Holland America Line cruises circle the globe visiting all seven continents. From the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, Alaska to Australia, the ships explore every major destination. While ports like Sydney, Australia; Venice, Italy; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are well-known cruise calls, did you know there are many destinations we visit that are “off the grid” and not so frequented by cruise ships? In fact, you might not have even known that cruise ships go to these places. But with smaller ships like Prinsendam — our intimate Elegant Explorer — we’re able to get to these unique ports and give guests even more of those “once in a lifetime” experiences.
These five cruises call at both popular favorites and lesser-known destinations, making them perfect cruise adventures for travelers who like to “collect” ports and visit new and exciting cities. And with a setting as charming and elegant as Prinsendam, there’s no better way to visit these amazing places.
SAIL DEEP INTO THE BLACK SEA
If you’re looking for a last-minute getaway this fall, Prinsendam’s 28-Day Mediterranean and Black Sea Explorer Collectors’ Voyage departing Sept. 28, 2015, from Barcelona, Spain, calls at 22 ports in nine countries and includes calls at some hidden jewels in the Black Sea and throughout the Med. In addition to visiting must-see ports like Rome and Naples, Italy; Athens, Greece; and Istanbul, Turkey, the cruise also calls at places you might not have heard of or have read about but didn’t know ships go there.
Sochi, Russia, made a name for itself as the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, but it’s actually a beach town known for both its coastline and alpine valleys. The area boasts healing waters, mineral spas, lush arboretum and gardens, making it a beautiful port to explore.
Also on this itinerary is Batumi, Georgia, nestled on the Black Sea coastline. A stroll through the town center reveals 19th century architecture, impressive churches, beautiful parks and broad boulevards. A visit to nearby Gonio Fortress showcases the structure that dates back to the 7th century BC.
Constanta, Romania, was founded by the Greeks more than 2,500 years ago. Later, the Turks were to dominate this lovely maritime hub, but the last three centuries have seen exclusively Romanian rule and an era of flourishing trade and commerce. The poet Ovid was banished to this city by Caesar Augustus. Nearby is Bucharest for guests who want to explore this beautiful destination. Other lesser-known, but very fascinating, ports on this cruise include Olbia, Sardinia; Durres, Albania; Igoumenitsa (Meteora), Greece; Sinop and Trabzon, Turkey; and Varna, Bulgaria.
If you have less time but still want to experience this intriguing part of the world, this itinerary also is offered in 14- and 25-day segments. The 14-day itinerary visits ports in the Mediterranean and Aegean, while the 25-day offers nearly the same itinerary as the full 28-day cruise but ends a few days earlier in Istanbul instead of Athens. This 25-day voyage also is part of the President’s Picks cruises that are hand-selected as favorites by Holland America Line’s President Orlando Ashford.
CRUISE TO THE HEART OF THE AMAZON
Prinsendam’s 25-day Amazon Explorer is an unforgettable journey to the heart of the Amazon River departing Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 24, 2015.
Many cruise ships cannot make the voyage, but Prinsendam’s intimate size allows her to easily navigate to Manaus, Brazil, where guests enjoy an overnight call to give ample time to explore this exotic destination. While Manaus is a port city, the ocean is almost a thousand miles away. From Manaus, cruise visitors can venture even deeper into the heart of the Amazon, on the lookout for jungle birds, manatees, and giant alligators. And a visit to the Teatro Amazonas is must-do.
“This turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Listening to talented young people perform in such a magnificent venue is something I will always remember. The choice of music was “inspired”. — UKTourist
But Manaus isn’t the only port of call along the Amazon. The ship also visits Macapa, Santarem, Boca de Valeria, Parintins and Alter Do Chao, all along the river. Several calls in the Caribbean and two equator crossings also highlight the voyage.
