Tag Archives: Machu Picchu

Breathtaking scenery is just one reasons to book a cruise to South America.
Breathtaking scenery is just one reasons to book a cruise to South America.

South America is a continent of extremes. In the north is warm and tropical, while down south glaciers and fjords grace the landscapes. But no matter where we cruise in South America, it’s always an adventure. Full of culture and some of the world’s most amazing sights, every cruise to South America is filled with memorable moments and experiences that are captivating and unique. In one cruise alone guests might go from lounging on a golden beach to walking through a penguin colony to learning the art of Tango.

If you’re looking for a cruise that is beyond the ordinary, here are 10 reasons (in no particular order) why South America should be your next vacation.



These cute black and white creatures are a staple of South America cruising when south of the equator. Many of the ports offer shore excursions to visit colonies and see the variety of penguins that call this part of the world home. Punta Arenas, Chile; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; and the Falkland Islands all offer Journeys Ashore to get you up close with Rockhopper, Gentoo, Magellan penguins and more! If you dreamed of walking among penguins, South America is a must.



Norway isn’t the only country with dazzling fjords. On cruises to the tip of South America, guests can explore Chile’s and Argentina’s gorgeous landscapes, which include mountains, valleys, fjords and glaciers. A highlight of exploring this region is scenic cruising past the Romanche and Alemania glaciers in Chile, Drake Passage, Cape Horn and Argentina’s Glacier Alley.



The most remote continent in the world, a cruise to Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure filled with more “ohhs” and “ahhhhhs” than you could ever imagine. From penguins gliding across the ice to imposing glaciers that can be seen above and below water, Antarctica is a must-do on every avid traveler’s bucket list.


Come to Copa, Copabana where music and passion ...

Come to Copa, Copabana where music and passion …

Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Ipanema and Copacabana beaches were put on the map thanks to catchy tunes, but today they are known as exotic and trendsetting destinations full of beautiful people, surrounded by equally gorgeous scenery. Bars, shops and restaurants cascade from the beaches into the surrounding neighborhoods, but as expected the sandy beach is the most popular hangout.



There’s no doubt that South America is king when it comes to dance. From the tango to the samba, cities around the continent show off their skills in shows and exhibitions. The Tango: A Night of Passion & Desire tour in Buenos Aires features a marvelously entertaining tango show arranged exclusively for Holland America Line guests. The performers leave you breathless with their skills, timing, passion and stamina. The Night Out In Rio: Samba Show tour in Rio de Janeiro offers a firsthand glimpse of Rio’s fabulous nightlife. You’ll visit a local show house and enjoy a live presentation featuring dazzling color, costumes, song and dance of Afro-Brazilian culture. You’ll quickly fall in love with the samba beat and enjoy the most important dance of the world-famous Carnival festival.


Machu Picchu, Rio's Corcovado and Iguazu Falls are just a few of South America's iconic sights.

Machu Picchu, Rio’s Corcovado and Iguazu Falls are just a few of South America’s iconic sights.

A call at Callao (Lima), Peru, is the perfect opportunity to see the ruins at Machu Picchu. This stone city was built in the 15-century but abandoned just a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. It was rediscovered in 1911 by American historian Hiram Bingham. The Lost City of the Incas represents the cultural heritage of mankind and is located almost 8,000 feet above sea level. In Brazil, no sight is more famous than the statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain in Rio. Over 300,000 visitors make the trip every year to see the statue and the stunning view from the peak’s platform of downtown Rio. The statue stands 125 feet tall and will always welcome you with open arms. If there’s time for an overland adventure, a call at Buenos Aires allows time to visit the impressive Iguazu Falls. Located at the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, the falls are one of nature’s most impressive monuments.



Nine different South American nations have territory in the Amazon, but 60 percent of the rain forest can be found in Brazil. Holland America Line’s ships cruise along the Amazon river and take guests to a variety of unique calls along the way. If spending the night in the Amazon jungle is on your bucket list, the Amazon Ecopark: A Night in the Jungle overnight tour at Manaus is the one to choose. This tour invites guests to spend the night at the Amazon Ecopark Jungle Lodge in the heart of the jungle. Participants are able to visit the homes of local residents to learn about their traditions and jungle life. At night guests spot alligators before heading back to the lodge.



