Tag Archives: ms Rotterdam

There's a lot of gorgeous scenery on the Voyage of the Vikings cruise, including Prince Christian Sound. Photo by Jan Yetke.
There's a lot of gorgeous scenery on the Voyage of the Vikings cruise, including Prince Christian Sound. Photo by Jan Yetke.

Holland America Line Mariners and frequent cruisers Jan and Dick Yetke set sail July 25 on Veendam’s “Voyage of the Vikings” Collectors’ Voyage that cruises from Boston, Massachusetts, to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and back. Collectors’ Voyages combine back-to-back itineraries into one, longer cruise, and this is one of our most popular.

Come along with Jan and Dick on their grand sojourn as they visit Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, and more! See the beautiful scenery and memorable sights, like this cute seal at Prince Christian Sound.

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CORNER BROOK, NEWFOUNDLAND:
After two wonderful days at sea (calm), we docked in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada. Weather was lovely – comfortable temperature and partly cloudy! We took the shuttle into town, not knowing exactly what we were going to do, and low and behold we discovered a bike rental shop! So, of course, we rented a couple bikes (and they were electric assist) and off we went. We had a lovely ride along the trail out along the waterfront and back. It was a great treat that we did not expect to find.

Biking around Corner Brook.

Biking around Corner Brook.

RED BAY, LABRADOR:
The next day we anchored off Red Bay, Labrador, Canada, at about 8:00 am. This is a very small community now of only about 300 people. Had a very nice walk down the road and then up the hill to the church. Next door was a historical museum which was very interesting. As we were getting ready to go back down the hill and back to the ship, the fog was rolling in and the ship was “sinking” down into the fog! We enjoyed the stop here.

Veendam in the fog.

Veendam in the fog.

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QAQORTOQ, GREENLAND:
This was a beautiful day visiting a small village here on the southwest corner of Greenland – very remote! At just over 3,000 inhabitants Qaqortoq is the largest town in Southern Greenland. We walked past the museum, saw the fountain which was built in 1927 and is the oldest fountain in Greenland, and up the hill to the Church of Our Savior, a beautiful wooden church built in 1832. We really enjoyed all the beautiful Norwegian-influenced colorful homes which dotted the hillsides.

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PRINCE CHRISTIAN SOUND:
What an absolutely glorious, beautiful day we had cruising the Prince Christian Sound and other passages thru lower southeastern Greenland! The weather could not have been more perfect for doing this – sunny, blue skies, just a few clouds, no wind, very calm waters, brisk chill! We just stood outside on a high forward deck (outside the gym) for a couple hours enjoying the beauty and marveling at what a great job they were going making our way thru all the ice!

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At dinner we celebrated our anniversary with a delicious chocolate cake they made and had a huge group of waiters gather around to sing for us! Great fun!

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REYKJAVIK, ICELAND:
We had two glorious days in Reykjavik, Iceland, situated on the western shores of Iceland. We purchased a ticket for the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus and went by the Perlan (where they have five large storage tanks for the hot water that comes up from the ground and is used for heat), the Hallgrimskirkja (main church), National Museum, Whales of Iceland Museum, Harpa (large, glass concert hall and convention center), and several other places. The little white house in the photo is where Pres. Regan and Gorbechev from Russia met for a meeting but nothing was decided. The second day we took the bus back into town and walked up the main street to the Cathedral. It is beautiful inside! This is a Lutheran Parish church and is the largest church in Iceland. Outside is a statue of Leif Erikson, who they say discovered America before Columbus.

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GEIRANGERFJORD, NORWAY:
On the tender, Dick and I got to sit up in the lookout seats by the driver. One of the most famous and beautiful sights are the Seven Sisters Waterfalls, so I got a wonderful photo of them. Upon arrival at the town we took the City Sightseeing Bus, which in most towns is the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus, but here your ticket just allowed you one trip around the circuit, 1 hour and 20 minutes, with two stops at fabulous viewpoints high up on the mountains – Flydalsjuvet (overlooked the city and harbour) and Eagle Road (which overlooked the Seven Sisters Waterfalls and all surrounding mountains).

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After calls at Alesund and Bergen, Norway, the ship ended the first half of the voyage at Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS:
We got off the ship and picked up our rental car. Then headed north and east for two-and-a-half-hours to a town called Papenburg, Germany. When Dick saw the announcement a month or so ago by Carnival Corp. about their new mega-ship they were ordering, he saw that it would be built at the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. He went to the shipyard website and found out that they offered tours. We signed up for a 2 p.m. tour that day. The tour was about 2 hours in length and was extremely interesting!

