Holland America Launches New Discovery Voyages

Holland America Line has announced that starting in September the Maasdam will offer what it calls EXC (Exploration Central) In-Depth Voyages on itineraries from 12 to 34 days, using world-renowned experts, local scholars and customized Zodiac tours to immerse guests in the destination experience.

Each journey offers guests a variety of themes and choices to tailor their exploration, according to the cruise line. Themes include photography; science and nature; arts and culture; food, wine and spirits; history and perspective; and active exploration. Guests are free to focus on one area of interest or combine their passions through onboard enrichment and captivating shore activities.

“We created EXC In-Depth Voyages to further enhance our guests immersion experience in a more personalized way in the exotic destinations featured on this series of specially designed itineraries,” said Orlando Ashford, president, in a prepared statement. “The addition of Zodiac tours will allow guests to be modern-day explorers, and Maasdam will visit many ports that we have never been to or haven’t visited in years.”

From September 2018 through April 2019, onboard enrichment is guided by a special resident team of subject-matter experts — covering such topics as marine and bird life, geology, cultural anthropology, history and more — who sail on all EXC In-Depth cruises, complementing each adventure with informative talks and insightful discussions of their own field experiences.

Holland America said that a sea day could include a lecture on Captain Cook (history and perspective), discovering the indigenous breadfruit (food, wine and spirits), growing coral (science and nature), DSLR Basics (photography) and a traditional tattoo design workshop (arts and culture). Additional EXC programming on board is designed to bring guests together with similar interests and will offer interactive activities, destination insight from location experts and EXC Guides, and cultural encounters to make each cruise more engaging and meaningful.

Evening entertainment will also reflect the local culture instead of mainstage production shows. America’s Test Kitchen is being replaced with local chefs, locally sourced ingredients and local traditions to enhance the culinary offerings appreciated by Holland America Line guests. Junior cruisers are welcome, but Club HAL kids’ activities will not be offered on EXC In-Depth Voyages.

Other shoreside activities focus on offering memorable experiences like photographing the colors of a Tahitian market (photography), taking a guided walking tour of Komodo National Park in search of the Komodo dragon (active exploration), touring the Nukubalavu Village and seeing the Fijian kava welcoming ceremony (arts and culture), visiting famous ruins in Thailand (history and perspective) and watching the platypus playing in billabongs in Australia (science and nature).

The Maasdam will visit 154 ports in 36 countries on 12 individual cruises. The first EXC In-Depth Voyage departs Fort Lauderdale, Sept. 10, 2018, and sets sail for Papeete, Tahiti, via the Panama Canal.

Cruises can be combined to form longer voyages extending up to a 239-day sailinge that covers French Polynesia, the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. Overnight calls are featured in Callao (Lima), Peru; Easter Island; Papeete, French Polynesia; Tauranga and Waitangi, New Zealand; Adelaide, Australia; Singapore; Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Halong Bay, Vietnam; and Hong Kong, China.

Fares for the EXC In-Depth Voyages start at $1,599 per person, double occupancy for a 12-day sailing.

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