Tag Archives: Grand Voyages

The Great Wall of China is on the bucket list of many travelers. Jeff visited there from Beijing.
The Great Wall of China is on the bucket list of many travelers. Jeff visited there from Beijing.

Each year, Holland America Line carefully crafts Grand Voyages that offer extended journeys to some of the most incredible places in the world. The longer itineraries allow for in-depth explorations and immersive experiences that very few cruise lines offer.

Holland America Line has been sailing Grand Voyages for years, and no other cruise line offers as many or as exceptional options. In 2015, guests can choose from several Grand Voyages, including the 114-day Grand World Voyage, 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage and the 55-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage, not to mention other extended cruises like the 90-day Passage to the Far East sailing and the 45-day Far East and North Pacific Crossing.

Gerald Bernhoft, our director Mariner Society, recently joined ms Amsterdam October 23 in Hong Kong during the ship’s 78-day South Pacific and Far East Voyage to host several special Mariner events. While onboard, he met up with Jeff Farschman, President’s Club member, “World Adventure” blogger and Holland America Blog contributor. A Grand Voyage can be the best cruise you ever take, and Jeff confirmed this with his thoughts:

“Gerald, this is one of the best Grand Voyages I have ever been on. Every tiny little detail has not gone unnoticed. We are all having a great time.” — Jeff Farschman

Coming from Jeff, who has sailed on 13 Holland America Line Grand Voyages, that is saying a lot! To see what makes a Grand Voyage so special, read on to see more photos from Jeff that capture his journey through beautiful images. Since we last heard from him, he’s visited South Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Jakarta, Bali, Komodo Island and now he’s exploring Australia. It’s true that images often speak louder than words. Enjoy!

In South Korea, the ship called at Jeju where Jeff went to Hallim Park and captured all of the flora and fauna.

Hallim Park at Jeju, South Korea.

Enjoying Hallim Park at Jeju, South Korea.

The ship then called at Incheon, the port for Seoul. On the first day Jeff went to the Naryangjin Fish Market and Jogye Temple before heading off to see other sites like the Insa-dong Street market, Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Blue House, South Korea’s version of the White House in the U.S. On day two he visited a Korean Folk Village in Suwon.

The next location was a biggie! We went to Gyeongbokgung Palace for the changing of the guard and a tour of the Palace. What a magnificent place! I just loved it… The changing of the guard was fantastic, full of tradition. It was a fabulous part of the day! — Jeff

The sites and sounds of Seoul, South Korea.

The sites and sounds of Seoul, South Korea.

China is one of the most popular countries to visit. From bustling cities to quaint villages, it’s the dream destination of a lifetime for many travelers. On Jeff’s journey, he visited Beijing, Quindgao, Shanghai and Hong Kong. This is just a very small selection of his more-than 100 photos, so be sure to visit his blog to see them all.

ChinaAlone

With four ports in China, three of them overnight calls, Jeff had a lot to see and do.

With four ports in China, three of them overnight calls, Jeff had a lot to see and do.

ChinaAlone2

Jeff had this to say about Hong Kong:

We had a wonderful sail into one of the world’s greatest ports this morning. It was … off to Lantau Island to visit the Tai O fishing village and the Po Lin Monastery and the big Buddha. We had a major highlight at the monastery when a huge number of Monks seem to gather while our backs were turned, just magnificent! After that we headed back to Kowloon, did some internet updates and went to the Temple Street Night Market. The evening was capped off with the Hong Kong laser light show. Great day!

Vietnam was a juxtaposition of images, from bustling Ho Chi Minh City to rural Phu My.

Vietnam.

Vietnam.

In Singapore, Jeff snapped 900 photos, Yes, 900! According to Jeff, he was the “first one off the ship and didn’t stop until 12-and-a-half hours later!”

Singapore.

Singapore.

When visiting Komodo Island, most guests go in search of the rare Komodo dragon. Jeff joined in on the adventure.