They had two wet/dry dock buildings, but as the ships have gotten bigger, they had to turn one into a totally dry dock where they make parts and pieces of the ship, and the other one where they assemble the parts and pieces. They are bound by a width of 42 metres and they are bound by a height depending on where the ship is going – i.e. bridges it has to get under, and the building it is built in.

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DUBLIN, IRELAND:
Dublin is a great city. We got on the City Sightseeing Hop-On-Hop-Off bus, red route. The River Liffey runs thru the city and there is a Canal circling the perimeter of the city. The bus went out to the zoo, past many beautiful parks, churches, shops, and many different neighborhoods. After riding the whole circuit (about 1 hour 20 minutes), we picked a stop to get off at which was next to St. Stephens Green – another beautiful park. However, this was also an area of restaurants and shops! We walked down Dawson Street and found a nice little restaurant – 37 Dawson.

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SEYDISFJORDUR, ICELAND:
What a beautiful, peaceful little village this was! This town was way up a fjord so we had some scenic cruising getting in and out. We got off the ship and headed up and to the left to hike up the path along the waterfall. As you see in a photo, I stopped where the path got muddy. Dick kept going. So, how does one communicate with each other when in this situation? Text to each other on your cell phone, of course! I said “Where are you?” He said “Turn around and look up and to the right of the waterfall.” Well, as you can see, I eventually found him looking thru some bushes.

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AKUREYRI, ICELAND:
This was another very nice small town where we just got off the ship and walked into and thru the town main street, up the hill next to the church, continued on up the hill to see the Community Center with pools and work out rooms. In front of the Community Center was a geese refuge since they were contained in this area of two ponds. It was a beautiful day and we had a great walk around town!

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The ship also made two more calls in Iceland and Greenland, as well as explored Prince Christian Sound again. The voyage ends this Saturday following calls at Canada and Maine.

If your not as adventurous as Jan and Dick or simply prefer to take a Holland America Line shore excursion to many of these sights, the shore excursions in these ports can be pre-booked so you to get the tour of your choice.

If these photos make you want to embark on the 2016 Voyage of the Vikings Collectors’ Voyage, now’s the time to book with Explore 4 savings.

If you’re interested in other itineraries that include these incredible ports, check out the 32-Day Fjords, Highlands & Vikings Collectors’ Voyage aboard Rotterdam departing June 18, 2016; the shorter 14-day Fjords & Highlands segment also departing June 18; Zuiderdam’s 12-Day Northern Isles departing July 16; and Prinsendam’s 34-day North Cape & Celtic Explorer Collectors’ Voyage departing Aug. 3.

Even more exciting is that some of Koningsdam’s maiden season itineraries include several of these ports, so you can visit them on our newest ship! Come aboard the 21-Day Norse Legends & Northern Isles Collectors’ Voyage departing Aug. 7, 2016, or the 12-Day Norse Legends cruise departing Aug. 14.

All of these voyages also are eligible for Explore 4 savings, so don’t wait to book so you get the cabin and date of your choice.

HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, center, was on-hand to celebrate ms Rotterdam's 100th call at the Port of Rotterdam.
HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, center, was on-hand to celebrate ms Rotterdam's 100th call at the Port of Rotterdam.

Holland America Line’s ms Rotterdam sailed into the Port of Rotterdam for its milestone 100th call Saturday, July 4, 2015.

Rotterdam arriving at the Port of Rotterdam for its 100th call.

Rotterdam arriving at the Port of Rotterdam for its 100th call.

Rotterdam’s godmother, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, attended the shipboard festivities that included a welcoming concert in the terminal by a local choir, special luncheon and performance by Dutch singer and winner of “The Voice of Holland” Iris Kroes. Holland America Group Chief Executive Officer Stein Kruse and Executive Director of Cruise Port Rotterdam Mai Elmer also attended.

Rotterdam Express, a local children’s choir, sang “Hello Rotterdam” for Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands.

Rotterdam Express, a local children’s choir, sang “Hello Rotterdam” for Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands.

Margot Bartelink presented HRH Princess Margriet with flowers to honor the occasion.

Margot Bartelink presented HRH Princess Margriet with flowers to honor the occasion.

“A 100th port call is a big milestone for any ship, but when the ship is named after the city and the company has deep roots there, it’s all the more worthy of a celebration,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “We thank everyone who came out to pay tribute to Rotterdam on this special day.”

Dutch performer Iris Kroes put on a show for invited guests.

Dutch performer Iris Kroes put on a show for invited guests.

In addition to remarks from Kruse, Elmer and the ship’s master Captain Marco Carsjens during the event, the Port of Rotterdam presented plaques to Princess Margriet and Holland America Line.

