The holiday season is among the most joyous, but can also be one of the most stressful times of year. Between cooking, cleaning, decorating, and hosting family and friends, the holidays can easily become complicated.
This year, why not simply relax your way through the holidays? That’s all possible with one of Holland America Line’s Holiday Cruises. It’s not too late to get away for the holidays with one of the below sailings.
Whether you choose a Caribbean getaway or a journey to the Panama Canal, you and your loved ones can kiss the stress goodbye and instead kiss under the mistletoe while celebrating your most fabulous holiday ever.
Veendam’s 12-day Cuban Explorer cruise combines the magic of the Yucatan Peninsula and the beauty of the Caribbean’s largest island, Cuba.
Departing Dec. 22 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, start with a sea day and then arrive at the sunny island of Cozumel off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. After Cozumel, the cruise moves southward to another Mexican hotspot, Costa Maya. Known for its ruins, Costa Maya is also home to beautiful beaches and jewelry shops, where visitors can buy rare gems set into stunning souvenirs.
From the Yucatan Peninsula, the cruise returns to American shores to visit colorful Key West, Florida. A must-see is the Ernest Hemingway’s mansion in the Old Town district with its six-toed cats. The cruise will then go 90 miles south to Havana, Cuba. Havana, for most American travelers, still evokes a set of specific images: candy-colored vintage cars, smiling musicians playing familiar tropical tunes, cigar-smoking and rum-sipping locals against a palm-fringed background. After visiting the “Paris of the Caribbean,” guests will head to Cuba’s southern coast to visit Cienfuegos. Founded in 1819, this UNESCO World Heritage site boasts numerous attractions that give a fuller, more complex view of Cuban life, culture and history.
The cruise then moves southeast to the birthplace of reggae music. At Montego Bay, Jamaica, guests will be able to take in its natural beauty with pristine, reef-facing beaches, crystalline waters and lush mountainside vegetation that can be explored with an EXC Tour on horseback or zip line. After Jamaica, the cruise returns Fort Lauderdale after stopping at Georgetown, Cayman Islands.
If combining the beach, history and nature is your fancy, our holiday cruise to the Panama Canal on Zuiderdam is for you. Starting at sunny Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 27, the cruise’s first stop is our private island in the Bahamas, Half Moon Cay. At four square miles, the island is small enough that you can see it all in a day, yet large enough to offer a range of activities: horseback riding, snorkeling with stingrays, water sports and, of course, simply lounging on the beach while taking occasional dips in the clear sea to cool off.
Once guests are done relaxing on Half Moon Cay’s pristine beaches, the cruise has a sea day before visiting the ABC Islands of Aruba and Curaçao. Arriving at Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital city is a maze of Dutch-colonial architecture painted in a palette of Caribbean pastels with world-famous beaches. From Aruba, the sailing continues to Willemstad, Curaçao just in time for New Year’s Eve. While at Curaçao’s capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site, guests should experience the diversity of the island through the surprising flavors of its cuisine, which reflects European, Caribbean and Latin American influences.
From the ABC Islands, the cruise moves southward to Cartagena, Colombia. Known as Colombia’s “city of weddings,” Cartagena evokes old Spain, including the impressive fort of Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, and the wall that encloses the old town is one of the few intact structures of its kind in the Americas.
After visiting Colombia’s fifth-largest city, the cruise moves westward to a former Colombia territory, Panama, where one of the world’s great man-made wonders will be explored. The ship enters the Panama Canal at Cristobal for its partial transit and continues to Gatún Lake. At Gatún Lake, guests can view the beautiful landscapes that surround one of the world’s greatest engineering projects. Once the visit to the Panama Canal is complete, the cruise moves to Colon, Panama.
From Panama, the cruise continues its exploration of Central America with a call at Puerto Limón, Costa Rica, and concludes at Fort Lauderdale after two sea days.
For guests who prefer to stay home for Christmas but want to get away for New Year’s, Rotterdam’s 7-day western Caribbean holiday may be the perfect choice to see Mayan ruins and natural splendor.
Celebrate the start of the year as you depart for the western Caribbean on New Year’s Eve from Tampa, Florida. After a sea day, guests will arrive at Costa Maya, Mexico, where guests can enjoy the Western Hemisphere’s longest coral reefs and dozens of Mayan sites scattered across the region.
From Costa Maya, the cruise will continue southward to Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala, where guests will be able to explore the tropical rainforest on a bird-watching excursion and excellent, authentic handicraft shopping. After visiting the coast of Guatemala, the cruise will take guests to Central America’s largest island, Roatán, Honduras. At Mahogany Bay on Roatán, you’ll be able to explore the Mesoamerican reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world, and see the colorful Honduran flora and fauna.
The cruise will then take a northward turn towards Cozumel, an island known for its unique mix of Mexican and Caribbean culture. Along with being a prime scuba diving spot, Cozumel is also home to several archaeological sites, including the UNESCO-inscribed Chichén Itzá and, on Cozumel itself, San Gervasio, once a site where women made offerings to the goddess of fertility and childbirth. After the stop in Cozumel and a sea day, cruisers will return to American shores when arriving at Tampa.
There’s still time to book a Holland America Line Holiday Cruise! Let us do all the work this season so you can sit back, relax and refresh for a fantastic 2018!