One of the great pleasures of travel is the opportunity to sample local food and drink. While you may find language barriers along the way, an appreciation for good food is a universal language and can be a fantastic way to immerse yourself in local cultures. In Buenos Aires, indulge in empanadas, choripan (sausage with French baguette), barbecued meats, grilled provoleta cheese and chimichurri (a dipping sauce of fresh herbs, garlic, and peppers) during a tour taht goes on a Culinary Walk through the city. And if coffee is your passion, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Café Vasar coffee farm in Ecuador.



If you find yourself in Rio in February on a Holland America cruise, you’re in for a special treat. The legendary Carnival parade fills the streets of Rio. Extraordinary floats trimmed with samba dancers and dazzling costumes move and groove down the street to Rio’s signature Afro-Brazilian beats. Carnival is held in the Sambodromo, a stadium-like structure built in 1984 that stretches down the avenue to Apotheosis Square. If you’re interested in visiting Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, the 2017 24-Day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer and the 48-Day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer are available for bookings.



With several late departures or overnight calls, South America’s nightlife dazzles as much as the star-filled sky. Attend the Night of Passion Tango show in Buenos Aires; tour Lima, Peru, at night and see the spectacle of the Magic Water Circuit of Lima — one of the most visited attractions in the city; spend the evening at Manaus’ world-famous Teatro Amazonas Opera House in the heart of the Amazon; and Rio’s evening Samba show is a dazzling spectacle of color and costumes.

Are you looking to book a cruise to South America? Which ports are you most excited to visit?

Remember, if you’re looking for a South America cruise now is the time to book. Our Anniversary Sale was just extended to July 1, so book before then to take advantage of a $100 beverage card and free gratuities per stateroom and free or reduced kids fares on select cruises and Land+Sea Journeys.

South America & Antarctica cruises feature a combination of exotic wildlife and stunning scenery.
South America & Antarctica cruises feature a combination of exotic wildlife and stunning scenery.

Lively and tropical, yet also remote and ice-capped, South America is all about contrast. From fall 2016 through Spring 2017, Holland America Line will offer a comprehensive South America deployment, featuring four of our premium ships sailing itineraries from 14- to 48-days. We will be the only major line to cruise this region in the fall, and with a variety of sailing lengths and itineraries, we’re the best one to show you the beautiful extremes of this gorgeous part of the world.

Zaandam, Maasdam and Veendam will cruise a combined 20 voyages with departures from Fort Lauderdale, Florida; San Diego, California; Vancouver, British Columbia; and ports in South America; while the “elegant explorer” Prinsendam will cruise an in-depth Amazon exploration.

If you’re looking for a cruise that has scenic beauty, history, culture, and calls at some truly unique ports, check out these must-do itineraries down south.

14-Day South America
Seven two-week itineraries cruise between two iconic South American ports: Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. At Valparaiso, guests can enjoy its UNESCO World Heritage Site Old Quarter, bright and colorful residences and charming church steeples. At Buenos Aires, cruisers can immerse themselves in the capital of tango and visit the massive Iguazu Falls. These cruises feature an overnight Buenos Aires, but the excellent cuisine, delicious wine and vibrant culture certainly make this city one to consider for a longer pre- or post-cruise stay.

Top: Buenos Aires. Bottom: Iguazu Falls, Falkland Islands and Patagonia.

Counter-clockwise from top: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, Falkland Islands and Patagonia.

The 14-day South America itineraries feature one highlight after another, including multiple days cruising Chile’s fjords and national parks. A call at Stanley, Falkland Islands, gets guest up close to it’s most popular residents … thousands of adorable penguins. This itinerary also features an overnight call at Manaus, Brazil, at the end of the Amazon River where the iconic opera house awaits. The itinerary also features the turquoise lakes and ice-capped mountains of Patagonia.

At Punta Arenas, Chile, guests can visit Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that offers incredible vistas, including Lago Sarmiento and the famous jagged spires.