As Kruse, left, and Captain Carsjens look on, Elmer presents HRH Princess Margriet with a plaque.

As Kruse, left, and Captain Carsjens look on, Elmer presents HRH Princess Margriet with a plaque.

In 2012 the ship began sailing year-round cruises roundtrip from the Port of Rotterdam, and will continue that schedule through October. In 2015 alone, ms Rotterdam will make a total of 21 calls at the Port of Rotterdam.

Rotterdam was christened by HRH Princess Margriet Dec. 9, 1997, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and made its first call at the Port of Rotterdam June 10, 1998.

Princess Margriet is Rotterdam's godmother. Here she is at the christening in 1997.

Princess Margriet, Rotterdam’s godmother, at the christening in 1997 with the ship’s captain Cees Buckens.

The ship's christening in 1997.

The ship’s christening in 1997.

The current ms Rotterdam is the sixth ship to bear that name in Holland America Line’s history, with Rotterdam I making its maiden voyage from the Port of Rotterdam in 1872.

All of the photos in this post were taken by Mirjam Lems.

Guest Michael McNerney was grateful for Rizi and Ari, who made his cruise to Alaska extra special.
Guest Michael McNerney was grateful for Rizi and Ari, who made his cruise to Alaska extra special.

Cruises offer guests the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world while being treated to caring service and making memories with loved ones. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, and across the country guests are counting their blessings. In honor of the holiday Holland America Line asked Facebook fans if there was a special crew member, fabulous destination or other Holland America Line experience for which they are grateful.

The question was met with a resounding ‘yes!’ Guests were most thankful for the people that made their experiences so meaningful. Warm memories of exceptional Holland America Line crew members and family gatherings along with anecdotes and images, poured forth. Also noted were the beauty of Venice, heavenly Half Moon Cay, St. Kitts, Hawaii and astounding Alaska.

Photos shared by Mallemolen Poots, Lucy Goei and Greg Krysia Moyle.

Photos shared by Mallemolen Poots, Lucy Goei and Greg Krysia Moyle.

Several guests mentioned Hunky Dorey, the server with a great talent for remembering names, and Jean-Pierre, the unforgettable dining room host on Volendam. Margadana and Yanuar Dwi — among the best dining room managers at sea — Lawrence the charming singing wine steward and Eric Bob the fabulous dining room supervisor were all praised. Some recalled inside jokes and bonding moments with their buddies onboard. Like Mallemolen Poots who wrote,

“Cheers Bouzie Bouzie from ms Rotterdam! He brought me cold beer and always made me laugh! For bouzie: woensdag gehaktdag.”

Lucy Goei mentioned Paulus from housekeeping who is hilarious. Others were thankful for cabin stewards Wisnu, Jay and Putu that dazzled on Nieuw Amsterdam, along with pairs like Mus and Ali who were ‘the greatest’ on the Alaskan Cruise on Statendam, Ari and Kolich from Oosterdam or DJ and Lu from Ryndam who helped to make Darla Isbell’s 50th anniversary cruise more memorable.

Holland America Line and its guests are grateful for the fabulous crew. Ozgur Turnuklu shared this photo of members of the Rotterdam team.

Holland America Line and its guests are grateful for the fabulous crew. Ozgur Turnuklu shared this photo of members of the Rotterdam team.

Sea days are made all the more pleasant thanks to Holland America Line’s professional entertainers. Jazzy Jeff Davis, the DJ that makes cruising fun; Lucky Lee the awesome entertainer from Noordam’s piano bar and David Anthony, the piano bar singer on Prinsendam who Margaret Chute credited with countless hours of good times.

Many echoed the sentiment that the crew on Holland America Line goes above and beyond to make sure their guests are enjoying their vacations.

Emmy Banning said she is grateful for Henry, the waiter on Oosterdam last September who was thoughtful and insightful. Henry went out of his way to accommodate dietary needs and gave special attention to Emmy’s guest that was recovering from a stroke.

“Full marks for Henry!” she said.

Scott and Marty Lara pose with Stan Kuppens, hotel manager, ms Eurodam.

Scott and Marty Lara pose with Stan Kuppens, hotel manager, ms Eurodam.

The hope is that all goes well in travel, but in case of conflict Holland America Line professionals have been known to rise to the occasion. Scott Lara, an avid mariner, mentioned that he was grateful for Stan Kuppens, the hotel director on ms Eurodam. A friend they were traveling with had to cut her trip short due to a medical issue and Mr. Kuppens went the extra mile to help return her to the states. She recovered quickly and Lara maintains a friendship with Mr. Kuppens to this day.

