Caribbean cruise: Mayan ruins, rainforests & wildlife - Fred. Olsen goes beyond sun, sea & sand
Caribbean holidays are what many Britons have been dreaming of during the Covid pandemic - and cruise line Fred. Olsen is now making this dream a reality.
Fred. Olsen is offering a whopping 34-night cruise to the Caribbean and Americas.
New ship Borealis will whisk passengers across the Atlantic from Southampton on January 6 for an unforgettable voyage of discovery that goes well beyond the usual Caribbean holiday.
Not only will you be able to relax on sun-soaked, white sand beaches but you'll also be able to delve further into the fascinating local culture.
The cruise is just one of a brand-new suite of Fred. Olsen cruises sailing in early 2022.
So, what can cruise guests expect from the Cultural Caribbean and the Americas itinerary?
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Fred. Olsen Cultural Caribbean and the Americas
After sailing from Southampton, the voyage across the Atlantic is broken up with a stop to the Azores.
Guests will visit Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores archipelago and the main town on the island of São Miguel. It was once a key staging post between Europe and the Americas.
The island boasts beautiful lakes, mountains, sandy beaches and the stunning crater lakes of the extinct Sete Cidades volcano.
Architecture buffs should look out for Igreja Matriz Church and its splendid clock tower among the fine buildings, but, if you fancy being active, there are plenty of opportunities for canoeing, horse riding or cycling.
After several days at sea enjoying everything Borealis has to offer (see below) you'll find yourself in heaven, I mean, Antigua.
The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are often referred to as the crown jewels of the Caribbean and the city of St John’s is a sun worshipper’s paradise. No need to limit yourself here, though, Antigua boasts an incredible 365 beaches.
The Caribbean dream continues with a stop at St. Kitts & Nevis. Capital Basseterre was established by the French in the 17th century and claimed by the British following the Napoleonic War. It's now home to some of the oldest colonial buildings in the Caribbean.
Another perk of the island? Holidaymakers can travel on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway - said to be one of the most attractive train journeys in the world.
Next up is the final Caribbean port of call - Tortola Island, the capital of the British Virgin Islands and once the favourite haunt of pirates.
Road Town, which sits between rolling hills and white sandy bays, is typically old-world Caribbean and retains a surreal charm. Be sure to swing by Pussers Bar - the perfect place to try some authentic Caribbean rum!
Following a day at sea, Borealis sails to Colombia and Santa Marta in the north. There's history to explore here (the white-washed cathedral is said to be Colombia’s oldest church).
Wildlife lovers shouldn't miss the tropical Tayrona Park where they can spy iguanas, red woodpeckers, monkeys and even jaguars in their true natural habitat, while coffee fans should be sure to follow the route of Colombian coffee production in Santa Marta.
The second Colombian stop is the beautiful Cartagena, one of Colombia's true gems bursting with Spanish heritage.
Relax in an outdoor cafe and watch the horse-drawn carriages pass by, wander the streets to soak up the culture or head to the beach.
Panama and its second city of Colón are next on the itinerary. Colón was initially established as the terminus of the Panama Railroad, built to provide a fast overland route to California and the gold rush. From here, delve into the history of navigators and privateers such as Christopher Columbus and Francis Drake at Portobelo.
Borealis then sails to central America to call in Costa Rica. Puerto Limon was established in 1502 by Columbus and is one of the oldest cities in Latin America.
A must-see is the open-air market and make sure you sample the local speciality - cashew wine!
Take the opportunity to hop in a panga (a motorboat) along the Tortuguero Canal, to catch a glimpse of unusual birds as well as alligators, turtles and bats.
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Next up is beautiful Belize. Belize City, once a pirate base, has a vast maritime history. The Eco-Museum - a living museum that showcases some of Belize's finest treasures - is also well worth a visit.
The penultimate port of call on this Fred. Olsen itinerary is Cozumel in Mexico.
Famed for its Mayan history, the mostly undeveloped island and its coral reefs offer excellent snorkelling opportunities. The number one attraction in Cozumel is eco-park Chankanaab, a lagoon with underwater caverns and home to dolphins, manatees, iguanas and sea turtles. The National Marine Park with its stunning beaches and beautiful botanical gardens is also worth a visit.
The astonishing Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza - one of the New Seven Wonders of the World - are a highlight of the region - the spot is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico today. Expect stepped pyramids, temples, columned arcades, and other stone structures sacred to the Maya.
Last but not least is King’s Wharf - one of two ports in Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic.
The National Museum of Bermuda explores its intriguing maritime history while capital Hamilton boasts lovely beaches and a picturesque harbourfront lined with pastel-coloured buildings.
Inside Fred. Olsen's Borealis
On your days at sea, there's plenty of time to make the most of the ship.
The stylish, spacious and comfortable Borealis has been revamped ahead of its July 2021 sailings.
Accommodation on the ship has been refreshed as part of the upgrade. Borealis’ cabin grades range from Inside to Balcony Suites. This includes more than 50 solo cabins, available across all grades.
The suites feature two single beds that can be converted into one queen-size bed, while the bathrooms feature a bath and shower (unless indicated as shower only). There is also a sitting area with floor to ceiling windows that lead to a private balcony. A mini-bar and refrigerator are also included in Balcony Suites.
Meanwhile, Interior cabins consist of two single beds which can be converted into a queen-size bed plus a shower.
Borealis bars and lounges
The ship is home to eleven stylish, spacious and comfortable bars and lounges.
Included in your Fred. Olsen sailing is a tempting choice of cuisine every day. Expect five-course à la carte dinners, casual breakfast and lunch buffets, and late-night snacks.
The Oriental Room is one spot on Borealis that has been given a new lease of life. The venue - also found on Balmoral - is the perfect place to enjoy a selection of oriental teas - or perhaps even a tea-infused cocktail.
The grand, two-tiered main dining room - Borealis' Restaurant at the lower level and The Aurora Restaurant on the top tier - feature classical, elegant décor.
Meanwhile, The Bookmark Cafe - a well-loved venue on Fred. Olsen’s ships - can now also be found on Borealis. This relaxing and sociable area serves a delicious selection of speciality coffees and teas from world-renowned Taylors of Harrogate, as well as high-quality pralines, Champagne Truffles and other hand-made chocolates.
Borealis’ guests can tuck into unlimited, self-service tea and coffee at selected venues, complimentary afternoon tea with sandwiches and cakes as well as in-room sandwiches and snacks.
You’ll find a selection of live shows ranging from music and cabaret to quick-fire stand-up comedy, with both matinee and evening performances, all enjoyed in the space and comfort of stylish lounges and the beautiful two-tiered theatre.
The cruise line will also host cookery demonstrations where you can learn how to make your favourite Fred. Olsen dishes while further activities range from talks by expert speakers and tutorials to fun activities on deck.
As for relaxation, the ship's facilities include an all-weather pool and hot tubs and an impressive spa with a thermal spa, aroma room, hydro pool, two saunas and nine treatment rooms - perfect after a long day of exploring.
You can book with confidence, knowing all of Fred. Olsen's itineraries for 2021 are covered by the line's Plain Sailing Guarantee. This means that Fred. Olsen promises to only sail to 'green list' countries, with the smaller size of their ships making it easier for the team to find alternative destinations should it be required.
To find out more about Fred. Olsen's Cultural Caribbean and the America cruise, head here.
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