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Setting sail from Fort Lauderdale
These days Fort Lauderdale is a sophisticated place awash with upmarket hotels and excellent restaurants. The glorious weather and swathes of golden beach are still a huge draw, but there are also plenty of cultural attractions, such as the Museum of Art and the Museum of Discovery and Science. The city also boasts 300 miles of navigable waterways and canals, meaning there's plenty of space for the resident millionaires to park their yachts, and the cruise port is one of the busiest in the world.
A great way to see Fort Lauderdale is on the hop on hop off water taxi tour – a one day pass gives you unlimited travel and it’s a great way to sightsee as well as to get around.
Colombia: Santa Marta
Situated on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Santa Marta is the oldest surviving Spanish colonial city in South America. The modern city lacks some of the charm of nearby Cartagena, but tourism has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, with a number of ambitious regeneration projects and a host of new restaurants and bars.
Panama: San Blas Islands
Situated just off the coast of Panama, the idyllic San Blas islands are home to the Kuna Indians, who enjoy political autonomy from the mainland and have an unusual degree of control over tourism to their homeland. Visiting these simple island communities is a privilege, and an insight into an indigenous way of life unsullied by mass tourism.
The Ecuadorian port of Manta is known as the “tuna capital of the world”, and you’ll see plenty of fishing boats as you arrive. The beach is a popular destination for local tourists, but you may find that the nearby town of Montecristi, home of the Panama hat, makes for a more interesting excursion.
Peru: Lima (Callao)
Peru’s underrated capital enjoys a fine setting on the Pacific coast, and the handsome colonial-era buildings surrounding the Plaza de Armas give clues to Lima’s distinguished history; for three centuries this was the capital of the Spanish Americas, when the city grew rich on the back of plundered Inca gold.
Peru: General San Martin (Pisco)
Peru: Arequipa (Matarani)
The port of Matarani is the gateway to Peru’s second city, Arequipa. Boasting a spectacular setting against a backdrop of three snow-capped volcanoes, this independently-minded city dazzles visitors with its gleaming white colonial buildings, sizzling culinary scene and a host of active pursuits in the surrounding canyons.
Situated in the far north of Chile, the golden sands of Iquique attract both sunseekers and thrillseekers; surfing and paragliding are particularly popular here thanks to the clear skies and the wind coming in off the Pacific. The city is also home to some charming old mansions, remnants of a 19th century nitrate mining boom.
Chile: Santiago (San Antonio)
Chile’s cosmopolitan capital is a smart, sophisticated place, where life plays out against the stunning backdrop of the snow-capped Andean mountains. Santiago’s moneyed elite congregate in the upmarket districts of the barrio alto, while the Centro buzzes with commerce and culture, home to museums, theatres and shopping malls.
Chile: Robinson Crusoe Island
Situated 400 miles off the coast of mainland Chile, Robinson Crusoe Island is part of the Juan Fernández archipelago, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The sailor Alexander Selkirk was marooned here from 1704 to 1709, and his story is thought to have inspired Daniel Defoe’s famous novel.
Chile: Castro (Chiloé Island)
Rugged and unspoilt Chiloé, situated at the southern end of Chile’s Lake District, is a unique and culturally distinct island that stands apart from the rest of the country. The main town, Castro, is notable for its colourful waterfront homes on stilts (known as palafitos), and is the gateway to the dense forests and rolling hills of the island interior.
Chile: Puerto Chacabuco
Puerto Chacabuco is situated close to the Aysén Fjord and serves as a gateway to the Laguna San Rafael National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Amongst the lush forests, waterfalls and lagoons you have the chance to spot wildlife including marine otters, giant condors and Chilean dolphins.
Chile: Punta Arenas
The weather-beaten city of Punta Arenas is a laid back and welcoming place, in spite of its inhospitable location on the shores of the Strait of Magellan. Nearby attractions include penguin colonies and the dramatic scenery of Torres del Paine National Park, while beyond the horizon lie the frozen wastes of Antarctica.
Perched on the ragged southern edge of Argentina, where the snow-capped Andes fall away into the churning sea, Ushuaia has a frontier town feel to it, and serves as the base for expeditions into the icy waters of Antarctica.
Antarctica is the world’s last great wilderness, an alien landscape of snow-covered mountains, jagged icebergs and extraordinary wildlife. February is a great time to spot whales, with species including humpback, sperm and orca, and you still have a chance of seeing penguin chicks. Fur seals are also abundant at this time of year.
Falkland Islands: Stanley
The rugged and windswept Falkland Islands make for a fascinating stop on the way to or from Antarctica. Over 80% of the population lives in the capital, Stanley, though humans are far outnumbered by other creatures, including penguins, sea lions and albatrosses.
Argentina: Puerto Madryn
Founded by Welsh settlers in 1886, bustling Puerto Madryn owes its popularity as a tourist destination to the incredible wildlife of the Península Valdés. From June to December the bay is filled with migrating right whales, and at the beginning of the season the whales come so close to the shore that you can view them from the pier.
Uruguay: Punta del Este
The upmarket Uruguayan beach resort of Punta del Este is where the A-listers come to party, with a reputation as the Saint Tropez of South America. The town also has an arty side, typified by intriguing sculptures such as the giant concrete fingers emerging from the beach at Playa Brava.
