SEATTLE, June 21 — 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 maiden ports and feature six ships, including the debut of the ms Eurodam. Next year also will mark the 135th anniversary of the premium line’s first cruise 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 programs. “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, the ms Eurodam, two Vista-class ships, the ms Noordam and the ms Zuideram; the intimate ms Prinsendam and the five-star 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 guests 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.
The Eurodam will spend its 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 (famous for Loch Ness) and Edinburgh, (home of the famous Castle & Scottish Crown Jewels), Scotland; and the maiden port Newcastle upon Tyne, England (gateway to the city of York). The 10-day Gems of the Baltic, a perennial guest favorite, combines an overnight stay on board in St. Petersburg, Russia with Scandinavia and northern Germany.
Four popular Kiel Canal & Baltic itineraries are offered on the intimate Prinsendam, including a new 16-day Midnight Sun Explorer itinerary that includes a maiden exploration of the Gulf of Bothnia, between Sweden and Finland. Holland America Line is the only premium cruise line that offers sailings in the Gulf of Bothnia. The sleek draft of the Prinsendam allows the ship to cruise the Kiel Canal’s spectacular lock system where few other major cruise lines venture.
The flagship 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, the Prinsendam visits Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Scotland on a 21-day sailing roundtrip from Europe (between London and Amsterdam). The 14-day Celtic Kingdoms itinerary circles the United Kingdom, with calls in Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales and the Channel Islands.
The 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 iconic calls such as Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia) and Santorini with less-visited gems like Split, Mykonos, Argostoli and Navplion. Plus, guests will enjoy the nightlife in Santorini, Mykonos, Messina and Monte Carlo, where departures are set at 11 p.m. Two of the three itineraries may be combined for a 24-day cruise between Venice and Barcelona.
The 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 guests 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 the 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 the 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. For a 2008 European cruise brochure or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.