SEATTLE, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- From the exotic -- enjoying the Christmas spirit with penguins in Antarctica or toasting the New Year down under -- to a popular Caribbean or Mexico cruise, Holland America Line invites travelers to celebrate the season this December on one of 19 holiday escapes.
"Holiday cruising provides a relaxed surrounding to enjoy family and the festivities and there's no cooking, cleaning, decorating or hassle," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president of marketing and sales. "From enriching activities ashore to special onboard festivities celebrating the season, our holiday cruises also provide tremendous value and extensive options for travelers of all ages."
From December 16 through 31, 2006, Holland America Line offers several cruise departures ranging from 7- to 20-days and accommodating the varied schedules of busy professionals, school kids and grandparents. Destinations, both close-to-home and far-flung, include:
-- The beaches and azure waters of the Caribbean -- the perfect warm winter retreat with 14 holiday cruises, ranging from 7 to 14 days, traveling round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa, Florida, Norfolk, Virginia, and New York City with the maiden Holiday voyages of the ms Noordam. Most itineraries feature a visit to Half Moon Cay, the line's award-winning private Bahamian island. -- The mystery and beauty of the Mexican Riviera on a 7-day cruise traveling round-trip from San Diego for Christmas or New Year's. In a country known for its festive celebrations, guests may experience the excitement of Las Posadas, the nine days before Christmas, or Ano Nuevo, New Year's. -- Journeys to exotic locales -- 14-day Panama Canal Sunfarer round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, 15-day Hawaii itinerary round-trip from San Diego, a 14-day New Zealand/Australia adventure from Auckland to Sydney, and a 20-day exploration of South America and Antarctica from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Valparaiso, Chile.
Each holiday voyage features clergy to conduct Catholic, Protestant and Jewish services (for the 12/16 Noordam cruise over Hanukkah). Holland America Line's on-board festivities for the entire family include holiday decorations, special movie showings, traditional dinner selections, religious services, a visit for the kids from Santa -- sometimes arriving by parasail -- activities and crafts for the Club HAL kids program, strolling carolers, tree lighting ceremony, eggnog in the atrium, Christmas brunch, Santa's milk and cookie late-night snack, a Christmas show by the crew on Christmas Eve, and a turndown gift on Christmas Eve. The line also holds a New Year's Eve Gala and arranges to broadcast some college bowl games on board the ship.
Extended Families Enjoy Special Group Fares and Extras
Families will enjoy the spirit of the holiday with the premium cruise line's Family Reunion Program, rewarding those who book five staterooms or more with special pricing and extra amenities. The special program features extras such as a fountain soda card for each family member, family photos, and dinner in the line's specialty Pinnacle Grill Restaurant. Caribbean-bound families might enjoy free rentals of snorkel gear and swim mats on Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line's award-winning private island.
Per person fares begin at US$799 for a 7-day Caribbean cruise. In addition, third and fourth berth fares on the 11-day December 16 Noordam holiday sailing are $99 for insides and outsides and $199 for verandahs and suites.
For more information about planning a holiday cruise, contact a travel agent or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com .
With the introduction of the 1,918-passenger ms Noordam in early 2006, Holland America Line's fleet grew to 13 ships, offering nearly 500 cruises from more than 25 home ports. Itineraries range from two to 108 days and visit all seven continents, including new Australia/New Zealand and Asia sailings, a world cruise and popular sailings to several ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico and Europe. The ms Noordam also offers Caribbean sailings in the winter from new homeport New York City.
Holland America Line's $225 million, fleetwide Signature of Excellence enhancements feature new programs and amenities including the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine -- a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchen where more than 60 celebrated guest chefs and culinary experts will provide cooking demonstrations and classes -- Explorations Cafe powered by the New York Times, teens-only activity areas and all new cabin amenities highlighted by flat-panel TVs and plush-top Mariner's Dream Beds. Signature of Excellence enhancements has been completed on 12 ships, with the final ship receiving enhancements by the fall of 2006. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com .
World's Leading Cruise Lines
The highest-rated premium cruise line in the world, Holland America Line is a member of the exclusive World's Leading Cruise Lines alliance, which also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Cunard Line, Seabourn Cruise Line, Costa Cruises and Windstar Cruises. Sharing a passion to please each guest and a commitment to quality and value, these lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. The World's Leading Cruise Lines offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world's most desirable destinations.
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