43-Day Tropical & Antarctica Discovery Aboard the Seabourn Quest
Sail the Panama Canal, the full length of South America's Inca Coast, then experience Seabourn's ultimate Patagonia and Antarctica adventure!
Featured destination: Panama Canal
Begin your thrilling adventure by joining the convoy of ships gathered in the Caribbean off Cristobal. In the early morning, your ship joins the flotilla of hulls of every shape and purpose from the far corners of the globe. They gather in Limon Bay off the shoreline of Cristobal in the Caribbean Sea to form the day’s convoy.
Soon you will parade in file into the mighty Gatun Locks, there to be lifted patiently by inrushing water through three steps and exit into Gatun Lake to begin your transit of the canal. In truth, your ship sails from west to east, threading the jungled Gaillard Cut and before arriving at the Pedro Miguel Locks to begin your descent to the Pacific Ocean. At the Miraflores Locks, your ship files through the three descending steps, lowered gracefully by the outrushing waters into the mouth of the canal, bidding farewell to your convoy, and sailing on into the largest ocean on earth.
Featured destination: Manta, Equador
Manta is Ecuador's second largest port, north of Guayaquil which is the largest, and just south of the equator. With a population of approximately 140,000, Manta is a commercial center for fish and fruit, particularly bananas and plantains, which thrive in the tropical climate.
However its beaches and quaint fishing villages have long attracted tourists. Shrimp, tuna and giant blue and striped marlin run in abundance in the waters off its coastal plain. Manta's culture is a vibrant patchwork of the heritage and traditions of the country's early Native American, Spanish and black African slave settlers.
Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador
Located in the fertile lowlands near the Gulf of Guayaquil, Machala is said to be the banana capital of the world. Coffee and cacao are also important crops in the surrounding farmlands. The cathedral is impressive, and the church of Nuestra Señora de Chilla has an impressive depiction of the Virgin and child bedecked in golden finery, attended by a rustic, a dog and a goat.
Further afield, the Petrified Forest Puyango is the largest array of fossil trees in the world, with some measuring over six feet in diameter and nearly 50 feet long.
A 45-minute drive from the port city of Callao brings you to exciting Lima, the City of Kings. From its founding in 1535 until today, it remains one of the most important cities in all South America. The handsome old buildings from the earliest colonial days surrounding the Plaza de Armas contrast with the soaring modern towers rising in the newer sections of the city.
A busy port hard by the arid and mysterious Atacama Desert of Northern Chile. With the wealth generated by minerals flowing from the barren land, they’ve managed to build a pleasant town of parks and plazas, conquering, for a while, the emptiness beyond.
See the English clock ensconced in the Plaza Colon by British residents, and the uniquely hybrid architecture of the Customs House. In the manicured gardens and verges along Avenida O’Higgins, soil imported as ballast aboard visiting ore ships was used to augment the desert sands and nourish the greenery.
The towns are largely built of abundant local woods, and many houses are elaborately shingled in intricate designs. Even the cathedral is a beautiful, vaulted structure crafted of local hardwoods. The forest and the sea are the source of livelihood and much more in this rustic outpost.
Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan is a 350-mile/570 km channel separating the mainland of South America from the large Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego and connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The strait is between two and 20 miles wide, and earned the nickname Dragon’s Tail among sailors, for its tortuous path.
There are several Chilean national parks and monuments in the strait, including Los Pinguinos National Monument and a sanctuary for protecting humpback whales. Southern right whales are also known to frequent the strait’s waters. There are 41 light signals in the strait, including the San Isidro Lighthouse that has been restored and is now a museum, and the Evangelistas Lighthouse at the western entrance.
The strait was very difficult for sailing ships, due to unpredictable winds and tidal currents. Depending on tide conditions, even modern ships often opt for one of the alternative routes, because the tidal speeds are greatly exaggerated by the Venturi effect through narrows.
Antarctica! The name alone conjures up images of boundless ice, towering icebergs, comedic penguins, epic snowstorms, great sailing ships held tightly by ice and the hardy explorers striving to survive wrapped in thick, heavy parkas. All of this is, or once was, true. Today, vessels have changed and the level of safety on a journey to ‘The Great White Continent’ has increased immensely. Antarctica is the truest of wild places, the majesty of its pristine natural landscapes is second to no other location on earth.
The animals that thrive in the rigors of the Antarctic climate are present in such great numbers and concentrations that they must be seen to be believed. This untouched oasis harkens back to a time when the world was untouched by humanity, pure in its natural innocence. Antarctica has been a source of natural inspiration for as long as humans have been aware of its existence -- and it may produce in you one of the most exceptional emotional sensations it is possible to experience on our great planet.
About the Ship
The Seabourn Quest is the third iteration of the vessel design that has been called “a game-changer for the luxury segment.” True to her Seabourn bloodlines, wherever she sails around the world, Seabourn Quest carries with her a bevy of award-winning dining venues that are comparable to the finest restaurants to be found anywhere. Seabourn Quest offers a variety of dining options to suit every taste and every mood, with never an extra charge.