Mysteries of the Maya Mexico Cruise
12 days with Alexander+Roberts Rating:
Day 1 – Welcome to Miami + Board the mv Victory II
On arrival at Miami Airport, you’ll be met and chauffeured by private car to the pier. Welcome aboard our elegant ship and settle in to your outside stateroom. Tonight, we’ll gather with fellow passengers for cocktails and dinner. (D)
Day 2 – A Stop in Key West
The southernmost point in the United States, Key West is beloved by visitors and residents for its vibrant street life. You can also experience colorful chapters of American history here. This morning, we’ll explore all of this on a narrated Trolley Tour and guided visit through President Truman’s winter residence. Also known as the Little White House, this historic landmark-cum-museum also served as the naval station’s command headquarters during the Spanish-American War and both World Wars.
After lunch the afternoon is free to enjoy as you wish. Duval Street is famous for its bars, cafes and shops. It’s a great place to stroll at your own pace. Hemingway fans may want to stop in Sloppy Joe’s, one of the author’s favorite hangouts. The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is another option. It’s located at 907 Whitehead Street in the heart of Old Town Key West. Step back in time and tour the rooms and gardens that witnessed the most prolific 10-year period in his writing career. (B+L+D)
Day 3 – At Sea to the Yucatan
Delight in this leisurely day at sea. Enjoy the fresh air from the Observation Deck, take advantage of our Open Bar, enjoy convivial conversation with fellow passengers in one of the inviting lounges, or join a talk with our shipboard experts. Delicious meals will be served in the elegant Shearwater Dining Room and al fresco at the Lighthouse Grill. As always, enjoy free-flowing wine at lunch and dinner. (B+L+D)
Day 4 – Frida Kahlo Museum + Xcaret
We’ll step off ship this morning in Puerto Morelos for a guided tour of the new Frida Kahlo Riviera Maya Museum. Ms. Kahlo is one of Mexico’s most revered artists, famed for her bold self-portraits, vibrant colors, and attention to Mexican culture. She suffered from polio as a child and nearly died in bus accident at the age of 18. It was during her long convalescence that she turned to painting. This morning’s visit explores her life and its impact upon her work.
After lunch, we continue to Xcaret to learn more about the eco-systems of the Yucatan. The exhibits at this eco-archaeological park include a Butterfly Pavilion and a state-of-the-art aviary with more than 1,500 colorful tropical birds. Four of the world’s seven species of marine turtles nest here along the Yucatan’s Caribbean coast. Xcaret’s Turtle Conservation Program will teach us more about these creatures and the work being done to preserve them. Tonight, we thrill to the Dinner Show at Xcaret. Mexico Espectacular is a kaleidoscopic performance with more than 300 actors and dancers, authentic costumes, advanced technology, and elaborate sets. It traces Mexican history and culture from pre-Hispanic times to the modern era. After the show, we’ll return to our ship in Puerto Morelos. (B+L+D)
Day 5 – Discover Tulum
This morning’s guided excursion takes us to Tulum, an ancient Mayan city surrounded by defensive walls. It has a spectacular cliff-top setting overlooking the Caribbean. It has a spectacular cliff-top setting overlooking the Caribbean. We’ll enter through one of Tulum’s five ancient doorways for a guided tour that takes us back to ancient times when Tulum was a seaport for trading turquoise and jade. Among its most impressive structures, El Castillo likely served as both a temple and a fortress. It sits on a 40-foot limestone cliff above a beautiful white-sand beach.
After a buffet lunch on the beach, we’ll return to the Victory II. The afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy the Open Bar, welcoming outdoor spaces, and congenial lounges of our elegant ship. You might also join an enriching talk with our shipboard experts or even step ashore here in Puerto Morelos to explore on your own. (B+L+D)
Day 6 – Valladolid + Overnight at Chichen Itza
After breakfast, we travel to Valladolid to spend some time visiting Casa de los Venados. This outstanding museum is set in a sprawling 18,000 square foot residence and houses Mexico’s largest private collection of folk art. Our sightseeing continues with the Colonial-era landmarks of Valladolid. We’ll admire the Cathedral of San Gervasio that dominates the town’s picturesque central plaza. Just a few minutes from town at the lovely Hacienda Selva Maya, we’ll sit down to a congenial lunch featuring Mexican and Mayan-inspired cuisine.
This afternoon we travel to the historic Mayaland Hotel at Chichen Itza. This was the first hotel ever to be built within an archaeological site. After check-in, you’ll have time to refresh before an early dinner. As hotel guests, we’ll be the only cruise ship passengers this evening to attend the thrilling Sound & Light Show at Chichen Itza. With the towering step pyramid of Kukulcan as the main backdrop, this amazing spectacle uses 3-D technology to bring the 1,500-year-old Mesoamerican ruins to life. (B+L+D)
Day 7 – Sunrise at Chichen Itza + Izamal
As Victory II guests at the Mayaland Hotel, we’ll enjoy an exclusive sunrise tour of Chichen Itza. For nearly 1,000 years, this was the greatest city of the Yucatan. It is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its remarkable synthesis of Mayan construction techniques with new elements brought by Toltec warriors from the central Mexican plateau. Before the influx of day visitors arrive, our expertly guided tour will explore the finest of Chichen Itza’s many monumental landmarks. These include the El Caracol Observatory, Temple of Kukulcan, the Great Ball Court and the Jaguar Temple.
We’ll return to the Mayaland Hotel for breakfast and then travel to Izamal for a guided tour. This Mayan town emerged as a religious center during the Early Classic Period more than 1,400 years ago. The Spanish arrived in the early 16th century and erected an enormous Franciscan Monastery that stands to this day. We’ll tour the monastery and other Colonial-era buildings that give Izamal its timeless charm. After lunch at Kinich, you can explore the nearby Mayan Pyramid at your own pace.
