Your journey starts with an overnight in this sprawling city, the largest in Ecuador. High-rise buildings line the Guayas river while colourful favelas blanket the hillsides. Visit Malecón 2000, the riverfront town square before posing with tame iganuas in the local park. Extend your adventure by adding a Pre-Programme to mystic Machu Picchu or the amazing Galápagos Islands.
After breakfast at your hotel, we take you on a guided city tour by bus to see its highlights and learn about its history. Possible sites of interest include the Clock Tower that dates back to 1842 or Henry Morgan’s pirate ship along the river. The tour ends at the pier where MS Fram awaits embarkation.
Known as the banana capital of the world, this area is surrounded by banana plantations - approximately 80% of Ecuador’s bananas are shipped through Puerto Bolivar. Join an optional excursion to an organic plantation and learn about their unique process of growing their banana plants – by playing classical music for them. Further ashore you can explore the Buenaventura Reserve where you have the chance to observe hummingbirds, hawks and parakeets, or walk amongst fossilized trees, flowers, and plants in the Petrified Forest of Puyango on one of our optional excursions.
Manta is a bustling port town with high-rise buildings and lovely beaches. You can visit the city museum which showcases artefacts from local pre-Colombian culture, a collection of Ecuadorian art, and weird and wonderful fishing paraphernalia. We recommend an excursion to nearby Montecristi where traditional Panamanian straw hats are hand woven.
A day at sea means you can attend interesting lectures, learn basic expedition photography, and enjoy the fresh sea air out on deck as you scout for wildlife. You can also use microscopes in the Science Center to analyse samples taken during the voyage or participate in a yoga and meditation workshop.
Panama City is much more than just the entrance to its famous canal. Visit the ruins of Old Panama City which was devastated by notorious pirate Henry Morgan. Hike 30 minutes up the 200-metre Ancón Hill and enjoy views of the skyscraper-lined cityscape and of the Casco Antiguo district which boasts a real mix of architectural styles.
We enter the Panama Canal near the city of Balboa. Experience the canal transit and the ingenuity of the lock's system firsthand as MS Fram is lifted over 26 metres above sea level, passing through man-made channels and lakes to eventually emerge in the Caribbean Ocean, effectively crossing from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
More than 365 cayes, islands and reefs make up the San Blas Islands. Only 49 are inhabited, exclusively by Guna Yala Indians, who protect their islands by only accepting ecologically friendly tourism and shunning mass market cruise ships. Try fresh red snapper with coconut rice and a Coco-Loco drink, before relaxing in a beach-side hammock.
Bocas del Toro is a stunning archipelago brimming with deserted sandy beaches, teeming coral reefs, and lush rainforest. It is home to Panama's first National Marine Park and one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. This `Galápagos of the Caribbean´ supports wildlife such as manatees, dolphins, turtles, sloths, monkeys, and iguanas.
Bocas del Toro - Sustainable Cacao FarmGreat views and chocolate tasting with a “feel good” factor! Enjoy a short boat tour and brief hike to the beautiful and fascinating Bocas Sustainable Farm.
Bocas del Toro - Cayo ZapatillaVisit the picturesque Zapatilla Cay – the setting for numerous episodes of the “Survivor” series. Enjoy the white sand beaches and fine coral for snorkelling as we scan for exotic wildlife.
Cacao Farm & Indigenous CommunityGet a taste of life in a Ngabe village, learn about organic cacao and enjoy a delicious chocolate tasting as you support the local community.
Your journey ends here at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal. Colón’s Canal Expansion Observation Center has viewing platforms over the locks and Gatún Lake. There is also a trade zone that attracts shoppers looking to make the most of its tax-free status. Why not explore more of Panama and add on a Post-Programme?
Included in your voyage
- Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
- Overnight in Guayaquil, including breakfast before the expedition cruise
- Transfer from the hotel to the ship, including guided tour of Guayaquil by bus
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune
- À la carte restaurant Lindstrømincluded for suite guests
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board
- English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore
- Range of included excursions
- Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics
- Use of the ship’s Science Centerwhich has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- Citizen Scienceprogramme allows guests to assist with live scientific research
- Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
- Use of the ship’s hot tubs, panoramic sauna, indoor gym
- Yoga and meditation sessions with an instructor
- Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come
- Escorted landings with small expedition boats
- Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities
- Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings before landings
Not included in your voyage
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Luggage handling
- Optional shore excursions with our local partners
- Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
- All planned activities are subject to weather conditions
- Excursions and activities are subject to change
- Please ensure you meet all visa entry requirements
- No gratuities expected
|Year of refurbishment||2020|
|Ship yard||Fincantieri, Italy|
|Passenger capacity||318 (200 in Antarctica)|
|Gross tonnage||11 647 T|
The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time, and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. MS Fram brings on the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology to make her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Polar Regions.
Some expedition cruises include excursions that can be reserved for no additional charge. These included excursions can often be combined with other excursions available in port.
Please note excursions are subject to change and are not yet available for booking for departures after March 2021.
Bocas del Toro - Sustainable Cacao Farm
Bocas del Toro - Cayo Zapatilla
Bocas del Toro - Cacao Farm & Indigenous Community
Extend your cruise
Get more out of your journey by adding a Pre- or Post-programme before or after your expedition cruise.