It’s all about sun, sand and surf as Holland America Line gets ready to sail into the 2014-15 Caribbean season this fall and winter. After spending time in Alaska and Europe, nine ships in the fleet are preparing to make their repositioning cruises to the turquoise waters of the tropical Caribbean where powdery beaches, balmy breezes and the award-winning private island of Half Moon Cay await.
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.
On all cruises sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, guests will get to visit Half Moon Cay, the line’s private Bahamian island. While Holland America Line is committed to keeping 96 percent of its pristine private island wild, Half Moon Cay offers everything you need for a day of play. Park yourself in an air-conditioned cabana along a two-mile crescent of gorgeous white beach. Visit Stingray Cove to feed and learn more about the gentle creatures. Ride a horse to a deserted beach and into the surf. Or, take the kids to Half Moon Lagoon, the island’s aqua park and children’s playground.
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.
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. Prior to the ball, book a special evening at the Pinnacle Grill to celebrate all of the good things to come over a meal of caviar and filet mignon. You can pre-book your Pinnacle Grill dinner by clicking HERE.
So whether you’re looking to get away for the holidays, or just get away, the laid-back vibe, warm weather and beautiful beaches of the Caribbean are the ideal escape this winter.
Have you taken a Caribbean cruise? What did you like best about the destination? Tell us in the comments below!
If you’re looking to cruise to one of the oldest cities in the world and the oldest city in western Europe, there’s no shortage of history in Lisbon, Portugal! The city is rich in architecture and also is crossed by historical boulevards and monuments along the main thoroughfares. There is a unique beauty when strolling along the waterfront and riding one of the historic trams through the winding alleyways of the city.
Come along on an exploration of Lisbon that highlights some of the “must-sees” in this European cruise capital.
A visit to Rossio Square is the perfect starting point for your exploration of Lisbon. The Rossio has been a meeting place for people of Lisbon for centuries. Some of the cafés and shops of the square date from the 18th century, like the Café Nicola, where poet Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage used to meet friends on a regular basis. Other traditional shops include the Pastelaria Suíça and the Ginjinha, where the typical Lisbon spirit (Ginjinha) can be tasted.
One of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Lisbon, the Belém Tower is absolutely worth a visit. The tower was commissioned by King John II to be part of a defense system at the mouth of the Tagus River and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. The 16th century tower is considered one of the main works of the Portuguese late Gothic-Manueline style. This is especially apparent in its elaborate rib vaulting, crosses of the Order of Christ, armillary spheres and twisted rope, common with the nautical, organic nature of this style.
The Jeronimos Monastery, also known as the Hieronymites Monastery, is a 16th-century architectural masterpiece designed in Gothic-Manueline style and built to commemorate the discoveries of the Portuguese navigators. Originally the home for the Hieronymite religious order, it was built by the Infante Henry the Navigator around 1459 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 along with the Belem Tower.
The Discoveries Monument was built in Lisbon in honor of Henry the Navigator, who led Portugal’s discovery expeditions into the New World during he 15th century. It was designed in 1939 by the Portuguese architect Jose Angelo Cottinelli Telmo alongside sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida. Initially intended as a temporary structure to mark the opening of the Portuguese World Fair that took place in Lisbon in June 1940, the original structure was demolished after the exhibition, however it was decided by Royal Decree in 1958 that a permanent structure should be erected and an exact replica was created.
Welcoming seagoing traders for centuries, the impressive Praça do Comércio (or Commercial Square) was the former site of the Royal Ribeira Palace before it was destroyed in the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. The square is aptly named to indicate its new function in the economy of Lisbon. The symmetrical buildings of the square were filled with government bureaus that regulated customs and port activities. The main piece of the ensemble was the equestrian statue of King José I, inaugurated in 1775 in the center of the square. This bronze statue, the first monumental statue dedicated to a King in Lisbon, was designed by Joaquim Machado de Castro, Portugal’s foremost sculptor of the time.
Many of these sights are featured on cruise shore excursions, and descriptions, reviews and pre-booking can all be done online.
If you’re looking to take a cruise that calls at Lisbon, Holland America Line has 29 voyages on ms Eurodam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam and ms Ryndam between now and through 2015 to this exciting city. Will you be joining us?
Have you ever visited Lisbon? Tell us about your adventures below.
At home most of us cook in a kitchen, but on a cruise ship the place where the culinary masterpieces are created is more commonly referred to as a galley.
Journalists Jackie Sheckler Finch recently cruised on Eurodam and embraced the shipboard experience as much as the shoreside one.