RELAXING DAYS AT SEA CROSSING THE ATLANTIC
If 2016 is when you’re looking to get away on a relaxing adventure sprinkled with interesting destinations, take a look at Prinsendam’s 14-Day Azores & Normandy Explorer. Departing Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 19, the crossing to Europe provides nine days at sea to enjoy all of the amenities Prinsendam has to offer.
The ship is bustling with activities that will enrich the mind, body and spirit. With guest chefs, cooking classes, wine tasting and mixology classes, the Culinary Arts Center makes it easy to embrace your culinary passion at sea. If you’re looking to get the most out of your gadgets and learn new ways to use them, the Digital Workshops powered by Windows are perfect … and complimentary!
On sea days, many guests love to head to the Greenhouse Spa to enjoy a pampering experience. You might be feeling run down from the hustle of daily life, making the spa the perfect place to get refreshed and rejuvenated. And if it’s knowledge you seek, Holland America Line has an impressive roster of experts in a variety of fields that come onboard and provide exciting and informative lectures.
But the crossing to Europe isn’t all about the sea days. The ship also makes calls along the way at some amazing places. First up is Hamilton, Bermuda, with it’s famous pink sandy beaches and pastel architecture. Next is the Azores, said to be all that remain of the lost continent of Atlantis. A land of hydrangeas and hot springs, luxurious vegetation and vast volcanic craters, the Azores are a gorgeous haven nestled in the Atlantic.
Once the ship reaches Europe, guests will visit Portland, England, gateway to Stonehenge and Sherbourne Castle. And finally the ship calls at Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium, home of Belgium beer, Belgium chocolate and the European Union.
OVERNIGHTS IN GERMANY & RUSSIA COMPLEMENT A TRANSIT OF THE KIEL CANAL
A daylight transit of the Kiel Canal, an overnight call at St. Petersburg, Russia, and two nights at Hamburg, Germany, highlight Prinsendam’s 14-Day Kiel Canal & Baltic Explorer. Departing June 2, 2016, this two-week sojourn into the Baltic includes well-known ports and more intimate, lesser-visited calls.
The overnight calls at St. Petersburg and Hamburg allow guests more time to become fully immersed in these magical and enchanting cities. In Russia, guests can take in a ballet performance by a renowned troupe or join an exclusive evening tour of the Hermitage reserved only for Holland America Line guests. Two nights at Hamburg enable a journey to Berlin and time to take in the historical significance of the region.
While Copenhagen, Denmark; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden, top the cruise’s “must see” destinations on this cruise, smaller ports like Tallinn, Estonia, and Kalmar, Sweden, make the voyage all the most memorable.
CROSS THE ARCTIC CIRCLE TO THE TOP OF THE EARTH
It’s the ultimate adventure: crossing into the Arctic Circle and visiting the top of the earth. On Prinsendam’s 20-Day North Cape Explorer departing June 16, the ship makes an astounding 14 calls throughout Norway, making is one of the most comprehensive explorations of the country we’ve ever offered. The stunning scenery takes center stage as the ship cruises along Oslofjord, Geirangerfjord and Eidfjord during the voyage, where waterfalls, glaciers and lush landscapes make the perfect picture-postcard memory.
The ship journeys north from Kristiansand making way to Honningsvåg, the world’s northernmost village and the gateway to the North Cape. At a latitude of 71º, 10’ north, the North Cape itself is an enormous rock with a steep wall climbing more than 1,000 feet from the Arctic Ocean below.
In addition to more well-known Norwegian ports like Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Alesund, the ship also explores Stavanger, Geiranger, Narvik, Tromso, Hammerfest, Bronnoysund, Flam and Eidfjord.
If you’re interested in visiting these locations, remember that the shore excursions can be pre-booked so you’re sure to get the tour of your choice.
If you book by October 2015, all three 2016 voyages are included in the Explore 4 promotion. That means they will include a complimentary signature beverage package and dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, plus reduced fares for third and fourth guests, and a 50 percent reduced deposit.
Which of these five cruises interest you the most? Tell us in the comments below!
Departing Fort Lauderdale, Florida,