A cruise to the United States of America can prove the perfect way to give you insight into the politically dominant and geographically sprawling country you thought you already knew. Though a comparatively young country to us Europeans, the great assortment of settlers and an abundance of history have given this country the rich character and charm that is recognisable today. Popular North American ports of call include some of the country's most iconic cities, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans, and cruise liners generally include a number of lesser known but equally fascinating towns on their itineraries.
The ports of Mexico are commonly found on the itineraries of many vessels that sail the west coast of the United States and the Panama Canal has made Central America an extremely popular destination in its own right. Mexico and the tiny countries that make up the land mass beneath, such as Belize and Guatemala, boast the same calibre of beaches as those of the Caribbean - an impressive landscape of volcanic peaks and dense jungle, and ancient Mayan ruins. In addition to this, beneath the water there are lengthy stretches of unbroken reef that make for some world-class snorkelling and diving.
United States ports of call are commonly found on a great many luxury cruise itineraries, so whether sailing on a transatlantic voyage or embarking on a Caribbean cruise, passengers have the opportunity to explore this diverse land.
US ports are often included on Caribbean cruise routes; most commonly visited on such itineraries are the ports of Florida, such as Ft. Lauderdale, a stylish port city with a network of waterways that have earned it the nickname "Venice of America", and Key West, a tiny island city at the southern most tip of the mainland heavy in Caribbean ambience.
West of Florida, New Orleans and less well known Mobile lie on the south coast, old colonial cities rich in atmosphere and famous for their party spirit, most notably with regard to the Mardi Gras festival.
One popular cruise route is the run between Alaska and California; visitors taking this route should be sure to enjoy the vibrant and varied nightlife of San Francisco, as well as the stunning Canadian city of Vancouver.
Highlights of the east coast include old colonial Boston, once the third busiest port in the British Empire, and Charleston, a charming southern city steeped in fine history and architecture. Of course, no visit to America's east coast would be complete without a visit to its most iconic city, New York.
Mexico's Playa del Carmen is a popular port on the Yucatan Peninsular, a lively yet laid back destination just south of Cancun that has managed to hold on to its traditional rustic charm. Further round lies Progreso, a well-groomed port town that serves as the ideal introduction to the Mayan architectural sites that are rife in this region.
On the other side of the country, stops such as Cabo San Lucas boast some excellent water activities, particularly sport-fishing, while further down the west coast is the sleepy village of Zihuatanejo where visitors can take the time to relax among the locals and get to grips with Mexican culture.
South of Mexico, the countries of Central America are equally rich in Mayan ruins and archaeological sites and offer plenty for the eco-tourist, with opportunities to explore the reef and rainforests in Belize, Panama and Costa Rica. Alternatively, relax on the white sand beaches of Roatan, just off the coast of Honduras.
Popular ports of call in the United States and Canada include Balitmore; Boston; Charleston; Ft. Lauderdale; Los Angeles; Miami; New Port, Rhode Island; New York; Philadelphia; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; Vancouver & Victoria.
Popular ports of call in Mexico and Central America include Belize City, Belize; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Queztal, Guatemala; Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Ensenada, Playa del Carmen and Zihuatanejo in Mexico; San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.
The ports of east coast USA are almost always included in Caribbean and transatlantic cruise itineraries. More specialised US routes include Miami to Halifax in Canada, Miami to Reykjavik in Iceland and New York round trips via Boston. On the west coast, cruise lines run between California and Alaska.
Cruises tend to run between the ports of California and Florida, cruising along the coast of Mexico and through the Panama Canal visiting the ports of Central America along the way. Alternatively, some lines travel between Panama and the ports of the Caribbean.
Luxury cruise lines that sail to North America include Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Ponant Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea, Star Clippers, Windstar & Yachts of Seabourn cruises.
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