Tag Archives: Caribbean

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Guest favorite Chef Natacha Gomez, better known as “Chef T,” was back on Amsterdam for the October 11 cruise, and while she was onboard she showed off her culinary skills during her popular cooking demonstrations. Known for her delicious Caribbean dishes, we wanted to share some of her recipes so you can cook like Chef T and bring the flavors of the Caribbean into your home.

ROASTED PORK WITH SWEET TAMARIND SAUCE

Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS:

Sweet Tamarind Sauce:
2 cups sweet tamarind sauce
5 cups apple juice
1 tbsp butter
Epis blend of: 1 red onion, 3 tbsp of parsley, 1 whole head of garlic (peeled), a dash of hot sauce or Boukan pat piman, 5 chives, 3 scallions & 3 shallots.

Roasted Pork:
1 bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder (8 – 9 lbs.)
Epis blend made of : 2 whole garlic heads peeled, 4 tbsp basil, 4 tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley, 4 tbsp shallots, 1/2 cup sour oranges, 5 sprigs of thyme, 1/2 cup of Barbancourt 3 Star rum, 2 scotch bonnet peppers with seed, 1 tbsp of salt & 4 green onions.

DIRECTIONS

Sauce
1. Boil the sweet tamarind with 3 cups of apple juice, then add the spices mixture, put in a blender and puree.

2. Return the mixture to a medium saucepan over medium heat and add in the remaining cups of apple juice.

3. Let the sauce reduce until you reach desired consistency and add sugar to taste; or increase the heat and finish with the butter for a smooth sauce.

Pork
1. In a food processor mix all the spices together and add the sour orange and rum, then set aside.

2. Using a small, sharp knife, make a cut on the side of the roast where the skin meets the flesh. Continue cutting, separating the skin from the flesh, leaving one end of the skin attached, then place the pork on a tray.

3. Rub the spice mixture all over the meat, pushing some of the mixture into the cuts and let it marinate overnight.

4. Heat oven to 325°F and place the pork shoulder skin side-up in a roasting pan, cover tightly with aluminum foil. Cook pork for 3-3 1/2 hours. Uncover and increase the heat of the oven to 476°F for 15 minutes or until the skin is brown and crisp.

5. Serve with the Sweet Tamarind Sauce

And because there’s always room for dessert…

KOKIYAJ CARIBBEAN TRIFLE WITH CRÉMAS

Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS:

16 Madeleines pans
5 oz Toasted large coconut flakes
1 Cup Cremas
10 oz pineapple cubes
1/3 cup pineapple juice
2 cream cheese 8oz
1/3 cup of sugar
Mint leaves for garnishing

Crémas Liquor:
1 can of sweet condensed milk
1 1/2 can of evaporated milk
½ cup of white Barbancourt rum
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients together and reserve.

Madeleine:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
4 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour madeleine pans carefully. Melt butter and let it cool.

2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk eggs, sugar and salt together until thick for about 8 minutes. Add vanilla and lemon zest. Using a rubber spatula, fold in flour, rapidly but gently. Fold in butter gently, but make sure it does not settle to bottom. Quickly spoon mixture into prepared madeleine pans. Bake until golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool on racks.

3. Mix the cream cheese with the sugar and pineapple juice and reserve.

4. Cut the madeleine in small pieces.

5. Place the cubes of cake in a large glass container pour the crémas on, add a layer of pineapple cubes, the pineapple cream cheese mixture and garnish with the toasted coconut and mint leaves.

Enjoy!

About Chef Natacha Gomez
Chef Natacha Gomez began her culinary endeavors at the young age of nine working at her family’s restaurant, “Caille Toto”. Now, with more than 25 years of experience, Chef T is the catering manager for Kokiyaj Bar and Grill, as well as the proud founder of “Le Salon de la Nouvelle Gastronomie Haitienne” — a food festival promoting local business and various organic products.

There's nothing but the ocean and horizon when you set sail on a crossing.
There's nothing but the ocean and horizon when you set sail on a crossing.

Winter is coming, and just not in Westeros (for all you Game of Thrones fans!). That means the Caribbean is heating up to usher in warmer weather for those guests who are getting ready to face chilly temps and snow. Across the fleet Holland America Line ships are preparing to reposition from their summer homes in Europe and other regions to summer-like climates such as the Caribbean and South America.

As the ships move from one region to the next a number of unique itineraries become available, giving guests the chance to experience the best of both worlds on a cruise: relaxing days crossing oceans and seeing some incredible ports of call. Read on to learn the why, when and where of transatlantic repositioning cruises!

Take time to catch up on a good book during the days at sea.

Take time to catch up on a good book during the days at sea.

Crossing the Atlantic from Europe to the Caribbean
Transatlantic itineraries are the most popular ocean crossing options. From Europe to the Caribbean or vice-versa, guests set out to open sea with itineraries that combine unique ports and relaxing days at sea. Come fall, Koningsdam, Eurodam, Oosterdam and Prinsendam all set sail for Florida, ending in their homeports of either Fort Lauderdale or Tampa.

There’s still time to be apart of history as Koningsdam — our newest ship — makes its way for the first time from Europe to the Caribbean on the Oct. 24, 2016, 16-Day Passage to America crossing. Departing from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, and crossing to Fort Lauderdale, the ship explores Spain with calls at Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Alicante, Malaga and Cadiz, as well as Funchal, Madeira, before spending seven days at sea.

Oosterdam departs Civitavecchia Nov. 3 on a 15-Day Spanish Passage voyage to Tampa, the only Holland America Line ship sailing from this port this winter. The ship calls at Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Cartagena and Funchal before traversing the Atlantic for eight days. Eight days at sea provide the ultimate options for unwinding and rejuvenating before arriving at Fort Lauderdale.

Also departing November 3 from Civitavecchia, Prinsendam crosses the Atlantic on a 16-Day Journey to the New World cruise that ends at Fort Lauderdale. Our Elegnat Exporer makes calls at Barcelona, Cartagena, Malaga, Huelva (Seville); Lisbon, Portugal; and Funchal before spendign seven days at sea. Unlike the other ships, Prinsendam will then head to the Amazon via the Caribbean for a 29-Day Amazon Explorer cruise.

Eurodam’s 15-Day Passage to America departs from Barcelona November 4 and also explores the Spanish ports of Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Malaga and Cadiz, as well as Funchal.

What’s to Love About a Transatlantic?
Guest Bob Hale loves that a transatlantic cruise offers plenty of time to enjoy all of Holland America Line’s fabulous culinary offerings and to rest. After all, the ocean is vast, which means more days at sea. Guests who are fans of sea days, like Ester Cooke, treat the ship like a destination in itself, taking time to engage in onboard activities at the Culinary Arts Center, Digital Workshops powered by Windows and more. Another great perk? When you cruise across the ocean you can slowly adjust to changing timezones — which means no jet lag! And going from east to west means an additional hour each day to enjoy the ship’s amenities.

What’s there to do on a sea day, you might ask? Holland America Line understands that our guests seek knowledge and enjoy learning new things. With that in mind, sea days are full of possibilities leaving it up to you. Do as little or as much as you want, the choice is yours.