It was an extraordinarily hot day to go out and track down Komodo Dragons but that is exactly what we did. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a little bit of excitement during our trek — last time four dragons came after me. They must have lost their taste for my tender flesh. Anyway, we saw dragons so it was a successful day. It is always special when you can find a juvenile up in a tree where they spent their first three years so the adults don’t eat them. Great day capped off with an Indonesian Dinner in the Pinnacle Grill.

KomoCollage

An evening in the Pinnacle Grill wrapped up the day at Komodo.

An evening in the Pinnacle Grill wrapped up the day at Komodo.

The ship then sailed along to Darwin and Port Douglas, Australia. Since Jeff has been to Darwin before, he chose to go to explore the Botanical Gardens this time.

Darwin_alone

DarwinCollage

In the evening, the ship held an “On Location” event that brings local culture, entertainment and experiences onboard. Guests enjoyed an Australian barbecue on deck accompanied by a didgeridoo musician.

"On Location" events bring the local flavor onboard.

“On Location” events bring the local flavor onboard.

“Wonderful evening!!! Now we have three days at sea as we make our way to Port Douglas, Australia. Loving this voyage…” — Jeff

After Darwin, the ship called at Port Douglas where Jeff and his tablemates headed to Mossman Gorge. They hiked down to the Mossman River on elevated walkways and across the Rex Creek Suspension Bridge. After their walk they met a guide and went on an Aboriginal Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk where they learned about the Aboriginal culture and how they lived off the land.

Mossman Gorge at Port Douglas.

Mossman Gorge at Port Douglas.

Next they headed to the Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas where they saw a variety of native animals in a rainbow of colors.

Wild_alone

WildCollage

And now it’s on to Sydney for Amsterdam and Jeff. With an overnight call, he’s sure to take in all of the sights of the city. Stay tuned to the blog for an update on Jeff’s journey as he heads to the South Pacific after leaving Australia.

Which port on Jeff’s journey looks the most interesting to you? Tell us below!

Holland America Line's 2015 Europe season brings new itineraries, maiden calls, and plenty of exciting options.
Holland America Line's 2015 Europe season brings new itineraries, maiden calls, and plenty of exciting options.

Holland America Line’s 2015 Europe season is shaping up to be one of the best yet. With eight ships in the region, 62 unique itineraries, overnight visits to 21 of the most popular cities in the region and four maiden calls, the numbers add up to the perfect time to explore this incredible continent. Whether you want to take in some history, culture, famous sights or all of the above, travelers have more options than ever before.

The season will focus on diverse destinations, timeless appeal and incredible experiences. The itineraries — ranging from seven to 50 days — will include northern Europe and the Norwegian fjords, Iceland and the Baltic, the British Isles, Canary Islands, Italian and French Riviera’s, Iberian Peninsula, Black Sea, the eastern and western Mediterranean, and transatlantics.

Enjoy more of destinations with overnight calls at places like St. Petersburg, Russia, and Copenhagen, Denmark.

Enjoy more of destinations with overnight calls at places like St. Petersburg and Copenhagen.

The diverse fleet that will explore the region includes ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam — Holland America Line’s two Signature-Class ships — as well as ms Maasdam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Veendam. New to Europe in 2015 is the 1,916-guest ms Zuiderdam, which will sail in the Mediterranean.

“Having eight ships in Europe enables us to reach every corner of the region — from the top of Norway to the beaches of Turkey and everywhere in between,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “The beauty of Europe is that there truly is something for everyone, so it’s the ideal family cruise, romantic getaway or a vacation with friends.”

If you love “collecting” new destinations, these four maiden calls are ideal to visit in 2015: Alta, Norway, the northernmost town in the world; Paamiut (Frederikshåb), Greenland; Igoumenitsa, Greece; and Canakkale, Turkey.