Located just across the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires, Uruguay’s underrated capital is a cosmopolitan and eclectic mix of colourful colonial architecture and high rise modernity. The 14-mile waterfront promenade, La Rambla, is a popular and pleasant place to be on a summer’s evening.
Argentina: Buenos Aires
The streets of Buenos Aires are redolent of a grand old European capital, lined with elegant architecture that wouldn’t look out of place in Madrid or Paris. There is also plenty of Latin passion on display: Argentina is the home of tango, that most electrifying of dances, and has played host to countless revolutions over the years.
Brazil: Santos (São Paulo)
The busy port of Santos is the gateway to cosmopolitan São Paulo, a vast metropolis that is home to some 20 million people, making it the third largest city on earth. The urban sprawl may not be to everyone’s taste, but for fans of big city life there is plenty to see and do, with a lively cultural scene and a host of world class restaurants.
Ilhabela, the aptly named ‘beautiful island’, is swathed in rainforest and fringed by golden beaches. The majority of the island is a protected state park, and walking trails lead you through dense foliage to magical waterfalls, with the chance to spot wildlife including toucans and capuchin monkeys.
Brazil: Rio de Janeiro
The carnival capital of the world, Rio de Janeiro needs little introduction. We can think of few cities in the world that are able to compete when it comes to location: hugging the beautiful sandy shore and surrounded by jungle-clad islands and mountains, including the iconic Corcovado, the setting for Brazil’s most vibrant city is simply breathtaking.
Recife is a big and bustling metropolis on Brazil’s north east coast, with a historic core that has been mostly swallowed up by the urban sprawl. The nearby town of Olinda is a more appealing place to spend your day ashore, with an arty vibe and some lovely colonial architecture.
Situated on Brazil’s northeastern coast, the sprawling city of Fortaleza is best known for its beaches and nightlife, and it’s also a major seaport. There isn’t a huge amount in the way of sights, though the Mercado Central is good for shopping and there are some nice beach bars along the Praia do Futuro.
Santarém is situated at the ‘Wedding of the Waters’, where the Amazon and Tapajós rivers meet. A former rubber boom town, the city is now a focus for the controversial soybean industry. Activities on offer nearby include canoeing, wildlife walks and day trips to the laid back town of Alter do Chão.
Brazil: Boca da Valéria
The tiny village of Boca da Valéria, with its picturesque little church and wooden stilt houses, is home to a remote indigenous community, at the point where the Valéria and Amazon rivers meet. The villagers are used to welcoming cruise ship visitors, but stepping ashore here is still a memorable experience.
Manaus is a remarkable place, a sweltering, steamy city in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest. Situated near the confluence of the Rio Negro and Amazon rivers, surrounded by thick jungle, the city is a major port in spite of its location some 1,000 miles from the sea.
The little island town of Parintins is famous for its annual Boi Bumbá festival, the biggest folk celebration in Brazil after Rio Carnival. Cruise ship visitors are usually met by Bumbá dancers at the port, and it’s a great place to get a feel for everyday life in the Amazon region.
Brazil: Alter do Chão
The laid back riverside village of Alter do Chão is sometimes known as the ‘Caribbean of the Amazon’ thanks to its white sand beaches, clear waters and chilled out vibe. Beyond the beach the main activities are exploring the surrounding rainforest and shopping for local handicrafts.
French Guiana: Devil's Island
The Iles de Salut, a trio of islands more popularly known as Devil’s Island, were the site of a French penal colony which gained notoriety thanks to the harsh treatment of inmates. As well as the overgrown ruins of the prison, which closed in 1953, the islands are today also home to a surprisingly rich variety of wildlife.
There’s more to Barbados than just beaches; the delightful colonial architecture of the old garrison in Bridgetown, the capital, is fully deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status, and the island interior is littered with old sugar plantations and natural wonders such as Harrison’s Cave.
Dominican Republic: Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas, founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus (Christopher’s brother). The city’s history is most keenly felt amongst the streets of the Zona Colonial, home to beautiful old churches and colonial era houses.
Arriving in Fort Lauderdale
Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is a great visit, with remains dating back to 2000 BC – in Florida - who knew there was anything so old there?! It’s a fascinating museum too, and the gardens are beautiful.
Your home from home
The lovely sisters Volendam and Zaandam, carrying just over 1,400 guests each, are the perfect size to combine intimacy with extensive facilities, and a great onboard experience with a comfortable ride.
What we love
The Holland America hallmark décor is distinctive and memorable, with a huge collection of art and sculptures as a backdrop to the stylish public areas. Volendam and Veendam have distinctive themes in play - a floral garden focus for Volendam, and great world music through the ages on Veendam.
|Crew||615 International Staff|
These intimate ships are perfect for meeting new people, so the atmosphere is elegant but friendly, with lots to do and plenty of choice.
|Year Built||1996 (Volendam) / 2000 (Zaandam)|
|Last Refurbished||2014 (Volendam) / 2013 (Zaandam)|
|Tonnage||61,214 grt (Volendam) / 61,396 (Zaandam)|
|Cruising Speed||23 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Overnight in Fort Lauderdale
The Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina has been THE hotel of choice for cruise passengers for as long as we can remember.
See more of Florida
Go out into the Florida Everglades and Sawgrass Recreation Park with native flora and fauna and reconstructed Seminole villages.