WHY IT RATES: This new nine-night Yucatan itinerary, which includes an overnight land stay, provides a uniquely immersive experience. -Mia Taylor, TravelPulse Senior Writer.
For the discerning travel-experience collector, Victory Cruise Lines has created a nine-night all-inclusive cruise between Miami and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The voyage features three of the country's most celebrated Mayan archeological sites as well as the cultural and historical highlights of the Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and Campeche.
During the inaugural season-January to May 2019-the package has an all-inclusive three-day, two-night pre- or post- cruise stay at Campeche, Mexico, creating an 11-night all-inclusive cruise and land experience for the cost of the cruise alone. Guests who book a winter 2019 cruise by May 31, 2018, receive a $1,000 per person discount for a total savings of $2,000 per cabin.
The inaugural Grand Mayan Experience cruise departs The Port of Miami Jan. 4, 2019 on the newly remodeled, 202-passenger Victory II. It is the sister ship of the popular Victory I.
"Not only are we the first cruise line to feature all three states of the Yucatan Peninsula, we are pioneering the marriage of all-inclusive cruising with integrated land stays to get our guests closer to the people and unique Mayan culture," said Bruce Nierenberg, Chairman of Victory Cruise Lines. "We've designed this trip in consultation with officials from each state's government, ensuring access to unique sites and exclusive once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The unprecedented access is a direct result of the governors' and tourism boards' efforts, and we are grateful for their cooperation and warm welcome."
During the first season, Victory Cruise Lines will operate The Grand Mayan Experience cruises to the Yucatan Peninsula from January through early May 2019. The second season begins in November 2019 and ends in May 2020.
Exclusive features of the cruise include a private sunrise experience at Chichen Itza, an exclusive light and sound show at Campeche and a rare visit to a traditional Mayan healing ceremony.
"This cruise is a carefully designed experience with a significant land component, including an overnight land stay during the cruise to give our guests access to UNESCO-listed Mayan archeological sites, along with first-class food and entertainment," Nierenberg said.
The Quintana Roo portion of the cruise includes a full-day exploration from the quaint town of Puerto Morelos in the heart of the Riviera Maya-a favorite of U.S visitors. In addition to visiting the Tulum archeological site, one of two evenings in Puerto Morelos will feature the stunning "Xcaret Mexico Espectacular" a journey through Mexico's history from the pre-Conquistador era. For information visit http://rivieramaya.com/en/mayanworld-2/
After Puerto Morelos, guests travel inland to the state of Yucatan, visiting Chichen Itza and the "Magic Towns" of Valladolid and Izamal. Near Chichen Itza, guests will see one of the best of 6,000 cenotes-beautiful rock formations that have formed water pools with underground rivers of amazing natural beauty.
After touring Valladolid, guests will overnight at one of the most unique hotels in Mexico. The Mayaland Hotel was built to create the feeling one is staying in a traditional Mayan village. The hotel is located within the archeological zone of Chichen Itza, the most famous Mayan site on the Yucatan Peninsula, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
Following a gourmet dinner at the hotel, Victory guests will experience the Chichen Itza Sound & Light Show, considered the best of its kind in the Americas. The next morning begins with an exclusive visit to Chichen Itza before it opens to the general public for a "Sunrise with the Mayans Experience."
The itinerary continues with a stroll through Izamal, a colonial town built over Mayan ruins that was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1993. In preparation for the pope's visit, the entire city was painted Vatican yellow and has maintained that color ever since. It is now widely known as "The Yellow City."
The Victory II enters the Yucatan State at the port of Progreso where guests will spend two days exploring Merida, a colonial masterpiece founded in 1542. In addition to exploring the cultural center of Yucatan, guests will visit one of the last working Haciendas in the region, Sotuta de Peon and Mayapan, a lost Mayan city and one of the best archeological sites in Mexico, before participating in an ancient Mayan cleansing ceremony.
"Victory cruise guests are known for their cultural curiosity, so we were pleased to work closely with the line to develop this authentic exploration of Mayan history," said Saul Ancona Salazar, Minister of Tourism for the State of Yucatan. For more information, visit http://www.yucatan.travel
Next is the state of Campeche, where guests will be welcomed into the colonial wonderland of the Walled City of Campeche. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Campeche is an enclave of perfectly restored pastel buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, fortified ramparts and well-preserved mansions.
Either before or after the nine-night cruise on Victory II, guests will stay at the Hotel Plaza Campeche within the walled city for three days and two nights. The stayover provides an all-inclusive immersion into Mexican history and culture, including an exclusive folkloric ballet show for Victory guests at the beautiful Toro Theatre.
"Campeche is the perfect beginning or end of your Grand Mayan Experience," said Campeche Secretary of Tourism Jorge Manos Esparragosa. "Not only for the incredible fortified colonial city, but the gastronomy, culture and the warmth of its people. This makes Campeche a unique and perfect sample of the real Mexico. Campeche is your home. Welcome to Campeche." For more information, visit: http://www.campeche.travel/en/
Victory Cruise Lines' Grand Maya Experience is a unique cruise and land vacation that includes all shore excursions, hotel stays, food and beverages during all land portions including Chichen Itza and Campeche.
Like all Victory cruises, the nine-night cruise portion of the journey includes five-star cuisine and service, and unlimited house wines and spirits. The added all-inclusive three-day, two-night stay in Campeche creates an 11-night vacation for the price of a nine-night cruise with special inaugural season rates that make it the best travel value of winter 2019.
Check out the newest ship, Victory II, and the newest cruise vacation in the western Caribbean, the Grand Mayan Experience.
SOURCE: Victory Cruise Lines press release
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