Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Pack Your Bags for a Grand Voyage to Asia & the Pacific

If Australia and the Far East top your list of locales to visit, then it’s time to take a look at Holland America Line’s 2017 Grand Asia and Pacific Voyage aboard Amsterdam. This 80-Day cruise is the ideal combination of exotic destinations, some of the most popular capital cities, gorgeous islands, overnight calls and relaxing days at sea. Imaging spending nearly three month exploring nearly the entire Pacific region, making a complete circle cruising counter-clockwise from California.

After departing San Diego Oct. 1, Amsterdam spends five days at sea making way to Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, that’s not only known for having the oldest Russian-Orthodox cruciform church in North America, but also for the television show Deadliest Catch that detailed the struggle to harvest Alaskan king crabs.

After cruising on and crossing the International Dateline, guests begin the Far East adventure with five calls throughout Japan, including an overnight at Yokohama. Not only is Yokohama the gateway to Tokyo, but it’s also a quick trip to peaceful Kamakura—home to Daibutsu, Japan’s second-largest bronze Buddha—and to the important Shinto shrine Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Guests seeking to to visit one of the world’s greatest natural sites can head to Hakone National Park on a clear day will be rewarded with picture-postcard views of majestic Mt. Fuji. Calls at lesser-known ports such as Kushiro, Shimizu, Osaka and Hososhima (Miyazaki) highlight the visit to Japan.

After two days in South Korea visit Jeju (Cheju) City and Incheon (Seoul), Amsterdam spends the next 10 days showing off the highlights of China. All three calls in this country are overnight stays so guests have more time to see all of the sights throughout this fascinating and fast-paced country. The first overnight is at Tianjin (Beijing), followed by Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Two calls in Vietnam and an overnight at Shanghai are followed by an Indonesian odyssey that includes three calls at some of the most gorgeous islands in the world: Java, Bali, and Komodo Island with its famous Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and biosphere reserve since 1992. The region is home to roughly 5,700 Komodo dragons, which are, in fact, lizards—and the largest lizards in the world at that, growing to lengths of almost 10 feet.

The next 17 days are spent on a sojourn around Australia and New Zealand, starting with Darwin, Cairns, and Brisbane. The ships spends the night at Sydney so guests can perhaps take in a performance at the renowned Sydney Opera House, climb Sydney Harbour Bridge or check out the burgeoning culinary scene. It’s on to three ports in New Zealand, boasting some of the greenest landscapes seen along the way including the City of Sails, aka Auckland.

There’s a reason why people conjure images of Fiji when talking about paradise on earth. In fact, the entire South Pacific region is an island-hopping odyssey of lush landscapes, golden beaches and sun-kissed skies. Guests will visit Dravuni Island, Lautoka and Suva before calling at Apia, Samoa.

From there, the journey back to San Diego begins, and six days at sea include two Dec. 8th thanks to crossing back through the International Date Line. Honolulu and Lahaina, Hawaii, make the perfect final calls before crossing back to the United States.

For guests who don’t have time to take the entire 80-day cruise, segments ranging from 23 to 53 days are available.

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