Port of Gdansk
Poland's history as a state began near the middle of the 10th century. By the mid-16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ruled a vast tract of land in Central and Eastern Europe. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive.
Location: Central Europe, east of Germany
Size: 312,685 sq km
Population: 38,562,189 (July 2015 est.)
Language(s): Polish, Silesian
Kiel Canal Transit
The Kiel Canal is a 98km (61 miles) long waterway located in northern Germany, which connects the North Sea to the Baltic Sea.
Location: Northern Germany
Length: 98km (61 miles)
Port of Lisbon
Following its heyday as a global maritime power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of Brazil, its wealthiest colony, in 1822. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986.
Location: Southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain
Size: 92,090 sq km
Population: 10,825,309 (July 2015 est.)
Language(s): Portuguese, Mirandesse
Port of Cadiz
Spain's powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. More recently the government has focused on measures to reverse a severe economic recession that began in mid-2008.
Location: Southwestern Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay, and Pyrenees Mountains; southwest of France
Size: 505,370 sq km
Population: 48,146,134 (July 2015 est.)
Language(s): Castillian Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque, Aranese
Port of Dubrovnik
Across the Adriatic Sea from Italy lies the strikingly beautiful landscape of Croatia. The natural beauty and clear water combine with an abundance of medieval towns making this a hallmark of the Mediterranean. Dubrovnik itself is an enchanting pedestrian city known for its intact city wall and towers; historic churches and museums. The clear waters and abundant marine life make snorkeling a popular activity. The small mountain village of Osojnik welcomes visitors with traditional folk music and food. Split’s waterfront promenade, with café’s, shops and palm trees is often called the “Riviera” of Croatia and the ruins of Roman emperor Diocletian’s palace provide ample opportunities to explore.
Port of Casablanca
In 788, about a century after the Arab conquest of North Africa, a series of Moroccan Muslim dynasties began to rule in Morocco. The Alaouite Dynasty, to which the current Moroccan royal family belongs, dates from the 17th century.
Location: Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara
Size: 446,550 sq km
Population: 33,322,699 (July 2015 est.)
Language(s): Arabic, Tamazight, Tachelhit, Tarifit, French
Tema: Oct 28 - 30, Takoradi: Oct 31 - Nov 1
Located in West Africa, the nation of Ghana is of rugged, sub-saharan beauty bursting with a unique and thriving culture. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy treks through the Accra plains and neighboring reserves, while those seeking an authentic village immersion experience can make homestay arrangements through SAS field programs. Tour the infamous Cape Coast Castle and Slave Dungeons for a historical African perspective on the 17th century slave trade, easily accessible from Takoradi.
Port of Salvador
Following more than three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil gained its independence in 1822, maintaining a monarchical system of government until the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the subsequent proclamation of a republic by the military in 1889. Brazilian coffee exporters politically dominated the country until populist leader Getulio VARGAS rose to power in 1930.
Location: Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean
Size: 8,515,770 sq km
Population: 204,259,812 (July 2015 est.)
Trinidad and Tobago
Port of Spain
Just off the coast of Venezuela lies the small nation of Trinidad and Tobago, two distinct islands that comprise this paradise nation (there is no word for “paradise” in the native language – they were living in it!) Archbishop Desmond Tutu called Trinidad & Tobago a “rainbow country” because of the many different races and traditions that make up the national character and society, harmoniously blending influences from Chinese, Indian, Spanish, English, African and native peoples. The country’s music, food, drink, dance, literature and folk traditions all reflect this rich cultural diversity. This is most vividly experienced during the annual Carnival activities. A leading exporter of oil, natural gas and pitch, Trinidad & Tobago is not only rich culturally, but also economically. Visitors may be surprised by the lack of beaches, but they will not be disappointed. Just adjust your expectations and be prepared to engage with the biodiversity of the rainforest, local university students and volunteers, and the warm, hospitable people for an amazing encounter in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Don’t leave without getting your own steel pan to bring home.
Capital: Port of Spain
Panama Canal Transit
Cross another item off your bucket list as you transit through the Panama Canal. Completed in 1914, the 52 mile-long canal is one of the world’s greatest feats in engineering, providing passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Enjoy an up-close look at the gargantuan locks as you coast through the canal that recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary and is undergoing a massive expansion project.
Locks: 3 locks up, 3 down per transit; all two lanes (2 lanes of locks; locks built in three sites)
Status: Open, extension in process
Navigation Authority: Panama Canal Authority
Date of First Use: August 15, 1914
Port of Guayaquil
Ecuador is a patchwork of indigenous communities, including people of colonial Spanish origins and the descendants of African slaves. Its capital, Quito, once a part of the Inca empire, has some of the best-preserved early colonial architecture on the continent. For a small country, Ecuador has many faces. They include Andean peaks, tropical rainforests and – 1,000 km (600 miles) off the coast – the volcanic Galapagos Islands, home to the animals and birds whose evolutionary adaptations shaped Charles Darwin’s theories. Traditionally a farming country, Ecuador’s economy was transformed after the 1960s by the growth of industry and the discovery of oil.
Port of Puntarenas
Costa Rica is a small, Central American nation known for its biodiversity and ecotourism, and has become a global hotspot for outdoor adventure. Whether it is surfing the Caribbean or Pacific coastline, taking in the jungle via zip line, exploring the cloud forests and rain forests, or participating in a guided tour of a sloth sanctuary, Costa Rica has adventure in every corner.