This September Holland America Line will offer an innovative approach to cruising for travelers who are looking for thoughtful and immersive ways to see the world. New EXC In-Depth Voyages onboard the 1,258 guest Maasdam will explore some of the most fascinating corners of the globe on itineraries from 12 to 34 days, using world-renowned experts, local scholars and customized Zodiac tours to immerse guests in the experience.
With EXC In-Depth Voyages, each journey will offer guests a variety of themes and choices to tailor their exploration: photography, science and nature, arts and culture, food, wine and spirits, history and perspective and active exploration. Guests will be able to focus on one area of interest or combine their passions through onboard enrichment and captivating shore activities, choosing to do as much or as little as they like.
NOTABLE EXPERTS LEAD WORKSHOPS, SEMINARS AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
From September 2018 through April 2019, EXC In-Depth Voyages will expand Holland America Line’s exciting Explorations Central (EXC) programming by creating a total experience on board and ashore. Onboard enrichment will be guided by a special resident team of subject-matter experts – covering such topics as marine and bird life, geology, cultural anthropology, history and more – who sail on all EXC In-Depth cruises, complementing each adventure with informative talks and insightful discussions of their own field experiences.
A sea day could for example include a lecture on Captain Cook (history and perspective), discovering the indigenous breadfruit (food, wine and spirits), growing coral (science and nature), DSLR Basics (photography) and a traditional tattoo design workshop (arts and culture). Additional EXC programming on board will be designed to bring guests together with similar interests and will offer interactive activities, destination insight from location experts and EXC Guides, and cultural encounters to make each cruise more engaging and meaningful.
Since EXC In-Depth Voyages are designed with added emphasis on the destination and onboard learning, the evening entertainment will reflect the local culture instead of mainstage production shows. America’s Test Kitchen will be replaced with local chefs, locally sourced ingredients and local traditions to enhance the culinary offerings. And while junior cruisers are welcome, Club HAL kids’ activities will not be offered on EXC In-Depth Voyages.
ZODIAC INFLATABLE BOATS AMPLIFY UP-CLOSE EXPERIENCES
Maasdam will carry Zodiac inflatable boats, the type popularized by famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, giving guests the opportunity to explore less-accessible sites and wildlife habitats in select ports as part of the ships EXC Tours program. A mix of onboard experts and local guides will co-guide the Zodiac outings to enrich the experience for guests.
Other shoreside activities will focus on offering memorable experiences like photographing the colors of a Tahitian market (photography), taking a guided walking tour of Komodo National Park in search of the Komodo dragon (active exploration), touring the Nukubalavu Village and seeing the Fijian kava welcoming ceremony (arts and culture), visiting famous ruins in Thailand (history and perspective) and watching the platypus playing in billabongs in Australia (science and nature).
OFF-THE-BEATEN TRACK ISLANDS AND PORTS
The ports on EXC In-Depth itineraries were selected to evoke curiosity and inspire wonder. Maasdam will visit 154 ports in 36 countries on 12 individual cruises with guests having the opportunity to explore far-flung locales like Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Java, the Maldives, the Marquesas and Nuku Hiva. Twenty-eight ports are maiden calls or have not been visited by Holland America Line ships in years.
EXC IN-DEPTH VOYAGES RANGE FROM 12 TO 239 DAYS
The first EXC In-Depth Voyage will depart Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on September 10, 2018, and set sail for Papeete, Tahiti, via the Panama Canal. Along the way the ship will call at ports on the west coast of South America, sail across the Pacific Ocean to Easter Island and visit several South Pacific islands during the 34-day voyage. Maasdam will then spend October and part of November exploring the South Pacific before heading to New Zealand.
Come December, Maasdam will journey along the southern coast of Australia. The ship will spend January cruising the northwest coast of Australia up to Singapore where it will embark on a 20-day adventure in the culturally rich Indian Ocean region. Following a 20-day Southeast Asia itinerary in February 2019, the ship will explore the Spice Islands and ports along the northeastern coast of Australia, then sail back to the South Pacific and chart a course throughout the idyllic islands. The final EXC In-Depth cruise will be a 24-day Polynesian Crossing ending at San Francisco, California, May 7, 2019.
All cruises can be combined to form longer voyages extending up to an incredible 239-day adventure that covers French Polynesia, the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.
Overnight calls are a highlight of the EXC In-Depth Voyages. Guests will have overnight experiences in Callao (Lima) in Peru, Easter Island, Papeete (French Polynesia), Tauranga and Waitangi (New Zealand), Adelaide (Australia), Singapore, Laem Chabang (Bangkok) in Thailand, Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Halong Bay (Vietnam) and Hong Kong in China.
Learn more about Holland America Line’s Explorations Central, or EXC as Holland America calls its new destination immersion experience in “Holland America goes interactive with Explorations Central and Rijksmuseum at Sea“.
Fares for the EXC In-Depth Voyages start at $1,599 per person, double occupancy, for a 12-day sailing. Taxes, fees and port expenses are additional. Air specials are available on select cruises: Fly roundtrip Los Angeles, California, for $999 per person when booking the October 14 or October 28, 2018, 14-Day Polynesian Idyll cruise. Additional gateways also are available from $1,199 per person.