crafts production sites in the country. We continue to Ataco, the final stop on the Ruta de las Flores. Ataco is a quaint, colonial village that is known for its natural beauty, as well as its brightly painted homes, cobblestone streets, colourful murals and unique arts and crafts. Return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at sea.

Day 12 - Puerto Chiapas, Mexico.

Awake this morning in Mexico and the port of Chiapas. This morning we will take an historical tour exploring the ancient Mayan site of Izapa which grew from a small village to be one of the region’s most influential cities and a cultural and commercial centre. We also visit the planetarium at Chiapas where we learn about the Mayans relationship with the stars and how it influenced their lives. After lunch on board, nature lovers can enjoy a boat trip amongst the nearby mangrove streams and lagoons, learning about the area’s eco-system whilst our guide points out the various species of flora and fauna. Alternatively spend the afternoon at leisure.

Day 13 - Antigua, Guatemala.

Disembark after breakfast and from our berth at Puerto Quetzal drive to Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between three magnificent volcanoes in 1542 it is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the Americas. Antigua remained an economic and political heart of Central America until a devastating earthquake in 1773 destroyed much of the city. We will explore the city which is a wonder of colonial buildings, beautiful squares, cobblestone streets and Baroque churches. This afternoon we transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 14 - Guatemala City to London.

After breakfast in the hotel we will transfer to Guatemala City to join our scheduled indirect flight to London.

Day 15 - London.

Arrive today.

Dates and Prices

SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE £300 PER PERSON FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Prices per person based on double occupancy
18 January 2019 to 1 February 2019
Category Brochure Price Special Offer Price
2 Standard Stateroom £6495 £6195
3 Classic Stateroom £6795 £6495
4 Superior Stateroom £7195 £6895
5 Deluxe Stateroom £7395 £7095
6 Junior Suite £7895 £7595
7 Owner’s Suite £8695 £8395
8 Serenissima Suite £9095 £8795
10 Standard Single £6795 £6495

Tour Reference Code: SCSE180119

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, 11 nights aboard the MS Serenissima on a full board basis, house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board, overnight hotel accommodation in San Jose and Antigua on a bed and breakfast basis, Noble Caledonia onboard team, shore excursions, gratuities, transfers, port taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance, visas.

  • 2019 Deckplan

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Serenissima

The charming MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Since 2003, when she was extensively renovated, she has been operating as a classic cruise ship. Previously known as the MS Andrea, she was upgraded again in 2013 and started her new life as the MS Serenissima. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs, she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising. In December 2018, the vessel will once again undergo a significant refurbishment and after a re-configuration of the deck plan will accommodate a maximum of just 95 guests.

 
  • Restaurant
    Restaurant
  • Restaurant
    Restaurant
  • On Deck
    On Deck
  • Harald Jarl Lounge
    Harald Jarl Lounge
  • Jacuzzi area
    Jacuzzi area
  • Owners Suite
    Owners Suite
  • Executive Suite
    Executive Suite
  • Executive suite
    Executive suite
  • Junior Suite
    Junior Suite
  • Superior Stateroom
    Superior Stateroom
  • De Luxe Stateroom
    De Luxe Stateroom
  • Standard Plus
    Standard Plus
  • Standard inside
    Standard inside
  • Serenissima
    Serenissima
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Accommodating no more than 95 passengers, the cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an en-suite bathroom with shower and a selection of toiletries in addition to a hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. From January 2019, there will be eight different grades of cabin arranged over five decks, and all feature either windows or portholes. Because of the very nature of the ship, the cabins do vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm.

  • Your Space

    The facilities on board include two lounges – the larger Andrea Lounge is comfortable and spacious and the smaller Harald Lounge is more intimate. There is also a small library with a computer for internet access and Wi-Fi is available at an extra cost throughout the vessel. The outside areas really are something special. A spacious observation deck allows 360 degree views of the passing scenery. From here, step down to the lido area with Jacuzzi and outside bar. The covered seating area at the back of deck 6 is ideal for relaxing with a drink in hand. Perhaps, one of the best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During the major refit in Sweden the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels.this

  • Your Dining

    The free seating Venice Restaurant accommodates all guests in one sitting. Being on deck 5, it has great views from all tables. The picture windows mean the restaurant is light and airy. Breakfast is served buffet-style with cooked dishes available and eggs to order by the ship’s accomplished chef. Lunch is also served buffet-style with hot and cold dishes available. Dinner is served a la carte and is four courses, except for at the Captain’s Dinner, which is a six course affair. Where possible, local produce is sourced for an authentic dining experience. A choice of red or white wine, beer, soft drinks, and water are included at lunch and dinner. In good weather there are al fresco dining facilities available and tea and coffee is available around the clock in the Andrea Lounge.

  • Life Onboard

    The MS Serenissima is more akin to a countryhotel than one of the large ships trawling the seas today. The European Captain, Officers and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere onboard is warm and welcoming, and the emphasis is not on around the clock entertainment and dining, but instead on well-thought out itineraries, relaxation, time spent with like-minded passengers and discovery. 

  • For your comfort

    There are so few ships of this generation still cruising and MS Serenissima is a great testament to her present and previous owners that they have seen fit to invest considerable sums over the years to keep her in top form and complying with the stringent health and safety requirements. There is a doctor onboard and during your voyage you will have the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the bridge.

