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Holland America Line Expands 'Alaska Up Close' Onboard Programming With New Culinary And Cultural Experiences

Immersive, sustainable tours in Greece, Spain, Turkey and Italy permit guests to explore in-depth at historically and culturally significant sites

Seattle, Wash., June 22, 2023 — Expanding its reputation for immersive travel experiences, Holland America Line has started operating “National Geographic Day Tours” that allow guests to connect more deeply, and in a more sustainable way, with destinations in the Mediterranean. These shore excursions were developed by National Geographic, a world leader in geography, cartography and exploration.

Beginning this summer, guests sailing on Oosterdam and Nieuw Statendam can participate in National Geographic Day Tours that allow them to discover powerful female figures in Kusadasi, Turkey; experience a day in the life of a marine biologist in Naples, Italy; learn about organic honeybee farms in Rhodes, Greece; and meet local families in Santorini, Greece. Each tour is led by a National Geographic trained guide.

“We are continually looking for enriching and transformative experiences for our guests and the new National Geographic Day Tours are not only immersive, but provide exclusive access and hands-on experiences,” said Carole Biencourt, vice president overseeing shore tour experience for Holland America Line. “We are pleased to offer them to guests across our Mediterranean itineraries that visit these ports and will look to expand the program in the near future.”

Guests on select sailings in the Mediterranean can now book National Geographic tours online or through a travel advisor.

National Geographic Tours

  • “A Day in the Life of a Marine Biologist” in Naples, Italy
    • Visit the oldest aquarium in Europe along with the Darwin Dohrn Museum (DoDaM), the world’s first marine biodiversity research laboratory, where more than 20 Nobel Laureates studied and work on marine biology conservation projects in Naples, and learn about preserving marine turtles and the grey sharks of Lampione Island.  

  • “Meet the Locals in Santorini” in Santorini, Greece
    • Spend a day in the homes of two Santorini families and hear their stories of life on the island while tasting regional wine, cheese, vegetables and more. See the iconic, blue-domed church Panagia Kalamiotissa and visit Santo Winery to taste and pair Santorini's unique wine while enjoying panoramic views of the caldera.

  • “Influential Women in Turkey: From Past to Present” in Kusadasi, Turkey
    • Explore powerful female figures who have influenced the local Turkish society through the ages, from ancient civilizations to modern times with visits to the Temple Artemis and House of the Virgin Mary on the hill above Ephesus. Finish the tour with a culinary journey guided by a local chef during an exclusive pairing menu at Yedi Bilgeler, a winery that has cultivated 2000-year-old vines.

  • “The Fascinating World of Bees” in Rhodes, Greece
    • Discover why honeybees are among the most important living organisms on the planet. Uncover eye-opening ecological facts, sample local honey varieties, and try your hand at honey extraction at the Bee Museum of Rhodes.

The new National Geographic Day Tours are available on seven-day to 14-day itineraries departing from Trieste (Venice), Italy; Piraeus (Athens), Greece and Barcelona, Spain with stops in RhodesKusadasi (Ephesus)Santorini and Naples.

Best Shore Excursions
Holland America Line’s nearly 6,500 unique shore excursions are designed to help guests make the most of each port and deeply connect with the places they visit, as well as have an adventure along the way. From zip lining over a lush jungle canopy or gliding over a glacier pulled by sled dogs to conquering a fear of heights while scaling Sydney Harbour Bridge or moving through the surf atop a graceful horse, Holland America Line’s expertly curated tours provide a wide variety of ways to experience and enjoy each port of call.

For foodies and wine aficionados, Holland America Line features shore excursions in partnership with FOOD & WINE magazine. These exceptional tours around the globe show the culinary side of destinations in a special way, combining food and culture with entertaining and unique experiences. Guests can learn how to make authentic Italian pizza in Naples, taste wines at New Zealand’s oldest winery, explore Japan’s food culture with one of the world’s foremost ramen experts or shop with a renowned Barcelona chef and create an extraordinary meal together.