Whether you’re seeking an entirely new holiday experience or simply escaping the frantic pace of the season, Holland America Line offers 22 holiday cruises in 2010 for warm weather celebrations.
“Holiday cruises are a very special experience,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “Our crew takes special pride in delivering all the seasonal favorites for guests to enjoy without the traditional rush. Holiday meals, decorations and family time can be savored while sailing through warm, picturesque waters.”
Sail the Caribbean on 7 to 14-day Cruises
Departing between Dec. 17 and Dec. 31 aboard seven ships — ms Westerdam, ms Maasdam, ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Ryndam, ms Prinsendam and ms Noordam — options abound for Caribbean cruises with 13 holiday sailings from Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa over one or both holidays. Itineraries include exploring the southern Caribbean via a seven-day cruise with stops in such exotic ports as Aruba, Curaçao and Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private Bahamian island. Or try seven days exploring the rich waters of the eastern Caribbean and legendary ports of call such as Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Finally, holiday cruisers can settle into several western Caribbean options with stops that may include Belize, Montego Bay, Georgetown, Costa Maya and Key West.
The more adventurous travelers can opt for a 10- or 14-day cruise throughout the Caribbean and usher in the New Year in St. Thomas or St. George’s while sampling the ports of Barbados and Grand Turk.
Most itineraries feature a visit to Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning exclusive private island experience with white sand beaches, aqua waters and shore activities from horseback riding to a stingray adventure. Per person fares begin as low as $999, double occupancy. Taxes are additional.
Sunny Mexican Riviera & Panama Canal for a Festive Occasion
Departing from Fort Lauderdale, San Diego or Los Angeles in mid to late December, Holland America Line offers five cruises that visit the warm water ports of the Mexican Riviera — Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, Puerto Chiapas and Puerto Quetzal — as well as the Central America coastline and Panama Canal. Per person fares begin at $1,099.
The Sunfarer Caribbean Holiday cruise is a 10-day trip departing roundtrip Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 23 aboard ms Zuiderdam and sailing through the southern Caribbean with Christmas Eve at Half Moon Cay, a partial transit of the Panama Canal to Gatun Lake and New Year’s Eve at sea before returning on Jan. 2, 2011.
Two additional cruises visit the Panama Canal beginning with the 14-day Panama Canal which departs Los Angeles on Dec. 22 aboard ms Amsterdam in time for Christmas Day at sea and stops in Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica before traversing the Canal en route to Ft. Lauderdale. Or guests can opt for the 14-day Panama Canal Holiday Cruise aboard ms Statendam departing San Diego on Christmas Eve. Stops in Mexico include Puerto Vallarta and Puerto Chiapas before crossing the Canal to Fort Lauderdale.
Christmas and New Years holidays along the Mexican Riviera can be particularly memorable with an eight-day cruise from San Diego aboard ms Oosterdam on Dec. 18 or a seven-day sailing on Dec. 26 that visit Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. Or guests can opt for a 12-day cruise departing Dec. 22 aboard ms Rotterdam that features Christmas Eve in Cabo San Lucas, Christmas Day at sea and New Year’s Eve in Mazatlan.
Longer Voyages Sail the Pacific
The warm waters of the far Pacific offer memorable holiday adventures as well. A 14-day Circle Hawaii sailing aboard ms Zaandam departs San Diego Dec. 19 with Christmas Eve in Hilo, Christmas Day in Honolulu and New Year’s Day in Ensenada, Mexico. Departing Dec. 17, the 16-day Australia-New Zealand Holiday Cruise aboard ms Volendam explores the southern coast of Australia from Sydney before an extensive tour of exotic New Zealand ports like Milford Sound and Auckland and celebrating Christmas Eve in Wellington.
White Christmas in the Antarctic
Guests who want their holidays adorned with snow and ice will see a white Christmas aboard the adventurous 17-day South America and Antarctica Explorer journey. Departing Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile, Dec. 20, ms Veendam steers south amid the glaciers to spend Christmas Eve cruising Darwin Channel and the Chilean Fjords, Christmas Day sailing Amalia Glacier Canal and New Year’s Eve in the Antarctic Sound. Per person fares on longer voyages range from $1,999 to $2,699 per person for starting fares.
Host of Special Activities for All Guests
Holland America Line’s on-board festivities for the entire family include holiday decorations, sumptuous traditional meals, special movie showings, a visit for the kids from Santa — sometimes arriving by parasail — activities and crafts for the Club HAL kids program, strolling carolers, tree lighting ceremony, eggnog in the Atrium, Christmas brunch, Santa’s milk and cookie late-night snack and a holiday show by the crew on Christmas Eve. For sailings over Hanukkah, ships display a ceremonial Menorah.
New Year’s Eve cruisers will enjoy the New Year’s Eve Gala and the broadcast of select college bowl games on board ships. Each holiday voyage features clergy to conduct Catholic, Protestant and Jewish services (for cruises over Hanukkah).
Another special feature for the holidays are culinary classes highlighting such traditional seasonal treats as latkes with rosemary and brown butter sauce; Alsatian potato and bacon tarts; sausage cakes with red wine prunes; and other tasty holiday fare.