This holiday season Holland America Line is providing the ultimate getaway gift for the entire family with 22 signature holiday cruises ranging from seven to 17 days. Whether basking in a Caribbean sunset or reveling in the ultimate Antarctic white Christmas, guests aboard the premium line can leave the hustle and bustle behind and enjoy up to 50% savings, plus special reduced rates for third and fourth guests sharing staterooms, on select sailings.
Special rates are geared toward families on several holiday cruises - with six dates offering free or $199 rates for the third or fourth guest in a stateroom. Double-occupancy fares start at $699 per person, plus tax, for a seven-day Caribbean holiday cruise.
"With cruise values starting at $1,598 plus tax for a family of four sharing the same stateroom, 'tis the season to travel," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Plus, holiday cruises allow guests to celebrate and relax in style with five-star dining, award-winning service and their favorite traditions observed with none of the hassle - letting guests truly enjoy their time with their family."
On-board festivities include holiday decorations, sumptuous traditional meals, seasonal movies, culinary classes and demonstrations featuring tasty holiday treats, a visit from Santa for the kids, activities and crafts, 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.
Those sailing on any ship over Dec. 31 will enjoy a traditional New Year's Eve Gala Ball with live music, dancing, festive attire and a midnight toast. Select college bowl games also will be broadcast on board. Each holiday voyage features clergy to conduct Catholic, Protestant and Jewish services (for cruises during Hanukkah).
Sail the Caribbean on Seven- to 14-day Cruises
Thirteen Caribbean holiday cruise options are available between Dec. 17 and Dec. 31 aboard seven ships - ms Westerdam, ms Maasdam, ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Ryndam, ms Prinsendam and ms Noordam - departing from Fort Lauderdale or Tampa, Fla., over one or both holidays.
Itineraries include a seven-day southern Caribbean cruise with stops at such exotic ports as Aruba and Curacao. Or try seven days exploring the rich waters of the eastern Caribbean and legendary ports of call such as Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Finally, holiday cruisers can choose among western Caribbean options with stops that might include Belize, Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Costa Maya, Mexico, and Key West, Fla.
Travelers with more time can opt for 10- to 14-day Caribbean cruises and usher in the New Year in St. Thomas or St. George's while sampling the ports of Barbados and Grand Turk.
Most itineraries feature a visit to Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line's award-winning exclusive private island experience with white sand beaches, aqua waters and shore activities ranging from horseback riding to a stingray adventure.
Sunny Mexican Riviera & Panama Canal for a Festive Occasion
Departing from Fort Lauderdale, San Diego or Los Angeles, Calif., in mid to late December, five cruises feature distinct itineraries that visit different collections of warm-water ports along the Mexican Riviera, Central America, Panama Canal and Caribbean.
The Sunfarer Caribbean Holiday cruise is a 10-day trip from Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 23 aboard ms Zuiderdam in the southern Caribbean with Christmas Eve at Half Moon Cay, a partial transit of the Panama Canal and New Year's Eve at sea, returning Jan. 2, 2011.
Two more cruises visit the Panama Canal beginning with a 14-day cruise that departs Los Angeles Dec. 22 aboard ms Amsterdam in time for Christmas Day at sea and stops in Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica before traversing the Canal en route to Fort Lauderdale. Or guests can opt for the 14-day Panama Canal Holiday Cruise on ms Statendam departing San Diego on Christmas Eve. Stops in Mexico include Puerto Vallarta and Puerto Chiapas before crossing the canal to reach Fort Lauderdale.
Christmas and New Years holidays along the Mexican Riviera can be particularly memorable on an eight-day cruise from San Diego aboard ms Oosterdam departing Dec. 18, or a seven-day sailing Dec. 26 that visits Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Or guests can opt for a 12-day cruise departing Dec. 22 on ms Rotterdam that features Christmas Eve in Cabo San Lucas, Christmas Day at sea and New Year's Eve in Mazatlan.
Longer Voyages Sail the Pacific
The warm waters of the far Pacific offer memorable holiday adventures as well. A 14-day Circle Hawaii sailing aboard ms Zaandam departs San Diego Dec. 19 with Christmas Eve in Hilo, Christmas Day in Nawiliwili and New Year's Day in Ensenada, Mexico. Departing Dec. 17 and with limited space, the 16-day Australia-New Zealand Holiday Cruise aboard ms Volendam explores the southern coast of Australia from Sydney before an extensive tour of New Zealand ports such as Milford Sound and Auckland, and celebrating Christmas Eve in Wellington.
White Christmas in the Antarctic
Guests who want their holidays adorned with snow and ice will see a white Christmas on the 17-day South America and Antarctica Explorer journey. Departing Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile, Dec. 20, ms Veendam steers south amid the glaciers 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.
Onboard Activities for Everyone
When choosing a Holland America cruise for a family vacation, there's always something for everyone - from kids to grandparents - with a wide variety of exciting activities and venues for the entire family to enjoy the cruise vacation of their dreams. Younger children 3-7 can play games, enjoy arts and crafts and join other supervised activities in Club HAL. Tweens 8-12 have an area featuring arcade games, air hockey, foosball and Sony PlayStations. Older kids 13-17 can often be found at The Loft, a teen-only venue, enjoying karaoke, video games, movies and a teen disco or hanging out at The Oasis, a teens-only sun deck. And daily menus feature kid-friendly choices.
While the kids are busy, adults can enjoy diverse activities and facilities from the Greenhouse Spa & Salon to a lively shipboard casino, wine tasting, cooking classes, afternoon tea, an internet café/library, party-planning classes and complimentary interactive Digital Workshops powered by Windows to learn more about using digital media.