Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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?

For some hikers, the thrill is the journey. For others it's the view at the end, like this view at Ushuaia, Argentina.
For some hikers, the thrill is the journey. For others it's the view at the end, like this view at Ushuaia, Argentina.

At Holland America Line, we’re not sure why telling someone to “take a hike” is a bad thing. In fact, we respond with “we’d love to” – especially on Take a Hike Day! And we bet you would too if you were taking any one of our incredible hiking shore excursions around the world.

Active tours like hiking, biking, kayaking and walking are a great way to stay in shape while cruising. For guests who want to focus on their health while on vacation, these tours are excellent options ashore. Onboard, Holland America Line has state-of-the-art fitness centers with a variety of classes, and menus always offer healthy options. The Lido has an incredible selection of fresh fruit, salads and lighter fare, as well. And after your hike, you can feel guilt-free while indulging on that chocolate cake or baked Alaska!

To celebrate Take a Hike Day, we compiled some of our best hiking tours that take guests around the world – from Alaska to Hawaii to New Zealand, then on to Norway, Canada, South America and back up to Puerto Rico … no matter where you are you can see some of the most spectacular scenery on foot.

So if trekking or stepping sounds like your thing, make sure to check out one of these tours on your next cruise.

DENVER VALLEY HIKE & WHITE PASS RAIL
Skagway, Alaska

Alaska is best enjoyed outdoors! You can take in some of its stunning scenery with a hike at Skagway.

Alaska is best enjoyed outdoors! You can take in some of its stunning scenery with a hike at Skagway.

The Denver Valley Hike & White Pass Rail tour at Skagway, Alaska, combines an impressive 27-mile rail journey on the “Scenic Railway of the World” and a five-mile wilderness hike. The adventure begins with a drive up the Klondike Highway to Fraser, BC. From here you’ll board the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, complete with waterfalls, rushing rivers, trestles and tunnels to see along the way to your trailhead. Your hike is lead by a knowledgeable guide who will take you through the glacially carved valley full of dense, temperate, rain forest. The trail traces the raging East Fork of the Skagway River.

Of course, this is Alaska, so there will be plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife along the way. This valley is home to bears, moose and mountain goats. You’ll also hike through the pristine Tongass National Forest, which will leave you in awe of the thousand-year-old trees!

DIAMOND HEAD CRATER HIKE
Honolulu, Hawaii

The view is the prize at the end of the tunnel at Diamond Head Crater!

The view is the prize at the end of the tunnel at Diamond Head Crater!

You can visit the world-famous Diamond Head Crater during a call at Honolulu, Hawaii. You’ll set out with a guide on a walk to the 763-foot summit of Diamond Head, stopping at several points along the way for breathtaking photo opportunities. You’ll enter a dark 200-foot tunnel and climb a spiral staircase, imparting a sense of adventure! Upon reaching the summit you will have an incredible view of famous Waikiki Beach, emerald green mountains and the sparkling aquamarine water of the Pacific Ocean.

ShuShu from Massachusetts gave the tour five stars on the Holland America website and left with a sense of accomplishment!

What an experience, wonderful views of Waikiki Beach and we’re thrilled that we accomplished the hike!!!!

GUIDED WALK TO MOUNT CARGILL & THE ORGAN PIPES
Port Chalmers, Dunedin, New Zealand

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Patricia Stone, owner and founder of Global Adventures, sailed Australia and New Zealand on Volendam and sent these photos of her hike to Mount Cargill.

Outdoorsy types will love the hike on Mount Cargill — Dunedin, New Zealand’s, most prominent peak. This adventure offers a look at the natural wonders of southern New Zealand, the amazing Organ Pipes. Your hike starts at the Mount Cargill Walkway. You’ll climb through a forest and get views of Otago Harbour, Mihiwaka, Mount Kettle, Blueskin Bay and Silver Peaks. Nature lovers will enjoy seeing Mount Cargill’s native bush including broadleaf, pepperwood, mountain cedar and many lush ferns. You’ll make your way to the Organ Pipes, 10-million-year-old basalt formations created during the volcanic activity that also formed Otago Harbour.

Afterward you’ll continue on until you emerge at Buttars Peak, at an elevation of more than 2,000 feet above sea level, where you will be awed by the panoramic views around you.

PULPIT ROCK HIKE
Stavanger, Norway

Left: view of Pulpit Rock from above. Right: Cruise Director John Mann at the summit in 2012.

Left: view of Pulpit Rock from above. Right: Cruise Director John Mann at the summit in 2012.

