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Planning for 2019? Head to the Indian Ocean with a Holland America Line EXC In-Depth Voyage

With Holland America Line’s new EXC In-Depth Voyages, travelers have a way to see the world through the through the prism of their own personal interests and passions without having to worry about planning every detail of their dream vacation. Each of the new EXC In-Depth itineraries onboard Massdam offer a variety of themes for tailored exploration — Photography; Nature and Science; Arts & Culture; Food, Wine & Spirits; History & Perspective; and Active Exploration — while also cruising to the most fascinating corners of the globe … such as the Indian Ocean.

Are you ready to plan ahead for an adventure in 2019? Cruise the azure waters of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia to experience beachside villages and modern metropolises.


See Penang’s colorful sunset on the 20-day Indian Ocean Voyager cruise.

The 20-day Indian Ocean Explorer voyage begins at the culturally diverse city-state of Singapore Jan. 26, 2019, and then cruises to the UNESCO World Heritage site Malacca, Malaysia. While at Malacca guests will see the city’s history as a meeting place of east and west with Malaysia’s oldest church, St. Paul’s, constructed by the Portuguese; the country’s oldest Chinatown; and Stadthuys, the one-time city hall and the oldest Dutch building in Southeast Asia.

The cruise continues with a call at Penang, Malaysia. Penang is divided by the Strait of Malacca into Penang Island and on the Malay Peninsula, Seberang Perai. It’s easy to relax the day away in George Town on Penang Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with ornate historic houses, charming streets and delicious culinary options such as spicy laksa (coconut-curry soup) and kopi peng (iced coffee with condensed milk).

The cruise then sails to Phuket, Thailand. At Phuket, guests must see the city’s Big Buddha, which sits high on a mountain with knockout views of the coastline. After Phuket, the cruise enters the Indian Ocean for three sea days before reaching Sri Lankan shores.


Head up the mountainside to the city’s Big Buddha and enjoy these amazing views of Phuket.

After a day at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, the cruise will arrive at Hambantota, the main port on the island’s southern coast. Guests will be treated to a relatively undiscovered part of Sri Lanka since this area was off-limits during the country’s civil war. But this is a laid-back city is ready to be explored. Along with its seemingly endless golden-sand beaches fringed by coconut palms, guests should look no further than an EXC Tour to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s second-largest nature reserve, for a sight of one of the elusive leopards that prowl among its jungles.


Take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Maldives.

The ship then makes way to Malé, Maldives. The capital of the Maldives, Malé is located on the Kaafu Atolland is encircled by sea walls where guests can get a taste of Maldivian culture. While in Malé, guests should visit the National Museum, which has collections of relics from the foregone pre-Islamic period era, thrones, royal sunshades and furniture, costumes and shoes, coins, ornaments, arms and armor.


Visit the Garagama Temple while exploring Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The cruise then heads north to Uligamu, Maldives, one of the northernmost Maldivian islands, before re-entering the Laccadive Sea and arriving at Colombo, Sri Lanka. Colombo is relatively new to modern-day tourism, but what it lacks in touristic history it makes up for in many other ways — as Sri Lanka’s capital city has been a crucial trading post for more than 2,000 years. While in Colombo, many visitors head for the pristine beaches or head up the mountains to explore Sri Lanka’s tea country. Guests can also head to the bustling markets that are coupled with ancient Buddhist temples ready to be visited.


Modernity comes to life in the city-state of Singapore. See it while exploring Southeast Asia on a Holland America cruise.

From Colombo, Maasdam makes an eastward turn for three sea days before arriving at Porto Malai, Langkawi, Malaysia. While some 99 islands make up the Malaysian archipelago of Langkawi, Pulau Langkawi, the largest island, is the destination where cruise ships call at Porto Malai. At Langkawi, scuba enthusiasts can dive into the Andaman Sea that surrounds the island for the perfect opportunity to see colorful coral reefs. From Porto Malai, the voyage heads to Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur at Port Kelang. “KL” — as it’s often called — has been determined to become one of the world’s great and modern cities, which is best sensed with the imposing Petronas Towers. But for guests who prefer to see historic Kuala Lumpur, the city also has preserved some rich historic architecture, including the cheerful Art Deco Central Market, the Mughal-style Old Railway Station and the Tudor Revival Royal Selangor Club. The journey reaches its end at the equally modern city-state of Singapore.

Join us in 2019 on an EXC In-Depth Voyage as we explore Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean!

