Cabin space is still available for the winter 2017 holiday season on small-ship cruises to such coveted destinations as Antarctica, Baja California, Costa Rica, the Galapagos and Cuba, reports AdventureSmith Explorations, the company that brings cruise guests into intimate contact with seldom-visited shorelines around the world.
Travelers who want to maximize opportunities for wildlife encounters on land and sea can still book passage on one of three Antarctica programs inclusive of air transfers across Drake Passage. This segment of a cruise normally consumes several days of at-sea-only travel both coming and going. Popular air cruises fly guests over the often-turbulent Drake Passage, turning a two-day crossing into two hours. Following are air cruise departures with space available as of mid August. For more information and specifics on all the various itineraries offered by AdventureSmith Explorations please see Antarctica cruises.
- If booked before Aug. 31, 2017, clients receive a 20 percent discount on a mid-December departure Dec. 15-22 of Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake. Also available are Dec. 16-23 and Dec. 20-30 departures. This eight-day itinerary is from $9,495 per person double on the 132-passenger Ocean Adventurer or the 108-passenger Island Sky.
- Antarctica Air Cruise offers three holiday departures still with availability: Dec. 16-23, Dec. 21-28 and Dec. 22-29. This cruise is eight days from $10,995 per person double on the 72-guest Ocean Nova or the 71-guest Hebridean Sky XXI.
- Polar Circle Air Cruise picks up the holiday slack with its Jan. 1-10, 2018, departure for 10 days from $14,495 per person double aboard the 72-guest Ocean Nova.
- There is still ample space on a non-air cruise, the 11-day Antarctic Explorer expedition, an 11-day journey from $5,995 per person double, exclusive of the air cruise benefit. Four ships carrying from 132 to 199 passengers conduct this cruise.
Baja California and Costa Rica
Two very popular, close-to-home small ship cruise destinations as of late summer have good holiday cabin availability to accommodate families and groups. Some programs include special offers. Baja cruises in late December and early January coincide with the beginning of the peak season for viewing gray whales and for snorkeling with sea lions.
- Westward Voyages in the Sea of Cortez has holiday availability on Dec. 14-22 and Dec. 22-Jan. 2 departures. This is a 12-day adventure from $5,250 per person double aboard the eight-guest yacht Westward.
- Baja’s Bounty accommodates the holidays with departures Dec. 16-23, Dec. 23-30, Dec. 30-Jan. 6 and Jan. 6-13 The Dec. 16 and Jan. 6 programs come with a bonus of $800 off on cabins booked by Sept. 30, 2017. This cruise is over eight days from $2,995 per person double aboard the 84-guest Safari Endeavor.
Friendly, tropical and easy-to-access, Costa Rica is a holiday destination primed for families. Small ships provide easy, inclusive access to rain and cloud forests, tropical birds and wildlife, active volcanoes, waterfalls and beaches. Whale watching ramps up this time of year, with the season for humpback whales running January through March. Holiday cruise options include $800 off the cabin rate and free round trip from Miami on some trips if booked by Sept. 30, 2017.
- Unveiled Wonders: Costa Rica & the Panama Canal holiday departures are Dec. 15-23 ($800 off cabin rate), Dec. 22-30, Dec. 29-Jan. 6 and Jan. 5-13. This is a nine-day program from $4,395 per person double aboard the 62-guest Safari Voyager.
- Costa Rica & the Panama Canal holiday departures are Dec.16-23, Dec.23-30, Dec. 30-Jan 6 and Jan. 6-13, all with free round-trip airfare from Miami. For eight days from $5,990 per person double guests enjoy the hospitality of the brand-new 100-guest National Geographic Quest.
- Treasures of Costa Rica & the Panama Canal holiday departures are Dec. 30-Jan. 6 and Jan. 6-13 aboard the 34-guest Callisto for eight days from $2,790 per person double.
In addition, numerous Costa Rica lodge-based trips have availability. Please see AdventureSmith’s Costa Rica page for more trips.
Although the Galapagos Islands offer sailings year-round, warmer water temperatures make the region highly sought-after come December for snorkeling and swimming. As AdventureSmith’s most popular holiday destination, it’s the first to sell out. However there’s still availability on the 16-guest Seaman Journey and Sea Star Journey sister ships for four days from $2,529 per person double; on the 90-guest Santa Cruz for five days from $3,388 per person double; on the 40-guest Isabela II for five days from $3,268 and on the 48-guest La Pinta for five days from $4,136 per person double.
The Cuba by Land & Sea Cruise aboard the 46-guest mega yacht Harmony V comes with the expert team at Lindblad-National Geographic. The 11-day trip is from $9,500 per person double.
Active vacationers might also want to consider a Peru trekking adventure that pairs day hikes with nights in remote lodges. Amazon cruises are also a warm-weather option for winter travel. While they sail year-round, December and January departures come with high water season, which typically runs from November through May. During this time rivers, creeks and lakes are more navigable, as the waters are some 23 feet higher. This brings passengers closer to the canopy and wildlife.
For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and for 2017-2018 reservations, please call 900-728-2875 toll-free or visit http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/.