Travelers looking for a more intimate, mid-size ship experience in the Caribbean have nearly 160 itineraries to choose from during Holland America Line’s 2014-15 Caribbean season.
Featuring nine of the line’s vessels sailing roundtrip from either Fort Lauderdale or Tampa, Fla., the cruises span the Caribbean on eastern, western and southern routes, as well as partial transits of the Panama Canal. The diverse itineraries visit 30 ports and give discerning guests more options than any other premium line exploring the region.
From October 2014 through April 2015, ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Ryndam, ms Westerdam and ms Zuiderdam sail regular Caribbean voyages, while ms Amsterdam and ms Prinsendam each sail one December holiday cruise in the region. The ships feature more than 10 different seven-, 10-, 11- and 14-day itineraries that can be combined into longer Collectors’ Voyages ranging from 14 to 25 days. All Fort Lauderdale departures feature a call at Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, diverse shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and kid-friendly activities.
My wife and I recently took the Eurodam to the Eastern Caribbean. The day at Half Moon Cay, which we saw as a time-filler for the line, was one of our favorite stops. The food service crew put on a very nice, fun, BBQ on Half Moon and the facilities were great.
Because we had re-discovered snorkeling at Grand Turk and the Virgin Island stops, we did it again at Half Moon and it was spectacular! The Caribbean cruises are every bit as much fun as the European or Alaskan cruises and the genteel quality of service we have come to expect from HAL is alive and well on the Eurodam. Next stop, the Western Caribbean! — Guest Jim Mullen
Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale Itineraries
During the season, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam will sail a series of seven-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries that can be combined to form a 14-day Collectors’ Voyage spanning both regions. Maasdam sails seven- and 10-day eastern routes, as well as longer 11- and 14-day southern itineraries. Noordam also features 10- and 11-day southern Caribbean cruises ideal for guests looking for a longer vacation.
In addition to the 14-day Collectors’ Voyages, the itineraries can be combined to form a diverse range of options, including an 18-day southern and western cruise on Noordam, a 21-day southern and eastern option on Maasdam and a 25-day nonrepeating double-southern route on Maasdam.
New for 2015, Noordam, Eurodam and Ryndam have added more dates to their already-robust schedules, giving guests expanded options to choose from.
Partial Panama Canal Transits
Guests looking to explore the lakes and locks of the Panama Canal without going through to the West Coast can embark on a convenient roundtrip Fort Lauderdale partial transit aboard Maasdam or Zuiderdam. The ships make their way to Gatun Lake and spend the day leisurely scenic cruising. During the 10-, 11- or 14-day departures the ships also visit several Caribbean ports. The partial transit itineraries can be combined with other Caribbean cruises to form a Collectors’ Voyage of up to 25 days.
Roundtrip Tampa Itineraries
Ryndam spends the Caribbean season cruising roundtrip from Tampa on seven-day western and 14-day southern itineraries. The two options can be combined to form a 21-day western/southern Caribbean Collectors’ Voyage. The ship makes a maiden call at Banana Coast, Honduras, and also visits Puerto Rico, Antigua, St. Lucia, Aruba, Curaçao, Guatemala, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Key West, Fla.
Celebrate the Season with a Festive Holiday Cruise
For travelers who like to get away from the hustle, stress and chill of December, the holiday season is a special time onboard. A total of 15 holiday sailings will ply the warm waters of the Caribbean on itineraries ranging from seven to 25 days. Several non-repeating itineraries can be combined to form a grand Holiday Collectors’ Voyage.
Guests looking to explore the Caribbean on Prinsendam and Amsterdam during the holidays can embark on their only Caribbean sailings of the season. Prinsendam leaves Dec. 18 on a roundtrip Fort Lauderdale cruise to the southern Caribbean. The 16-day itinerary includes 10 ports and stretches from Half Moon Cay to Tobago. Departing Dec. 22, Amsterdam sails a roundtrip Fort Lauderdale cruise on a 14-day southern Caribbean cruise.
During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all of the trimmings and indulge in a special Royal Dutch High Tea with fanciful holiday cookies and pastries. The ships’ international crew chorus performs a magical holiday show, while caroling and sing-alongs take place around the ship. Kids will delight in a visit from Santa Clause and holiday-themed crafts.
The New Year’s Eve sailings are the ideal setting to ring in a new year, featuring a festive holiday ball with a champagne toast.
Go “On Location” in the Caribbean
On each cruise, experiences such as the Island Magic Steel Drum Band, learning to weave and craft with palm leaves and the Reggae Movement Film Festival are part of Holland America Line’s “On Location” program. The itinerary sets the scene for guests to indulge in localized experiences that make time on board as enriching as visiting the ports of call through lectures, demonstrations and performances.
Will you be cruising in the Caribbean with Holland America Line this season? Tell us below!