Trip Highlights

Inclusions

  • Escorted by celebrity tour hosts John & Linda Wheeler & Carey Hobbs
  • Services of a tour guide throughout
  • All flights as detailed
  • 18 nights Hotel accommodation with full breakfast daily
  • MSC Cruise 8 days/7 nights which includes all meals throughout
  • All transfers and tours as detailed in the itinerary
  • All flight taxes, accommodation taxes and service fees throughout the tour
  • Racecourse admission and hospitality packages as detailed in the itinerary
  • Other meals as detailed in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees throughout the tour (during day tours)
  • Destination: USA | MEXICO | CUBA
  • Duration: 28 days/27 nights
  • Commence: 15/05/2019
  • Ends: 11/06/2019
  • Price: NZD $19,890

Details:

Includes Baltimore; Caribbean Cruise with Honduras, Mexico and Cuba; Florida with Miami & Orlando & New York.

In the last 70 years the Triple Crown (American Racing’s Holy Grail) has been won by just 4 horses – Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and American Pharaoh.

The Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the 3 Triple Crown races having been established in 1867 followed 6 years later by the Preakness Stakes and another 2 years later by the Kentucky Derby. This tour does not “do” the Kentucky Derby but focuses on the 2nd and 3rd gems in this historic Triple Crown. Because of the gap of 3 weeks between the Preakness and the Belmont we’re able to build in a phenomenal travelling experience with the highlight a Caribbean Cruise that has 2 days in Havana, Cuba.

Tour Itinerary

Wednesday 15 May

NZ & Australia to Baltimore, Maryland

United Airlines & Air New Zealand Flights
Depart Auckland 4pm and arrive 11.53pm the same day in Baltimore Maryland. On arrival at Baltimore Airport the group will be met and transferred to our local Hotel for the next 4 nights. Given it’s after midnight when we check-in we’ll meet up back in the foyer at 8.15am next morning.

Wednesday 15 May – Sunday 19 May

Residence Inn by Marriott Baltimore Downtown/Inner Harbour

17 Light St, Baltimore, Maryland 21202

IN Wednesday 15 May OUT Monday 20 May – 4 nights Baltimore, MD

Non-smoking room includes free Wi-Fi, Full breakfast included

Thursday 16 May

Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico Racecourse

In the late 1930s on the porch of Pimlico Clubhouse, a group of trainers gathered most mornings to tout the merits of their horses or give alibis as to why their horses were not competing so well. Today’s Alibi Breakfast is a successor of these original gatherings where trainers, jockeys and owners of Preakness horses give unique insight to racing fans and media about the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown and what it takes to possibly become Thoroughbred racing’s next great legend. We’ll meet in the foyer at 8.15am for immediate departure and Breakfast commences at 9.30am.

Friday 17 May

Black-Eyed Susan day at Pimlico

A full day at the races as we head out to Pimlico to watch their 2nd biggest day of the year in Black-Eyed Susan day (1st race 11.30am) where we’ll have Admission and reserved seats with a multitude of refreshment areas at hand. Incidentally the Black-Eyed Susan is Maryland’s State Flower (it’s yellow and black) and the winner of the Preakness Stakes tomorrow will return to the Parade Ring with a garland of Black-Eyed Susans around his neck. Of course the official drink of the carnival is the Black-Eyed Susan which includes Bourbon, Vodka and Peachtree liqueur amongst its ingredients.

The Black-Eyes Susan race itself (starts at 4.50pm) is for 3yo Fillies and is raced over 1 mile and a bit!! Both today and tomorrow have massive race-cards with 14 races each day. Then at the end of the day (last race is at 6.28pm) we’re transferred back to our lodgings near Baltimore Harbour to ready ourselves for the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown.

Saturday 18 May

Preakness Stakes day at Pimlico

The middle gem in the Triple crown gives us a fabulous day’s racing back at Pimlico where this time we have a full Food & Beverage package (with reserved seating) to watch the 151st running of the Preakness Stakes (post time is 6.48pm). Again, we’ll have return transfers from the hotel to the track but with the 1st race at 10.30am and the last of the 14 races carded for 7.35pm it’ll be a long day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 19 May

Baltimore

We’re allowed a lie-in after the extravagances of Preakness Stakes day and have a completely free day to explore the city of Baltimore although if you have a hankering to look around Washington, DC then this is the day to organise it as it’s only a 90 minute drive away. Tonight will include a Group dinner with a few drinks at an inner Harbour restaurant.

Monday 20 May

Baltimore to Miami

We have a 9am transfer to Baltimore Airport for our midday flight to Miami. American Airlines Flight AA2531  Departs Baltimore: 11.55am Arrives Miami: 2.35pm

On arrival into Miami Airport the group are met and transferred straight to Port Miami to the Cruise Terminal where we’ll board the Cruise Ship MSC Armonia and take in an 8 day Caribbean, Cuba and Antilles Cruise. The Cruise will depart this evening at 7pm and after just one day at sea will stop in Honduras, Mexico and Cuba before returning to Miami.