If you’re headed to Stavanger, Norway, don’t miss hiking the world-famous Pulpit Rock! You’ll set out from the pier to the local ferry landing for a scenic crossing to Tau. Then it’s a half-hour ride through picturesque scenery toward Preikestolhytta where your hike will begin. You’ll hike for two hours to reach Pulpit Rock through a variety of landscapes including mountains, forests and marshland, passing lovely ponds along the way. The journey ends with a bang as the last 600 yards are the most spectacular, walking along narrow paths with steep cliffs on one side and Lysefjord far below on the other. Your arrival at Pulpit Rock is nothing short of amazing.

HIKE TO UISAGE BAN FALLS
Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada

If you’re taking a Canada and New England cruise, be sure to opt for the Hike to Uisage Ban Falls tour at Sydney, Nova Scotia. This tour begins with a drive along the Trans-Canada Highway to discover the picturesque resort village of Baddeck, situated on the shores of the stunning Bras d’Or Lakes. The route is incredible beautiful with views of Boulanderie Island, the Seal Island Bridge, the Great Bras d’Or Channel, Kelly’s Mountain and St. Ann’s Bay.

From Baddeck, you’ll head to the Uisage Ban (White Waters) Falls Trail. The hike to the falls is about three miles long and will take you through some of the oldest forests in the province — with 200-year-old birch and maple trees as your side. You’ll be impressed by the 50-foot falls the second you reach them!

Left: Uisage Ban Falls. Photo credit: NovaScotia.com. Right: guests hiking at Ushuaia.

Left: Uisage Ban Falls. Photo credit: NovaScotia.com. Right: guests hiking at Ushuaia.

TREKKING IN USHUAIA
Ushuaia, Argentina

If you’re looking for adventure during a call at Ushuaia, Argentina, the Trekking in Ushuaia tour is a must! From the pier you will head to the Tierra Mayor Valley to Nunatak to begin your trek. The drive alone is wonderful, as you pass stunning mountain scenery along the way. Your hike will feature a splendid view of the thick forest of Lengas — the typical tree of the region where a great variety of birds make their homes — as you make your way toward the Alvear Mountains. You’ll see the Five Cascades waterfalls, learn about how beavers work at building their dams and get to walk along a peat bog.

EL YUNQUE RAIN FOREST DAY HIKE
San Juan, Puerto Rico

You can hike a rainforest and swim in a waterfall at El Yunque.

You can hike a rain forest and swim in a waterfall at El Yunque.

The U.S. National Forest system has only one tropical rain forest and you can hike it during a call at San Juan, Puerto Rico. El Yunque Rain Forest is one of the smallest in size yet also one of the most biologically diverse offering plenty of opportunities to discover different animals and plant species. You’ll walk with a guide through the wilderness of the rain forest for about two hours, enjoying the views of this tropical woodland. You’ll even get to cool off with a swim at the base of one of the forest’s most beautiful waterfalls, so don’t forget a swimsuit!

Warren from North Carolina gave the tour five stars on the Holland America website and called it a delightful experience.

“For those wanting to see the outskirts of San Juan and its beautiful mountainous terrain, this is the excursion for you … I strongly recommend this trip for those seeking a unique excursion experience. El Yunque is the only rain forest in U.S. territory so it is a must see.”

Remember, tours can be pre-booked before you cruise so you get your top choices.

Do you enjoy hiking? Are there any other hiking tours you think should be on this list? Tell us 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 you dream cruise is included and book now!

The Caribbean will welcome ms Koningsdam in Nov. 2016.
The Caribbean will welcome ms Koningsdam in Nov. 2016.

Following its inaugural Europe season in 2016, Holland America Line’s new ms Koningsdam will homeport at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The ship will kick off the Caribbean season with a four-day cruise to the Bahamas, followed by a series of diverse itineraries criss-crossing the region from fall 2016 through March 2017.

The seven-day cruises — which are all roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale — visit popular ports in the region, while the longer nine-, 10- and 11-day itineraries provide more time for exploring and include a variety of islands with exciting, off-the-beaten-path calls.

Family staterooms that can accommodate up to five guests make their debut on Koningsdam, and new Club HAL children’s facilities make a Holland America Line cruise the perfect family vacation to the Caribbean.

“We are excited to sail Holland America Line’s newest ship from Port Everglades on the most varied and robust Caribbean itineraries of any of our ships,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The Caribbean remains among the most popular cruise destinations in the world, and by having itineraries that range from four to 11 days guests will be able to enjoy a vacation that fits their schedule.”

Which itinerary is right for you? Read this blog post comparing the Caribbean regions to help you decide.

Four-day Bahamas Cruise

Half Moon Cay, top and left, and Nassau, are the featured ports on the 4-day cruise.

