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Holland America Announces Special In-Depth Voyages

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This September, Holland America will begin a new approach to cruising for those that are looking for more immersive ways to see the world. There will be new EXC In-Depth Voyages exploring some of the most fascinating parts of the globe offered onboard the 1,258-guest Maasdam. The itineraries will be 12 to 34 days long, and use world-renowned experts, local scholars, and customized Zodiac tours to immerse guests.

Each journey will offer a variety of themes to tailor guests’ exploration: photography; science and nature; arts and culture; food; wine and spirits; history and perspective; and active exploration. Travelers are free to focus on one area of interest, or combine their passions through onboard offerings and shore activities. Passengers can do as much or little as they’d like.

photo: Holland America

Expert-Led Workshops and Learning Opportunities

From September 2018 through April 2019, EXC In-Depth Voyages will create a total experience both onboard and ashore. Shipboard enrichment is guided by a resident team of subject-matter experts, covering topic like marine and bird life, geology, cultural anthropology, history, and more.

A sea day might include a lecture on Captain Cook, discovering the indigenous breadfruit, growing coral, DSLR camera basics, and a traditional tattoo design workshop. Programming onboard is designed to bring similarly-interested guests together for interactive activities, destination insight from local experts, and cultural encounters to make each cruise meaningful.

For these special voyages, evening entertainment will reflect the local culture instead of mainstage production shows. America’s Test Kitchen will be replaced with local chefs using locally sourced ingredients and traditional recipes. Kids are welcome on the EXC In-Depth Voyages, but Club HAL activities won’t be offered.

Zodiac Inflatable Boats

Maasdam will carry Zodiac inflatable boats, so guests are intimately able to explore less-accessible sites and wildlife habitats in select ports. A mix of onboard experts and local guides will c0-guide the Zodiac outings.

For example, guests might foray around sheltered islands to spot local birdlife including waders, oystercatchers, nesting cormorants, and other species. Some adventures might be heading up rivers to explore the sights of a region from a unique vantage, or they might uncover the beauty of nature reserves on a photo adventure that features rugged shores, blue waters, limestone cliffs, and abundant wildlife. Zodiac tours aren’t included in the cruise fare, and will be an additional cost.

Guests arriving on a Zodiac boat to Komodo Island, Indonesia. photo: Holland America

Other shoreside activities focus on offering unique experiences like photographing the colors of a Tahitian market, taking a guided walking tour of Komodo National Park in search of the Komodo dragon, touring the Nukubalavu Village and seeing the Fijian kava welcoming ceremony, visiting famous ruins in Thailand, and watching the platypus playing in billabongs in Australia.

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More Details

Maasdam will visit 154 ports in 36 countries on 12 individual cruises. Some far-flung locales it will visit include Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Java, the Maldives, the Marquesas and Nuku Hiva. 28 ports are maiden calls or haven’t been visited by Holland America ships in years.

The first EXC In-Depth Voyage departs Fort Lauderdale on September 10, 2-18 and sets sail for Papeete, Tahiti via the Panama Canal. Along the way the ship will visit ports on the west coast of South America, sail across the Pacific 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.

photo: Holland America

In December, the ship will journey along the southern coast of Australia, featuring a 16-day holiday cruise departing December 21. She will spend January cruising the northwest coast of Australia up to Singapore where she will embark on a 20-day adventure in the Indian Ocean region. Following a 20-day Southeast Asia itinerary in February 2019, Maasdam will explore the Spice Islands and ports along the northeastern coast of Australia, then sail back to the South Pacific and charts a course throughout the idyllic islands. The final EXC In-Depth cruise is a 24-day Polynesian Crossing ending at San Francisco, California on May 7, 2019.

Overnight calls will be a highlight of these special cruises, with ships spending the night in many unique ports. Cruises can be combined to form longer voyages, extending all the way 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.

Fares start at $1,599 per person based on double occupancy for a 12-day sailing. Air specials are available on select cruises. For more information, visit hollandamerica.com.

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June Special: Kids Sail Free to the Bahamas

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With summer around the corner, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has a special deal for families traveling with kids. Valid for all June cruises, those 16 and under will sail free if they’re staying in the same stateroom with two paying parents.

With the school year wrapping up and Father’s Day on June 17, it’s the perfect time for a quick escape to the Bahamas. Both of the line’s ships, Grand Classica and Grand Celebration offer a number of activities for guests on their way to the island. There are youth clubs divided by age, swimming pools, multiple dining options, a mini movie theater, mini rock climbing wall, a ball pit, and more.

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There’s also a number of shore excursions that families can take part in once they arrive, including snorkeling, a beach day, cruising the beach in an open-top Jeep, swimming with dolphins, parasailing, kayaking, glass-bottom boat tours, and more.

For more information, visit bahamasparadisecruiseline.com.

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Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Take Annual Photos on Cruise Ship

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The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders have officially wrapped up their 2018 annual photo shoot, and this year a Miami-based cruise ship was the backdrop.

Over 20 of the cheerleaders sailed to the sunny Caribbean this month aboard MSC Cruises’ MSC Seaside, donning a number of clothing styles for the photos while capturing the ship’s iconic design. The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Annual is set to be released at the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Fashion Show this fall.

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The cheerleaders also took part in photo shoot in ports along the way, including St. Maarten, San Juan, and Nassau. During the voyage, the cheerleaders engaged with guests throughout the cruise during a variety of activities, including at the sail away party, hosting youth cheer clinics, posing for photo ops, and doing special performances to entertain guests. To kick off the cruise, they provided a warm Miami Dolphins welcome by taking over the terminal with mascot “TD” to cheer guests into their vacation.

The annual photoshoot onboard MSC Seaside came on the heels of the Dolphins’ first ever Fan Cruise onboard the same ship in March. The voyage included football legend guests of honor including Kim Bokamper, Terry Kirby, Sam Madison, Nat Moore, Joe Rose and Patrick Surtain, for a week of themed activities. The team will be hosting their second cruise in 2019.

The Miami Dolphins and MSC Cruises are in the midst of a three-year partnership, which resulted in the Fan Cruise. It will be hosted annually over the next three years.

Photos: Miami Dolphins

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Carnival Horizon Makes Inaugural Call in Canadian Port

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Carnival Cruise Line’s brand new Vista-class ship Carnival Horizon made her first-ever call in Halifax, Nova Scotia yesterday.

The day was a welcome change for cruise passengers; it was the first port stop after six days at sea crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean. Ship officers as well as local officials held a traditional plaque ceremony in the Library onboard, where a plaque was given to the ship by the Port of Halifax and other tokens were exchanged, including a model of the ship given to the port by Carnival Cruise Line.

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Carnival Horizon is the sister-ship to Carnival Vista, which pioneered a number of new concepts for Carnival including the SkyRide bicycling attraction and the Dreamscape LED sculpture in the atrium. Some of Horizon’s unique new features include a sit-down barbecue smokehouse and brewery as well as a Cat in the Hat themed WaterWorks water park.

Click here for a video of the ship headed into the Port of Halifax.

Click here for our article on all of the free food found aboard Carnival Horizon.

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