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Setting sail from 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.
29 October - 2 November
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.
United States: Lahaina
The former whaling town of Lahaina is one of Maui’s biggest tourist draws, with its lively harbour, souvenir shops and plenty of restaurants and bars. It’s also an excellent spot for whale watching between January and March, and a base for exploring Maui's beaches and verdant volcanic hills.
United States: Kaua'i
Kaua’i, nicknamed the 'Garden Island', is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands. This lush landscape of spectacular waterfalls and jungle-clad mountains is criss-crossed by the only navigable rivers in Hawaii, and has been used as a backdrop in films including ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and ‘Jurassic Park’.
United States: Hilo
Hilo is located on the east coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, a lush region of verdant rainforests, botanical gardens and gushing waterfalls. In the 1800s this was an important centre for the sugar industry, and the surviving plantation-era architecture gives downtown Hilo its uniquely quaint appearance.
United States: Kailua-Kona
The Kailua-Kona region, on the west coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, is known for its idyllic beaches and fantastic climate, notably sunnier and drier than the eastern side of the island. This is where you’ll find some of the island’s top resorts, and the surrounding waters are home to turtles, manta rays, dolphins and humpback whales.
Kiribati: Fanning Island
Remote Fanning Island, also known as Tabuaeran, belongs to the rarely visited nation of Kiribati. Pristine and unspoilt, with no power grid and no indoor plumbing, this is the very epitome of the South Pacific island idyll, a place where palm-fringed beaches are lapped by crystal clear turquoise waters.
American Samoa: Pago Pago
The little fishing town of Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa, a rarely visited but utterly enchanting archipelago in the South Pacific. Pago Pago sits on a beautiful natural bay on the island of Tutuila, a lush and mountainous place where Polynesian traditions remain strong.
Apia is the capital of Samoa, situated on the north coast of the island of Upolu. Highlights include the colourful markets and Robert Louis Stevenson's former house, now a museum, though you may just want to use the city as a jumping off point for the beautiful beaches located further along the coast.
Fiji: Savusavu, Suva
Dravuni is a tiny, unspoilt island, just a mile long and home to around 200 people. It’s a great place to chill out on the beach and enjoy a spot of snorkelling, or you can take a slightly more strenuous hike up to the hilltop viewpoint.
Lautoka is Fiji’s second largest city, known as the ‘Sugar City’ due to its important role in the local sugarcane industry. The waterfront area is pleasant enough, but we’d recommend using Lautoka as a jumping off point to visit some of the smaller surrounding islands, or the forests and waterfalls of the interior.
Vanuatu: Port Vila
Situated on a magnificent natural harbour, Port Vila is the sleepy and seductive capital of Vanuatu. This friendly town is the perfect introduction to this intriguing Pacific island nation, with colourful markets, a unique Melanesian culture and some jaw-dropping nearby beaches.
Vanuatu: Mystery Island
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.
The Vava’u group of islands is part of the Kingdom of Tonga, the last surviving Polynesian monarchy and the only South Pacific nation never to have been colonised by Europeans. Vava’u is idyllic but also authentic, and is one of the best places in the region to see humpback whales during their annual migration between May and October.
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: 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.
French Polynesia: Raiatea
Raiatea, the second largest of the Society Islands, played a vital role in the development of Polynesian culture; it was from this island that settlers departed for Hawaii and New Zealand over a millennium ago. The island feels wilder than Tahiti, with steep, jungle-covered mountains, cascading waterfalls and ancient Polynesian temples.
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: Rangiroa
The Rangiroa atoll is one of the biggest in the world, a ring of over 400 motu (islets) surrounding a vast lagoon. This stunning area is a popular destination for divers and snorkellers, and the waters are home to marine life including sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, hammerhead sharks and manta rays.
French Polynesia: Fakarava (Tuamotu Islands)
The Fakarava atoll surrounds a deep lagoon in the west of the Tuamotu island group, scarcely populated and home to a host of rare wildlife. The entire atoll has been declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and the shallow coastal waters make for excellent snorkelling.
French Polynesia: Nuku Hiva
Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas, an island of towering basalt peaks, cliffs and canyons, carpeted with verdant jungle. From the pretty little capital, Taiohae, you can strike out into the unspoilt countryside in search of the island’s many archaeological sites.
Arriving in San Diego
Plan ahead – there are great cultural opportunities in San Diego, so you might want to pre-book concert tickets or a show.
Your home from home
Holland America’s Amsterdam features a stylish Dutch elegance and heritage, with all the facilities of a large ship, alongside the intimacy of quite a small one, with just 1380 guests.
What we love
Amsterdam is a real piece of history, with original art deco pieces and lots of intimate bars and lounges with fascinating artwork reflecting the company's 140 year marine heritage. At the heart of Amsterdam is an extraordinary sculpture which fills the three storey atrium - the Planeto Astrolabium.
|Crew||658 International Staff|
The ship may have a historical feel, but the facilities are as contemporary as they come with great technical workshops and lots of action on board.
|Cruising Speed||25 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
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.