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Setting sail from Singapore
Singapore is one of the world's richest cities, with a standard of living to match, and in recent years it has moved on from its image as a sterile, overly officious nanny state to become one of the most dynamic and exciting cities in the region. Singapore's heritage as an important trading post means that there is a real cultural mix, with four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Step away from the gleaming towers and you'll find yourself transported into another world amongst the intoxicating streets of Chinatown and Little India.
Food is a passion, almost a religion, in Singapore. So plan ahead, ask the locals and make sure you don’t miss out – street food or super-fancy, either is great.
The port of Malacca has a rich multicultural heritage, a product of its history as an important trading hub. Over the years the Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch and British all held sway here, which is reflected today in the city’s eclectic architecture and unique cuisine.
The Malaysian island of Penang is a fascinating blend of East and West, far more than just a beach destination. Lovely Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to British colonial architecture, crumbling Chinese shophouses and incense-perfumed temples.
As well as a plethora of luxury resorts, Phuket has a charming old town replete with pretty Sino-Portuguese architecture, and acts as a jump-off point for exploring nearby islands and coastline. Koh Phing Pan, better known as James Bond Island, and Ko Phi Phi are breathtakingly beautiful, as are the limestone formations that surround Krabi.
31 January - 2 February
Sri Lanka: Trincomalee
Trincomalee, on Sri Lanka’s less developed east coast, has begun to re-emerge as a tourist destination following the end of the island’s bitter civil war in 2009. The sleepy streets are scattered with churches, mosques and Hindu temples, and the nearby beaches of Uppuveli and Nilaveli are stunning.
Sri Lanka: Hambantota
The low lying reef protected atolls of the Maldives, set in the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, are the perfect place to relax and unwind. A great choice for a honeymoon or romantic getaway, the Maldives also appeal to active travellers who love watersports, snorkelling and diving.
Sri Lanka: Colombo
Colombo may be a little chaotic, but there is plenty to recommend Sri Lanka's colourful capital. Faded colonial architecture and beautiful Buddhist temples hint at the city's considerable history, while the excellent restaurants, lively bars and characterful streets provide the perfect introduction to contemporary Sri Lankan culture.
Laid-back Langkawi boasts some of Malaysia’s finest beaches, and it’s a place where the traditional kampung (village) way of life survives in spite of the island’s development as a tourist destination. It’s also a popular spot for snorkelling and scuba diving thanks to the clarity of the surrounding waters.
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang)
Malaysia’s capital is a hot and humid cultural melting pot, defined by its distinctive Malay, Chinese and Indian communities. The dazzling Petronas Towers are KL’s most recognisable landmark, while at street level you’ll find temples and mosques, elegant colonial buildings and bustling markets.
Singapore’s heritage as an important trading post means that there is a real cultural mix, with four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Step away from the gleaming towers and you’ll find yourself transported into another world amongst the intoxicating streets of Chinatown and Little India.
Thailand: Bangkok (Laem Chabang)
Thailand’s sprawling capital is an assault on the senses, an invigorating blend of tradition and modernity. Soaring skyscrapers, air-conditioned shopping malls and an efficient public transport system combine with shimmering golden temples, ancient palaces, floating markets and at times gridlocked rush hour traffic.
The once sleepy backwater of Kompong Som, renamed after the former king Norodom Sihanouk, is the rising star of the Cambodian coast’s burgeoning tourist industry. Here you’ll find beautiful sandy beaches and a string of laid back islands that are still largely undeveloped.
Vietnam: Nha Trang
Nha Trang is Vietnam’s premier beach destination, on a stunning bay dotted with idyllic islands. The main attraction is the laid back seaside atmosphere, but there are also a few noteworthy cultural sites, including the ancient Po Nagar Cham Towers, which were built between the 7th and 12th centuries.
Vietnam: Da Nang
Da Nang is the largest city in central Vietnam, and was the site of a major US airbase during the Vietnam War. The main point of interest in the city itself is the excellent Cham Museum, while nearby attractions include Hoi An, the Marble Mountains and the imperial citadel of Hue.
Vietnam: Ha Long Bay
Almost 2,000 limestone islands and karst formations are scattered across the remarkable World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay, said to have been created when a dragon fell to earth. A cruise on a small junk boat is the best way to see the many islands and caves, and it's also a great place to explore by sea kayak.
Hong Kong SAR China: Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a striking mix of ancient and modern, Chinese and British, and there is a lot more to the city than just skyscrapers and high finance. Its also a fantastic destination for foodies, a melting pot of culinary influences from around Asia and beyond.
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon, as it was known then, was the capital of the South during the Vietnam War, and American-style capitalism has been embraced more enthusiastically here than in the North, with a clutch of shining skyscrapers standing as testament to Vietnam’s surging economic growth.
Arriving in Singapore
There’s some serious green space in Singapore and it always feels as if the jungle is just waiting for us to turn our backs for a moment to take over. Seek out the parks and the gardens.
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 Singapore
So many wonderful hotels. We like a lot of them, but our choice is the Fullerton.
Leave Singapore in style
If you’ve got time and the dates work, take the Eastern and Oriental Express train to Bangkok.