Zaandam will cruise this 14-day itinerary from Buenos Aires Nov. 8 and Dec. 6, 2016, and Feb. 21 and March 21, 2017. Guests can take the reverse itinerary from Valpariso Oct. 25 and Nov. 22, 2016, and March 7, 2017.

Torres del Paine National Park 's Cordillera Paine

Torres del Paine National Park’s Cordillera Paine

21-Day South America and Antarctica Explorer
Cruisers can delight in the penguins and amazing formations of the Danco Coast on Zaandam’s 21-day South America and Antarctica Explorer voyages that sail between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso. The cruise begins with calls at Montevideo, Uruguay; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; and Port Stanley, followed by plenty of scenic cruising, including the Antarctic Sound and Danco Coast. A call at Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost town in the world, is a highlight of the voyage. Afterward, the ship will cruise Beagle Channel, call at Punta Arenas, and cruise the Strait of Magellan, Canal Sarmiento, Amalia or Brujo Glacier and Chilean Fjords … so have your camera ready!

Cruise the Beagle Channel on Zaandam's 21-day itineraries.

Cruise the Beagle Channel on Zaandam’s 21-day itineraries.

The itinerary ends or begins (depending on which direction you chose), with three calls in Chile: Puerto Chacabuco, Castro and Puerto Montt. Zaandam departs Buenos Aires to Valpariso, Jan. 10, 2017. A special holiday cruise also is available departing Dec. 20, 2016, and will cruise the Chilean Fjords on Christmas Day, the Palmer Archipelago on New Year’s Eve and Danco Coast on New Year’s Day.

30-Day Incan Empires
Holland America Line’s 30-day Incan Empires cruise is the perfect way to discover multiple South American countries on one itinerary. The highlight of this voyage is a three-day, two-night stay at Lima, allowing for a visit to Machu Picchu — a UNESCO World Heritage Site located high in the Andes and known as the Lost City of the Incas.

Corinto, Nicaragua, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Corinto, Nicaragua, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

But there is more to the itinerary than just Incan ruins. Sailing roundtrip from San Diego, this cruise includes 13 calls in seven different countries: Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Maasdam will cruise on the 30-day adventure Feb. 22, 2017. Shorter segments are available.

48‐Day Amazon & Carnaval Explorer
Guests who want to experience the excitement of Rio’s Carnaval and the natural beauty of the Amazon River can embark Veendam for a 48‐day “Amazon & Carnaval Voyage,” conveniently sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. The cruise will call at 25 ports, beginning with our private island and guest-favorite Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. The itinerary also includes 14 calls in Brazil, all three ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), crossing the equator three times and cruising deep into the heart of the Amazon.

Venture into the Amazon

Sights of the Amazon.

Two nights at Rio de Janeiro will let guests experience a bucket list-worthy event: Carnaval. Enjoy the lively festival’s colorful costumes, Samba music and dance, and intoxicating atmosphere. Veendam will depart Fort Lauderdale Feb 2, 2017. Shorter segments are available.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

29-Day Amazon Explorer on the Elegant Explorer
Prinsendam will cruise a 29-day itinerary roundtrip Fort Lauderdale that has everything a traveler could want: Thanksgiving in the Caribbean, eight days cruising the legendary Amazon River and rare calls at Scarborough, Tabago and Alter do Chao, Brazil, all with roundtrip convenience.

Enjoy a mix of beachy destinations like Scarborough, Tobago, and colorful cities in Brazil like Fortaleza.

Enjoy a mix of beachy destinations like Scarborough, Tobago, and colorful cities in Brazil like Fortaleza.

The cruise kicks off with several calls in the Caribbean, including Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Nevis, St.Kitts & Nevis; Castries, St. Lucia; Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago; and Bridgetown, Barbados. From there the ship will move on to explore the Amazon River. After eight days of calls throughout Brazil, the ship will call at Scarborough; Kingstown, St. Vincent & the Grenadines; and the three ABC islands. Prinsendam departs Nov. 19, 2016.

18- and 24-Day Repositioning Cruises
The beginning and end of the South America and Antarctica season give guests the unique opportunity to enjoy a repositioning cruise, when a ship move from one region to another for the new season. There are plenty of benefits to booking one of these itineraries, including less flying, exotic itineraries, plenty of sea days to relax and a wider offering of onboard enrichment programs.