  • Sheryl L McGrath

    would like to browse a hard copy of this tour. do you also do Vietnam?

  • Julie

    We do explore Vietnam as well. What information would you like? Reservations or your travel agent will be able to fully assist: 1–877–932–4259

  • Jill

    Am interested in this cruise and others as a btb. However have never been on the Maasdam. My questions are – Does it have a library with books and the paperback exchange? Does it have an explorers Lounge (quiet area) for reading, and the coffee bar? Does it have a dance floor – in the Queens Lounge? and/or Crow’s Nest? What type of music is played – D.J., 4 – 5 piece band or three piece (American Song book), or BB King? Does it have the Adagio Strings. In looking at the floor plans what is the MIX? On these cruises will they have guest speakers? Is there some way of finding out the prices of some of the HAL tours now? I understand that this ship will be outfitted with zodiacs – will they be on by the time this cruise starts?

  • Julie

    Hi Jill, apologies for the delay but we’ve been working on getting you answers. EXC will have a library of destination information; the paperback exchange is no longer available. Yes, the ship has the Explorer’s Lounge and Explorations Cafe. The Ocean Bar has a dance floor. Mix is the area with Wine/Champagne, Beer and Spirits. Currently there also is a piano in the middle. There is no B.B. King’s on Maasdam. There are bands, Adagio and a DJ. There will be guest speakers. The EXC programming will be in full swing, and there is an emphasis on engaging and enriching speakers. The zodiacs will be onboard for the start of the cruise. They tours are being developed now and they will be on as they are finalized. Currently, four tours are complete and range from $139.95 to $199.95. Hope this is helpful in your decision to join Maasdam’s EXC In-Depth cruise!

  • John Flynn

    We booked this in 2017 before changes were public. We are looking for information to decide whether to go or cancel.
    1. Who will entertain for all of sea days since not possible to bring local entertainers while at sea? We understand there will be no singer and dancers like all other Dan ships have?
    2. Please explain whether passenger can participate in multiple or only 1 or none of 6 specialty areas?
    3. Will there be Lincoln Center Stage or 2 person Adagio?
    4. How many people can zodiac boats accommodate?
    5. Are changes being made to Crow’s Nest like was done on Nieu Smstetdam?

  • Julie

    Hi John, here are the answers to your questions. We hope they will persuade you to join us for these incredible EXC In-Depth Voyages.
    1. Who will entertain for all of sea days since not possible to bring local entertainers while at sea? We understand there will be no singer and dancers like all other Dan ships have? There will be Guest Entertainers and Local entertainers, and it is possible to have Local “Troupes” who will sail and perform at night. We currently do this on several voyages. As a new addition on these cruises on select nights we’ll have compelling speakers. To put it into context, currently the singers/dancers perform 5 nights out of 30 on a long voyage, and the speakers will take over that.
    2. Please explain whether passenger can participate in multiple or only 1 or none of 6 specialty areas? Guests are free to focus on one area of interest or combine their passions. You can do as many as you want.
    3. Will there be Lincoln Center Stage or 2 person Adagio? This ship does not have Lincoln Center Stage, but there will be Adagio, Ocean Bar musicians and a house band.
    4. How many people can zodiac boats accommodate? 10 guests plus driver per boat. The plan is for 8 boats. So a planned max of 80 guests per departure, but in many locations we will be able to do more than one departure of a particular Zodiac tour.
    5. Are changes being made to Crow’s Nest like was done on Nieuw Amsterdam? No, the Crow’s Nest will not be changed like other ships. There will be EXC programming and a map table, but not a major renovation.
    Please let us know if you have further questions.

  • Antony Deakin

    Is formal dress (e,g black tie) usual for any dinners ?

  • Julie

    Just for Gala Dinner, and black tie isn’t required. Many guests wear a jacket and tie.

  • Carla

    When will the full excursion programm for this cruise be available ?

  • Julie

    Hi Carla, many of the tours are already on the Holland America Line website. The others are being finalized and will be up soon. They’ll be worth the wait!

  • Elizabeth

    Hi – we are interested in this EXC Indian Ocean Explorer cruise for 2020. Will it be available? If so what dates, what ship and what itinerary will be followed? Many thanks.

  • Julie

    Hi Elizabeth, right now we have itineraries through July 2020 and the ship is not going to be in the Indian Ocean. Perhaps it will be a part of future itineraries.

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