Every year Holland America Line puts together an exciting collection of “Grand Voyages” on ships built for leisurely travel, able to visit ports often untouched by larger cruise ships. But do you know what makes a voyage a Grand Voyage?
These longer itineraries explore all corners of the world and take guests to many bucket list travel destinations. Imaging unpacking only one time and finding yourself in a new port or a new country practically every day. Explore the far reaches of the globe at a leisurely pace. Grandly sail to Australia, Africa and Antarctica aboard a pampering ship. No flights from country to country, no jet lag … just a relaxing journey to some amazing places.
And onboard, the environment is just as grand as it is ashore. Gala balls, regional menus crafted by the finest chefs in the world, entertainment to delight the senses and a variety of activities for you to enjoy … or not. That’s the beauty of an extended Grand Voyage, you have all the time in the world to do everything or nothing. It’s up to you. You’re the captain of your own itinerary, so you can fill your days however you wish.
While most of the Grand Voyages are centralized around one region such as South America, the Mediterranean or the Far East, the famous Grand World Voyage circles the globe, literally. Lasting more than 100 days, ms Amsterdam sails a westerly course that starts and ends at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In years past the ship has gone through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific to Australia and Indonesia, around Asia and through the Suez canal for a European exploration before crossing back to North America. This year, the ship is taking a southern route and will sail around South Africa before heading to Florida.
Following Australia, the ship headed to Asia and had an overnight call at Hong Kong, China, so guests could take longer shore excursions and enjoy the city at night. We’ve received some lovely photos from Captain Mercer, guest Jan Yetke and Future Cruise Consultant Joanne.
Our guests wasted no time in enjoying Hong Kong, despite the low cloud and chilly temperatures. I waited for Karen, her flight was expected to arrive at 6 a.m., however I found out that it was 4 hours late … An evening ashore, wandering the streets of Hong Kong and in particular, we made for Temple Street Market, better known as the ‘Night Market’, full of bright lights, stalls and restaurants, (well, stalls with eating facilities would be a more apt term). — Captain Mercer
Hong Kong on a hazy night, by Captain Mercer.
Photos of the Night Market from Captain Mercer.
Read Captain Mercer’s full blog post about Hong Kong on his blog, CaptainJohnthan.com.
On day two in Hong Kong I went to Lantau island to visit the temple and the buddha. Took the star ferry for about 30 cents to Hong Kong Island to catch the metro to Tung Chung where you catch the skyrail up to the Ngong Ping where the giant buddha waits. You need a full day to really see the village, temples and the buddha but I squeezed it in 5 hours, which I thought was rushed.
It’s a good climb up the stairs to get to where the buddha sits, but be sure to do it. The temple is an active place of worship and you will see people buying incense sticks and bowing before the buddha. Even though the place is a tourist attraction there is a reality to it that is worthwhile seeing. — Joanne Gardner, future cruise consultant.
Clockwise from left, the buddha at Lantau Island, the ride up to the buddha, and Hong Kong as seen from the Promenade Deck on Amsterdam.
[On day 2] we had decided to go with Ros and Gary to Stanley Market!! This is a really fun place to shop – lots of small vendors all in one place with many good deals and you can bargain. Of course, there are lots of souvenir type things but also some nice clothing shops. Ros and I planned on doing some serious clothes shopping at our favorite store there where you buy very nice outfits that all mix and match – slacks, tops, and blouses/jackets. So, we sat on the top deck of the local bus to get there which is a wonderful sightseeing tour itself! Ros and I had a great time in the clothing store and did come away with several new outfits each!!! … All in all it was a really fun two days in Hong Kong. — Guest Jan Yetke
Scenes around Hong Kong by Jan.
Holland America Line’s elegant explore, ms Prinsendam, also specializes in Grand Voyages due to its size. The ship currently is on a 57-day Grand Africa and Mediterranean Voyage that sails from Fort Lauderdale to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, with calls at the Cape Verde Islands, Gambia, Senegal, the Canary Islands, Morocco, Israel and ports throughout several Mediterranean countries.
The ship departed last week and Holland America Line’s Gerald Bernholf, director of Mariner Society, was on-hand for the send-off. The terminal at Port Everglades was decked out, ready to welcome guests for their Grand adventure!
In September, Amsterdam will sail a 78-day Grand Pacific and Far East Voyage that sails a counter-clockwise route from Seattle to San Diego. The exploration visits Japan, China, Indonesia, Australia and French Polynesia.
Prinsendam sets out on an incredible journey in September as well with an 85-day circumnavigation of Africa, roundtrip from Rotterdam. Imagine transiting the Suez Canal, visiting the gorgeous Seychelle Islands, rounding the Cape of Good Hope and visiting South Africa, then sailing up the west coast of the continent. Perhaps an overland safari is in order to celebrate this momentous voyage.
In 2015, Amsterdam will again sail a 114-day Grand World Voyage departing in January, while Prinsendam circumnavigates South America on the 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage. Prinsendam follows up that voyage with a 31-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage.
Holland America Line understands that not all travelers have extended periods of time to take longer vacations, so all of the Grand Voyages feature shorter segments so guests can experience parts of the voyages without taking the whole cruise. And segments of a Grand Voyage are great ways to sample the region and get a taste of the local culture and history. Perhaps you’ll return for the whole Grand once you fall in love with the area.
Which Grand Voyage would you like to take? A full global circumnavigation or perhaps a trip down to Antarctica?