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Greg Mortimer<br>15 Night Caribbean Odyseey<br>Cartagena (Columbia) to Miami

Greg Mortimer
15 Night Caribbean Odyseey
Cartagena (Columbia) to Miami

Ship: Greg Mortimer
Cruise Line: Aurora Expeditions
Departures:  07 May 2020
Duration: 15 Nights
Ports: Cartagena - Colombia, Puerto Limon, Big Corn Island, Bay Islands, Honduras, Yucatán, Cienfuegos, Guanahacabibes National Park, Havana, Miami
Airport gateway (Arrival) : Cartagena
Airport gateway (Departure) : Miami

The history of the Caribbean is rich with adventurous pirate tales of exploration, blended cultures, and natural diversity. The history of the Caribbean, as we know it, starts with Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the islands. On this expedition through the Caribbean, you’ll learn about the fascinating history of the region as well as enjoying the marvellous diving, snorkelling, and kayaking opportunities in out-of-the-way places such as the remote Corn Islands in Nicaragua, Bay Islands in Honduras, and Cuba’s Guanahacabibes Peninsula. Spot soporific sloths in Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica, dive alongside sea turtles in Mexico’s Yucatán region, and delight in the music-filled streets of Havana. Join us on this unique small-ship adventure through the Caribbean, an expedition filled with activities, natural wonders and colourful cultures.

Expedition Highlights

  • Soak up the colonial splendour of UNESCO-listed Cartagena’s old town
  • Wildlife-spotting on cruise safari through the canals of Tortuguero National Park
  • Hike, swim, snorkel on Big Corn Island in Nicaragua
  • Kayak and dive amongst spectacular tropical reefs in the Bay of Islands
  • Explore Cuba’s westernmost peninsula at Guanahacabibes National Marine Reserve
  • Reel in the energy of Cuba's colourful capital Havana

Itinerary

Day 1 – Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

In Cartagena de Indias, make your own way to our group hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
 

Day 2 – Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Carved from a colourful history rife of piracy, sultry Caribbean heat, with fusions of African, indigenous and European culture, Cartagena is Colombia’s living and breathing museum. Today’s introductory tour of Cartagena will take in the main sites of the UNESCO World Heritage old town Your guide will divulge the myths and legends, histories and stories of Cartagena from ancient times right up to the present. In the afternoon, transfer to the Greg Mortimer for boarding.
 

Day 3 – At Sea

Our expedition team members are experts in their field and their knowledge will enhance your understanding and appreciation of the places you’ll visit on this journey through the Caribbean. In our onboard lecture series, you’ll learn about the people and culture, history, and flora and fauna of the places visited. The Greg Mortimer also features a state-of-the-art fitness centre, wellness centre, library, and numerous observation areas for you to enjoy.
 

Day 4 – Puerto Limón, Costa Rica

Welcome to Costa Rica, a country blessed with incredible biodiversity, with one-quarter of its land dedicated to national parks and reserves, often adjoining picturesque beaches, making it a popular holiday destination. Disembark in Puerto Límon and embark on your selected shore excursion. Observe the remarkable flora and wildlife in Tortuguero National Park on boat safari along the canals. Swim in the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean, hike through steamy rainforest and encounter wildlife such as sloths and howler monkeys and brilliantly-coloured tropical plants on a hike in Cahuita National Park.
 

Day 5 – Big Corn Island, Nicaragua

Big Corn Island are little gems of white coral sand and classic turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Located approximately 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Bluefields, Big Corn Island, along with Small Corn Island, is inhabited by around 8,000 people descended from the original Miskito population, European pirates, British landowners and African slaves. The reef around Big Island is the same reef that starts in Belize and runs south for more than 300 kilometres (called the Belize Barrier Reef), and they offer spectacular snorkelling and diving opportunities. The reef is quite close to the surface allowing you to see fish that often only scuba divers can see, and if you're lucky you may even see rays or sharks. On land, board a golf cart for a fun excursion around the island and learn about the fascinating local history and culture.
 