Guests will have plenty of embarkation options with convenient roundtrip cruises from eight ports: Barcelona, Spain; Boston, Mass.; Civitavecchia (Rome) and Venice, Italy; Copenhagen, Denmark; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Harwich (London), England; and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

For the ultimate European experience, many of the cruises can be extended into Collectors’ Voyages ranging from 14 to 35 days. These artfully crafted longer journeys combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling guests to visit more ports and spend extra time exploring centuries of art, history and culture.

Funchal, Portugal, is one of the Iberian Peninsula's most stunning destinations.

Funchal, Portugal, is one of the Iberian Peninsula’s most stunning destinations.

Notable New Itineraries:

18-Day Canary Islands Discovery
The popular itinerary returns in 2015 on Rotterdam departing April 21 on a roundtrip Rotterdam route. The ship visits the island of Funchal and explores ports in Spain, Portugal and northern Africa. Guests also enjoy an overnight call at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the largest and most diverse city on all seven of the Canary Islands, and home to the largest volcano in the world — El Teide.

21-Day Mediterranean Adventure
If you’re looking to sail Ryndam in Europe before the ship departs the fleet, this cruise is your last chance. Ryndam sails from Harwich (London) to Venice Sept. 12, visiting ports in Spain and Portugal before venturing into the Mediterranean Sea. Once there, guests are treated to calls at exciting cities in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro. Guests with less time can embark on a segment of this three-week journey ranging from 10 to 20 days. Following this cruise, the ship sets sail for Singapore on its last voyage for Holland America Line, a 28-day Far East Explorer.

The 21-day Mediterranean Adventure let's you get up close with some of the region's most stunning landmarks, including San Marco's Basilica in Venice, the Colosseum in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa from Livorna and Pompeii in Naples.

The 21-day Mediterranean Adventure let’s you get up close with some of the region’s most stunning landmarks, including San Marco’s Basilica in Venice, the Colosseum in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy and Pompeii in Naples.

14-Day Northern Isles
Ryndam departs June 20 and August 1 on a roundtrip Harwich (London) itinerary that showcases the best of Iceland with six calls throughout the country, as well as three calls in Norway. In addition to visits to key “bucket list” ports such as Iceland’s Reykjavik and Akureyri, and Norway’s Bergen, the ship spends three days of scenic cruising through some of the region’s most striking fjords and landscapes.

See why Reykjavik (top) and Akureyri are on almost everyone's bucket list.

See why Reykjavik (top) and Akureyri are on almost everyone’s bucket list.

Unique Experiences:

Holland America Line’s Europe itineraries enable guests to be among the few to cross the Arctic Circle and experience the midnight sun while visiting some of the northern-most cities in the world. Guests can take a dip in the famous “Blue Lagoon” during a call at Reykjavik, pay a visit to the Rock Carvings at Alta, go on a “seal watch” at Paamiut and look for the seals gathering in the Labrador Sea, or enjoy some local wine and cheese while taking in the stunning vistas from the port citadel at Calvi, Corsica. And on Rotterdam’s 14-day Northern Lights cruise departing September 12, guests will have the best opportunity to witness the Northern Lights.

Culture Comes Aboard with “On Location” Programming

On each Europe cruise, Holland America Line’s “On Location” enrichment program brings local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life onboard to deepen guests’ appreciation of the region. Guests might enjoy a Turkish Taraf with live belly dancers, Nordic Jazz and Food Festival, German Bierfest with a live “oompah” band, regional beer and wine tastings, cultural cooking demonstrations, special tapas sail-away parties and more.

If you plan to join Holland America Line in Europe in 2015, don’t forget that shore excursions can be pre-booked so you get the tour of your choice.

Which European ports of call are you most excited to see next year? Tell us in the comments section below!

Jeff's photo shows how picturesque the gardens are at Kushiro, Japan.
Jeff's photo shows how picturesque the gardens are at Kushiro, Japan.

President’s Club member and “World Adventure” blogger Jeff set sail on the 2014 Grand Pacific and Far East Voyage in September aboard ms Amsterdam. Jeff has more than 1,600 cruise day with Holland America Line and calls the ship his home away from home. Directly following this grand adventure, Jeff will stay onboard for the 2015 Grand World Voyage.

