I encourage you to read all the details about this trip, including photos, video, maps and advice. Click on the link below that interests you, or start at the top and work your way through them all!
|This trip to South and Central America was a 30 day
cruise aboard Holland America's flagship ms Rotterdam. My full
itinerary is listed below in sections - feel free to click on what
interests you, however if you click on the top-most item, there are
links at the bottom of each page to take you to the next destination -
from beginning to end. This is the best way to explore the whole
If you just want to see photo albums, there are two collections
Incan Empires Cruise 2011 - covers everything we encountered
during the 30 day voyage while sailing aboard m/s Rotterdam
between Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and San Diego, California|
|Rotterdam - highlights of the ship inside and out||
Incan Empires Cruise aboard ms Rotterdam - 30 days - Nov 21 -
Dec 21, 2011
|Victoria, BC, Canada to Ft.
Lauderdale, Florida, USA|
|Half Moon Cay, Little San Salvador Island, the Bahamas|
|Bahamas to Colombia -
|Santa Marta, Colombia|
|San Blas Islands, Panama|
|Puerto Limon, Costa Rica|
|Panama Canal Transit|
|Panama to Peru - at sea|
|Lima to Cusco, Peru - leave the Rotterdam in Callao
|Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru|
|Machu Picchu, Peru|
|Cusco to Lima to Pisco, Peru - return to the
General San Martin (Pisco)|
|Peru to Ecuador - at sea|
|Ecuador - Guayaquil & Manata|
|Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica|
|Guatemala - Puerto Quetzal &
|San Diego to Victoria - San Diego, California, USA to Victoria, BC, Canada||
How it started
I was browsing the Holland America website looking for inexpensive
cruises in a couple of areas - either the Mediterranean or South America.
Why choose this cruise? The same two reasons for selecting our last cruise: an
interesting itinerary and low cost.
We embarked in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, stopped in 16 ports of call, transited the
Panama Canal, and disembarked in San Diego, California. We visited a total of 10
countries in 30 days, of which five countries were new for me. The
Rotterdam stayed in Lima for three nights, giving us time to travel across
Peru to see Machu Picchu - the highlight of the trip.
How it evolved
Machu Picchu has always been on my list of places to see, so that finally
happened on this trip, since we spent a total of 5 days in Peruvian ports. The
shore excursions to Machu Picchu offered by Holland America were fully booked by the time we
decided to take this cruise, so we booked a private group tour (just my two
friends and myself) with a third party travel
company with experience sending clients to Machu Picchu.
Bestway Tours and Safaris
is a travel company based in Vancouver, Canada who is well-established and has
the experience to provide us with a customized tour of both Machu Picchu itself
as well as the Sacred Valley.
This particular cruise offers unbeatable value running at under
US$100/day/person based on double occupancy. I am traveling solo, however even
with the Single Supplement and a modest cabin upgrade, the cruise portion of
this trip costs me only about $175/day - about half the usual cruise rates. I
budgeted under $300/day for the whole trip, including airfares, the Machu Picchu
excursion, hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, and a generous allowance for fun aboard
|All the major costs of this trip are priced in US$. The US
Dollar was weak as compared with the Canadian Dollar when I booked, so I gained
a few percentage points when I actually paid for the trip!|
|I booked through the travelocity.ca online travel service, since I received Holland America's
Flash Rate. This reduced the fare even further, by several hundred dollars.
|By booking our Machu Picchu excursion through a third party provider, we
only paid about 2/3'rds the cost of the excursion supplied by Holland America,
and our arrangements included an extra day in Cusco. So we received twice
So was it worth it?
This was a wonderful trip.
Holland America is a cruise line which
continues to provide the personal touches for its passengers, despite the major
cutbacks in service being implemented across the cruise ship industry. My
friends and I feel we were spoiled while aboard the Rotterdam. The
highlights of the trip for me have to be Machu Picchu and transiting the Panama