“Last year on the Eurodam on a Canada to Ft Lauderdale repositioning cruise we had to disembark in Bar Harbor due to a family emergency. Our Cabin Steward Putu helped us get off the ship by assisting with our luggage, some pieces were bigger than he was.” – Michael Lewis

Guests were also grateful for the memories made while cruising and the time spent with loved ones on Holland America Line. Touching stories emerged of togetherness, like Rex Parker who said, “As the holiday season comes upon us I keep thinking of my last trip to Alaska in September 2012 on HAL with my parents. We lost my step-dad earlier this year and as I wrap myself in memories the week we spent cruising Alaska on the Westerdam keeps coming to mind as it was such a fun and special trip for all of us enhanced by the wonderful Westerdam staff and crew.”

Precious memories with Holland America Line shared by David Mellichamp and Linda Hansell.

Precious memories with Holland America Line shared by David Mellichamp and Linda Hansell.

Linda Hansell shared a story of special times onboard with her mother:

“Years ago we had a waiter in training while cruising with my Mom. He was trying so very hard to please. During one of the meals we hid the silver after he had so carefully arranged each piece. You should have seen his face when everything was missing.

“We later cruised on the same ship hoping to find Mom’s friend, and took a picture my Mom treasured of them together, just on the chance he would be there. Luckily, he was.

“I no longer have my Mom, but will always carry fond memories of a very special young man.”

Other guests were thankful for having spent anniversaries, birthdays and vow renewals with Holland America Line. David Mellichamp wrote on behalf of his family. He said that his vow renewal at Half Moon Cay was a day to remember forever thanks to the staff of Westerdam, especially Buzz, Nickie, Diane, Dr. Nancy and Phil.

Family bonding is certainly on the minds of many during this season. Carla Vleugels mentioned her daughter Lynn who is working onboard Volendam as a cadet, and Will Dean Pham who offered props to his parents.

“One of my blessings is my parents who have taken me on Holland America Line three times!!!! And I’m only 14. I also thank the crew, service and food on your line. You guys are just amazing.” – Will Dean Pham

Photos shared by Jackie Buonocore Ferriso, Dianne Dundon Betzel, Joanne Spirito Stigerts and Stephen Fowler.

Photos shared by Jackie Buonocore Ferriso, Dianne Dundon Betzel, Joanne Spirito Stigerts and Stephen Fowler.

All in all folks are grateful for intangibles in their Holland America Line experience. Like Marjorie Shenkir who got something back from cruising.

“I am thankful for Scotty, my personal trainer aboard my Panama cruise Spring 2014. He got me started on the Rennaisance of my life! I’ve never been fitter, happier or healthier!” she said.

Jo Ann Cheek Baker said the fun time she had with Holland America Line left her glowing.

“Three older women, me included, took the eleven day land and sea cruise two years ago. It was the best vacation any of us ever had,” she shared. “Especially the cruise. Just can’t say enough about it only if we had a chance we would do it again. Thank you for making us feel young again. And special.”

Debbie Gulnick summed it up nicely when she said,

“Whenever I am on a Holland America Line ship I always feel at home and there is always someone I know. They are a part of my extended family, and its like going home every time I am on a HAL ship.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!”

Do you have a Holland America Line experience for which you’re grateful? Share below!

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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!

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Holland America Line is planning special promotions for CLIA Cruise Week which starts today, Oct. 6, and runs through Monday, Oct. 13. Organized by Cruise Lines International Association, the weeklong event features promotions and online opportunities to give consumers a perfect opportunity to book a cruise vacation while taking advantage of special savings.

Throughout the week, Holland America Line will be featuring the exclusive Explore4 promotion on select 2015 and 2016 sailings that provides four added-value extras — a free Signature Beverage Package and free Pinnacle Grill dinner for guests booking an ocean-view and higher category stateroom, free or reduced cruise fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom and 50 percent reduced deposits. Suite bookings also receive a $300 onboard spending credit per stateroom ($150 per person) and a free Canaletto dinner in addition to the other four offers.

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“Each year CLIA Cruise Week highlights cruising as a vacation choice, and we are celebrating by offering special promotions to entice travelers to book their dream vacation,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. “By combining the Explore4 offer and an onboard spending credit, guests can get an exceptional rate this week on a Holland America Line cruise.”

Guests looking to take advantage of the Explore4 program can choose select itineraries to nearly all of Holland America Line’s global destinations, including Alaska and Alaska/Yukon Land+Sea Journeys, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico/Hawaii, Panama Canal and South America.