Day 6 – At Sea

Our onboard lecture series continues where you may hear informative talks about marine biology or stories of battles over the region by colonial powers. Otherwise, simply relax and swap stories with your fellow travellers and expedition team.
 

Day 7 – Bay Islands, Honduras

The Bay Islands are Central America’s Secret and another ‘jewel’ in the Caribbean. They lie roughly parallel to the Caribbean coastline of Honduras and are approximately 48 Km (30 miles) away from the mainland. The Bay Islands consists of eight islands and a series of cays. The islands that form Bay Islands are Utila, Roatan, Helene, Morat, Barbareta, Guanaja, as well as Cayos Cochinos. We spend the day at remote Cayos Cochinos, an archipelago formed by two small islands and smaller coral cays, wrapped by the Caribbean Sea. Its coral reefs are part of Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest reef in the world, are ideal for snorkelling and diving amongst species of the most vivid colours.
 

Day 8 – At Sea

Our lecture series continues as we continue our journey north to Mexico. You may want to stay fit in our fitness centre, join a yoga class or book a massage in our wellness centre. Otherwise, get to know your fellow expeditioners in one of the observation areas or simply gaze out at the Caribbean Sea.
 

Day 9 – Yucatán, Mexico

After disembarking in Costa Maya, embark on your chosen shore excursion in nearby Mahahual, a small fishing village located on Mexico's beautiful turquoise Caribbean Coast in the state of Quintana Roo. Mahahual is slowly becoming a popular holiday destination on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula as discerning travellers seek to escape the crowds of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres. Mahahual offers beautiful white-sand beaches and an abundance of marine life in Mesoamerican Reef located near the shore. Surrounding Mahahual is jungle and mangroves filled with wildlife including toucans, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, and even jaguars. Mayan ruins at Chacchoben and Kohunlich are located within easy access to the coast for day excursions.
 

Day 10 – At Sea

During our time at sea as we sail towards Cuba, enjoy onboard activities that may include a fun cooking demonstration, a cocktail-making class, or perhaps learn a popular latin dance such as salsa, mambo or rumba.
 

Day 11 – Cienfuegos, Cuba

Welcome to Cuba! For many travellers, Cuba is a destination high on the wish list with much to offer visitors - culture, nature, history, and traditions. The ‘Pearl of the Antilles’ is a blend of multiple cultures, races and customs, creating one of the most unique and fascinating Caribbean destinations. Your first taste of Cuba is at Cienfuegos, a colonial town founded in 1819 in the Spanish territory but initially settled by immigrants of French origin. It became a trading place for sugar cane, tobacco, mango, and coffee. Cienfuegos’ Historic Centre was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. Shore excursions include a city tour taking in all the main sites and attractions including the botanic gardens, and a tour to Santa Clara, the so-called city of Che Guevara where his remains are kept in the mausoleum.
 

Day 12 – At Sea

Enjoy a leisurely day at sea. There may be a presentation on how to improve your photography skills or an introductory talk about Cuba’s turbulent history. Our crew may arrange an entertaining yet educational activity, or otherwise, simply relax in one of the many shared spaces onboard or in the comfort of your stateroom.
 

Day 13 – Guanahacabibes Peninsula, Cuba

The Guanahacabibes National Park is Cuba’s largest natural reserve and UNESCO declared the peninsula a Biosphere Reserve. This westernmost part of Cuba has some of the country’s healthiest reefs with numerous species of colourful coral, including a remarkable colony of black coral, and sea turtle nesting beaches in the country. Aside from the excellent snorkelling and diving at Maria la Gorda, you can walk in the virgin rainforest featuring a variety of flowering plants and mammals.
 

Day 14 – At Sea

Enjoy final lectures from the expedition team, catch up on your photo-editing, or enjoy the onboard facilities such as the gym or fitness centre as we sail towards historic Havana.
 