Culinary Classes
With guest chefs, cooking classes, wine tasting and mixology classes, the Culinary Arts Center makes it is easy to embrace your culinary passion at sea. Holland America Line has award-winning chefs scheduled to come onboard throughout the year, so check the schedule to see when your favorite is sailing.

Koningsdam's Culinary Arts Center is a state-of-the-art show kitchen with its own growing area.

Koningsdam’s Culinary Arts Center is a state-of-the-art show kitchen with its own growing area.

In addition to demonstrations and classes put on by the guest chefs, guests also have the opportunity to learn from Holland America Line’s own professional staff. Classes offered cover a variety of topics from seasonal cuisine to learning how to make the impressive fruit and vegetable art displays seen during the cruise.

Digital Workshops
If you’re looking to get the most out of your gadgets and learn new ways to use them, the Holland America Line Digital Workshops powered by Windows are perfect … and complimentary! Guests can attend classes and learn how to do almost anything with their computer — from sharing vacation photos with family to blogging about your trip. If you think you’ve already learned everything you needed to know from the techsperts on your last Holland America cruise, think again! Check out this blog post about the new classes that have been added and start thinking about which ones you hope to attend on your next cruise.

Techsperts offer complimentary classes in the Digital Workshop.

Techsperts offer complimentary classes in the Digital Workshop.

BBC Earth Changes Your View of the World
Be among the first guests to enjoy exclusive BBC Earth Natural History content on board with BBC Earth Experiences. Learn about the ocean and natural world through amazing concerts, films, shows and children’s activities. Be transported to the majestic wilderness of the Polar Regions with a live concert set to the backdrop of the breath-taking footage from Frozen Planet. Test your knowledge in an exciting new game show uncovering the weird, wonderful and obscure in our natural world.

Spa & Fitness
On sea days, many guests love to head to the Greenhouse Spa to enjoy an incredible and relaxing experience. You might be feeling run down from all the exciting ports you’ve been visiting, making the Greenhouse Spa the perfect place to get refreshed and rejuvenated. Take advantage of the relaxing treatment rooms and indulge in a massage or facial therapy.

Eurodam's hydropool is as relaxing as it gets!

Eurodam’s hydropool is as relaxing as it gets!

If you want to get active, the fitness center is nearby and offers all kinds of classes including yoga, pilates, indoor cycling and cardio circuit training.

Try a TBX class on Koningsdam's crossing.

Try a TBX class on Koningsdam’s crossing.

On Kondingsdam, there’s even a TRX class that is the first in the fleet. Classes are offered for participants of all different levels, so no need to feel intimated. If you prefer to work out on your own you can take advantage of the state-of-the-art gyms that feature treadmills, rowing machines, weight machines and more.

Explorations Café
Relax and catch up on the latest news at the Explorations Café. This comfortable coffee house environment is perfect for browsing one of the most extensive libraries at sea. You can also read the morning paper and enjoy fresh pastries. The café features internet stations and wireless hotspots, destination-related content, jigsaw puzzle tables and cozy chairs overlooking the ocean. And if the “New York Times” crossword puzzle is a morning favorite, test your knowledge at the ones onboard developed exclusively for Holland America Line.

Shopping
If you didn’t find a painting you liked, there is still one last place to splurge onboard. A world-class shopping experience is just steps away with the “Signature Shops.” Pick out a piece from the selection of jewelry, watches or souvenirs, try a new fragrance, or indulge in some premium liquor. And if you’re looking to purchase a fine piece of jewelry, Merabella has what you’re looking for. Whatever you choose, it will make a fine reminder of your vacation.

Time to shop!

Time to shop!

There’s still so much more to do onboard so be sure to read the daily program. Whether you like to test your luck bingo, participate in team trivia or play bridge, there are plenty of activities throughout the day!

Holland America Line's Caribbean cruises are calling...
Holland America Line's Caribbean cruises are calling...

If you’re looking for a warm winter getaway, a Holland America Line Caribbean cruise is exactly what you need. The line’s elegant ships let guests experience the Caribbean in absolute comfort and style, sailing to some of the region’s most popular islands as well as some off-the-beaten-path jewels.

The Caribbean features something for everyone. For foodies, the diverse mix of cultural influences in the islands make for eclectic cuisine options. Adventurers can explore some of the world’s largest reefs or head to the only rain forest that is part of the U.S. forest system. And if all you want to do is dig your toes in the sand and listen to the crashing waves, the powdery white sand beaches will have you feeling like you’re living a dream.

Beginning in October, eight Holland America Line ships will cruise the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, Florida. Among them — the line’s new flagship Koningsdam — sailing from a U.S. port for the first time since entering service in April. The ships will cruise itineraries ranging from four- to 21-days to the Bahamas, eastern, western and southern Caribbean, and will even take guests to beautiful island destinations during the holidays. If you’re not sure which one to choose, here’s some more information.

Half Moon Cay
Perhaps the highlight of all of Holland America Line’s Caribbean cruises is Half Moon Cay — featuring a blissful island experience unlike any other. This is Holland America Line’s own private island in the Bahamas, named Porthole Magazine’s “Best Private Island” 11 years in a row. Guests can spend the day in ultimate relaxation, basking on powdery beaches beside a crystal-clear sea. The island features plenty of water activities, waterfront bars and private beachside cabanas.

Try a water activity or just hang in the sand at Half Moon Cay.

Try a water activity or just hang in the sand at Half Moon Cay.

Eastern Caribbean
Eastern Caribbean islands include St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and the Turks & Caicos.

Grand Turk is the capital island of the Turks & Caicos. Its surrounding clear blue waters offer world-class snorkeling spots filled with beautiful reefs and abundant marine life. For divers, checking out some of the area’s popular wreck sites will be the highlight of their stay.

San Juan is the oldest U.S. territory.

San Juan is the oldest U.S. territory.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, founded in 1521 by Ponce De Leon, is the oldest city in U.S. territory. It makes for a beautiful vista as guests cruise in and sail by El Morro — the oldest Spanish Fort in the New World. You can explore the city’s many plazas, churches and gardens or head to Casa Bacardi, for a tour of one of the famous brand’s distilleries. If you’re looking for adventure, you can reach the only rain forest that belongs to the U.S. forest service, El Yunque.

Western Caribbean
Western Caribbean cruises include world-class diving opportunities and ancient Mayan ruins. Itineraries feature a mix of calls at Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Key West, Fla.; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Roatan, Honduras; and Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala.

Get to know the locals at Grand Cayman.

Get to know the locals at Grand Cayman.

Georgetown has everything you would expect from a Caribbean hotspot: warm breezes, clear seas and an infectious, laid-back attitude. Here, guests can walk along the world-famous Seven Mile Beach or on the streets and stroll by historic sites and lush gardens. Those looking for adventure can head into the waters and enjoy a swim, snorkel or dive.

