With longer itineraries and a unique mid-size ship experience, Holland America Line's 2015-16. Caribbean season features a diverse range of options up to 21 days that include not-to-be-missed calls and ports not regularly found on typical. Caribbean cruises. Seven of the line's premium ships will explore the entire region on cruises that sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., while ms Veendam returns to the Caribbean in January 2016 to take over the roundtrip Tampa, Fla., departures.
“Holland America Line provides the most port intensive and exclusive experience in the Caribbean, with a breadth of itinerary options to highlight the diversity of the region to our guests,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The Caribbean is a popular destination because it's a relaxing, tropical paradise that's accessible to so many travelers, and by offering a wide range of ships and itineraries, we're able to offer a dream vacation at a great value.”
From October 2015 through April 2016, ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Veendam, ms Westerdam, ms Prinsendam and ms Zuiderdam sail a total of 98 seven-, 10-, 11-, 12- and 14-day cruises that can be combined into longer Collectors' Voyages ranging from 14 to 21 days. The itineraries span the Caribbean on eastern, western and southern routes, as well as a partial transit of the Panama Canal.
All Fort Lauderdale itineraries feature a call at Half Moon Cay, the line's award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, exciting shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and child-friendly activities.
Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale Itineraries
During the season, Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam will sail a series of seven-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries that can be combined to form 14-day Collectors' Voyages spanning both regions. Westerdam maintains a weekly schedule of seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises, while Maasdam sails seven- and 10-day eastern routes, as well as longer 11-day southern itineraries. Oosterdam also features 10- and 11-day southern Caribbean cruises ideal for guests looking for a longer vacation.
The Nieuw Amsterdam will also feature a new seven-day Tropical Caribbean itinerary in 2016 that calls on maiden port Amber Cove, Carnival Corporation's new $85 million cruise center in the Dominican Republic. Located near the historic town of Puerto Plata, Amber Cover will provide access to a purpose-built facility with a welcome center, craft marketplace, eateries, a swimming pool and transportation hub for access to inland shore tours for a wide variety of interests.
In addition to the 14-day Collectors' Voyages, other itineraries can be combined to form a diverse range of options, including a 21-day southern cruise on Oosterdam, a 21-day southern and eastern option on Maasdam and a 17-day nonrepeating double-eastern route, also on Maasdam.
Partial Panama Canal Transits
Guests looking to explore the Panama Canal without going through to the West Coast can embark on a convenient roundtrip Fort Lauderdale partial transit aboard Zuiderdam. The ship makes its way to Gatun Lake and spends the day leisurely scenic cruising. During the 10- and 11-day departures the ship also visits several Caribbean ports.
Zuiderdam recently underwent an extensive drydock to add 25 new staterooms and enhance several public areas — including the dining room, Neptune Lounge, Canaletto restaurant, The Greenhouse Spa and Salon, and the Dive-In outdoor grill serving signature burgers — with new furniture, signage, carpet and design updates.
Roundtrip Tampa Itineraries
Beginning in January 2016, Veendam spends the Caribbean season cruising roundtrip from Tampa on seven-day western and 12- and 14-day southern itineraries. The seven- and 14-day options can be combined to form a 21-day western/southern Caribbean Collectors' Voyage.
Celebrate the Season with a Festive Holiday Cruise
For travelers who like to get away from the hustle, and chill of December, the holiday season is a special time onboard. A total of 13 holiday sailings will ply the warm waters of the Caribbean on far-reaching itineraries ranging from seven to 16 days. Several non-repeating itineraries can be combined to form 14- or 21-day Holiday Collectors' Voyages. Prinsendam also offers a 16-day southern Caribbean cruise, departing Dec. 19, 2015, sailing during both Christmas and New Year's Day.
During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all of the trimmings and indulge in a special Royal Dutch High Tea with fanciful holiday cookies and pastries. The ships' international crew chorus performs a magical holiday show, while caroling and sing-alongs take place around the ship. Kids will delight in a visit from Santa Claus and holiday-themed crafts.
The New Year's Eve sailings are the ideal setting to ring in a new year, featuring a festive holiday ball with a Champagne toast.
Go On Location in the Caribbean
On each cruise, regional cultural experiences are brought onboard, such as the Island Magic Steel Drum Band, learning to weave and craft with palm leaves and local rum tastings – all part of Holland America Line's On Location program. The itinerary sets the stage for guests to indulge in localized experiences that makes the journey as enriching as the ports of call through lectures, demonstrations and performances.
For more information about Caribbean itineraries and Holland America Line, consult a travel professional, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit hollandamerica.com.