Day 15 – Havana, Cuba

The city of Havana, Cuba’s capital, was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and due to its strategic location, it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the South American continent, becoming a key transit point for the treasure-laden Spanish galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World. Havana’s old town was declared a National Monument by the Cuban Government in 1976 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 for its historical cultural and architectural values. Choose from a number of shore excursions to uncover the soul of this beguiling city: colonial heritage tour in a vintage car, architectural tour, Cuban religions and traditions, Art tour, and retracing Hemingway’s footsteps.
 

Day 16 – Miami, USA

Arrive in Miami, USA, where after clearing immigration, farewell your expedition team and newfound friends before continuing your onward journey.

* Ports of call may vary based on itinerary and departure dates selected

 

Cabin Pricing

* All prices quoted are PER PERSON in British Pounds and include taxes, fees and port expenses (if applicable).
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Ports

Cartagena - Colombia

Cartagena is a modern seaport and commercial center still boasts much of its original Spanish colonial architecture. Explore this beautiful and historic city's walled Old Town. Its fortress walls, quaint, narrow streets and balconied houses are all vivid reminders of its former colonialists. The city's numerous monasteries, plazas and noble mansions are significant links to this region's grand past.

Country - Colombia
Distance from port to City - 0kms
Distance from port to Airport - 5kms
Currency - Colombian Peso (COP)

Places of Interest
Fortaleza de San Filipe, Las Bovedas, Church of San Pedro Claver

Puerto Limon

Surrounded by nearly half of all the animal species on earth and 8,000 species of plants, marvel as you take the chance to tour tropical flower farms or ride a Mawamba boat through the jungle canals near Puerto Limon

Country - Costa Rica
Distance from port to City - 0kms
Distance from port to Airport - 120kms
Currency - Costa Rican Colon (CRC)

Places of Interest
Playa Bonita Beach, Tortuguero Canal

Big Corn Island

Bay Islands, Honduras

Yucatán

Cienfuegos



Country - Cuba
Distance from port to City - 0kms
Distance from Port to Airport - 0kms
Currency -  

Places of Interest

Guanahacabibes National Park

Havana

There is nowhere in the world like Havana. From the resplendent Spanish colonial architecture of the Old Town, to the spectacular dilapidation of Havana Centro, a city of stalwart survivors and masterful musicians rocks indefatigably to the syncopated beat of the rumba.

Country - Cuba
Distance from port to City - 0kms
Distance from port to Airport - 20kms
Currency - Cuban Peso (CUP) 

Places of Interest

Museums, Memorials, Churches

Miami

You’ll discover Miami Beach with its pristine beaches and year-round sunshine. Spend a day strolling down the famed Ocean Drive or shop until your heart’s content on South Beach’s Lincoln Road. With a wide variety of cultural attractions, eclectic dining and vibrant nightlife, Miami offers a myriad of pre- and post-cruise choices you won’t find elsewhere.

Country - USA
Distance from port to City - 0kms
Distance from port to Airport - 10kms
Currency - US Dollar (USD)

Places of Interest
Miami Beach, Ocean Drive, South Beach

 

Map

Greg Mortimer Cabin Info

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Cruise line info

Aurora Expeditions

Aurora Expeditions

From the start, Aurora Expeditions was destined to be different. Co-founders Greg and Margaret Mortimer had a passion for adventure, exploring wild places and sharing the experience with friends and in 1991, Aurora Expeditions, named in honour of Sir Douglas Mawson's ship, was born.

Their aim was simple - to take small groups of travellers on voyages of discovery to regions that inspired them, thereby creating lifelong ambassadors for the preservation and protection of these sacred places. More than two decades later, that pioneering spirit burns just as brightly, as does our preference for small-group, personal expeditions.

Less people means more solitude and greater flexibility if tides, currents, ice or weather dictate a schedule change. And because we have fewer people to ferry ashore, we often make more landings.

We make the most of our size advantage to create intimate expeditions varying in length from 10 to 26 days. Simply choose the region you’d like to explore, the amount of time you’ve got and what activities you enjoy. Focus on one destination or combine back-to-back trips for the ultimate adventure.

You’ll be accompanied by expedition staff we believe are the world’s best. Remote area specialists, their onboard lectures entertain and expand your knowledge.