Roatán, Honduras, lies about 40 miles off the coast of the Central American country, sitting atop an ancient, exposed coral reef. For divers, this spot is conveniently located near the second-largest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Reef. Mahogany Bay, where the ship will be, features white-sand beaches which can be reached by a scenic chairlift. Guests who opt to stay near the Mahogany Bay cruise center can shop for local art made of salvaged materials or visit the Stone Castle Cameo Factory that features cameos made of conch shells.

Explore the Kohundlich ruins at Costa Maya.

Explore the Kohundlich ruins at Costa Maya.

Costa Maya, Mexico, boasts dozens of Maya sites, some only recently rediscovered and excavated. These include pyramids, temples and ceremonial centers in places like Chacchoben and Kohunlick. Chacchoben features several pyramids that have been restored by archaeologists. On a tour, guests can climb the Grand Basement and learn about the wildlife and medicinal plants that are used by the modern-day descendants of the ancient Mayan people. Kohunlich features the popular Temple of the Masks, a pyramid flanked by large masks made of stucco.

Southern Caribbean Cruises
Southern Caribbean cruises feature off-the-beaten-track islands, not typically included on eastern and western Caribbean cruises, like St. Lucia, Martinique and Barbados, and further south the popular ABC islands of the Lesser Antilles: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.

The ABC Islands all have their own character. Aruba is located just off the coast of Venezuela. Its capital, Oranjestad, is a maze of Dutch-colonial architecture painted in a palette of Caribbean pastels. Its California Lighthouse offers the best vistas of the northern section of the island. Popular souvenirs are jewelry and gold — which was mined here in the 19th century.

Bonaire is even more laid-back than other Caribbean islands and has a sleepy feel. It also boasts a stunning natural habitat with plenty of beautiful wildlife. The island has Amerindian, Spanish, African, Dutch and British influences, making it an interesting place for a stroll around town. You may hear Papiamento, the creole language spoken throughout the Netherlands Antilles, or some French and Portuguese.

Watch the flamingos wade and play in the salt flats at Bonaire.

Watch the flamingos wade and play in the salt flats at Bonaire.

Curaçao features a deepwater harbor, interlacing waterways and narrow shop fronts. Its capital of Willemstad features pastel neighborhoods highlighted by picturesque markets. The Hato Caves are one of the most famous sites here — beautiful limestone formations and caves. The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring a fruit and vegetable market and beautifully colored merchant houses on the quayside.

Do you see the Dutch influence in Curacao?

Do you see the Dutch influence in Curacao?

Itineraries
Holland America Line’s ships begin to reposition to the Caribbean in October. Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Prinsendam, Rotterdam, Veendam and Zuiderdam will all sail from Port Everglades this winter. For more details on specific itineraries, click here.

Fourteen-day (and longer) Collectors’ Voyages combining shorter cruises to different regions are also available. For guests who find it more convenient to depart from Tampa, Florida, Oosterdam will sail a series of western and southern Caribbean cruises through March.

Have you been thinking of a warm winter getaway? Which cruise would you choose? Tell us in the comments below.

Horseback riding tours are offered in ports around the world.
Horseback riding tours are offered in ports around the world.

Call all horse-lovers and those who just seek an adventure! Saddle up for a gallop across the globe! From the warm beaches of the Caribbean to breathtaking mountains of Iceland, Holland America Line offers many shore excursions for cruisers to go horseback riding. Whether you’re a cowboy, cowgirl or just someone looking for a little excitment, “tack up” and hold on tight while we take you through some of our favorite places to ride.

“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom.” –Sharon Ralls Lemon

Ride Through Winding Mountains in Reykjavik, Iceland

Ahh, peaceful Iceland. It’s scenic fjords and mountains are worth a little wind chill! If you find yourself on a cruise calling at Reykjavik, this tour is a must. Here, experts and novices alike enjoy a scenic ride through the Icelandic countryside.

Reykjavik

Guests get the rare opportunity to ride the famous breed of Icelandic pony, a purebred descendant of the horses brought to Iceland by the Vikings more then 1,000 years ago! Hardy, sure-footed and friendly by nature, Icelandic horses are extremely pleasant to ride. The tour is guided by an expert rider, and all necessary riding gear is supplied. All you have to do is enjoy the view!

Trot Along The Golden Paths of Skagway, Alaska

Heading west to Skagway, Alaska, this shore excursion is the perfect way to see nearly two hours of pure Alaskan beauty. Guests begin this tour with a entertaining drive through charming, historic Skagway and along the scenic coastline to the ranch in Dyea. Once you arrive at the ranch, you’ll climb aboard your trusty steed and head off into the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park.

Skagway

Trot down trails as your knowledgeable guide tells tales from the wild days of the gold rush. You’ll pass by some of the few remaining signs of what was once a rambling gold rush town of 10,000, including the Slide Cemetery. Ride out of the rain forest and onto the Dyea flats overlooking the northern tip of Lynn Canal. Soak in the serenity and marvel at the majestic mountains, streams and Alaskan wildflowers. After the ride, relax with your guide as you enjoy refreshments and Alaskan salmon pâté. This adventure is sure to invigorate those who have been lured to Alaska by tales of its spectacular beauty.

Saddle Up By Land and Sea at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

HMC Horses

No harm, no foal if you can’t stand the cold! Warmer regions offer many options for those looking to ride. Saddle up for the horseback riding experience of a lifetime at our award-winning private island, Half Moon Cay! A short tram ride will bring you to the corral where you’ll go through an orientation setting before setting off to the highest point of the island and enjoy panoramic views. From there you’ll continue along the bay back to the corral to enjoy a refreshment while your horse is prepared in a special saddle pad for swimming. Finish off this tour of a lifetime by heading into the turquoise-blue ocean for the unique sensation of riding a horse while it’s swimming!

Ride Along The Shores of Castries, St. Lucia

This tour departs the pier at Castries, St. Lucia, for a 30-minute drive to Hoof Print Horse Ranch. From there you’ll drive through the town of Castries and up the Morne to the Roseau Valley. Enjoy spectacular views of banana plantations and lush tropical mountainous landscaping.

Castries

Next, you’ll meet your horse and listen to safety instructions before saddling up. Take pleasure in a delightful two-hour ride that allows you to truly relax and take in the sights and sounds of Roseau. You’ll spot St Lucia’s very own rum distillery off in the distance and catch a close-up view of what was once the sugar cane plantation, as well as swinging by Roseau Village.

Finish off this amazing tour with a visit to Roseau Beach, where you will have a chance to swim in the Caribbean Sea with your horse! At the conclusion of your trek, you’ll return to Hoof Print Horse Ranch for refreshments.

Splash Around Ocho Rios, Jamaica, on Your Trusty Steed

OchoRios

Begin this tour with a drive along the scenic coastline in an air-conditioned bus. Once you arrive it’s time to saddle up for the horseback ride and swim. Guides will educate you on Jamaica’s rich history, culture, flora and fauna as you ride along the Papillion Cove where Return to Treasure island and Passion & Paradise were filmed. See the remains of Richmond and Llandovery, two of the oldest sugar estates on the island. Feel the refreshing Caribbean breeze when you look out over Chukka Beach, then end the journey with a cold drink as your guide unsaddles the horses for an amazing bareback ride in the ocean.