Positioning cruises and Collectors' Voyages let guests discover Antarctica's beauty with only one international flight.

Repositioning cruises let guests discover Antarctica’s beauty with only one international flight.

Collectors’ Voyages:
Ranging from 32‐ to 37 days, Collectors’ Voyages are perfect for true explorers who seek an even greater in‐depth South America experience, visiting multiple regions at an exceptional value. These voyages offer the best per-day value that rewards guests for cruising longer.

Guests can discover Macchu Picchu with two nights at Lima.

Guests can discover Machu Picchu with two nights at Lima.

Shore Excursions and Overland Tours
Holland America Line doesn’t just take you to these exciting cities, countries and continents, it also provides experiences that ensure you get the most out of your time there. Guests can visit some of the most iconic and famous South American attractions and destinations by taking an award‐winning shore excursion or in‐depth overland tour, many of which visit UNESCO World Heritage sites. Some notable excursions include a trip to dramatic Iguazu Falls; an overland journey to Cuzco and Machu Picchu; a tour to see thousands of Magellan penguins near their caves and nesting areas; and a drive to Tierra del Fuego National Park that includes a stop at Lapataia Bay, the southernmost place that can be reached by road.

Will you be cruising to South America and Antarctica with us? Which calls are you looking forward to most? Tell us in the comments below.

Taj Mahal

From South America to Europe to Australia, Holland America Line’s ships cruise to some of the most breathtaking places around the world. Among these sights, however, there are some that we consider better than the rest, iconic. Defined as “widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence,” you can experience their excellence firsthand on your next Holland America Line cruise.

Istanbul: Blue Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, was built in the early 1600s during the rule of Ahmed I. The mosque is named for its richly adorned interior of magnificent Iznik tiles, though its exterior is equally as impressive. Its classical Turkish design features six minarets. The mosque is the first stop on the Ottoman Wonders tour and can also be seen on the Best of Istanbul tour, both which also feature the amazing Topkapi Palace.

The Blue Mosque and Leaning Tower of Pisa are two iconic sights.

The Blue Mosque and Leaning Tower of Pisa are two iconic sights.

Pisa: The Leaning Tower of Pisa

With a call at Livorno, Italy, you can head to one of the country’s most popular symbols, the Tower of Pisa. This freestanding bell tower is known worldwide for its sideways tilt. Don’t forget to take the typical Pisa picture of yourself holding up the tower — or at least enjoy watching the tourists that do! The Lucca & Pisa tour will also give you the chance to enjoy a walk through the ancient city of Lucca at the northwest corner of Tuscany.

Rome: The Colosseum


Rome is nicknamed the Eternal City, and rightly so for its array of icons including the Pantheon, Castel Sant’Angelo, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and one of the world’s most popular sites — the Colosseum. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum was the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire and one of Roman architecture’s best works. Located east of the Roman Forum, its construction began under Vespasian in 70 AD and completed in 80 AD under Titus. The Panoramic Rome & St. Peter’s Basilica is the perfect way to see much of the Eternal City’s stunning architecture.

Rio de Janeiro: Christ the Reedemer Statue at Corcovado


No sight is more famous in Rio de Janeiro, and even Brazil, than the statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain. Over 300,000 visitors make the trip every year to see the statue and the stunning view from the peak’s platform of downtown Rio. With the Corcovado & Rio Highlights tour, you will enjoy a drive through the city to the Tijuca Forest National Park. Then you will board a 115-year-old cogwheel tram for a 20-minute ride through the forest to the top of the mountain. The tram ride features spectacular views of the city’s beaches, buildings and bridges. At the top, you can choose between an elevator or escalator to the summit — a 2,400-foot climb! The statue stands 125 feet tall and will always welcome you with open arms.