Half Moon Cay, top and left, and Nassau, are the featured ports on the 4-day cruise.

Koningsdam begins its inaugural season in the Caribbean with a four-day cruise to the Bahamas departing Nov. 9, 2016. Following an overnight in Fort Lauderdale, the ship calls at Nassau followed by Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award-winning private island. The voyage is the perfect way to sample Holland America Line’s new Pinnacle-class ship.

Seven-day Caribbean Cruises Include a Holiday Sailing

Clockwise from upper left: St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Cayman are featured on the seven-day voyages.

Clockwise from upper left: St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Cayman are featured on the seven-day voyages.

Two different seven-day itineraries provide an ideal getaway in winter, when the balmy breezes of the Caribbean beckon. The first itinerary sails Jan. 8 and 29 and Feb. 12, 2017, calling at Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Half Moon Cay. The second itinerary departs Jan. 15 and Feb. 5, 2017, and visits Half Moon Cay; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Key West, Fla. The two itineraries can be combined to create a nonrepeating 14-day Caribbean Collectors’ Voyage.

For the holidays, the Dec. 23, 2016, departure falls over Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, making it the most festive of voyages. The seven-day cruise will visit Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay.

Nine-day Caribbean Cruises Include a New Year’s Option

Guests looking for a slightly longer Caribbean vacation can embark Dec. 14, 2016, for a nine-day voyage that showcases six popular ports. The ship calls at Half Moon Cay; Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts; San Juan; and Grand Turk.

The beautiful beaches of St. Maarten and Tortola are showcased on the nine-day cruises.

The beautiful beaches of St. Maarten and Tortola are showcased on the nine-day cruises.

Another nine-day voyage departing Dec. 30 rings in the New Year with fun, sun, sand and surf. The ship will call at Falmouth, Jamaica; Half Moon Cay; Grand Turk; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; Cozumel and Key West.

10-day Caribbean Cruises Feature Southern Caribbean

The ABC Islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao highlight the 10-day itineraries.

The ABC Islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao highlight the 10-day itineraries.

From the turquoise waters of the Dominican Republic to the powdery beaches of the ABC Islands, Koningsdam’s 10-day itinerary highlights some of the most beautiful ports in the region. Departing Nov. 13 and Dec. 4, 2016, and Feb. 19 and March 12, 2017, the cruises call at Half Moon Cay; Grand Turk; the exclusive cruise port of Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Willemstand, Curaçao; and Oranjestad, Aruba.

11-day Caribbean Cruises Offer Blend of Several Ports

The eastern Caribbean takes center stage on the 11-day voyages that depart Nov. 23, 2016, and March 1 and 22, 2017. Koningsdam will visit the ports of Philipsburg; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Basseterre; St. Thomas; and Half Moon Cay. Guests aboard also will enjoy scenic cruising in Soufrière Bay and past the famed Mount Pelée volcano.

More gorgeous ports like Barbados, above, and St. Lucia with its famed Pitons, highlight the 11-day cruises.

More gorgeous ports like Barbados, above, and St. Lucia with its famed Pitons, highlight the 11-day cruises.

The inaugural Caribbean season of Koningsdam will be open for booking in summer 2015. Which cruise will be you joining us on? Tell us below!

Trapeze

Every season, Holland America Line carries thousands of guests on cruises to the Caribbean. The allure of the region reaches beyond sun-kissed skies and gorgeous beaches. The Caribbean is rich in culture, history, natural beauty and unique adventures.
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Medoc Vineyards in Bordeaux, France.
Medoc Vineyards in Bordeaux, France.

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.
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La Casita
La Casita

As highlighted in the above video, Holland America Line’s seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises feature the gorgeous port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in addition to Grand Turk, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay. Puerto Rico is the largest island that the ships visit on this exciting itinerary. Rich in history and culture, it is always a guest favorite.

Dating back to the early 1500s, Puerto Rico is surrounded by high stone wall and dotted with examples of Spanish Architecture. Old San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city, provides a cultural experience that is unmatched. The island is about 100 miles long and 35 miles wide. Puerto Rico’s entire population is around 5 million, while the population of San Juan itself is 1.6 million.

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Like most of the other islands visited on the Caribbean cruises, Puerto Rico was once home to the Arawak people. Because of the size of this island, it was home to more Arawak settlements than any other island. Of course, this all changed with the arrival of Europeans, beginning with Christopher Columbus in 1493. It was on his second trip to the new world that Columbus found Puerto Rico. Though he named the island, he named it not what it is today. The name he gave to the island was San Juan Bautista, honoring St. John the Baptist.

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