Throughout his voyages, we’ll be featuring Jeff’s fabulous photos that tell the story of his time onboard. From Asia to Australia, Singapore to Spain – and everywhere in between – experience Jeff’s cruising adventure through his incredible photo diary.

Jeff will be onboard for a while, so enjoy this Q&A that lets you get to know Jeff better … since we’ll be spending a lot of time together with him on the blog! Keep reading to see Jeff’s first couple of weeks onboard in photos.

When did you get bitten by the travel bug?
Jeff: I really got the travel bug back in 1972 when I moved to Europe for work. I spent the next two years traveling all over western Europe.

How long have you cruised with Holland America Line?
Jeff: I had my first cruise on November 19, 1988, on the ms Noordam, cruising the eastern Caribbean.

How many Holland America Line cruises have you been on?
Jeff: I am currently on my 35th Holland America Line cruise with over 1,600 cruise days.

What keeps you coming back?
Jeff: I have a passion for exploring the world and the Holland America Line staff are like family.

What’s your favorite Holland America Line ship and why?
Jeff: My favorite Holland America ship is the ms Amsterdam since it has become my second home. I have done the vast majority of my Holland America Line cruising aboard the ms Amsterdam, including seven Grand World Voyages and five Grand Asia-Pacific voyages.

What’s your favorite part of the world?
Jeff: I find Asia fascinating. There is so much to see and learn about Asian ports, cultures and the amazing people.

What are your top three ports?
Jeff: That is a very difficult question to answer since I have been blessed to explore so many fascinating locations around the world. A few that come to mind would be Mumbai, Bora Bora and any port that I get to visit for the very first time.

What’s been your most memorable moment on a Holland America Line cruise?
Jeff: My two most treasured memories are experiencing my first world voyage in 2007 and being inducted into the President’s Club during the 2013 World Voyage.

What do you like to do onboard?
Jeff: I like to relax pool-side enjoying the sunshine, visiting with friends and reading.

If you could move anywhere you’ve been on a Holland America Line cruise, where would it be?
Jeff: The Caribbean.

What destination is still on your “bucket list” of places to visit?
Jeff: The Baltic.

Your photos are stunning. What’s your inspiration?
Jeff: I try to show and share an accurate picture of the places I visit and the people I encounter. There are people around the world that for a variety of reasons are unable to travel as extensively I have been fortunate enough to do. The blog enables them to travel vicariously and to create their own personal bucket list. It’s the feedback I continuously receive from these people that is the real inspiration for my photography.

JEFF’S PHOTO DIARY

Embarkation:

The long awaited day finally arrived and I was home once again, aboard the ms Amsterdam. I had a very nice welcome by Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Line, along with Captain Fred Eversen; Hotel Director Henk Mensink; Gerald Bernhoft, Director of the Mariner Program; and our Cruise Director Gene Young. It was great boarding the ship with my friends Allan, Sandra, Brad and Gloria. Once aboard, it was very exciting seeing so many friends, both crew members as well as fellow guests. This is always one of the best parts of a Grand Voyage, getting reacquainted with old friends. Of course, the more you do these the more old friends you end up running into.

It was a wonderful day, aside from the arduous task of unpacking. After boat drill, there was a fabulous sail away party. As we sailed out of the harbor it soon became time to get serious about unpacking again. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about packing again for 7 months. This will be a fantastic voyage … we have 3 days at sea now heading for Kodiak, Alaska. In Kodiak I will be heading out with my friends Harry, Margo and Brad on a float plane in search of Kodiak Bears … Pretty exciting stuff!

Jeff was welcomed onboard by top executives and officers, top right, and enjoyed seeing friends.

Jeff was welcomed onboard by top executives and officers, top right, and enjoyed seeing friends.

Alaska:
The grand voyage called at Alaska ports after departing Seattle. Jeff’s photos are from visits to Kodiak and Dutch Harbor.

