From Sea to Shining Sea: Experience the Beauty of America

View of Pacific Coast Highway at sunset near ocean waters.

America has many treasures just waiting to reveal themselves to eager explorers. Imagine soaking up the sights of Glacier Bay National Park while cruising to Alaska or getting lost in the hidden gems and fall foliage of New England. Discover paradise on the beaches of Hawaii or bask in the sun as you sail the Pacific Coast. In honor of Independence Day, let’s explore America’s beauty from sea to shining sea by first reflecting on the poem that became a national hymn.

Inspiration Behind “America the Beautiful”

Katharine Lee Bates, a poet and professor at Wellesley College, described the beauty of America in a poem after a cross-country railroad trip. Originally written in 1893, “America the Beautiful” became one of America’s most popular hymns with this well-known verse:  

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea! 

In the spirit of Bates’ poem, here are some of the most beautiful destinations you can cruise to that may also inspire you:

Whale jumping out of water in Glacier Bay, Alaska, surrounded by snowcapped mountains.


With over 75 years in Alaska and the most sailings through Glacier Bay National Park, we take you closer to the history, culture and experience of this great land. 

If you have glaciers, wildlife and unforgettable sights on your bucket list, then Alaska is the destination for you. Tour Glacier Bay with a National Park Service Ranger on board to help you learn about the area and spot its magical creatures. Reel in a catch on select fishing-focused shore excursions and savor every bite on board through our Savor My Catch program where Holland America Line’s chefs prepare and serve it in a true ocean-to-table experience. Take an Alaska cruisetour for a combined sea and land journey, going deep into Denali National Park.  

Pacific Coast 

Soak up the views of Washington and Oregon coasts. Bask in the sun on San Diego’s beaches. Relish the sights of modern marvels, like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

View of Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco from hillside.

Dive into the culture and ambiance of each location through shore excursions. No matter the destination, a Pacific Coast cruise combines diverse landscapes with seaside charm. 

View of sunset on beach in Hawaii.


If you have island vibes, then this may be your paradise. From white sandy beaches and bright blue water to dramatic tropical waterfalls and the Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii is a paradise with breathtaking landscapes and a rich Polynesian culture. 

When you embark on a Hawaii cruise, you’ll be saying “aloha” in no time.  

New England 

Do you have a soft spot for lighthouses, Victorian architecture, and vibrant fall colors? Explore the charms of the “New World” in Boston. Satisfy your hunger with fresh seafood. Catch the sun bouncing off lighthouses overlooking rocky coasts. 

View of northeastern coast in North America, covered by fall foliage, near ocean waters.

Tour historic landmarks along cobbled streets and take the trolley to Little Italy. There’s no denying the romantic sights of New England. 

Adventure Awaits You 

Ready to embark on an adventure from sea to shining sea? Visit Holland America Line to learn more about the destinations that await you. Who knows? Your journey across America may inspire a poem of your own!  


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