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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.
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.
Cartagena was founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1533, and the beautifully preserved centre is a real highlight of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The walled old town, the Ciudad Amurallada, is a camera-friendly collection of cobbled streets and colourful, colonial-era buildings.
Panama: Cristobal, Balboa
Costa Rica: Puntarenas
Situated on a peculiarly shaped peninsula on the Gulf of Nicoya, Puntarenas is a popular weekend beach destination for residents of Costa Rica’s capital, San José. The port itself is not pretty, but the beachfront Paseo de los Turistas is a nice place to relax with a drink or enjoy a seafood lunch.
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.
Mexico: Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco
Mexico: Puerto Vallarta
The resort town of Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, has bags of charm in spite of its popularity. Spend some time exploring the pretty old town, with its cobbled streets and quirky boutiques, or relax on the beach. Humpback whales breed out in the bay during the winter months, and dolphins can be spotted year round.
Mexico: Cabo San Lucas
The sister towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo sit at the tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The towns themselves are mostly given over to luxury hotels and boisterous nightlife, but the surrounding landscape is characterised by arid arroyos, bristly cacti and rocky coastal outcrops.
Arriving in San Francisco
Renowned for its food, its misty mornings and its vertiginous streets, cosmopolitan San Francisco is quite unlike any other American city. The birthplace of the hippie movement and the centre of the dot-com bubble, it's an open-minded and forward-looking place with an undeniably European feel. Highlights include the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the delightful waterfront and the bohemian quarter of Haight Ashbury, while a boat trip across to the notorious prison island of Alcatraz makes for a fascinating half-day excursion.
Book your tickets to go to Alcatraz in advance. It gets sold out, and this really is an unmissable visit.
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 Hyatt Regency Pier 66 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.
Where to stay in San Francisco
It depends where you want to be, but we love the hip Argonaut at Fishermans Wharf.
See more around San Francisco
Get out of the city – Napa Valley, Yosemite, Carmel…