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From Waikiki to Ipanema: Cruise to the World’s Most Iconic Beaches

Some beaches are so beautiful that just thinking of them gets ocean lovers through rainy days. They are the screen savers, calendars and mouse pads that warm up an office, or the the precious postcards you tuck away.

As such, it’s hard to believe that some of these gorgeous locations exist in reality! In fact they do, and you can cruise to visit some of the world’s most legendary beaches and bays around the world with Holland America Line.

Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

On the edge of Sydney, Bondi Beach is one of the world's most famous beaches.

On the edge of Sydney, Bondi Beach is one of the world’s most famous beaches.

A few images of Australia are so iconic that they are instantly recognizable: The Sydney Opera House, The Great Barrier Reef, koalas and kangaroos. Bondi Beach also lands on this list. Just outside the center of Sydney, Bondi Beach has been featured on more postcards, television shows and films than any other beach in Australia. Each year tens of thousands of people — from backpackers to billionaires — visit this urban oasis to stroll, surf and soak up the sun. Want to join them? Check out Sydney Sights on your cruise Down Under.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ipanema Beach, at Rio de Janeiro, is subject of songs and stories.

Ipanema Beach, at Rio de Janeiro, is subject of songs and stories.

“Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking, and when she passes, each one she passes, goes A-a-a-h,” crooned Frank Sinatra in a translation of Antônio Carlos Jobim’s and Vinícius de Moraes’ now famous tune.

The catchy song put Rio de Janeiro’s iconic beach on the map, and today Ipanema is known as an exotic and trendsetting destination full of beautiful people and surrounded by equally gorgeous scenery. Bars, shops and restaurants cascade from the beach into the surrounding neighborhood, but as expected the sandy beach is the most popular hangout. Two mountains, appropriately named the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) rise on either side of the beach as fabulous framing features. You can check out the Beaches of Rio & Sugarloaf Mountain so as not to miss any of Rio’s prize attractions.

Waikiki, Hawaii, U.S.A.

Waikiki Beach is known as the birthplace of surfing.

Waikiki Beach is known as the birthplace of surfing.

Honolulu’s beachfront neighborhood located on the south shore of Oahu, Waikiki is the most famous beach in Hawaii and one of the most renowned in the world! The colorful and spirited resort area is known as the birthplace of modern surfing, as legendary “father of surfing” Duke Kahanamoku grew up in Waikiki and brought surfing to prominence as a sport. Today, the Waikiki Beach Boys perpetuate Duke’s legacy by teaching visitors how to surf and canoe and the Duke Kahanamoku Statue has become an iconic symbol of Waikiki. So if it’s beaches you’re after take a Waikiki Beach Break or, for a more active option with panoramic views of the beautiful beach consider the Diamond Head Crater Hike.

Trunk Bay, St. John, U.S.V.I.

Stroll the protected  beaches of Trunk Bay at St. John, U.S.V.I.

Stroll the protected beaches of Trunk Bay at St. John, U.S.V.I.

The smallest of all the Virgin Islands, St. John remains one of the best preserved, as much of the land falls under the protection of the Virgin Islands National Park that is thanks, in part, to one of America’s most prominent industrialist families. In 1956 Laurance Rockefeller donated his property on the island to the national park system, ensuring its protection for years to come. Today tourists have him to thank as they relax on the white sands and dip in the warm, crystalline waters of Trunk Bay. A great way to experience all the beauty of the island is to take a tender boat from Cruz Bay around St. John National Park.

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Holland America Line's Half Moon Cay is an award-winning private island full of sand and fun in the sun.

Holland America Line’s Half Moon Cay is an award-winning private island full of sand and fun in the sun.

No Holland America Line beach list would be complete without Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s award-winning private island! The 2,400-acre paradise is absolutely pristine and has been voted a favorite year in and year out. Among accolades the destination has been voted “Best Private Island” by Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 11 years running. Cruise to Half Moon Cay for ultimate relaxation with water sports, the Bahamian village, Club HAL children’s playground and private beachside cabanas with optional butler service!

El Castillo, Tulum, Mexico

Visit the only known coastal Mayan Ruins at Tulum.

Visit the only known coastal Mayan Ruins at Tulum.

A popular destination on the Riveiera Maya, Tulum, Mexico, is known as the only site of Ancient Mayan Ruins on the coast. Set atop the cliffs overlooking the surf, the ancient marvels lend the area an aura of history and mystery that should not be missed. It’s no wonder the ancient Mayans chose the site — the scenery is simply stunning. The astounding turquoise of the gulf combined with the rugged coast lined with white-sand beaches is any beach-goer’s dream. The site continues to rise in popularity and has been climbing “best beaches” lists in some of travel’s most respected publications. The Tulum Mayan Ruins Express at Cozumel, is a great option to get to the ruins and back to the ship with plenty of time for a good taco or shopping in between.

The Pink Beaches of Bermuda

Bermuda is known for pink sand beaches.

Bermuda is known for pink sand beaches.

All who see them are in awe of the secluded pink sand beaches of Bermuda. Located roughly 580 nautical miles to the east of the coast South Carolina, Bermuda is incredibly isolated and has developed a unique feature as a result. Over many centuries remnants of coral and red-hued mollusks have collected along the shores, eventually mixing with the white sand, ultimately developing the beautiful pink hue for which the island is so well-known. Set against the bright blue sea, the effect is especially extraordinary. Longer cruises to Bermuda allow for three perfect days soaking up the sand and sun in this unusual setting.

The Beaches of Nice are Nice

Nice is known for its long stretch of beautiful beach along the city's promenade.

Nice is known for its long stretch of beautiful beach along the city’s promenade.

The beaches of Nice stretch along the community in a gentle curve, inviting locals and tourists to come out and bathe in the beautiful conditions of the South of France. Unlike the many sandy beaches on this list, the beaches at Nice are made up of large pebbles, or galets, that have been transported to the shore by the nearby rivers for centuries. The galets add a unique character to the beach that is distinctly French. The community is known to attract high-profile celebrities. Feel like a star yourself when you visit this fabulous destination and see more of the French Riviera on Holland America Line’s
Jewels of the Cote d’Azur: Nice, Eze & Monaco tour.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

The bungalows at Bora Bora are one of the most sought-after vacation destinations world-over.

The bungalows at Bora Bora are one of the most sought-after vacation destinations world-over.

“This is it, the one. As you arrive by plane the view says it all. The promise of a wonderland is instantly made good: a ring of sand-edged motu (islets) encircle a glinting turquoise lagoon around soaring rainforest-covered basaltic peaks,” reads Lonely Planet, describing Bora Bora.

This honeymooners paradise was voted the best island in the world by U.S. News and World Report in 2014, and its beaches are part of the reason it’s so popular. Chances are you’ve seen photos of the distinctive overwater bungalows rising out of the bright blue waters and peaks surrounding the ultra-fine beaches. And chances are — if you haven’t already visited — you’ve added this destination to your bucketlist!

Remember, these are just a few of the many beautiful and iconic beaches that Holland America Line cruises to around the world. There are dozens of beautiful locations to sink your toes in the sand. Let us know your favorites in the comments below!

If you’re visiting one of these fabulous destinations have a blast! And don’t you can pre-book shore excursions to save you time during your vacation and ensure you get your favorite!

2 Comments
  • Ben Ross

    Can you tell me who took the image of Ipanema Beach, and or where I can license it?

  • Julie

    Ben, it’s an image from our image library that we bought the rights to. Unfortunately I’m not sure where to get it.

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