Trot Through Turquoise Waters at Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Horse

This horseback ride and swim adventure begins with a transfer to the quaint fishing village of Sandy Bay. Saddle up for this spectacular ride featuring panoramic views of the Jamaican coastline with a picturesque mountain in the backdrop. Learn interesting facts about Jamaica’s second city and tourism capital, Montego Bay. You don’t have to be an experienced rider to enjoy this tour as the horses are well trained and your attentive guide will be there to assist all riders along the way.

Choose From Two Unique Riding Tours at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

A call at Puerto Vallarta offers two different horseback riding journeys ashore. The Countryside on Horseback tour begins with a short drive to a hacienda where your guide will conduct a short orientation, then match each rider with a horse that suits his or her ability. Riding along the Mascota River, you will pass through quaint little villages, viewing local scenery and vegetation including mangos, bananas and an assortment of different trees. If conditions permit, you can enjoy the hot springs and a swim on horseback!

The Hidden Beaches by Sea & Horseback tour is a bit more epic. Start your tour aboard a comfortable, all-weather, inflatable speedboat – the ultimate way to discover traditional fishing villages and the spectacular beaches of Quimixto and Pizota on Puerto Vallarta’s pristine southern shores.

Mexico Beach

The outstanding scenery will mesmerize you as you leave civilization behind and the tropical jungle dips toward the ocean below. The lush forest provides a spectacular backdrop to the hidden jewels of Quimixto and Pizota, both of which are only accessible by sea. Small groups are guaranteed and your guide will make sure that you have an outstanding day of discovery and adventure.

While in the charming Mexican fishing village of Quimixto, take an interesting and insightful horseback ride to some beautiful waterfalls where you can enjoy a swim in the refreshing waters.

Pizota is the next stop — a tiny settlement well off the radar of most travelers to Vallarta where the pace of life is distinctly relaxed. The spectacular beach and pristine waters provide the perfect location for snorkeling and kayaking but it is the peace and quiet of this remote village that is truly stunning, offering the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind.

Take In Scenic Views By Horseback At Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Come smell the fresh salt air on this shore excursion as you ride a horse alongside the mighty Pacific Ocean. Begin by boarding a vehicle for the approximately 35-minute scenic drive to one of Cabo’s Pacific beaches. There, you’ll meet your guide at a quaint seaside ranch, mount your horse and set off on a leisurely hour-long ride along the cactus-lined beach.

Cabo

From atop a sand dune January through March, you might be able to spot migrating whales. Enjoy a beverage back at the ranch, where you will have a short time to explore the traditional desert houses, interact with the farm animals and shop at the boutique filled with local arts and crafts before returning to the pier.

Catch A Canter At Chiloe Island, Chile

Begin this journey at the Port of Castro, then head north along a rural road. Admire the typical houses of the island on your way to the foothills of Piuchen Mountains. You’ll isten to a short safety briefing, then pick a horse. Next you’ll begin your ride along the countryside paths from the thick vegetation of Coihues to the shores of Lake Rio San Pedro. Breathe in the fresh air as you take in picturesque views of quaint farmlands surrounded by an evergreen forest. Finish off this enjoyable tour with a light snack served by the riverside.

Explore Something More Exotic at Puerto Montt, Chile

This adventure begins with a 45-minute drive to the charming area of Frutillar, located in the Los Lagos region of southern Chile. Upon arrival at the stables, you will have the opportunity to listen to a short briefing about horseback riding and riding gear.

Puerto Montt

Once you’re ready to ride you’ll hop on a horse and start with soft slopes. Keep your eye out for the local sheep herds and learn about livestock management from your local guide. The long path goes deep into the exotic Valdivian Rainforest. This temperate forest is part of the Neotropic Ecozone that lies mostly in Chile and extends into a small part of Argentina. Your guide will point out the local flora and fauna as you enjoy the beauty of the forest.

There’s no greater way to adventure than with the wind in your hair and the “clip-clop” of a horse’s hooves on the ground beneath you. Whether your life journey takes you to Iceland, Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexico or Chile, we guarantee these tours on horseback offer a fulfilling adventure.

And remember, all of your tours can be pre-booked so you don’t miss out on your dream shore excursion. Click HERE to book now!

Hannah from Getting Stamped thought her Caribbean cruise was a reason to jump for joy!
Hannah from Getting Stamped thought her Caribbean cruise was a reason to jump for joy!

Five of the world’s leading travel social influencers recently cruised the Caribbean on Eurodam and had a fantastic time. Their itinerary called at Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Half Moon Cay, our private oasis in the Bahamas.

We invited Dave’s Travel Corner, Getting Stamped, Healthy Voyager, Never Stop Traveling and True Nomads to see why cruising the Caribbean with Holland America Line is an incredible way to spend the week exploring this tropical and sun-kissed part of the world.

Join them on their journey and see why the next Holland America Line cruise you book should be to meet up with the golden sands, turquoise waters and swaying palms of the Caribbean.

DAVE’S TRAVEL CORNER

Dave from Dave’s Travel Corner loved Half Moon Cay and he can’t wait to return.

There is a private island where the wind blows in the beach pines and the gentle surf laps on the silky white sand. A place that is much loved for moments that can be counted as too short and then left to it’s natural state just as quickly. This place is Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, a private island.

During his time ashore, he participated in the Horseback Riding by Land and Sea Journeys Ashore shore excursion. Take a look:

Read his entire blog post about Half Moon Cay by clicking HERE.

GETTING STAMPED

Hannah and Adam of Getting Stamped counted down the Top Eight Reasons To Take A Caribbean Cruise on their blog after experiencing Eurodam.

The list includes no shoveling, no winter jackets, no cleaning, no dishes, no cooking, no alarm clock, no responsibilities and no traffic jams!

GSCollage

THE HEALTHY VOYAGER

Carolyn of The Healthy Voyager is a holistic nutritionist, vegan chef, cookbook author, speaker, show host, consultant and healthy travel expert who took her very first cruise on Eurodam. And now we think it’s safe to say she’s hooked!

From the moment I stepped onto the ship, I was in heaven. A veritable floating city, the Eurodam has 5 restaurants, several bars, a coffee shop, night club, casino, movie theatre, stores, 2 pools, state of the art gym, spa, salon, basketball court and a 2 story live show auditorium. You want for nothing on the ship and 7 days isn’t enough to experience it all!

No matter your age or interests, the Eurodam had something for you. For families, you can request the family staterooms that sleep 4-6 and send the kids off to “camp”! So many fun activities on board for little ones while the adults have plenty to do as well. From Dancing with the Stars contests and cooking classes for those hands-on experiences to relaxation for those who need a break, I can tell you, you can find it aboard a Holland America Line ship!

HealthyVoyagerCollage

Read her most recent article about her Caribbean cruise HERE.

NEVER STOP TRAVELING

Marcia from Never Stop Traveling is a travel expert, and this trip on Holland America Line wasn’t her first cruise. In fact, cruising on Eurodam is a familiar experience for Marcia.

