Holland America Line’s 2008 Europe cruise season will be its most expansive and most innovative, with 57 unique itineraries from March through November that visit nine inaugural ports and feature six ships, including the debut of Eurodam. Next year also will mark the 135th anniversary of the line’s first voyage from Rotterdam to New York.
“We are introducing our first Signature Class ship with the launch of the Eurodam, and we have the Zuiderdam sailing in Europe for the first time,” stated Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programmes. “With six ships and nine maiden ports, we have a 35% capacity increase in cruises and the opportunity to see every region of Europe. From the polar ice across the Arctic Circle to the shores of North Africa and the Black Sea, we offer an in-depth view of the continent and beyond.”
The European fleet includes the flagship ms Rotterdam, ms Eurodam, two Vista-class ships, ms Noordam and ms Zuideram; ms Prinsendam and ms Maasdam sailing to Greenland, Iceland, and Northern Europe. All ships offer the Explorations Speaker Series, Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine, the Greenhouse Spa & Salon and one-of-a-kind Medallion Shore Excursions, which allow travellers to customize time ashore and discover Europe at their own pace.
The season offers 57 unique itineraries of seven to 35 days covering classic Europe from the North Cape of Norway to Egypt and the Black Sea. Nine new maiden ports include Lulea, Hudiksvall and Karlskrona, Sweden; Aalborg, Denmark; Newcastle upon Tyne and Barrow in Furness, England; Santander, Spain; Portimao, Portugal; and Split, Croatia.
Eurodam will spend her inaugural season on alternating 10-day Northern Europe itineraries, sailing roundtrip from Copenhagen. The new 10-day Norwegian Fjords & Scotland cruise combines breathtaking Norwegian fjords with Invergordon ( for Loch Ness) and Edinburgh, (home of the famous Castle & Scottish Crown Jewels as well as HMY Britannia), Scotland; and the inaugural port Newcastle upon Tyne, England (gateway to the city of York). The 10-day Gems of the Baltic combines an overnight stay on board in St. Petersburg, Russia with Scandinavia and northern Germany.
Four popular Kiel Canal & Baltic itineraries are offered aboard Prinsendam, including a new 16-day Midnight Sun Explorer itinerary that includes a first-time exploration of the Gulf of Bothnia, between Sweden and Finland. The draught of Prinsendam allows the ship to cruise the Kiel Canal’s spectacular lock system where few other major cruise lines venture.
Rotterdam sails a new 14-day Norwegian Highlands, Fjords and North Cape cruise, combining Scotland with an in-depth exploration of Norway’s breathtaking fjords. For the first time, Prinsendam visits Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Scotland on a 21-day sailing roundtrip from Europe (between England and Amsterdam). The 14-day Celtic Kingdoms itinerary circles the United Kingdom, with calls in Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales and the Channel Islands.
Zuiderdam premiers in Europe with three new 12-day Mediterranean & Greek Isles cruises, sailing between Barcelona and Venice or roundtrip from Venice. All include extended stays with an overnight in Venice, plus an overnight in either Barcelona or Istanbul. These port-intensive cruises include calls such as Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia) and Santorini with less-visited gems like Split, Mykonos, Argostoli and Navplion. Plus, passengers will enjoy the nightlife in Santorini, Mykonos, Messina and Monte Carlo, where departures are set at 23hrs. Two of the three itineraries may be combined for a 24-day cruise between Venice and Barcelona.
Noordam returns to the Mediterranean on alternating 10-day roundtrip Rome itineraries, sailing the Eastern Mediterranean and Greek Isles or Western Mediterranean and North Africa. Perfect for those who’ve previously enjoyed the Mediterranean, Holland America Line offers seven Black Sea sailings, which also feature options for visiting the pyramids of Egypt and the Holy Lands: four 12-day and one new 14-day Rotterdam departure and two 14-day options on Prinsendam.
European Treasures & Collectors Voyages
For those who want a taste of several diverse European regions in one cruise, Holland America Line offers three European Treasures itineraries. These sailings include ports in Northern and Western Europe, as well as the Mediterranean. A new 11-day Heart of Bordeaux cruise on Prinsendam includes a daylight transit of France’s Gironde Estuary with an overnight in the heart of the scenic Bordeaux wine region.
For true explorers who appreciate longer, in-depth itineraries, there are 10 unique Collectors’ Voyages — 20-to 30-day cruises that combine non-repeating itineraries with special pricing. Other highlights include extended stays with overnights in Barcelona, Spain; Bordeaux, France; Venice, Italy; Istanbul, Turkey; and St. Petersburg, Russia.
With more than 300 choices, Holland America Line’s European shore excursions offer something for everyone. For the wine lovers and connoisseurs, there is a Taste of Croatia, a Taste of Tuscany or perhaps a Taste of the Riviera in Monte Carlo. For the art and architecture enthusiasts, there are opportunities to discover Gaudi’s Barcelona, explore rich art traditions in Florence, tour ancient cities in Turkey, and visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. For those who want to venture off the beaten track, tours explore rarely visited parts of Malta via four-wheel drive vehicles, canoe along the Mallorca Coast or hike through Ichkeul Natural Park in Tunisia.
European cruise fares start at US$999 per person, double occupancy. For a 2008 European cruise brochure or for more information, consult aThe Cruise People, Ltd. on 1-800-268-6523.