Whether you’re joining us for the first time or returning for another thrilling adventure, our original goals remain unchanged. Explore wild places that stir the soul, offer personal attention on unforgettable expeditions and welcome new friends into the Aurora family.
 

 

Ship info

Greg Mortimer

Proudly named after Aurora's adventurous co-founder, this 104-metre ship is our very first, purpose-built expedition vessel. Capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, the Greg Mortimer is built to world-class polar standards – designed in close consultation with our expedition specialists, taking advantage of our more than 25 years of experience.

Accommodating a maximum of 100 passengers plus kayakers and divers in the polar regions*, and 160 passengers in other destinations, the Greg Mortimer redefines expedition cruising for the future. Not only is the ship bigger to contend with adverse weather conditions, its added creature comforts make for a more enjoyable journey out on the open ocean. The Greg Mortimer remains true to our ethos and focus on multiple landings, flexible itineraries and family atmosphere – just with an improved home base!
 

Ship Life

As your base and home away from home during your Aurora Expeditions adventure, the Greg Mortimer is designed to serve your every need. It's your bedroom, bathroom, lounge, dining room and even your observatory. Make yourself at home, the Greg Mortimer is yours to enjoy!

Onboard observation points

Let's face it – you don't want windowless rooms when travelling around some of the most beautiful locations around the world. This is why the Greg Mortimer is designed with plenty of dedicated observation spaces – ideal for keen bird spotters, wildlife watchers and those wanting to watch the scenery go past. From the indoor 180-degree lounge and outdoor 360-degree open deck, both on deck 8, to the 270-degree open sundeck on level 7, there are plenty of observation points to share around the ship! If these are full, then you can take up a spot on one of the two hydraulic viewing platforms on deck 5. Aurora Expeditions also has an open bridge policy, which means at any point you can come up to the bridge and check out what the captain and officers are up to. From watching navigational practices to observing mapping techniques, you can get a firsthand look at the inner workings of the Greg Mortimer.

Shore excursions

Although the ship is fun, the real enjoyment comes from the many shore excursions that are available. Depending on the weather and itinerary, it's possible to take two to three landings daily, taking a look at everything from rock formations and ancient ruins to cute groups of penguins. We know time is of the essence in these wild locations, so the Greg Mortimer has been designed with more Zodiacs (15) than any other Aurora ship, which means you can maximise your time on shore. From four dedicated sea level launching platforms, transfers are quicker, safer and enable you to get closer to the action for a longer period of time. Just remember to charge your camera before you step onto the Zodiac!

Activity options

One of the great benefits of travelling with Aurora Expeditions is the number of optional activities that you can participate in. From kayaking and skiing to diving and climbing, these are one-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you need to take advantage of. Aboard the Greg Mortimer there is a specially designed launching platform for all activities, a concept overseen by our activity experts. This area also includes individual lockers in the expansive mudroom and rapid drying areas for wetsuits so you can quickly get warm after exploring in the elements! 

Dining

From the moment you step onto the Greg Mortimer, we aim to give you the best hospitality service possible. Starting with the official Captain's welcome, as our guests, you're welcome to 24 hours complimentary coffee, tea and snack facilities in addition to the range of different menu options and courses for each meal. Meals are served in large dining room/restaurant with family style dining, perfect to swap stories with your new expedition family. Enjoy the range of house wine, beers and soft drinks included with dinner after a long day in the wild, preparing yourself for another exciting day to follow. On the last day of your trip, the team on the Greg Mortimer put on a special farewell four-course dinner and cocktails – a perfect way to reflect on your time on the ship and consolidate lifelong friendships with the people you've met on-board.