MarcyCollage

Marcia wrote on Never Stop Traveling:

You know the feeling when you are about to meet an old friend after a long period of time, with excitement and expectations on high alert? That’s a bit how I felt when I recently boarded Holland America Line’s Eurodam on its first Caribbean sailing of the season. It had arrived early that morning after crossing the pond from Europe.

Today’s Eurodam is not your father’s Holland America ship. The staff continues to be made up primarily of men and women from the Philippines and Indonesia. They provide a traditionally high level of service that HAL has honed into a fine art. And the 21st century is alive and well on this venerable line and continues to pleasantly surprise returning guests.

TRUE NOMADS

True Nomads specializes in diving around the world, and the Caribbean is known to have some of the best diving spots. From Grand Turk’s famous wall to the crystalline waters of Half Moon Cay, this itinerary is a diver’s dream. True Nomads’ Monira and Christopher also took time to explore the ports from above the water as well!

TrueNomadsCollage

TrueNomadsCollage2

JOIN US IN THE CARIBBEAN WITH VIEW & VERANDAH

Now is the ideal time to book a Caribbean cruise. Not only is our View & Verandah promotion in full swing, Eurodam — one of the premier ships in the region — just emerged from dry dock with some fantastic new upgrades and amenities. Check out the ship’s refurbished suites, which are available to book under View & Verandah’s free upgrade. Additionally, the Vista-class Oosterdam will soon feature similar suite upgrades and both ships will sail Europe this summer season with numerous sailings also featured during the View & Verandah event.

A refreshed Neptune Suite.

A refreshed Neptune Suite.

The fabulous Neptune Suite bathroom.

The fabulous Neptune Suite bathroom.

A Signature Suite is the ideal "home" to cruise the world.

A Signature Suite is the ideal “home” to cruise the world.

The offer includes stateroom upgrades, up to 10 percent off shore excursions and up to 25 percent off Collectors’ Voyages on 2016-2017 sailings when booked by Feb. 29, 2016!

Are you ready to cruise the Caribbean this year? Which ship will you choose?

Dance the night away as you ring in 2017 on a Holland America Line cruise.
Dance the night away as you ring in 2017 on a Holland America Line cruise.

If you’re looking for something unique and exciting to do next New Year’s Eve, celebrate onboard a Holland America Line cruise. With options in Australia, Asia, South America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Panama Canal over the holiday, you can be sure you’ll welcome 2017 in grand style.

When guests break into “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight and you clink glasses with friends old and new, or if you’re dancing the night away at a Black & White Ball or having a quite moment on deck under the stars with your loved one, there’s nothing more spectacular or unforgettable than being onboard for New Year’s Eve.

Here are some incredible cruises around the world that allow you to usher in 2017 like never before.

Ring in the New Year Down Under

If you’re looking for an exotic destination to ring in 2017 while keeping the warm weather, we recommend a cruise to Australia and New Zealand. There is so much adventure to be found in this part of the world to start the year on a good note. Cruise through the awe-inspiring beauty of Milford Sound’s fiords, play with penguins at Auckland or encounter Aussie-native kangaroos and koalas at Sydney.

Milford Sound, Sydney and Auckland are a few highlights on the New Year's cruise Down Under.

Milford Sound, Sydney and Auckland are a few highlights on the New Year’s cruise Down Under.

The 28-Day New Zealand Discovery and Pacific Treasures Holiday itinerary departing Dec. 7, 2016, is a Collectors’ Voyage on Noordam sailing roundtrip from Sydney. Thoroughly exploring the coast of New Zealand, this cruise also takes guests to some islands of the South Pacific for a chance to experience a different culture. This itinerary is the perfect combination of small, charming ports and big, busy cities where 2017 is welcomed with adventure, relaxation and rejuvenation.

For those with less time to spare, the 17-Day Australia and New Zealand Holiday is a great option. This cruise on Maasdam starts Dec. 16, 2016, at Sydney and ends at Auckland, New Zealand. It also visits a range of cities on New Zealand’s coast including a trip through the Milford Sound fiords. It includes stops in Australia including Melbourne and some highlights in Tasmania.

Cruise To The Far East For A Unique Holiday

The infamous Komodo dragon awaits on this New Year's voyage.

The infamous Komodo dragon awaits on this New Year’s voyage.

The southern region of Asia has become an increasingly desirable destination for those looking to soak up new cultures and experiences. Elegant yet casual, peaceful yet exciting, Volendam’s 28-Day Far East and Indonesian Discovery Collector Holiday sailing from Hong Kong to Singapore on Dec. 6, 2016 has it all.

With 18 calls in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia, several late-night departures and overnights at Bangkok and Singapore, guests become immersed in the mystery and beauty of the region.

Sail South to Antarctica and Welcome 2017

Sail to South America for New Year's to see penguins and glaciers.

Sail to South America for New Year’s to see penguins and glaciers.

If it’s penguins, glacier and gorgeous scenery you desire to start your New Year right, Zaandam’s 21-Day South American and Antarctica Holiday cruise from Valparaiso, Chile, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the perfect itinerary for you. The cultures and destinations are as diverse as their landscapes. The coastline of Chile is dotted with quaint villages, paving the way to the Chilean Fjords and Amalia Glacier. After passing Cape Horn, the southern journey continues to Antarctica, where three days of scenic cruising ring in 2017. The journey back north includes a stop at the Falkland Islands to visit with the penguins, as well as an overnight at Buenos Aires, leaving plenty of time to take in a dramatic tango show.

Go from Atlantic to Pacific via the Panama Canal

Ring in the New Year after transiting the Panama Canal.

Ring in the New Year after transiting the Panama Canal.

One of the greatest man-made marvels in the world, the Panama Canal should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Tick off that adventure on Veendam’s 15-Day Panama Canal Holiday cruise departing Dec. 20 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to San Diego, California. Transit the canal after visiting our award-winning private island in the Bahamas and Cartagena, Colombia. The actual transit is on Christmas, making the day all the more merry and bright. Visit Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico before welcoming 2017.

New Year’s in the Caribbean is King in 2017

Many Holland America Line ships spend the winter cruising the Caribbean. Spanning the entire region, this time of year guests can celebrate New Year’s in the eastern, western or southern Caribbean. And there’s no better way to welcome a new year than on a new ship. Embark Koningsdam’s 9-Day Western Caribbean Holiday voyage and soak up the sun while sailing into 2017.

Welcome 2017 in the Caribbean on Koningsdam.

Welcome 2017 in the Caribbean on Koningsdam.

Koningsdam cruises to several Caribbean favorites on this itinerary, including a call at Half Moon Cay on New Year’s Eve, as well as Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; Falmouth, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Key West, Florida.

Soak up the Sol on a Cruise to Mexico

The sights, sounds and flavors of Mexico make for an exciting New Year's celebration.

The sights, sounds and flavors of Mexico make for an exciting New Year’s celebration.