Monday 20 May – Monday 27 May

MSC Armonia

We’re off on our glorious 8 day/7 night Caribbean Cruise on the MSC Armonia which, as already mentioned, departs Miami at 7pm.

Tuesday 21 May

Euchre tournament at sea

The only day where we’re “all at sea” and the Annual Epic Journeys Euchre tournament will take place. Will 2017 champions Peter Bingham and Wayne Beggs be back to reclaim their crown or will 2018 champions Patrick Campbell and Gary Alton fight them off? …or will the pre-tournament Bookies favourites in “Wheels and Hat” finally show their true form?? It’s sure to be a contest that will take the ship by storm and the apres euchre is sure to extend will into the Caribbean evening.

Wednesday 22 May

Isla de Roatan, Honduras

We arrive into the Island at 12 noon and depart again at 6pm (back on board by 5pm) so not a great deal of time here. Roatan is the biggest and most developed of the islands in this archipelago off the Honduran Coast and there will still be time to wander around the town and find a local restaurant and bar.

Thursday 23 May

Costa Maya, Mexico

The ship arrives into Costa Maya at 8am and departs at 6pm (back on board by 5pm) so plenty of time to wander around the port where there are plenty of restaurants and bars and good shopping. For the more culturally interested there is the opportunity to visit the quite fascinating Mayan ruins at Kohunlich and Chaccoben.

Friday 24 May

Cozumel, Mexico

An early arrival into Cozumel at 7am but an early departure as well at 3pm (back on board by 2pm) but there’s still plenty of time to explore this forty-kilometre-long island directly off the coast of Mexico. Cozumel is a renowned cruise-ship call: nearly every day, up to ten cruise ships dock at one of the island’s three dedicated piers, all just south of the only town, San Miguel. Here you will see restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and jewellery stores, all along the main avenue in downtown San Miguel. If you fancy a museum, the attractive Museo de la Isla de Cozumel has small displays of the flora, fauna and marine life of the island, as well as a good collection of Maya artefacts and old photos.

Saturday 25 May – Sunday 26 May

Havana, Cuba

Our ship arrives into Havana at 10am on Saturday and doesn’t depart until Sunday evening at 5pm. Although the Ship will be our “home” for the night we’re in Port in Havana we’ll have ample opportunity to experience the smells, sights and sounds of the island or more specifically Havana which is the capital city, largest city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado and the newer suburban districts and Old Havana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. That’s the geography lesson over folks – so let’s focus on the sights, attractions and entertainment in Havana. Whether it’s markets, restaurants and cafes, vintage motor vehicles, jazz clubs or nightclubs Havana has it all and a visit to the world-famous Tropicana nightclub is a must see. A city institution since its 1939 opening, the world-famous Tropicana was one of the few bastions of Havana’s Las Vegas–style nightlife to survive the revolution. Immortalized in Graham Greene’s 1958 classic Our Man in Havana, the open-air cabaret show here has changed little since its 1950s heyday, with scantily clad señoritas descending from palm trees to dance Latin salsa amid bright lights. It’s easily Havana’s most popular cabaret, none of which takes away from the magnificence of the spectacle. You will be given free rein to explore Havana and its environs at your leisure over these 2 days but there will be an included group dinner with drinks on the Saturday evening in Havana.

Monday 27 May

Arrive into Miami

The ship arrives into Miami at 7am and on arrival at the Port of Miami we’re met and transferred to our nearby hotel to drop our bags for safe-keeping and then the rest of the day is at your leisure. Return to the hotel to check in any time after 3pm and the Marriott AC Hotel Miami Beach is your home for the next 3 nights and our base while we explore Miami and the surrounds.

Monday 27 May – Thursday 30 May

Marriott AC Hotel Miami Beach

2912 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

IN Monday 27 May OUT Thursday 30 May – 3 nights Miami
Non-smoking room includes free Wi-Fi, Full breakfast included

Tuesday 28 May

Day tour from and of Miami

A fantastic day tour awaits which will start with the Everglades National Park and an airboat ride that cruises through the swamp channels before heading on to the lovely city of Coral Gables where we have lunch included. Then back into Miami and a tour of the Art Deco district and Little Havana (Yes – I know you’ve just been to the real thing) before we finish the day with a Biscayne Bay Cruise.

Wednesday 29 May

Miami

A completely free day to explore Miami the way you want whether it be golfing, shopping, more sightseeing or finding a local restaurant and bar.

Thursday 30 May

Miami – Miami – Palm Beach – Orlando

Our Coach departs Miami at 9.15am and we stop for a couple of hours in Palm Beach for a wander around and time to find lunch before continuing on to our home for the next 4 nights in Orlando.

