Holland America Expands 2009 Panama Canal Program – More Full Transits

Holland America Line offers an unprecedented number of Panama Canal sailings in 2009, offering 45 total cruises on nine different ships departing from five separate ports. Guests can experience daylight transits of the historic and fascinating Panama Canal and itineraries that feature diverse and intriguing ports of call on voyages.

“We’ve increased our Panama Canal capacity significantly this year to make 2009 a very exciting season, especially with full transit cruises through the winter season,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “While the roundtrip Florida canal experiences have been very popular, our guests have been asking for more Panama Canal cruises between the east and west coasts throughout the winter season. So now, there are canal cruises to suit everyone’s tastes for season, length and ports of call.”

Ranging in length from 10 to 28 days, Holland America Line’s Panama Canal itineraries feature more port-of-call options than any other major cruise line, with many port visits exclusive to Holland America Line.

New Winter/Spring Full Transit Canal Cruises Feature ms Statendam

Among the offerings in 2009 are ten 14-day Panama Canal cruises on ms Statendam between Fort Lauderdale and San Diego that feature different ports of call in each direction, with only one port in common. The sailings, from February into April and again in October and November, can be combined as back-to-back cruises for a 28-day round-trip Collectors’ voyage. Sample ports of call include an overnight stay in Fuerte Amador (Panama City), Panama; Puerto Chiapas (gateway to the Pacific side of the Mayan world), Mexico; Cartagena, Colombia; Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Aruba.

Spring & Fall Departures Add Full-Transit Panama Canal Options

In addition to Statendam full canal sailings, the premium line will include another eight departures through May and September through November – from five convenient homeports: Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver.

Among the port highlights on full Panama Canal transits are Santa Cruz Hualtulo, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala (a UNESCO World Heritage tour site); and a maiden call to Dos Bocas, Mexico.

Cruises range from 13 to 23 days and sail aboard ms Oosterdam, ms Zuiderdam, ms Westerdam, ms Veendam and ms Ryndam.

Roundtrip Florida Southern Caribbean & Panama Canal

Holland America Line also will offer a series of 10-day round-trip Fort Lauderdale Sunfarer cruises aboard the ms Zuiderdam. These cruises sail through the Gatun Locks and offer scenic cruising in Gatun Lake. They also feature less common Caribbean ports of call and the only itineraries with a private island: Holland America Line’s exclusive Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.

A new 14-day Sunfarer itinerary will depart Nov. 6 and Dec. 4 aboard the ms Maasdam roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. In addition to cruising to Gatun Lake, ports will include Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; St. Croix; Dominica; St. Lucia; Aruba; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; and Key West, United States.

Panama Canal Plus Exotic Ports of Call

For a more in-depth Panama Canal cruise experience, Amsterdam will depart roundtrip from Los Angeles on a 21-day Pan-American voyage departing December 2 that explores Mexico and Central America and spends two days in the Panama Canal. Sample ports: Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco, Mexico; Gatun Lake, Panama; Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica; and Corinto, Nicaragua.

Festive Holiday Canal Cruises

For the holidays, travelers may sail aboard a new full-transit 16-day holiday cruise on the ms Statendam from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego departing on Dec. 21. Other holiday sailings feature a 19-day Fort Lauderdale to San Diego cruise departing Dec. 16 aboard the Rotterdam and a 14-day Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale voyage on Dec. 23 aboard the Amsterdam. And a 10-day holiday cruise sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale aboard ms Zuiderdam on Dec. 23, 2009.

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