Mexico is the land of sun, sand and turquoise seas, not to mention it’s got incredible history and fantastic food. Mexico’s electric vibe and energetic ambiance make it a fun destination to spend the holiday. Next year Westerdam’s 7-Day Mexican Riviera Holiday cruise visits three of the most popular ports in the country: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. The roundtrip San Diego cruise is an ideal weeklong getaway that will ring in a Feliz Ano Nuevo!

These are just a few of the exciting cruises available to celebrate New Year’s. If you’re ready to come on board and welcome 2017 in style, check out the above cruises and more on the Holland America Line website. With our View & Verandah promotion, now is the perfect time to book. We’re offering stateroom upgrades, up to 10 percent off shore excursions and up to 25 percent off Collectors’ Voyages on 2016-2017 sailings when booked by Feb. 29, 2016!

Which New Year’s cruise sounds like the ideal way to ring in 2017? Tell us your favorite below!

Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford and our fans agree Alaska's beauty and culture make it the top wish-list destination.
Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford and our fans agree Alaska's beauty and culture make it the top wish-list destination.

The holiday season is in full swing, and it’s time to get creative with gift giving. Wouldn’t it be great to surprise your favorite traveler with the gift of a cruise?! We asked Holland America Line’s Facebook fans what their dream cruise would be to receive this year. The answers are as varied as our itineraries! Is your top wish-list cruise destination the same as our fans?

Our biggest fan is, of course, Holland America Line’s President Orlando Ashford. He got into the spirit of the season by revealing the cruise he’d love to receive this holiday.

Orlando“This holiday season, I’m wishing for a special Holland America Line adventure – the Alaska Land+Sea Journey! It would have to be the Triple Denali trip with three incredible days at Denali National Park, plus a journey through the Yukon where pioneers once trekked, often in peril, to find their fortune in the Gold Rush. In my first year with Holland America Line I’ve learned that we were the first cruise line to really explore Alaska — and no one offers a cruise and overland experience quite like HAL. I’d love to see all the Great Land has to offer from the comfort of our ships, including the massive glaciers that meet the sea, then take a ride in a domed train car to Denali Base Camp, where my family and I could enjoy a great salmon dinner and have fun around the campfire. That would be a trip to remember.” — Orlando Ashford

ALASKA IS THE #1 WISH-LIST CRUISE!

Holland America Line fans agree with Orlando that Alaska is the place to visit in 2016. Not only is it one of the most gorgeous areas on earth, it offers so much more than scenic beauty – although that is the major draw. Alaska and the Yukon have an interesting past that is artfully told through local adventures, and nature is at its finest in the Great Land with tours often featuring the opportunity to see wildlife in their natural habitat. Will you be cruising with us to Alaska in 2016?

I have wanted to go on an Alaskan cruise and take my grandson with me. We get pamphlets from Holland America quite often and go through them wishing we could take one of the Alaskan trips. — Donna Swinehart

I would repeat the Alaskan cruise ~ Magnificent! Terrific! Awesome! — Liz Galley

It would have to be Alaska. We have been there 3 times and going again in 2016 … can’t wait. — Kathi Galloway

I would go back to Alaska in a minute! — Connie Martin

Holland America Line fans, including Lynne Legal-Lowe, bottom, and Connie Martin, agree Alaska is number-one on their cruise wish-list.

Holland America Line fans, including Connie Martin, top, and Lynne Legal-Lowe agree Alaska is number-one on their cruise wish-list.

While there a few places I’d love to cruise, I’d have to say an Alaskan cruise. I would love to see that breathtakingly beautiful state. I have also always wanted to see the Northern Lights. — Christine Walker

I’d love to do Alaska again but this time for 14 days. I LOVED all of it, the ship, the scenery, the sights… — Catherine Sutherland

Alaska inside passage cruise. Been on my bucket list for eva! — Debbie Gordine

I would ask to go on your Alaskan Cruise!! Why? So “many good” reasons. Our Alaska cruise we took with you in 2013 was a dream come true. You treated us so wonderful like we really mattered!!! Everything we did on the ship and off was prefect!!! Thank you once again for all you did for us and giving us a vacation of a lifetime!!! — Loma McEwen Gunderson

We were on the Alaskan Cruise in late August. Holland America was amazing. Best staff ever… — Lynne Legal-Lowe

The cruise to Anchorage. Alaska is so beautiful and it really seems like a childhood Christmas with the snow!! Holland America has the best cruise ships in the world. Excellent service and the food is outstanding. — Jan Smith

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Alaska was the best vacation with Holland America that we have ever had. We have been there 4 times. Salmon fishing, fine dining, ice climbing on The Mendenhal Glacier, Glacier Bay, kayaking, everything that makes your dreams come true. — Cary J. Himes Woody

I would retake the Alaska cruise! I am a 4 Star Mariner, 90 years young and have stopped cruising, but really enjoyed all of my cruises when I was still able to travel. Miss it now too!! — Bettie Fleming

I would go back to Alaska. We had such an amazing time there. Holland America is a great cruise line. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. Would highly recommend it. — Dori Vinet

SUNSHINE OF THE CARIBBEAN HIGH ON CRUISERS WISH-LIST:

Not far behind Alaska is the Caribbean. And it’s no surprise why! From azure skies to crystalline waters, the Caribbean is a sun-kissed paradise on earth. Half Moon Cay, our own private island in the Bahamas, makes a cruise to this region even more memorable.

I’d ask HAL to stay at Half Moon Cay for a week! Just open up the bars I’ll take a tender back to the ship for food! — Katie Kenner-Bohl

The Caribbean…because Montana gets cold in the winter! — Kevin Hudson

It would be the Caribbean. Had such a great time with the best bartenders. — Dick Hogue

Southern Caribbean for sure. The waters are warm, tranquil, and the ports of call are amazing! Cruising over the Holidays + Southern Caribbean + HAL = 2 VERY relaxed and happy people!! — Heather Hall

Sun-kissed skies and powdery beaches make the Caribbean a hot spot for cruising.

Sun-kissed skies and powdery beaches make the Caribbean a hot spot for cruising.

Any place in the Caribbean with warm, blue water and a white sand beach (we’re from NW Ohio) and our kids and grandkids with us! — Diane Herman

Back to the Caribbean on an Olivia HAL chartered cruise. It remains to this day our dream favorite!! We had a dreamy time. It was our first HAL cruise. We have had four more since and we have loved them all but that was our first HAL experience and is the reason we ONLY cruise with HAL and Olivia. It was perfect. — Rowan Smith

Just got back from 10 day Caribbean cruise 5 islands A B C would luv to continue to see more! Was wonderful! — Linda Vargas

Just got back from eastern and southern Caribbean… Want to go West now… — Jon Heimsness

CULTURE AND HISTORY OF EUROPE & THE MEDITERRANEAN MAKE IT TOPS

With dozens of diverse cultures, amazing cuisine, a storied history, impressive architecture and gorgeous landscapes, a cruise to Europe or the Mediterranean also came in a close second with the Caribbean.

Norway. Best trip ever. — Dana Lee Jaggers Walker

Dana is ready to go back to Norway!

Dana is ready to go back to Norway!