Thursday 30 May – Monday 3 June

Orlando

Courtyard by Marriott Orlando Downtown
730 North Magnolia Ave, Orlando, Fl 32803

IN Thursday 30 May OUT Monday 3 June – 4 nights Orlando
Non-smoking room includes free Wi-Fi, Full breakfast included

Friday 31 May – Saturday 1 June

Orlando

Two completely free days to explore Orlando the way you want whether it be golfing, shopping, sightseeing or finding a local restaurant and bar. With Orlando home to the EPCOT centre, Disney World including the Magic Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom and
Hollywood Studios, Seaworld Orlando, Universal Studios Florida The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and many other attractions there’s plenty of choice.

Sunday 2 June

Tour to Cape Canaveral

A leisurely start to the day before we have a Half day tour to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Centre Complex which is NASA’s gateway into the history and future of American space travel. Lunch is included today for the group.

Monday 3 June

Orlando – New York City

We depart our Orlando Hotel sharp at 7.30am and head out to Orlando airport where we catch a flight to New York City’s JFK airport.

American Airlines Flight AA1555
Departs Miami: 9.45am Arrives New York JFK: 12.24pm

On arrival at JFK we’re met and transferred into the heart of Manhattan to the Marcel Hotel which will be our home for the next 6 nights.

Marcel Hotel
201 East 24th Street
Gramercy Park
Manhattan
New York 10010

IN Monday 3 June Out Sunday 9 June 6 nights in Manhattan
Non-smoking room includes free Wi-Fi, Full breakfast included

Tuesday 4 June

Manhattan day tour

We have our own spectacular tour of New York which will depart the hotel at 9.30am and return by 4.30pm with a short stop for lunch (included). Our tour will include Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero and the World Trade Center site, Central Park and an overview of Manhattan. …and still time this evening for a Broadway show.

Wednesday 5 June

New York City

A completely free day to explore the city – perhaps a visit to the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim, the Oyster bar in the iconic Grand Central station, Times Square or the antique emporium on East 25th Street. Or for the sports lovers there’s Baseball with the New York Yankees or the New York Mets and perhaps NBA Basketball with the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets because the finals are on and if neither of the New York franchises have made the finals – what better place to watch the finals than a New York bar? And for the real music lovers Manhattan is full of magnificent “Jazz and Blues bars”, most of which are in the Lower East side near Soho and Chelsea.

Thursday 6 June

New York City

For the race tragics among us there is an opportunity to go to Belmont today for the start of the carnival and General Admission tickets and return transfers to Belmont are included. For those who wish to continue their sightseeing of New York or head back to the Baseball or Basketball then Belmont is certainly not obligatory. A 3rd alternative is a day trip to Washington which we’re happy to assist in arranging.

Friday 7 June

Belmont Races

Day 2 of the Belmont Race carnival and today the featured races include the “Bed o’ Roses Invitational”, the Tremont (over 5 furlongs for the 2 yos) and the True North Stakes (all on dirt) and the New York Stakes and the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational over 2800mtrs (both on turf). We’ll have return transfers from our hotel to Belmont and General Admission tickets.

 

 

Saturday 8 June

Belmont Stakes Day

It’s Belmont Stakes Day and the 3rd leg of the elusive Triple Crown and with 5 x Group 1 races and 1 x Group 2 race it’s a day for the thoroughbred connoisseur. With the 1st race at 11.35am and the Belmont Stakes itself not until 6.35pm it’ll be another massive day but if we witness just the 5th horse in the last 70 years to win the Triple Crown it’ll be a day to remember for sure. Again, we’ll have return transfers from our hotel to the track but this time we’ll include a magnificent full hospitality package with premium seating and we’ll expect to be back at the hotel for a debrief around 8.30pm. It’s our final night in Manhattan and it’s Saturday night so time to celebrate what will have been a remarkable 3 and a half weeks in each other’s company.

Saturday 8 June

New York city – NZ & Australia

The very good news is we have a 4.20pm flight departure so an opportunity to lie in before off to the Sunday markets near Union station, a quick lunch and a 1pm departure from our hotel for Newark Airport.
United Airlines & Air New Zealand Flights example

Departs Newark: 4.20pm Arrives Los Angeles: 7.20pm
Departs Los Angeles: 9.30pm Arrives Auckland: 5.15am (Tuesday 11 June)

Your Guide for this Tour

Hosted by John and Linda Wheeler & Carey Hobbs

Join legendary “Hall of Fame “ trainer John Wheeler and his lovely wife Linda on an “escape the New Zealand winter” journey across the Tasman to witness the Sunshine Coast’s feature event on the racing calendar. Also playing host on this “must-do” tour is everyone’s favourite Racing secretary – Taranaki’s own sporting legend – Carey Hobbs.

PRICE: $19,890 NZD

per person

Single Room supplement is NZD$5,460*

All enquiries contact
info@epicjourneys.co.nz or
Phone: 0800 031 539.

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