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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.
Plan ahead – there are great cultural opportunities in San Diego, so you might want to pre-book concert tickets or a show.
30 September - 1 October
Guatemala: Puerto Quetzal
Puerto Quetzal is the jumping off point for exploring the fascinating interior of Guatemala, and the highlight of this intriguing country has to be UNESCO-listed Antigua. This colourful colonial town, 90 minutes from the port, enjoys a spectacular setting against a backdrop of volcanoes, and is well worth the trip.
Panama: Fuerte Amador (Panama City)
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: Trujillo (Salaverry)
Salaverry is the nearest port to Trujillo, northern Peru’s most important city. Located amongst the verdant Andean foothills, Trujillo is home to a host of beautiful colonial buildings, and is also known for the spectacular nearby ruins of Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian city in South America.
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.
The busy port of Coquimbo is the gateway to the charming colonial city of La Serena, one of the oldest in Chile, where you’ll find attractive architecture and a fine stretch of beach. Other nearby sights include the fertile Elqui and Limarí Valleys, home to excellent wineries and ancient petroglyphs.
Arriving in Valparaíso
Characterful, colourful and a little chaotic, the port city of Valparaíso enjoys a somewhat awkward setting, scattered across 45 vertiginous hills. Thanks to this difficult topography the city streets are punctuated by steep staircases and funicular elevators, and energetic explorers will be rewarded with wonderful views of the pastel hued buildings that hug the slopes. Valparaíso's most famous former resident was the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, and you can visit one of his former residences, La Sebastiana, which now houses a small museum.
Although there are museums and some great architecture, what you really mustn’t miss is the vibe of this quirky and characterful town, so take the time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the views.
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
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.
Where to stay in Valparaíso
The 23 room Palacio Astoreca comprises two buildings, including a completely restored national monument.
For contrast, visit clean and orderly Viña del Mar just up the coast.