Holland America Line’s ships might be leaving Europe for the season, but if a cruise vacation to Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Turkey, the Baltic or northern Europe is on your mind for next year, it’s never too early to begin planning for summer 2014. And with several homeports to depart from, there’s an exciting adventure waiting with your name on it.
One of Holland America Line’s most beautiful and iconic homeports is Venice, Italy. Next year ms Noordam, ms Amsterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam all offer cruises from Venice, ranging in length from seven to 24 days.
Future Cruise Consultant Joanne recently visited Venice again, and in addition to a couple of fabulous photos she had some wise words to say about traveling to places she’s already visited before.
Where I always thought I want new ports, places I haven’t visited, I’ve decided that I actually like repeating ports. There is opportunity to do different things on each visit, thus really accumulating more in depth knowledge of the area. You discover what your favorite restaurant is, the supermarket location, fastest WiFi and how to negotiate the local transportation and even a little bit of the language.
I just finished reading The Inferno by Dan Brown and it’s set in Florence, Venice and Istanbul. As I was listening to the book, I was able to visualize all the places he mentioned in both cities because I have been there often and taken in all the sights right down to the cistern in Istanbul. I know exactly where Medusa’s head is located. It was so vivid in my mind, I found myself smiling and nodding.
I think what I want to get across is that when you are choosing a vacation, don’t write some place off just because you spent one day there on a cruise. Revisit and see something different this time or if you feel like you have seen what you need to see, then act like a local and sit in a cafe, talk to the locals and just enjoy the flavor of the place.
Mariners Jan and Dick Yetke recently cruised on ms Eurodam out of homeport Rotterdam, the Netherlands. As the birthplace of the company, Holland America Line’s roots are spread widely across this vibrant city. In 2014, ms Rotterdam will sail a European season of exciting voyages, with round-trip cruises up to 29 days.
Having cruised on Holland America Line so much, we have always heard a lot about the city of Rotterdam since it was where the cruise line started. So, we wanted to see the original Holland America Line building and the ship ss Rotterdam which is now permanently docked there and used as a hotel, conference center, etc.
We found the original building. It is at the end of a dock area and is where many ships left from a long time ago. Now there is a beautiful new cruise terminal nearby and the original building, which still says Holland America Line on top, is used as a hotel, the Hotel New York. It is really neat inside also — it has a cruise ship interior decor for the restaurant, lobby, etc.
We walked around there and then headed over to see the ss Rotterdam. She is looking beautiful!!! We parked and walked onboard the ship to see what it looked like back then. It was really fun to see!!! — Jan Yetke
Another homeport favorite is Barcelona, Spain. It is a growing cruise hub in the Mediterranean, and in 2014 several Holland America Line ships will spend 32 days there, including 14 overnights.
Recently it was announced that the Port of Barcelona will be ready to welcome visitors with a new look in 2016. The officers and staff of ms Noordam hosted a luncheon there last month for executives from Carnival Corporation & plc, executives from other Carnival Corporation brands, high-ranking Spanish politicians and dignitaries, local port officials and members of the media to celebrate Carnival Corp.’s announcement that it will build a new cruise terminal at the Port of Barcelona.
That announcement came during an earlier meeting at the Palau de la Generalitat, the seat of Catalonia’s regional government. The new terminal – Terminal E – will cover an area of approximately 10,000 square meters and will be able to accommodate Post-Panamax cruise ships in turnaround operations.
What is your favorite European homeport?