Alaska

AlaskaCollage

Japan:
Next up on the voyage was the country of Japan. Jeff snapped some gorgeous shots at Kushiro, Kanazawa and Fukuoka.

My tablemates and I all went on a tour together exploring the Kushiro area. We first stopped at the Kishiro Shitsugen National Park. We found lovely scenery and lots of Red Crested Cranes along the way … We then headed to Lake Akan and the Ainu Kotan … We loved watching them perform their native dances … Our final stop was at a private Japanese garden which was beautiful … It was a wonderful day exploring with a great group of friends!

Kushiro, Japan.

Kushiro, Japan.

Loved our visit to Kanazawa! Our first stop was at the Omi-cho Market which has been in existence for 270 years. We spent a fair amount of time there and then headed out on the loop bus for the Hashiba-cho area to see the Geisha houses. We enjoyed walking the street and checking out the tea houses, and then headed for the Kenrokuen Gardens, one of the top 3 gardens in all of Japan … Next we walked to the Kanazawa Castle Park to check out the castle and its gardens, just magnificent! To finish up the day we went to the Nomachi area to look at some Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.

Kanazawa, Japan.

Kanazawa, Japan.

Kanazawa, Japan.

Kanazawa, Japan.

I was pretty excited since this was a first time visit [to Fukuoka]. We had a fabulous day! We walked over 10 miles, took a lot of subways and buses and covered Fukuoka pretty well. We first headed to the Nishi Park area checking out the park, shrines and temples. Next we went to the Fukuoka Tower for some magnificent views. Then we headed to the Ohori Park for some real scenic beauty along with the Fukuoka Castle ruins and a major highlight the Gokoku Shrine. Then it was off to the Gion area where we visited three places of worship which were highlighted by the Tochoji Temple and the Shofukuji Temple.

Scenes from Fukuoka, Japan.

Scenes from Fukuoka, Japan.

Next up on the Grand Pacific and Far East Voyage is another call in Japan, then on to South Korea and China. Stay tuned to the blog for more of Jeff’s photos. And if you want to read Jeff’s blog, click HERE.

All photos in this blog post were taken by Jeff.

Prinsendam's call at Istanbul, Turkey, is a highlight of the Grand Mediterranean Voyage.
Prinsendam's call at Istanbul, Turkey, is a highlight of the Grand Mediterranean Voyage.

In 2015, Holland America Line’s ms Amsterdam and ms Prinsendam embark on three Grand Voyages that explore South America & Antarctica, the Mediterranean and the world.
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Holland America Line's Pinterest page is filled with beautiful photos.
Holland America Line's Pinterest page is filled with beautiful photos.

Have you wanted to take a Grand World Voyage but haven’t had the opportunity? Or even just a cruise to Alaska or Australia?
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Locals fishing at colorful Phuket, Thailand. Photo by Joanne Gardner.
Locals fishing at colorful Phuket, Thailand. Photo by Joanne Gardner.

Whether your goal is to cruise the whole wide world with Holland America Line or to have a beautiful beach vacation, Thailand should be on your travel list!
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Guests on the Grand World Voyage can take an overland tour to visit the Taj Mahal from Mumbai (Bombay), India,
Guests on the Grand World Voyage can take an overland tour to visit the Taj Mahal from Mumbai (Bombay), India,

Have you ever wanted to fully explore the world on a grand cruising adventure? Well, perhaps 2015 is the year you’ll join Holland America Line’s ms Amsterdam on a global circumnavigation.
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The beautiful island of St. Lucia, as photographed by Captain Mercer, was one of the final calls on the Grand World Voyage.
The beautiful island of St. Lucia, as photographed by Captain Mercer, was one of the final calls on the Grand World Voyage.

After 113 days, nearly 33,000 miles and a journey around the world, Amsterdam’s Grand World Voyage ended Monday, April 28 at Port Everglades, the port where it all began back in January.
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