WALLACE IMMEN on Holland America’s Noordam
For frequent cruisers, seven days on a ship is never enough. And if you’ve been to Europe or Alaska or even South America more than once, you’re looking for a cruise itinerary that’s not only extended but also different from what’s you’ve seen before; something a little off the beaten track. Longer, more exotic voyages are a growing niche for Holland America Line and they’re planning routes for 2012 and 2013 that can keep giving you fresh perspectives for a month or more.
What are being called Collectors’ Voyages are so appealing to avid cruisers that they’re not destined to be available for long, cautions Holland America cruise consultant Michael Kaczurak. “There are a lot of regular cruisers who are looking for something different. On some cruises we’ve just announced for 2013, the top categories are already filling up quickly,” he said in a presentation to frequent cruisers aboard the Noordam. Looking at the booking trends so far, he revealed the Top 10 in-demand cruises that are available now, but are booking up so fast, they’re sure to sell out. Here’s the count down:
Number 10: Eastern and Southern Caribbean These Collectors’ Voyages on Westerdam combine two itineraries to create 14 to 21 day cruises that come at a lower fare than the voyages booked separately. They include two full days in the private island of Half Moon Bay.
Number 9: Scandinavia and Russia These cruises celebrate the long “white nights.” Ryndam’s 14-day round trip Collectors’ Voyages from Dover, England include the port for Berlin, and two full days in St. Petersburg and overnight in Stockholm, along with the many fjords of Norway.
Number 8: Australia and New Zealand All the highlights of down under are on the route of these 14-day sailings on Volendam including Tasmania and the islands and bays of New Zealand. Itineraries of up to 38 days can include Fiji and News Caledonia.
Number 7: Canada and New England Fall colors on the leaves and colourful cities are on the route of Maasdam include Charlottetown, Halifax and Sydney. One repositioning cruise starts in Montreal and ends in Florida.
Number 6: Circle Hawaii For lovers of sea days, the 14 to 20 day sailings of Oosterdam round-trip from San Diego to Hawaii and Nawiliwili can also include west coast stops in Canada and Mexico.
Number 5: America Explorer Tangos, penguins and exotic ports are features of the 16-day Rio to Santiago itinerary by Veendam, which will be the last to include a sailing close by Antarctica before new restrictions come into effect in 2013.
Number 4: Voyage of the Vikings An intensive 35-day voyage on Maasdam tracing Viking explorations includes places seldom visited by any cruise ship is a round trip from Boston. It can also be taken half way as an 18-day cruise.
Number 3: Panama Canal An extended cruise including a transit of the is another must do before a new set of locks replaces the classic canal. On Statendam, Collectors’ Voyages can be as long as 33 days.
Number 2: Mediterranean Romance This is the grand tour with extra attractions. From 12 to 24 days, Holland America’s newest ship, Nieuw Amsterdam sails from Venice or Barcelona hitting European highlights, including Italy, Croatia, the Greek Isles and Turkey
And, drum roll please, the most-wanted itinerary chosen by frequent cruisers is:
Number 1: 14-day Alaska Adventure You haven’t done Alaska until you’ve seen all this journey has to offer. A new itinerary on Amsterdam round-trip from Seattle combines all the ports and glaciers that Holland America visits on several other voyages into a package that includes less -visited Homer, Kodiak and Sitka’ as well as Victoria.