Victory Cruise Lines launches all-inclusive cruise-land Yucatán program

Two days of the trip are devoted to exploring the colonial city of Mérida Two days of the trip are devoted to exploring the colonial city of Mérida (Photo: SEFOTUR)

Victory Cruise Lines unveiled a nine-night, all-inclusive cruise between Miami and Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula that features three noted Mayan archaeological sites and other cultural and historical highlights of Quintana Roo, Yucatán 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, creating an 11-night, all-inclusive cruise and land experience for the cost of the cruise alone. Travelers 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 PortMiami Jan. 4, 2019, on the newly remodeled, 202-passenger Victory II, the sister of Victory I.

'Not only are we the first cruise line to feature all three states of the Yucatán 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,' Victory chairman Bruce Nierenberg said. He added the trip was designed in consultation with officials from each state’s government, ensuring 'access to unique sites and exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.'

Highlights 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.

The program features a significant land component, including an overnight land stay during the cruise to give participants access to UNESCO-listed Mayan archaeological sites, along with first-class food and entertainment, Nierenberg said.

The Quintana Roo portion includes a full-day exploration from Puerto Morelos in the heart of the Riviera Maya. In addition to visiting the Tulum archeological site, one of two evenings in Puerto Morelos will feature the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular, a journey through Mexico ́s history from the pre-conquistador era.

After Puerto Morelos, travelers head inland to the state of Yucatan, visiting Chichen Itza and the 'Magic Towns' of Valladolid and Izamal. Near Chichen Itza, they will see one of the best of 6,000 cenotes—rock formations that have formed pools with scenic underground rivers.

After touring Valladolid, travelers will overnight at Mayaland Hotel, built to create the feeling of a traditional Mayan village. The hotel is located within the archaeological zone of Chichen Itza, the most famous Mayan site on the Yucatán Peninsula, and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

Following a gourmet dinner at the hotel, Victory travelers will experience the Chichen Itza Sound & Light Show. 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 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.'

Victory II enters Yucatán state at the port of Progreso where passengers will spend two days exploring Mérida, a colonial city founded in 1542. They will visit one of the last working haciendas in the region, Sotuta de Peon, and Mayapan, a lost Mayan city, before participating in an ancient Mayan cleansing ceremony.

Next is the state of Campeche, where travelers will enter the Walled City of Campeche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of restored pastel buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, fortified ramparts and well-preserved mansions. Either before or after the nine-night cruise on Victory II, travelers will stay at the Hotel Plaza Campeche within the walled city for three days and two nights. This provides an all-inclusive immersion into Mexican history and culture, including an exclusive folkloric ballet show at the Toro Theater.

During the first season, Victory Cruise Lines will operate the 'Grand Mayan Experience' cruises to the Yucatán Peninsula from January through early May 2019. The second season is scheduled for November 2019 to May 2020.

Posted 14 February 2018

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review