Lima: Macchu Picchu

Machu Picchu 1

A call at Callao (Lima), Peru, is the perfect opportunity to see the ruins at Machu Picchu. This stone city was built in the 15-century but abandoned just a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. It was rediscovered in 1911 by American historian Hiram Bingham. The Lost City of the Incas represents the cultural heritage of mankind and is located almost 8,000 feet above sea level. The Cuzco & Machu Picchu Overland Adventure is perfect for itineraries with overnight calls at Callao followed by a call at Lima, where you will fly to on the third day of the tour to meet the ship. You must book this tour prior to sailing.

Sydney: Sydney Opera House


The Sydney Opera House in Australia might be the youngest sight on this list, but it is still incredibly impressive. Designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, the opera house opened in October of 1973. The space hosts over 1,500 performances each year and the Evening at the Sydney Opera House shore excursion is the perfect way for you to take in one of them. Attending a performance here will be the experience of a lifetime and you will quickly understand why it’s considered a Holland America Line Medallion Collection tour!

St. Petersburg: Church on the Spilled Blood

Spilled Blood

St Petersburg, Russia’s, Church on the Spilled Blood is one of the most remarkable buildings in the world. Built in 1907 on the spot where the Russian Czar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881, the church features an embellished and exuberant style with ornate decorations and incredible attention to detail. A 23,000 square foot area inside is believed to be the largest indoor mosaic in the world, put together by the best mosaic stone carvers of the 19th and 20th century. You can visit this church and also enjoy a riverboat ride through the “Venice of the North” with the St. Petersburg Waterways & Church on the Spilled Blood excursion.

Agra: Taj Mahal

Blue Mosque 2

The Taj Mahal is a marble mausoleum found in Agra, India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife around 1632, though construction was not completed until 20 years later. Today, more than three million people visit every year. The Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The agency called it “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” You can admire Taj Mahal on the Taj Mahal Overland Adventure tour that begins in Mumbai with a flight to Delhi and visits the Taj Mahal at sunrise — widely regarded as the best time to see it — on the third day of the tour. You will also enjoy stop at Humayuns Tomb, Agra Fort, and plenty other impressive sights before flying to Dubai on the fourth day of the tour to meet the ship.

You can take in the Blue Mosque and Colosseum with ms Prinsendam’s 17-day Grand Voyage that starts with an overnight in Instanbul and ends at Civitavecchia departing on April 19, 2015, or with Nieuw Amsterdam’s 12-day Mediterranean Tapestry you can enjoy the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Colosseum with calls at Florence and Civitavecchia. Nieuw Amsterdam departs Barcelona, Spain, on April 22, May 28 and September 13, 2015. You can explore Machu Piccu with ms Statendam’s 15-day Incan Empires cruise departing San Diego, California, on March 15, 2015, or enjoy Corcovado at Rio de Janeiro and famous Carnaval on ms Maasdam’s 24-day Amazon and Carnaval Explorer itinerary that departs from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on January 14, 2016.

If you’re taking a cruise that visits these ports, the shore excursions can be pre-booked so you get the tour of your choice.

Have you visited any of these icons? Tell us your favorite in the comments below.

Penguins can be seen everywhere in Antarctica.
Penguins can be seen everywhere in Antarctica.

Travelers looking to see more of the South American ports beyond a tour that lasts only a few hours can embark on an overland journey or extended shore excursion that goes to places unreached by cruise ships.
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Machu Picchu is one of South America's most visited sites.
Machu Picchu is one of South America's most visited sites.

South America is full of contrasts. From the piercing blue ice of Antarctica to the lush jungles of the Amazon, it’s a continent that truly has something for everyone.
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May 2013

I have just returned from a three-week cruise on the Veendam which included a wonderful excursion to Machu Picchu. As usual HAL had organised everything perfectly and it all went like clockwork. The guides were excellent, the Monesterio Hotel lived up to its 5-star rating, the Hiram Bingham rail journey was a great experience and the Inca site itself was amazing. We had a lovely sunny day and because we didn’t arrive until after lunch, the crowds had gone and we managed to get some fabulous photographs. Machu Picchu was on our bucket list and we didn’t want to spend days trekking in Peru, so three days off the ship was a perfect way to do things. Grace, who happened to be the captain’s wife, travelled with us and was an excellent travelling companion, I hope we can keep in touch. — Margaret Morris


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