Travelers making a booking on select 2014 through 2016 cruises during the week also receive a special CLIA Cruise Week onboard spending credit, depending on the length of the cruise and type of cabin booked. Guests can receive up to a $400 per stateroom ($200 per person) onboard spending credit in addition to all four Explore4 offers, when applicable. For example, guests who book a suite on 10- to 14-day cruises receive a $300 per stateroom ($150 per person) onboard spending credit.

With the onboard credit, guests can use it toward a variety of options. From a pampering massage in the spa to an exciting shore excursion ashore, from dinner in the Pinnacle Grill to a souvenir at the gift shop, the credit can be put toward several of the amenities found onboard.

The Explore4 Onboard Credit can be used toward a variety of options like the spa, gift shop, tours and drinks.

The Explore4 Onboard Credit can be used toward a variety of options like the spa, gift shop, tours and drinks.

Eligible Explore4 Cruises
If you’re looking to explore Alaska, perhaps the seven-day roundtrip Vancouver, British Canada, cruise in 2015 is the one for you. Along the way, enjoy scenic cruising in the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay, as well as calls at Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.

If Australia and New Zealand are on your bucket list, the 28-day Pacific Treasures and New Zealand Collectors’ Voyage that sails roundtrip Sydney, Australia, would be the perfect cruise to see the whole region. Departing in January 2016, Noordam heads to the South Pacific islands of New Caledonia, , and Fiji before making eight calls in New Zealand. Guests will enjoy an overnight at Auckland and scenic cruising through Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park.

Explore Sydney, Fiji and Auckland on the 28-day Pacific Treasures Collectors' Voyage.

Explore Sydney, Fiji and Auckland on the 28-day Pacific Treasures Collectors’ Voyage.

Tropical breezes and golden beaches await on a seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. Sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the ship calls at Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; and Half Moon Cay, the line’s private island in the Bahamas.

The Baltic beckons on the seven-day Vikings Saga Explore4 sailing aboard Rotterdam. Sailing roundtrip from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the ship explores the majestic fjord and magical landscapes in Norway, and makes calls at Flam, Ulvik, Stavanger, Kristiansand, with scenic cruising in Sognjefjord.

For the ultimate South America exploration, the 38-day South America & Inca Discovery voyage begins at Buenos Aires, Argentina, and makes way up to Vancouver. Zaandam calls at ports in Uruguay, the Falkland Islands, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico and California before ending in Canada. Guest enjoy scenic cruising in the Beagle Channel, Exploring Glacier Alley, rounding Cape Horn, and overnights at Buenos Aires; Callao, Peru; and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

The South America adventure explores several ports, including Buenos Aires and Callo, the gateway to Machu Picchu.

The South America adventure explores several ports, including Buenos Aires and Callo, the gateway to Machu Picchu.

Other destinations are included in the Explore4 promotion, so be sure to check out the itineraries to Mexico and Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Mediterranean, Bermuda, South America and Canada and New England.

Will you be booking your next Holland America Line cruise during National Cruise Vacation Week? Tell us which itineraries you’re choosing below!

The cloisters at Lisbon's Jeronimos Monastery are an impressive display of architecture.
The cloisters at Lisbon's Jeronimos Monastery are an impressive display of architecture.

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.

Rossio Square is a central point in Lisbon.

Rossio Square is a great meeting place in Lisbon.

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.

The Belém Tower is one of Lisbon's iconic sites.

The Belém Tower is one of Lisbon’s iconic sites.

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 is some of the most impressive architecture in all of Europe.

The Jeronimos Monastery is some of the most impressive architecture in all of Europe.

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 erected to honor Henry the Navigator.

The Discoveries Monument was erected to honor Henry the Navigator.

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.

Praça do Comércio is a a highlight of Lisbon.

Praça do Comércio is a a highlight of Lisbon. Courtesy of wikipedia.

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.

The lanai staterooms will give guests direct access to the Promenade Deck.
The lanai staterooms will give guests direct access to the Promenade Deck.

When Holland America Line’s ms Volendam completes dry-dock in December 2014, guests will be wowed by the addition of 21 lanai staterooms that will make it more exciting to enjoy all of the ship’s scenic itineraries.
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Stockholm, Sweden, is a popular port on several Collectors' Voyages, giving guests extra time with an overnight call.
Stockholm, Sweden, is a popular port on several Collectors' Voyages, giving guests extra time with an overnight call.

For many travelers, a cruise to Europe is a dream come true. The once-in-a-lifetime journey is filled with ports that overflow with history, culture, architectural marvels, glorious scenery and cuisine that makes the taste buds sing.
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