Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Seminars at Sea

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By Igor Lobanov,

Mature Life Features

Elderhostel has taken its wide-ranging education programs for older adults onto the world’s waterways. The Boston-based company’s catalogue, Adventures Afloat, details cruises through December 2009, listing more than 130 itineraries designed for people 55 and older.

While land-based offerings last from one to four weeks, focus on educational and cultural sites, and often involve stays on college campuses, shipboard programs cover wider areas and are tailored to the length of the selected cruise line’s itinerary, plus time for exploration ashore during port calls.

The catalogue lists cruises on large ocean-going vessels, small ships that are mostly coastal cruisers, and riverboats. They range from North American waters including the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and the Mississippi and St. Lawrence rivers to farther-away venues such as Antarctica, New Zealand, and the Rhine, Yangtze and Nile rivers.

Here are a few examples.

A voyage through the bays and inlets along Washington State and adjoining British Columbia aboard the 90-passenger Spirit of Endeavor in mid-October includes two nights in Seattle followed by seven nights onboard touching on Vancouver, the hauntingly peaceful Princess Louisa Inlet, Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands, Victoria and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, and Port Townsend on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Shipboard lecturers focus on the natural and cultural history of the region as well its marine life.

On the other side of the continent, the 60-passenger river steamer Canadian Empress offers an 11-night cruise on one of the world’s largest rivers, the St. Lawrence, between Quebec City and Ottawa Oct. 17-29. The route involves intricate channels, seven locks, and the Thousand Islands region, where European and New World cultures intersect. The educational program will trace the country’s history from its origins in the 1600s as a fur-trading post. The itinerary includes two nights in Quebec City and in Kingston, Ont., six nights aboard ship, and a guided walk through the old port of Montreal.

If you’ve been hankering to explore the two great waterways of the American Midwest, the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, consider the 188-passenger River Explorer on its Oct. 29- Nov. 6 sailing out of Cincinnati. You’ll visit the city’s landmarks as well as the confluence of the Ohio and Licking rivers before boarding the vessel for seven nights cruising down river to Aurora, Ind., then to Paducah and Louisville, Ky., where you encounter the Mississippi and turn upstream to Cape Girardeau, Mo., and the Gateway to the West, St. Louis. Passengers debark at Cape Girardeau and travel back to Cincinnati by coach..

Another choice could be a cruise on the Danube from Prague to Vienna aboard the 200-passenger Mozart. A 16-day itinerary begins at the bohemian capital of the Czech Republic and includes stops at two other imperial capitals, Budapest and Bratislava. Along the way, the vessel passes abbeys, castles, towns and villages. Walking field trips illustrate Prague’s history and treasures that include its castle, Old Town and other areas. An example of one of the sea cruises is the March 30-April 20 voyage from Santiago, Chile, up the west coast of the Americas to San Diego, Calif., aboard the 1,380-passenger Amsterdam.

The itinerary emphasizes the culture and natural history of Panama and Costa Rica. The 18 ports of call include Coquimbo and Arica in Chile, Callao in Peru, Manta in Ecuador, Fuerte Amador in Panama, the Panama Canal, Golfo Dulce in Costa Rica, and Puerto Caldera, Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Excursions include pre-Incan settlements in Chile, Lima’s classic museums of Peruvian treasures, and a crocodile safari. There are also visits to an historic church and coffee farm in Guatemala and the renowned cliff divers of Acapulco.

For more information about Elderhostel’s cruises, call 877-426-8056 or visit elderhostel.org on-line.

September 03, 2008
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Written by Cecil Scaglione

July 19, 2011 at 6:28 am

Posted in Cruising

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