The holiday voyages will depart between Dec. 17 and Dec. 31 aboard seven ships — Westerdam, Maasdam, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Ryndam, Prinsendam and Noordam. Thirteen Caribbean cruises sail from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.
Itineraries explore the Southern Caribbean on a seven-day cruise with stops in Aruba, Curacao and Half Moon Cay. Seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises visit ports such as Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.
Several Western Caribbean options stop at Belize, Montego Bay, Georgetown, Costa Maya and Key West. Ten- and 14-day cruises are also available throughout the Caribbean. Most itineraries feature a visit to Half Moon Cay, the line’s private island experience in the Bahamas. Per person fares begin at $999, double occupancy. Taxes are additional.
Departing from Fort Lauderdale, San Diego or Los Angeles in mid to late December, Holland America Line offers five cruises that visit the warm water ports of the Mexican Riviera — Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, Puerto Chiapas and Puerto Quetzal — as well as the Central America coastline and Panama Canal.
Per-person fares begin at $1,099. The Zuiderdam’s 10-day “Sunfarer Caribbean” holiday cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale departs on Dec. 23 and includes a partial transit of the Panama Canal to Gatun Lake and New Year’s Eve at sea before returning on Jan. 2.
Two additional cruises visit the Panama Canal, beginning with the 14-day Amsterdam voyage that departs Los Angeles on Dec. 22 and stops in Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica before traversing the canal en route to Fort Lauderdale. The Statendam’s 14-day Panama Canal holiday cruise departs San Diego on Christmas Eve and stops in Puerto Vallarta and Puerto Chiapas before crossing the canal to Fort Lauderdale.
The Oosterdam’s eight-day Dec. 18 cruise from San Diego and the Dec. 26 seven-day sailing visit Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. The Rotterdam will depart Dec. 22 on a 12-day cruise that features Christmas Eve in Cabo San Lucas, Christmas Day at sea and New Year’s Eve in Mazatlan.
A 14-day “Circle Hawaii” sailing by the Zaandam departs San Diego Dec. 19 with Christmas Eve in Hilo, Christmas Day in Honolulu and New Year’s Day in Ensenada, Mexico. Departing Dec. 17, the 16-day Australia-New Zealand holiday cruise aboard Volendam explores the southern coast of Australia from Sydney before a tour of New Zealand ports like Milford Sound and Auckland and Christmas Eve in Wellington.
The Veendam’s 17-day South America and Antarctica journey departs Valparaiso, Chile, on Dec. 20 and steers south to spend Christmas Eve cruising Darwin Channel and the Chilean fjords, Christmas Day sailing Amalia Glacier Canal and New Year’s Eve in the Antarctic Sound. Per-person fares on longer voyages start at $1,999 to $2,699.
Holland America’s onboard festivities include holiday decorations, traditional meals, movie showings, a visit from Santa — sometimes arriving by parasail — activities and crafts for the Club HAL kids program, strolling carolers, a tree-lighting ceremony, eggnog in the atrium, Christmas brunch, Santa’s milk and cookie late-night snack and a holiday show by the crew on Christmas Eve. For sailings over Hanukkah, ships display a ceremonial Menorah. New Year’s Eve cruisers will enjoy the New Year’s Eve Gala and the broadcast of select college bowl games onboard ships. Each holiday voyage features clergy to conduct Catholic, Protestant and Jewish services (for cruises over Hanukkah).
Another special feature for the holidays are culinary classes highlighting such traditional seasonal treats as latkes with rosemary and brown butter sauce, Alsatian potato and bacon tarts, and sausage cakes with red wine prunes.