  • Ship Directory
    The booklets below contains some further details pertaining to the vessel.
    Please click on the booklet to view. 

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  • Drone Footage

    Please click below for some great drone footage of Serenissima.

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  • Videos

    Please find a selection of videos of Serenissima.

    Click on any image to play video.

     

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  • Deck plans
    • 2019 Deckplan

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Tour Extensions

    • 31st January to 3rd February 2019


      After disembarking the MS Serenissima, discover Guatemala’s best kept secrets with a two night post-cruise extension which includes full day tours to the Mayan ruins at Tikal (by flight) which are located in the Guatemalan jungle and beautiful Lake Atitlan.

      Tikal Ruins in Guatemala Tikal Ruins in Guatemala

      Day 1 Antigua & Tikal, Guatemala. Today we leave Antigua early in the morning for a short flight to Flores (approximately 1 hour) in the Peten Department. We visit the Tikal National Park, touring the beautiful Maya ruins in the dense sub-tropical humid jungle. Tikal offers temples reaching 70 feet tall and several thousand other monuments, stela, altars and plenty more to explore. This afternoon lunch will be served in a local restaurant and we will then make our way to the airport for our return flight to Antigua and transfer back to the hotel. The rest of the evening will be at leisure.

      Day 2 Lake Atitlan. After breakfast, we embark on a full day tour to Lake Atitlan, described by Aldous Huxley as the most beautiful lake in the world. Surrounded by twelve post-Maya villages, all bearing the names of Catholic saints, and surrounded by three majestic volcanoes, the experience is unique. We visit the main town of Panajachel where the quaint streets are home to many bohemian artists selling their crafts. There will be some time at leisure to take some photographs and explore the local shops. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant and later this afternoon we will head back to the comforts of our hotel in Antigua. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure.

      Day 3 Guatemala City to London. After breakfast in the hotel transfer to the airport in Guatemala City for our scheduled indirect flight to London.

      Day 4 London. Arrive today.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £1095
      Single £1295

      Price Includes: Two nights hotel accommodation in Antigua, Guatemala on a bed and breakfast basis, lunch on day 1 and 2, Tikal excursion by air, Lake Atitlan excursion, gratuities, Tour Manager.

      Not Included: Travel insurance, dinners.

    • 14th to 19th January 2019

      If you would like to spend some additional time exploring Costa Rica before your cruise we are offering a five night extension which includes Arenal Park and the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

      Arenal National Park Arenal National Park

      Day 1 London to San Jose, Costa Rica. Fly by scheduled indirect flight. On arrival, transfer to the Real Intercontinental Hotel (or similar) for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

      Day 2 San Jose to Arenal. Following breakfast at our hotel we will first head to the Doka Estate for an insight into one of Costa Rica’s prime exports, coffee. Here we will learn about processes involved in the harvesting and manufacturing of this ubiquitous beverage. We will continue to Poas Volcano National Park, where after a short walk, we will be treated to spectacular 180 degree views of the volcano’s crater and the picturesque surrounding areas. After lunch in a local restaurant, we will transfer to the Kioro Hotel (or similar) for a two night stay. Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant.

      Day 3 Arenal. After breakfast, we depart for a guided visit to Arenal Park. Here, we will take a walk through the area where the Arenal volcanic eruption took place in 1968, learning about the destruction this caused and the subsequent rebirth of life via the rich mineral deposits the eruption provided to the region. There will also be the opportunity to enjoy a treetop cable car ride and for the more adventurous, to participate in a zip-line adventure, providing an exhilarating bird’s eye view of the park. Following lunch, there will be time to relax and explore Arenal at leisure. This evening we will enjoy dinner at our hotel.

      Day 4 Arenal to Monteverde. After breakfast we will start our stunning journey to Monteverde including a stop for lunch. Continue on to Monteverde and check in to the El Establo Hotel or similar for our two night stay. Tonight we will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

      Day 5 Monteverde. Today we will experience one of the five hanging bridges of Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve which cross the canyons below, and bring us face to face with the upper level of the forest canopy. The trails extend for slightly over a mile and a half and we will be accompanied by local guides. Biologists now know that about 90 percent of all organisms in a rainforest are found in the canopy. Among the 400 species of birds, some of the best known species are: the quetzal, the bellbird, the black turkey bird, the motmot, the orange-bellied trogon, and the barenecked umbrellabird. After lunch we will enjoy a further exploration of the Forest and make our way up to one of the highest mountains in the area by sky tram, whilst also having the opportunity to participate in a sky walk, a more sedate and tranquil way to take in the natural beauty of the forest. Dinner tonight will be served at a local restaurant.

      Day 6 Monteverde to Puerto Caldera. After breakfast and a morning at leisure in the hotel we transfer to the MS Serenissima in Puerto Caldera with lunch en-route and continue with the main itinerary from day 2.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £2295
      Single £2795

      Price Includes: Overnight hotel accommodation in San Jose, two nights hotel accommodation in Arenal and Monteverde, all meals as mentioned in itinerary, transfers and excursions as described, gratuities, English speaking guides, Tour Manager.

      Not Included: Travel insurance.

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