Voyage of the Vikings! It goes to a lot of the places I’d like to visit. — Jim Parshall

Someday, the Mediterranean, and North Sea. Why? Because they are on the opposite side of the world from where I live; and……why not? — Melva Warren Evans

Just returned from a 7 day Caribbean cruise on the elegant Westerdam. Would love to cruise the Greek isles on the new upcoming Koningsdam. — Michael Erlick

I have been on Holland America twice and both cruises were great. I would love to do an Eastern Mediterranean cruise with them in the summer time. — Barbara Jean Williams

My checkmark on bucket list for a cruise to Europe would be awesome. — Stacy Clements

I would choose your April, 2017 round trip from Civitavecchia to Istanbul that includes a port stop on Crete where we hope to see the Linear B tablets that were the subject of the book “The Laberinth,” a tribute to the triumph of intellect of the woman who translated them. — Alan Nestlinger

Europe and the Med are high on the list of our cruise fans.

Europe and the Med are high on the list of our cruise fans.

I would love the Baltic Jewels because I’ve never been to Northern Europe. — Chris Rechner

FROM THE BALMY AMAZON TO REMOTE ICEBERGS, GUESTS WANT TO VISIT SOUTH AMERICA & ANTARCTICA

South America and Antarctica are on the bucket list of many of our cruisers. South America’s vibrant cultures make it a fan favorite, and Antarctica’s remote locale and breathtaking beauty make it a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

If someone else is giving it to me as a Christmas present, there is a 21-Day South America and Antarctica Holiday that would be the cat’s meow. — John Fleming

The Amazon, Rio's Corcovado and the Panama Canal (with guest Cris Senseman) are a few highlights on some South America cruises.

The Amazon, Rio’s Corcovado and the Panama Canal (with guest Cris Senseman) are a few highlights on some South America cruises.

Cruise to South America to celebrate my fourth year cancer free!! — Kay Allman McGhee

Would love to go to Manaus, to see where the macaws really come from. — AnneMai Berchtold

To go back to Antarctica, we were blessed with fine weather, so it made it even more wonderful. The blue of the sky and the ice showing every blue between black and white… — Bob Holder

Bob Holder is ready to cruise to Antarctica.

Bob Holder is ready to cruise to Antarctica.

14-day South America! Next on our wish list! — Linda Domeier

CRUISING DOWN UNDER IS A FAVORITE OF OUR FANS

Our cruise fans long to hear “G’day” from the locals on a cruise to Australia and New Zealand. Koalas and kangaroos await Down Under, where emerald landscapes and lush gardens abound. Sydney’s famed Opera House and Harbour Bridge are just two of the iconic sites in the continent’s favorite city. But the entire region is teaming with adventure, including the must-see Great Barrier Reef.

I want an Australian/New Zealand cruise, I want to see that part of the world. — Holly Blanco

Australia would be my wish. Have a daughter and family would love to visit and take a cruise with them. — Edie Hedderick

AusCollage

I loved my Baltic cruise, but I think my next cruise will be to New Zealand. As long as it’s HAL. — Corrine Kenway

I have done a NZ cruise and Sydney to Singapore both on Volendam and would love the circumnavigation of Australia cruise with HAL anytime! – hopefully one day. — Corrine Kenway

GO FROM ATLANTIC TO PACIFIC TRANSITING THE PANAMA CANAL

It’s one of the world’s modern marvels, and Holland America Line fans are ready to transit the Panama Canal in 2016.

Panama Canal for the second time. Loved it! Best cruise ever! — Debbie Nalley Farrell

PC

Panama Canal. I would like to go after the new locks are open. — Nancy Wills-Wilson

I’d love to cruise down the east coast of USA and through the Panama Canal…one day perhaps. — Robyn Tataurangi

Would love a wonderful Caribbean cruise to the Panama Canal for my wife and my parents. We’ve done a couple of HAL cruises with you and look forward to our next one with you. We really enjoyed the more intimate setting of the smaller ship, Ryndam and look for that size back in the Caribbean routes! — Paul Erickson

ANYWHERE & EVERYWHERE ELSE!

With cruises around the world, our fans have choose their dream cruise from itineraries that span the globe. They include our Grand World Voyage, Asia, Hawaii, Canada/New England and more! Here are some more of our fans’ wish-list cruises!

I want a repositioning cruise trans-Panama Canal crossing east to west and up to Alaska. Why? Because it would be long, luxurious, and so darn interesting with the mix in locales and cultures. Bring it on, #HAL. I need it in my stocking for Christmas. — Jeff M Omaha

I want the 53-day South Pacific return from San Diego, please Santa. I’ve been a really good girl! — Kathe Deheer

Would like to cruise across the Pacific to Hawaii, or cruise Alaska, or more of the Med. Not fussy. Happy cruising with HAL anywhere they like to take me! — Janet Evans

From Hawaii to Singapore, and transocean, too ... many fans are just happy to cruise anywhere!

From Hawaii to Singapore, and transocean, too … many fans are just happy to cruise anywhere!

I’m not picky, I’d take ANY cruise! However, this is definitely one of my very favorite places….Grand Turk was beautiful. — Kim Sonnenberg-Englehart

The trip around the world. If I had the money I would live aboard! — DebbieandMike Praught

Would love to cruise from Singapore to Japan again, so much to see, I just couldn’t take it all in. — Maggie Morris

Around the world. If I have to choose just one, shouldn’t it encompass almost all the others? My second choice would be B2B Norwegian fjords and Baltic. Because it’s not in the around the world… — Deborah Sampson

My sister and I did the Panama Canal over Thanksgiving for 14 days and absolutely loved your beautiful ship, food, servers, shows…..My sister would love to go to Tahiti. And I would love to go to Italy. We would just love to travel this amazing world. She also has a cruise around the world. Luckily my big sister and i travel well together! Thank you Holland America Line. — Maggie Meme Long

Beautiful New England because in South Texas where I live we don’t have tall trees let alone trees that change colors in the fall. Seeing a New England fall has been on my bucket list for years! — Laurie Ramos Castillo

Around the world…..or just anywhere. LoveHAL. — Carole McNamee

If it’s not HAL it’s not a holiday, loved what we did and it doesn’t matter what cruise we pick it would be great. — Oswald Zonneveld

Oswald is ready to go anywhere on a Holland America Line cruise!

Oswald is ready to go anywhere on a Holland America Line cruise!

Transatlantic — just 17 days of pure relaxation. — Linda Wright

A world cruise. The longer on a ship, the better. — Annemarie Dragt

I just want to be on the rear deck watching the dock disappear. With cola in my 72-year-old hand. — David Roper

Oh to be able to do nothing but cruise would be a dream come true!! At 81 I am tired of housework and cooking. One is made to feel so regal on a cruise!! Hope to do Alaska in 2016. — Patricia Childs

Scandanavia for 21 days in 2014 was a highlight of my cruising life so far. Canada and New England this year was like a comfy pair of slippers. Next year? Yet to be decided….. — Patricia Odgers

—–

If you really want to surprise someone this holiday season — or if you want to treat yourself — check out our 2016 cruises. It’s not too late to pick your dream cruise and put a bow on it! With our new View & Verandah promotion, now is the perfect time to book. We’re offering stateroom upgrades, up to 10 percent off shore excursions and up to 25 percent off Collectors’ Voyages on 2016-2017 sailings when booked by Feb. 29, 2016!

