The mysteries of the Far East unfold for guests on Holland America Line’s Westerdam when the ship embarks on its robust 2018 -19 season in Asia. From September 2018 through April 2019, the 1,916-guest Westerdam extensively explores China, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam on cruises ranging from 10 to 31 days.
Departing from Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan; Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; and Singapore, ancient temples and cultures steeped in tradition collide with soaring skyscrapers and bustling capitals. Ten different itineraries showcase the diversity of the countries while celebrating their histories that have been thousands of years in the making. Late departures and nine overnight ports allow extra time for exploration, while Hong Kong and Singapore departures provide an incredible opportunity for Holland America’s exclusive Signature Experience pre-cruise tours.
“As travelers seek more meaningful and experiential vacations, our Asia itineraries remain in high demand for their depth of cultural exploration and once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “For many, a cruise to the Far East is long-awaited and highly anticipated. To ensure we exceed their expectations, we designed Westerdam’s season to be among the most comprehensive and memorable in the industry.”
Westerdam kicks off the season with a 14-day North Pacific Crossing from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan. The ship then begins a series of voyages that explore the Far East, from Japan to Vietnam.
Westerdam’s 16-day Far East Discovery cruise between Singapore and Hong Kong calls at Sanya, China; four ports in Vietnam, including an overnight stay in Halong Bay; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Ko Samui and an overnight at Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand. A 13-day Far East Discovery option eliminates Nha Trang in Vietnam and Sanya, while a 15-day Far East Discovery eliminates the overnight stay in Halong Bay, Vietnam.
The shortest itinerary of the season, Westerdam’s 10-day East Asia roundtrip Hong Kong cruise, departs Dec. 10 and explores Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.
Celebrating the first cruise of 2019, a 15-day Thailand & Vietnam itinerary sails roundtrip Singapore and offers an extensive exploration of Vietnam. Guests will experience four calls in the country, including an overnight in Da Nang (Hue). The cruise also includes an overnight at Laem Chabang (Bangkok) and calls at Ko Samui and Sihanoukville.
Westerdam’s 14- or 15-day Taiwan & Japan cruise between Hong Kong and Shanghai features an overnight at Hong Kong or Shanghai, depending on embarkation port, and visits the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.
A Series of 14-Day Itineraries Round out the Ship’s Asia Offerings
Cruising roundtrip from Shanghai, the China, South Korea & Japan cruise features two ports in each country, including overnight calls in Shanghai, Tianjin (Beijing) and Incheon (Seoul). The China Explorer from Hong Kong to Yokohama includes two ports in Japan and three ports in China, with overnights at Shanghai and Tianjin (Beijing).
Westerdam’s Japan Explorer is a roundtrip Yokohama (Tokyo) journey with five ports in Japan, including an overnight at Kobe (Osaka); two calls in Taiwan; and a visit to Jeju (Cheju), South Korea. The final cruise of the season is a Japan & Russia itinerary roundtrip from Yokohama visiting an incredible eight ports in Japan and a northerly exploration to Vladivostok, Russia. The season concludes with a 15-day spring North Pacific Crossing between Yokohama (Tokyo) and Vancouver, encompassing ports in Japan and Alaska.
Collectors’ Voyages Up to 31 Days Offer Longer Explorations of Several Countries
Back-to-back cruises can be booked together to form a longer Collectors’ Voyage that provides a more in-depth exploration of the region. Combining up to two itineraries, the Asia Collectors’ Voyages range from 23 to 31 days.
Singapore and Hong Kong Signature Experiences Offer Exclusive Pre-Cruise Tours
Holland America Line’s culturally immersive Signature Experiences were exclusively created for the cruise line and include an evening event, two-night luxury hotel stay and transfers. Guests who book a suite on the eligible cruises receive the Signature Experiences complimentary, but space is limited and reservations are required.
In Singapore, guests can take the An Evening at the National Gallery Singapore tour with a behind-the-velvet-rope evening at the National Gallery Singapore, featuring a private tour of the museum’s impressive collection of Southeast Asian art. In a grand, glass-enclosed space, guests enjoy drinks and appetizers while watching a traditional lion dance performance. They also will see a snake charmer, henna artist, master Chinese calligrapher and palm reader work their magic.
During Hong Kong’s A Taste of Hong Kong — Dai Pai Dong Experience, guests will explore one of the world’s great cuisines the way the locals do: with traditional street food. This exclusive event features an array of delectable dishes served from food stalls, and traditions such as calligraphy, knotting, paper cutting and grasshopper weaving highlight the experience.
Explorations Central Brings Asian Culture on Board
Throughout the voyages, EXC programming brings Asia’s local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life on board. Through EXC Encounters, guests can participate in activities like transforming a piece of paper into origami art, perfecting chopstick skills, learning the etiquette of local tea ceremonies, and exploring the poses and postures of the statues of Buddha. Guests who want to learn more about the region and cultures can attend an EXC Talk by an EXC Guide or head to America’s Test Kitchen for a cooking demonstration, cooking class or themed mixology class featuring local fare.
The EXC Team will provide further customized guidance for the Asian calls as well as online EXC Port Guides. For guests who enjoy exploring on their own, printed EXC Port Maps present a simple view of the best each port has to offer. The in-stateroom EXC Channel will feature a selection of curated films, documentaries and TV shows exploring destinations on the ship’s itinerary.