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Setting sail from Sydney
One or our favourite cities in the world, we love pretty much everything about Sydney. Offering outdoor living at its best, the city is known for the excellent beaches but offers so much more, including a thriving and varied food scene inspired by Asian and European flavours. Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens and admire the amazing views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from Mrs Macquarie's Chair, enjoy the cafés and bars in The Rocks district, walk across the top of the Harbour Bridge (or enjoy the easier option of a view from the top of one of the stone towers) or just relax on the beach.
Rather than go to Bondi, take a local ferry from Circular Quay (an attraction in itself) to the relaxed northern beaches for a (slightly) less crowded experience.
Culturally sophisticated and fashionably hip, Melbourne combines edgy street art with gold rush era architecture while offering excellent restaurants and top museums. If you have time, check out some of Victoria's other attractions, including the beautiful 12 Apostles and the excellent wines of the Yarra Valley.
Australia: Burnie (Tasmania)
New Zealand: Milford Sound
Milford Sound is New Zealand’s most iconic sight, a breathtaking fjord crowned by the soaring Mitre Peak. Despite a remote location, on the western coast of the South Island, the fjord attracts thousands of visitors every year, such is the beauty of this raw and unspoilt landscape.
New Zealand: Dunedin (Port Chalmers)
Visitors to Dunedin are amazed by the extraordinary Victorian and Edwardian buildings dating back to the gold rush, which bring to mind the city's Scottish roots - not least when the sound of the pipes echoes through the streets.
New Zealand: Akaroa
The name Akaroa means ‘long harbour’ in Maori, and this sleepy town on the southern side of the Banks Peninsula is situated on a beautiful natural harbour created when a volcanic crater collapsed into the sea. The first Europeans to settle here were French, and the town still has a decidedly Gallic flavour.
New Zealand: Picton
The pleasant little town of Picton, situated on a sheltered bay at the north eastern tip of the South Island, is the arrival point for ferries arriving from Wellington, and serves as the gateway to the stunning flooded river valleys of the Marlborough Sounds.
New Zealand: Wellington
New Zealand’s cosmopolitan capital is arguably the country’s most likeable city. Hemmed in by forest-clad hills, Wellington is compact and easily walkable, with a lovely waterfront area where you’ll find the must-see Te Papa national museum. The city is also renowned for its strong winds, so make sure you hold on to your hat!
New Zealand: Napier
When Napier was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 the city was rebuilt entirely in the Art Deco style, making this a fascinating architectural time capsule. It’s a lovely, sunny seaside city, and a visit to the surrounding Hawke’s Bay wine region makes for an enjoyable day trip.
New Zealand: Tauranga
Tauranga is the largest city on the Bay of Plenty, and is said to be one of the sunniest spots in the whole of New Zealand. There’s a real boom town feel here, with new restaurants, bars and hotels opening all the time, and neighbouring Mount Maunganui is a popular beach destination.
New Zealand: Auckland
Auckland offers a buzzing waterfront and a vibrant arts scene, and provides a fascinating introduction to New Zealand’s proud cultural heritage. The centre is home to excellent shopping and a number of fantastic restaurants, and to the west is the city's oldest wine region.
New Zealand: Bay of Islands
The beautiful Bay of Islands is scattered with some 150 undeveloped islands, an idyllic landscape of bright skies, secluded beaches and clear blue waters. The bay was also the site of the first permanent British settlement in New Zealand, and it was here that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the British Crown and the Maori chiefs.
Nuku’Alofa, the ‘Abode of Love’, is the capital of Tonga, the last surviving Polynesian monarchy. The city's main attraction is the Royal Palace, an attractive wooden building dating back to 1867, while the island of Tongatapu offers wild beaches, cute villages and intriguing archaeological sites.
Cook Islands: Rarotonga
Surrounded by kaleidoscopic reefs, white sand beaches and beautifully blue waters, Rarotonga is exactly what most of us picture when we think of the South Pacific. The lagoon is ideally suited to snorkelling and scuba diving, while the island itself is home to ancient sacred sites and pretty coral churches.
French Polynesia: Papeete
Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, situated on the northwest coast of Tahiti. The port is not the most magical spot, so we advise venturing forth to luxuriate in the turquoise lagoons, relax on the white sand beaches fringed with palm trees, and explore the rugged mountain peaks.
French Polynesia: Mo'orea
Mo’orea is one of the real highlights of the South Pacific, a picture perfect landscape of jagged green mountains and dazzling cobalt bays. The warm waters of the lagoon are perfect for a host of watersports, while the lush island interior can be easily explored by scooter or bicycle.
French Polynesia: Bora Bora
Bora Bora is the very definition of idyllic, a diminutive Polynesian island dominated by rainforest-clad volcanic peaks, overlooking an electric blue lagoon ringed by coral reefs. The beaches and over-water bungalows are particularly popular with honeymooners, and the clear waters of the lagoon are perfect for snorkelling.
United States: Honolulu
If the word Honolulu makes you think of deserted beaches and dusky maidens, think again! Despite its remote location in the North Pacific, Honolulu is busy busy, in particular the boisterous, touristy Waikiki beach.
Arriving in San Diego
Laid-back, friendly and blessed with near-perfect weather all year round, San Diego is one of America's most likeable cities. Enjoy a stroll through Balboa Park, dotted with beautiful Spanish Renaissance-style architecture, take a whale watching trip along the coast, or sample the nightlife of the trendy Gaslamp Quarter. The swells of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach attract a surfer crowd, while the Old Town has a strong Hispanic influence thanks to the city's proximity to the Mexican border. There are also plenty of family-friendly attractions, including Legoland, SeaWorld and the famous San Diego Zoo.
Spend time in the historic Gaslamp Quarter, and stop off at one of the rooftop bars for excellent views. Then to Balboa Park – one of the best in the world.
Your home from home
The classic Maasdam is an inviting size – spacious, but carrying just over 1,200 guests. Her stylish take on the Holland America traditions make her an excellent choice for those who enjoy a distinctive and cosy ambience.
What we love
Every Holland America ship boasts a wealth of artworks and artefacts, and on Maasdam the theme is the Dutch East and West India companies of the 17th to 19th Centuries - a great trading era. This is an excellent backdrop to the high levels of service and attention on board.
|Crew||580 International Staff|
|Style||The Holland America style is warm and welcoming, with a charming crew and attentive smiling service. A stimulating onboard programme keeps guests busy at sea, and they enjoy the sociable contrast to their time exploring ashore.|
|Cruising Speed||22 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Sydney
So many to choose from, but we love the Park Hyatt – make sure you upgrade to a room with a view.
The Blue Mountains is a beautiful area of hikes, waterfalls and unusual rock formations, and a place to learn about the Aboriginal dreamtime.
Our favourite San Diego hotel
It’s about 20 miles north of central San Diego, but we have to recommend the Fairmont Grand Del Mar.
If you are here in the summer or autumn, take the opportunity to go and find a blue whale leaving from San Diego’s Big Bay.