Holland America’s Grand Voyages: A Grand Way to Cruise

It’s no secret that Holland America Line offers a worldwide assortment of cruise itineraries, from Alaska to the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and beyond. Many of these itineraries come in at a week or two in length; the perfect cruise getaway for those with limited vacation time, or those on a budget.

Holland America’s venerable Prinsendam specializes in longer, more off-the-beaten path journeys. Photo courtesy of Holland America Line

But you might not know that Holland America is a major player in the multi-week voyage market. In fact, the line’s petite Prinsendam, dubbed the “Elegant Explorer,” is dedicated almost exclusively to these multi-week cruises. These cruises are so special and unique that the line even gave them their own name: Grand Voyages.

A quick search of the Holland America Line website shows a total of 36 Grand Voyages planned for the 2017-2018 season, all of which are over 17 days in length. Many of these are gigantic repositioning voyages between continents; journeys of exploration that cross time zones, date lines, and political boundaries. In short, they’re the perfect voyage for those who are looking for something more immersive than your typical seven-day run to Alaska – which, incidentally, Holland America does quite well.

Holland America Line’s Grand Voyages can last as little as three weeks, or as much as three months. Illustration courtesy of Holland America Line

Some of these voyages are less than a month, like the 23-Day Grand Asia & Pacific Voyage departing November 4, 2018 aboard ms Amsterdam. This sailing, between Hong Kong and Sydney, visits a number of Asia-Pacific ports of call, including Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Bali, Komodo Island, Darwin, and Cairns, to name a few.

In many cases, these “shorter” itineraries (less than a month) are merely a segment of a much longer voyage – and here is where Holland America really shines. For those who have the time and the money, these sailings are a great way to see a huge swath of the world while only packing and unpacking once.

More than that, these multi-continent roundtrip journeys are ideal for those who can’t, or won’t, fly.

Holland America’s Amsterdam at sea. Photo courtesy of Holland America Line.

Take Holland America’s 80-day Grand Asia & Pacific Voyage that departs this year, on October 1, 2017. Sailing aboard the ms Amsterdam, this cruise operates roundtrip out of San Diego – meaning if you can get to San Diego, you can experience this voyage in its entirety.

Again, for those who don’t want to take the long-haul flights required to get to Asia, a sailing like this – operating conveniently from a US homeport – could be well worth the price of admission. It visits ports of call in Alaska (Dutch Harbor), Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific before returning to San Diego nearly three months after it departs.

Guests onboard will spend Halloween and Thanksgiving onboard before arriving back in San Diego on December 20 – just in time for the Christmas holidays.

A Grand Voyage with Holland America Line is a great way to see the world with minimal flights. Photo © Aaron Saunders

So what do you get on a voyage that’s nearly three months in duration? The perks obviously depend on the sailing length, but Holland America is running some pretty enticing early-booking specials right now on its sailings aboard the ms Prinsendam for 2018 and 2019. Incentives include complimentary gratuities, an airfare credit, and onboard credits. Guests booking suites can also receive complimentary internet time and a specialty dining package.

From voyages to Antarctica to full-blown cruises around the world, or shorter repositioning journeys between Asia, North America and Europe, there’s a Grand Voyage aboard a Holland America ship that’s designed for a wide variety of budgets and time restrictions. They’re not inexpensive, but these sailings represent an excellent value – in some cases, a month on Holland America costs less than a week on an ultra-luxury ship, while a journey around the world can be had for the price (per person, of course) of a midrange car. And nobody is going to fondly reminisce about the year you bought the Buick – but you will most certainly remember the year you took a Grand Voyage aboard one of Holland America Line’s “dam ships.”

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