Holland America to Explore Europe with Five Ships in 2007

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Seattle, August 30, 2006 ” 2007 will mark the longest European cruise season in recent history for Holland America Line with sailings over the course of nine months. A fleet of five ships will embark on one third more sailings next year with 46 different itineraries. Sailings to Europe begin March 12 and run through November 3, 2007 and range from 10- to 56-days. With 136 ports of call in Europe, including 13 new maiden ports “ guests may choose from a total of 82 cruise departure dates.

œOur European cruises draw on more than 130 years of experience. From the Black Sea to the Baltic we offer the widest array of itineraries, departures and cruise lengths at the best value, stated Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales.œ Our guests look forward to more time in port including late departures and overnights, fascinating excursions and the ˜best overall cruise value according to the World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society.

Holland America Line displays a flair for seeking out intriguing places off the beaten track. First time maiden port calls to ports such as Jupivogur, Iceland; Sochi, Russia; and Koper, Slovenia add an element of emotion and excitement. Unique sites including Djupivogur and Seydisfjordur in Iceland, the Lofoten Islands off the coast of Norway and Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, spotlight spectacular natural beauty. Ports in Slovenia and Albania plus seldom-visited cities like Lorient, France; Lubeck, Germany; Peterhead, Scotland; and Greenwich, England provide singular perspectives for a well-rounded understanding of wide-ranging countries and cultures. The program of 2007 itineraries that also includes ten quintessential Transatlantic crossings and journeys to the North Cape and Polar Icecap.

Shore excursions are an essential cruise element and Holland America Lines 2007 European cruises feature more than 500 diverse shore ventures. These optional tours can be booked online in advance through the cruise line and highlight each regions local culture and rich heritage including classical ruins and historicmonuments, cosmopolitan capitals and seaside resorts, adventurous physical pursuits and visual performances, and flavorful visits to markets, restaurants and even private homes for an authentic meal.

Enhancing the European experience onboard each ship are region-specific enrichment opportunities such as the Explorations Speaker Series and food and wine demonstrations and classes in the onboard Culinary Arts Center presented by Food and Wine magazine. Foodies may savor certain European sailings hosted by notable chefs such as Andrew Carmellini of A Voce, or Alexandra Guarnaschelli of Butter, both at the helm of these New York City hotspots; as well as James Boyce of swank Studio at Montage Resort in Laguna Beach or sweets connoisseur extraordinaire Fran Bigelow of delectable Frans Chocolates in Seattle.

The European quintet of ships includes the state-of-the-art 1,848-passenger ms Westerdam with open, airy spaces; the premium lines flagship the 1,316-passenger ms Rotterdam; the five-star 1,258-passenger ms Veendam (newly deployed to the region) and ms Maasdam; and the 793-passenger ms Prinsendam, the œElegant Explorer designed for longer cruises. All ships are top-rated for œbest overall service by Porthole magazines Readers Choice Awards and have earned the International Five Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, boasting ultra-spacious staterooms, many with expansive private verandahs, for Europes dramatic views.

10- to 32-day Northern Europe. Celebrating its European heritage, Holland America spotlights the natural beauty and epic history of Scandinavia and Russia with 16 itineraries from Copenhagen, London, Amsterdam or Rotterdam. Two full days in St. Petersburg for in-depth excursions to the Hermitage Museum, Summer Palace at Peterhof and other celebrated attractions is just one of many highlights. Select cruises also showcase the Norwegian Fjords and North Cape, transits of the Kiel Canal and a circumnavigation of the British Isles on 10-, 12- and 14-day vacations. Collectors Voyages ranging from 24 to 32 days are designed for those with a true passion for longer, more in-depth cruise travel. Sailings depart spring through fall and start from $1,999 per person, double occupancy.

10- to 28-day Mediterranean, Northern Africa & Black Sea. Monuments built by ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian civilizations, sun-washed playgrounds bustling with a modern-day buzz, Holland America blankets the Mediterranean with 12 different itineraries encompassing natural and man-made wonders. Cruisessail from Rome, Venice and Athens and spotlight major cities like Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Florence/Pisa, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Istanbul. Sophisticated travelers are drawn to exotic North African ports like Tunis and Carthage and the re-emerging Black Sea ports of Varna, Constanta, Yalta and Sochi. Cruises depart spring through fall and begin at US $1,999 per person, double occupancy.

14- to 28-day European Treasures. European cruises that bridge the continents northern and southern climes feature itineraries that weave a cultural tapestry from the Greek Isles to the British Isles. These artful immersions are ideal for those seeking to sample many flavors and capitals throughout the Mediterranean and Western Europe. Cruises depart spring through fall from Athens, Venice, Rome, London and Amsterdam and feature as many as 21 ports in16 countries. Sailings start at US $2,599 per person, double occupancy.

12- to 56-day Transatlantics. Immortalized in the days of the grand ocean liners, crossing the Atlantic is a one-of-a-kind travel experience. Holland America, one of the first lines to sail between Europe and North America, proudly offers ten exceptional passages in 2007 that are much more than an ocean crossing. In addition to the ultra relaxing sea days, shorter crossings of less than 16 days offer as many eight port calls while the longer voyages from 17- to 56-days visit between six and 30 ports highlighting the storied towns that rim the mighty Atlantic.

Eight traditional spring and fall voyages sail 10- to 27-days to or from Athens, Copenhagen, Ft. Lauderdale, New York, Rome, Rio de Janeiro and Tampa. Two spectacular sailings offer double the fun while circling either the North or South Atlantic roundtrip from North America. On March 12 a 56-day Grand Mediterranean and North Africa voyage aboard the Elegant Explorer Prinsendam cruises roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale and is available in varying lengths of 25-, 28-, 53, or 56-days with a Rome mid-point. While Maasdams annual mid-summer adventure sails July 7 roundtrip from Boston and can be purchased as a 17-, 18- or 35-day voyage featuring Rotterdam as the half way marker. Fares for Transatlantic crossings start at US $1,849 per person, double occupancy.

Guests can benefit from Holland America Lines Early Advantage pricing which represents 10- to 30-percent off current brochure fares on select sailings booked by September 30, 2006. For a 2007 Europe cruise brochure or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.