Spend a week cruising the Caribbean with the family during spring break.
Spend a week cruising the Caribbean with the family during spring break.

Ahhhh, the Caribbean … a perfectly picturesque destination to “get away from it all.” It’s beautiful weather and steel drums call out to cruisers everywhere, beckoning them to dip their toes into paradise on a Holland America Line cruise.

Spring temperatures are the ideal balance of the cooler winter weather that’s passed and warm summer sun that’s coming. And the best part about spring? Students get a break from school! Families can come together on sandy shores to reunite, unwind and enjoy some much-deserved playtime. Why is Holland America Line unique in the Caribbean for families? We offer a sophisticated experience that parents and grandparents appreciate, while Club HAL keeps the kids entertained with exciting activities. If you want to make sure you have as much fun on vacation as the kids, Holland America Line is the perfect cruise line.

Luckily, we have a variety of itineraries sailing to all of the best spots in the Caribbean, including our award-winning private island, Half Moon Cay. And starting Dec. 7 through Feb. 29, 2016, book your perfect week in paradise for spring break with the new View & Verandah promotion! The special offers include stateroom upgrades, shore excursion discounts and savings on select Collectors’ Voyages – so stay tuned for the View & Verandah launch next week!

Find Excitement in Western Waters

The Caribbean islands to the west are filled with sun, sand and adventure. While these islands lie farther apart than the islands to the east, cruises to the west typically offer more sea days, which means more time to explore the ship and rejuvenate for the exciting activities that lie ashore.

The Western Caribbean islands are packed with adventurous shore excursions for active cruisers.

The western Caribbean islands are packed with adventurous shore excursions for active cruisers.

Western islands are packed with shore excursions for guests looking to get active! A stop at Ocho Rios offers a chance to climb up its world-famous roaring waterfalls. Key West calls to cruisers ready to let loose on Duval Street or tantalize their taste buds on a food tour. Wildlife lovers have a blast at Grand Cayman swimming with sea turtles, dolphins and stingrays. A stop at Cozumel offers unique adventures like exploring Mayan ruins, tubing down a rushing river through glistening limestone caves, riding in a submarine through vibrant coral reefs or soaring in the skies via zip-line.

For those who enjoy an early spring break, the 7-Day Western Caribbean cruise on Eurodam departs from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Feb. 14, 2016 and visits Half Moon Cay; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; and Key West. Also on Eurodam, guests can depart March 13, 2016, for seven days with this itinerary stopping at Half Moon Cay, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Key West.

Nieuw Amsterdam offers a seven-day itinerary to the western Caribbean departing from Fort Lauderdale on March 6 and March 20, stopping at Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Key West.

If the above itineraries don’t work for your spring break schedule, there are a number of other cruises available heading to the western Caribbean that showcase the region’s sun, fun and exciting adventures!

Rejuvenate and Relax at the Eastern Islands

Basque on a beach in the eastern Caribbean and feel like you’ve gone to paradise! There’s nothing like kicking back on a powdery beach with your eyes closed, listening to the waves gently wash up against the shore to help cruisers unwind and relax.

The islands of the eastern Caribbean are refined, relaxing and serene.

The islands of the eastern Caribbean are relaxing and serene.

Elegant and refined, eastern islands like Grand Turk and St. Maarten offer plenty of shopping opportunities, too! Since this region has many islands in close proximity to each other, cruise itineraries in the east stop at a different port of call almost every day.

The Seven-Day Eastern Caribbean cruise on ms Eurodam departs from Fort Lauderdale Feb. 7 and March 20, 2016, calling at Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay.

Similar seven-day itineraries to the eastern Caribbean are offered on different ships and springtime dates, including Nieuw Amsterdam and Westerdam, so no matter when your spring break falls, a Holland America Line cruise to the eastern Caribbean is waiting for you!

Don’t Miss A Call At Half Moon Cay!

Half Moon Cay is our award-winning, two-mile slice of private paradise. Picturesque, white beaches rest against an ocean so clear, guests can see straight to the bottom! Cruisers enjoy virtually limitless entertainment like horseback riding, sailing, snorkeling, jet skiing, biking, deep-sea fishing, kayaking, hiking, beachside massages or lounging in a private air-conditioned cabana.

HMC Spring

Half Moon Cay offers beautiful scenery and exciting shore excursions to please every crowd.

Smack dab in the middle of the eastern and western Caribbean regions, Half Moon Cay is conveniently located so that almost every Caribbean cruise we offer calls there.

If You Can’t Pick Just One…

For those lucky enough to spare more than just one week of spring break, combine two cruises with a 14-day Eastern/Western Caribbean Collectors’ Voyage! These itineraries are the perfect blend of relaxation and excitement, all under sunny skies and swaying palms.

A number of itineraries are available in February and March on Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Zuiderdam and Maasdam. The ships will depart from Fort Lauderdale and cruise to destinations all over the Caribbean. Can you feel the soft sand between your toes already? We can!

Move and Groove at Eurodam’s Music Walk

Guests who book a spring cruise on Eurodam are in for a special treat! Just in time for spring break, Eurodam’s Music Walk opens for operation featuring three live-music venues: Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard and B.B. King’s Blues Club.

Music Walk will appear on Eurodam for spring Caribbean cruises featuring Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard and B.B. King's Blues Club.

Music Walk will debut on Eurodam for spring Caribbean cruises featuring Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard and B.B. King’s Blues Club.

While days are filled with fun in the sun, onboard entertainment takes center stage at night. Music Walk will feature something for everyone in the family. Billboard Onboard’s dueling pianos playing chart-topping hits will grab the attention of the young and young-at-heart! Lincoln Center Stage’s breathtaking classical elegance will awe and inspire even the most critical music aficionados, and B.B. King’s Blues Club soothes the seas with funky rhythm and blues.

With such diversity and world-class musicians, this wonderful showcase of sound will be perfect for families on spring break to sing and dance the night away.

Can’t Wait for Koningsdam?

We can’t wait either! Our timeless new Pinnacle Class ship — Koningsdam — will make its debut in April, but won’t arrive in the Caribbean until Fall 2016. Be one of the first to experience this amazing new ship under sunny skies on one of many offered itineraries to the Caribbean.

The first ship in our Pinnacle class, Koningsdam, will make it's Caribbean debut in Fall 2016.

The first ship in our Pinnacle class, Koningsdam, will make its Caribbean debut in Fall 2016.

Are you booking your spring break cruise to the Caribbean? Tell us about it in the comments below!

December 2015 UPDATE: Take Advantage of View & Verandah
We want to make your dream cruise even dreamier with our new View & Verandah promotion. We’re offering stateroom upgrades, up to 10 percent off shore excursions and up to 25 percent off Collectors’ Voyages on 2016-2017 sailings when booked by Feb. 29, 2016. Check out the offer to see if your dream cruise is included and book now!

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