As summer starts to wind down, travelers begin dreaming of a winter getaway to golden beaches, balmy breezes and crystal blue waters. Between October 2019 and April 2020, Holland America Line will have 160 cruises to the sunny Caribbean to choose from, ranging from seven to 21 days. There are seven of the line’s premium, mid-sized ships to choose from including the two newest ships — Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam — all conveniently sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Holland America Line’s vast offering of itineraries features cruises to the eastern, western and southern regions of the Caribbean, including cruises that spend a day discovering the Panama Canal. New Veendam sailings offer a unique mix of calls at some of the region’s most beautiful locales.
“Summer will be over before we know it and there’s nothing like having a Caribbean cruise to look forward to for a winter escape, especially when a day on a private-island paradise is included,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The Caribbean offers that perfect combination of laid-back relaxation, fun and colorful culture, and a cruise gives travelers the most value for their money and easiest way to visit several idyllic islands in one vacation. This upcoming season has several new itineraries and special promotions, such as Save on Sunshine offering up to 50% off on cruise fares, so now is definitely the time to book.”
In the Caribbean, guests can choose a cruise on Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Rotterdam, Veendam, Volendam and Zuiderdam, which will sail seven- to 11-day cruises that can be combined into longer, back-to-back Collectors’ Voyages ranging from 14 to 21 days.
Half Moon Cay: Best Private Island & Highest Rated Caribbean Port
Most itineraries include a call at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award-winning private Bahamian island. Both Porthole Cruise Magazine and Travel Weekly readers have named Half Moon Cay the industry’s best private island, and Holland America Line guests rate it as their favorite Caribbean port. This quintessential private-island experience features a two-mile expanse of powdery-soft sand and is one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean, nestled against a natural 700-acre lagoon. An array of activity choices are available in this paradise, from relaxing in a two-story villa or private cabanas to delicious dining options like the Lobster Shack and island barbecue. Other activities include a children’s waterpark and fun-filled shore excursions for nature lovers, adventurous travelers and explorers, featuring the ever-popular horseback ride through the surf.
New Veendam Itineraries Explore Eight Caribbean Locales
Veendam’s new itineraries kick off with a series of seven-day Caribbean cruises. Beginning in October, Western Caribbean cruises will call at Key West, Florida; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Half Moon Cay. The ship offers three different seven-day Caribbean itineraries departing Nov. 27, Jan. 29 and March 25 that add a combination of the ports of Cozumel, Mexico; Nassau, Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Key West, Florida; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.
Exploring the Treasures of the Caribbean
Nieuw Amsterdam starts the Caribbean season in October with a series of seven-day eastern, western and tropical cruises that are offered through April 2020. The eastern itineraries showcase the ports of Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. The western Caribbean itineraries feature calls at Falmouth, Jamaica; Georgetown and Cozumel or Key West, while the tropical Caribbean itineraries visit ports including Key West, Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Amber Cove.
Beginning in November, Holland America Line’s newest ship, Nieuw Statendam, will feature similar seven-day itineraries to all three regions, which also can be combined into 14-day Collectors’ Voyages.
Cruisers interested in exploring the less-frequented ports of the southern Caribbean will have longer cruises to choose from aboard Koningsdam. Beginning in November through March, the ship will sail a series of 10-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer and 11-day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer cruises. Guests on the 11-day cruises will visit the exotic ports of Philipsburg, Sint Maarten; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, Saint Lucia; Basseterre, St. Kitts; St. Thomas; and Half Moon Cay.
The 10-day Seafarer itineraries transport guests to Kralendijk, Bonaire; Willemstad, Curaçao; Oranjestand, Aruba; Amber Cove; Grand Turk; and Half Moon Cay. Rotterdam sails one 10-day cruise in March 2020 with a similar itinerary.
In November, December and March, Volendam offers itineraries between nine and 16 days to the eastern and southern Caribbean. A 16-day holiday cruise departing Dec. 20 includes two unique southern calls at Trinidad and Tobago — in addition to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Sint Maarten, Barbados, Curaçao, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Partial Panama Canal Transits Explore Gatún Lake
Guests looking to discover the Panama Canal without going from coast to coast will have the opportunity to experience partial transits aboard Zuiderdam and Eurodam from December 2019 through April 2020. The ships will visit southern Caribbean ports including Oranjestad, Willemstad and Kralendijk as they make their way to Gatún Lake in the Panama Canal for a day of spectacular scenic cruising.
Combine Back-to-Back Cruises for Longer Collectors’ Voyages
Many of the cruises can be extended into Collectors’ Voyages to create the ultimate Caribbean exploration with more economical fares than if booking the cruises individually. Ranging from 14 to 21 days, these artfully crafted, longer journeys combine nonrepeating, back-to-back itineraries, allowing guests to span more than one Caribbean region and enjoy the ultimate island-hopping journey.
Celebrate the Season with a Festive Holiday Cruise
For those who like to get away for the winter holidays, a total of 12 holiday sailings will ply the warm waters of the Caribbean on far-reaching itineraries that range from seven to 16 days. Several nonrepeating itineraries can be combined to form a longer Holiday Collectors’ Voyage that can be extended up to 21 days.
During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, participate in Hanukkah celebrations, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all 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. Offering something for all ages, 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 and followed by a day of college football bowl games.
Explorations Central (EXC) Brings the Caribbean to Life on Board
Throughout the cruises, EXC programming brings the Caribbean’s local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life on board. Guests who want to learn more about the region can attend an EXC Talk about the ports of call, or head to an EXC Port to Table cooking demonstration, cooking class or themed mixology class featuring local fare. The Dining Room and Lido Market also will showcase the flavors of the Caribbean.
Caribbean cruises feature a diverse selection of Shore EXCursions that focus on culture, history, nature, architecture, adventure, culinary topics and family outings. Exclusive culinary-themed Shore EXCursions in partnership with FOOD & WINE magazine showcase the regions’ food scenes from a local perspective.
Caribbean cruise fares start at $499 per person, double occupancy. Taxes, fees and port expenses are additional. Several Caribbean sailings are eligible for Holland America Line’s Save on Sunshine promotion where travelers may save up to 50% on cruise fares. Suite bookings also receive a Premium Internet Package. Guests receive the benefits when bookings are made by Sept. 30, 2019.