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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.
The Harbour Bridge is our favourite site in the city, whether you do the Bridge Climb Experience or tour the Pylon Lookout. It's best viewed late afternoon from the east side of Circular Quay.
The sleepy town of Eden, on the beautiful and unspoilt Sapphire Coast, was once an important whaling town. Nowadays the waters of Twofold Bay are a whale watching hotspot, and this is one of the best places in the world to see humpback whales during their spring migration.
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: Lyttelton (Christchurch)
A garden city where punts glide down the Avon River, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were still in the UK when arriving into Christchurch, New Zealand’s most English of cities.
New Zealand: Kaikoura
Kaikoura sits amongst spectacular South Island scenery, and is renowned as a marine wildlife hotspot. The meeting of subtropical and cold southern ocean currents sustains an abundance of species including sperm whales, orcas, pilot whales, humpbacks, dolphins and seals, as well as birds including albatross, shearwaters and penguins.
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.
Vanuatu: Mystery Island
New Caledonia: Lifou
Lifou is the largest and most populous of the Loyalty Islands, part of the French overseas territory of New Caledonia. This friendly little island is everything you would expect from the South Pacific, with gorgeous beaches, superb snorkelling and a jungle-swathed interior dotted with fragrant vanilla plantations.
New Caledonia: Isle of Pines
The beautiful Isle of Pines (Île des Pins in French) is part of New Caledonia, a Pacific archipelago that was so named by James Cook because it reminded him of Scotland, unlikely as that may seem. The island is rustic and unspoilt, a beach lover’s paradise with wonderfully soft sands and great snorkelling.
New Caledonia: Mare
New Caledonia: Nouméa
Nouméa is the capital of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the South Pacific. The city is cosmopolitan and sophisticated, home to lovely little bistros and chic boutiques, providing quite a contrast to the rugged landscapes of the surrounding countryside.
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.
Australia: Airlie Beach
The lively town of Airlie Beach is backpacker central, and serves as a transport hub for the many offshore attractions of the east coast. From here you can take a trip out to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, or visit the stunning tropical beaches of the nearby Whitsunday Islands.
Cairns is a buzzing tourist hub, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. A snorkelling trip out to the reef is the most obvious excursion to take here, but other options include riding the Skyrail cableway over the rainforest canopy or swimming in the croc-free saltwater lagoon.
Australia: Lizard Island, Ribbon Reef
More of a large town than a city, Darwin is less about what’s contained within the city limits and more about the huge expanse of wild landscape that’s outside it. Closer to Jakarta than Sydney, the city really does feel remote in its tropical perch.
Indonesia: Komodo Island
Komodo Island is situated within an area of spectacular natural beauty, home to the famous Komodo dragon. The stunning beaches are tinged with pink thanks to the high concentration of red coral just offshore, and the waters draw intrepid divers from all over the world.
For travellers by ship, Broome is the gateway to the extraordinary Kimberley region, but that’s not all. It is also the pearling capital of Australia and boasts fantastic white sand beaches and memorable sunsets.
Situated at the tip of the North West Cape in Western Australia, the tourist town of Exmouth is the gateway to the Ningaloo Reef marine reserve. This is a spectacular place to snorkel, and the reef’s most famous visitors are the whale sharks that pass through here between April and July.
The coastal town of Geraldton is the capital of Australia’s midwest, and offers ideal conditions for watersports including snorkelling, surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. It’s also the gateway to the Houtman Abrolhos archipelago, a beautiful chain of 122 islands and coral reefs bathed in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
Australia: Fremantle (Perth)
The capital of Western Australia, Perth sits in glorious isolation on the shores of the Indian Ocean, where the Swan River meets the sea. Laid back and relaxed, this must be one of the most easy-going capital cities in the world, with everything within easy reach.
The historic port of Albany was the first European settlement in Western Australia, and the town still has plenty of photogenically faded colonial architecture. Albany sits on Princess Royal Harbour, one of the world’s best natural deep water harbours, and the surrounding coastline is spectacular.
Residents of Adelaide still take pride in the fact that their city was freely settled rather than founded as a penal colony, and the city traditionally had a reputation as a stuffy and pious sort of place. Adelaide has moved on, however, and these days it’s a thriving cultural hub with a superb culinary scene.
Australia: Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third biggest island, situated to the south west of Adelaide. It’s a rural and underdeveloped place, with an abundance of wildlife and some spectacular scenery, such as the weird, weather-sculpted boulders of Flinders Chase National Park.
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)
Arriving in Sydney
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.
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.