The Victory II has now sailed around the tip of the Yucatan to dock in Progreso on the Peninsula’s Gulf-side coast. Back onboard you’ll have time to refresh before cocktails and dinner. (B+L+D)
Day 8 – The Great Mayan City of Mayapan
We step off ship this morning in the charming port of Progreso. Our guided excursion takes us to Mayapan, the last great capital of the Mayan Empire. Because there are fewer visitors here than at other archaeological sites in the Yucatan, we can look forward to an enlightening tour without large crowds. Mayapan was once a thriving city of 15,000 residents, but it was attacked and abandoned in the 15th century. Today there are impressive ruins like the main pyramid, residences of the noble class, temples, and altars. We’ll also see unusual round buildings once used as ancient observatories. Finely preserved carvings and glyphs bear further witness to Mayan culture.
We continue to Merida, the modern capital of the Yucatan, for lunch and a city tour. Rich with Mayan and Colonial heritage, Merida has many centuries-old landmarks including the Cathedral and the Iglesia El Jesus Tercera Orden. Both were built with local stone and relics salvaged from ancient Mayan temples. At the renowned Mayan World Museum of Merida, we’ll discover a remarkable collection of artifacts. In addition, state-of-the-art exhibits tell the story of the origin, rise and fall of this once-great civilization. It provides the perfect background and context for the archaeological sites on our sightseeing program. We return to our ship for cocktails and another elegant dinner. Our ship is docked overnight in Progreso. (B+L+D)
Day 9 – Village of Nolo + Hacienda Sotuta de Peon
From Progreso, we travel again into the interior of the Yucatan Peninsula to Nolo. This welcoming community of only 1,500 residents offers an intimate view of Mexican life. By special arrangement, our guests will witness a healing Shamanic ceremony performed by a Mayan priest. This genuine cultural experience is rarely afforded to visitors, and our guests have been asked to wear white; the Victory II will provide appropriate serapes which you may keep.
We’ll also spend some time on a 19th-century hacienda that once belonged to the wealthy Peon family. Set on verdant grounds with a grand colonnaded verandah, our tour of this lavish estate begins on a wooden platform pulled by mules along old tracks that wind their way through the estate. This traditional mode of transport once carried workers into the vast agave cactus fields where they would cultivate and harvest this important plant. We’ll also see some of the original machinery that was used to process this henequen cactus into fiber that could be used for everything from hammocks to the giant hawsers that tie our ship to the dock! A delightful luncheon of authentic Mexican fare highlights our tour of the Hacienda Sotuta. We’ll be back onboard the Victory II with time to refresh before we gather again for cocktails and dinner. This evening, we set sail for Campeche. (B+L+D)
Day 10 – Disembark + Discover Campeche
After breakfast and disembarkation, we’ll begin our exploration of this Colonial gem – recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the charming main plaza of town, our narrated Trolley Tour is the perfect way to experience the pastel-hued buildings, timeless cobblestone streets and handsome centuries-old mansions of Campeche’s historic city-center. Next we’ll discover the Colonial fortifications at San Miguel. Then at the Archaeological Museum, we’ll see ancient tools made of ceramic and obsidian and the famous jade mask excavated from a Mayan tomb at Calakmul.
We’ll take a break from sightseeing to have lunch at Palapa del Tío Fito. Then a walking tour will show us more of Campeche’s historic landmarks. Admire the lovely yellow façade of San Roque Church and the Cathedral. We also see the King’s Lieutenant’s House, former residence of the Spanish King’s military representative in the Yucatan.
After sightseeing, we’ll take you to the Hotel Plaza Campeche here in the historic heart of town. You’ll have time to refresh and relax in your room before dining this evening at La Parrilla. Enjoy fine Mexican cuisine served in a setting that blends Colonial architecture and contemporary flair. Then we head to the central plaza for Celebremos Campeche. Projected onto the façade of a historic building, this 30-minute Sound + Light Show uses exciting visuals and music to tell the history of Campeche. After dinner, we’ll return to our hotel. (B+L+D)
Day 11 – In + Around Campeche
After breakfast , our visit to one of Campeche’s colonial-era homes offers a deeper look into the cultural heritage of this historic town. We’ll also learn about one of the region’s most famous crafts and exports. Known locally as Jipijapas, this Yucatan version of the Panama hat is still woven by hand from the pliable leaves of the Jipijapa palm tree. Just north of Campeche, the village of Becal is especially known for the fine quality of its hats.
At midday, you’ll have free time to explore on your own. A Victory II exclusive allows you to enjoy a wonderful à la carte lunch at one of the region’s finest restaurants. This evening, we’ll enjoy a private folkloric ballet performance at the historic Teatro Toro and dinner at La Pigua. Then we return to our hotel for this final night of the Land of the Maya. (B+L+D)
Day 12 – Fly to Miami
After breakfast, we’ll visit one of Campeche’s artisan centers – a final opportunity to purchase some last minute gifts or mementos. Then we’ll continue to the airport for our included flight to Miami. Our services end at the airport so you can connect with your homeward flight. (B)
All This Included
We’ve uniquely combined our elegant Small Ship Mexico cruise with fine hotels in Chichen Itza and Campeche. It’s the only land + sea journey visiting all 3 states of the Yucatan Peninsula. With our shipboard experts, all shore excursions and private cultural encounters, you’ll gain a deeper richer appreciation of the ancient Maya and Mexico’s enduring traditions.
Cruising: Cabin onboard MV Victory II
Chichen Itza: Mayaland Hotel
Campeche: Hotel Plaza Campeche
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.