On-board entertainment

When you’re relaxing during a sea day or you have a little downtime on the ship between excursions, what is there to do onboard the Greg Mortimer? Plenty! On all our expeditions, there are experts who lead presentations in the spacious lecture room so you can understand the region a little better. These often include topics as broad as history and culture to biology and climate change, these presentations aim to educate and entertain. If you're keen to just watch the surroundings and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, you have access to two bars/lounges where the stunning floor to ceiling windows offer a special perspective on the landscape. The Greg Mortimer is also decked out with other facilities for your enjoyment. There is a library on Deck 5 with books and maps and a Wellness Centre complete with gym equipment, sauna and spa. Feeling a little sore after walking around all day? Treat yourself to a massage at the Wellness Centre and feels the aches disappear! Keen photographers and artists will revel in the multimedia room on Deck 5.


Ship Features

As a modern and custom-designed ship, the Greg Mortimer is at the cutting edge of nautical technology. Robust, powerful and built with our guests in mind, this ship marks a significant investment in our fleet's capabilities. From the European Arctic to the depths of Antarctica, and other far-flung destinations in-between, the Greg Mortimer will make your journey a breeze!

X-BOW™

Our expeditions face some of the worst Mother Nature can throw at us. However, this won't be problem on the Greg Mortimer with the introduction of the patented X-BOW™, created by Norwegian ship designer ULSTEIN. As one of the leaders in marine engineering, ULSTEIN's X-BOW™ is an inverted bow concept that's been built on over 100 vessels in the shipping industry. Excitingly, we are the first expedition cruise operator to utilise this technology for the challenging open ocean waves!

Hydraulic viewing platforms

Although there is no doubt that you'll love the aesthetics of the Greg Mortimer, we are all here to admire the spectacular landscape and spot the elusive wildlife in their natural habitat. To ensure you get the best views possible, the new ship features unique viewing platforms, custom-built for the Greg Mortimer. Accessed from Deck 5, the two platforms fold out hydraulically for unobstructed views of passing marine life and seabirds – make sure your camera is locked and loaded!

Zodiac launching platform

Zodiacs are a vital part of getting up close and personal on your adventure – sneaking into areas that the Greg Mortimer can't reach. On this new ship, there are specially designed launching platforms that enables us to load Zodiacs easily and quickly, allowing you to spend more time exploring on the two to three daily landings. There are 15 Zodiacs that are boarded from either side of Deck 3 (sea level), perfect for when there is a group of fluffy cute penguin chicks that we need a photo of!

Custom-built activity platform

Regardless of your destination, we offer a number of additional activities to allow you to see more of the environment. From kayaking and diving to climbing and ski touring, it's these optional activities that often leave the biggest impression on your trip as a whole. Onboard the Greg Mortimer, there is a spacious prep and loading platform for these activities and more – designed in consultation with our expert activity guides.

Environmentally friendly

Climate change and carbon emissions continue to be major issues that everyone needs to be aware of and actively managing. We at Aurora Expeditions treat preserving and protecting the environment with the upmost importance and this is reflected in several features on the Greg Mortimer.

This includes reduced emissions into the air and sea, lower energy consumption, high fuel efficiency, reduced light pollution for minimal wildlife disruption and lower on-board plastic use. It's vital to also mention the state-of-the-art virtual anchoring technology of the X-BOW™, which means the ship can float anchorless while launching Zodiacs, kayaks etc, without disturbing delicate sea floor areas.

We are inaugural members of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO), and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), highlighting our ongoing efforts to protect the most fragile environments around the world.

Safety features

Safety is always a critical element of Aurora operations, with the Greg Mortimer featuring the most up-to-date and concise safety technology across our fleet. This starts with the return-to-port equipment – not compulsory on a ship of this size – which duplicates the propulsion system. This enables the ship to maintain operating systems and comfort in the event of engine failure. Furthermore, the Greg Mortimer is Polar Code 6 compliant, holds BV class and is fully compliant with the latest SOLAS requirements. It's also built with a Rolls Royce stabiliser system.  If there's an incident or accident during your adventure, the ship has an onboard, fully-stocked medical centre – where our trained medical team can provide necessary treatment in a timely fashion.

Safety continues to be an issue that our team takes very seriously and the Greg Mortimer allows us to create an environment where you can concentrate on the brilliant landscape and wildlife, without worrying about your wellbeing.
 

Greg Mortimer Deck plans

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