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Setting sail from Singapore
Singapore is one of the world's richest cities, with a standard of living to match, and in recent years it has moved on from its image as a sterile, overly officious nanny state to become one of the most dynamic and exciting cities in the region. Singapore's heritage as an important trading post means that there is a real cultural mix, with four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Step away from the gleaming towers and you'll find yourself transported into another world amongst the intoxicating streets of Chinatown and Little India.
Food is a passion, almost a religion, in Singapore. So plan ahead, ask the locals and make sure you don’t miss out – street food or super-fancy, either is great.
Thailand: Bangkok (Laem Chabang)
Thailand’s sprawling capital is an assault on the senses, an invigorating blend of tradition and modernity. Soaring skyscrapers, air-conditioned shopping malls and an efficient public transport system combine with shimmering golden temples, ancient palaces, floating markets and at times gridlocked rush hour traffic.
The once sleepy backwater of Kompong Som, renamed after the former king Norodom Sihanouk, is the rising star of the Cambodian coast’s burgeoning tourist industry. Here you’ll find beautiful sandy beaches and a string of laid back islands that are still largely undeveloped.
Vietnam: Nha Trang
Nha Trang is Vietnam’s premier beach destination, on a stunning bay dotted with idyllic islands. The main attraction is the laid back seaside atmosphere, but there are also a few noteworthy cultural sites, including the ancient Po Nagar Cham Towers, which were built between the 7th and 12th centuries.
Vietnam: Da Nang
Da Nang is the largest city in central Vietnam, and was the site of a major US airbase during the Vietnam War. The main point of interest in the city itself is the excellent Cham Museum, while nearby attractions include Hoi An, the Marble Mountains and the imperial citadel of Hue.
Vietnam: Ha Long Bay
Almost 2,000 limestone islands and karst formations are scattered across the remarkable World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay, said to have been created when a dragon fell to earth. A cruise on a small junk boat is the best way to see the many islands and caves, and it's also a great place to explore by sea kayak.
Hong Kong SAR China: Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a striking mix of ancient and modern, Chinese and British, and there is a lot more to the city than just skyscrapers and high finance. Its also a fantastic destination for foodies, a melting pot of culinary influences from around Asia and beyond.
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon, as it was known then, was the capital of the South during the Vietnam War, and American-style capitalism has been embraced more enthusiastically here than in the North, with a clutch of shining skyscrapers standing as testament to Vietnam’s surging economic growth.
Singapore’s heritage as an important trading post means that there is a real cultural mix, with four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Step away from the gleaming towers and you’ll find yourself transported into another world amongst the intoxicating streets of Chinatown and Little India.
Malaysia: Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu is the gateway to the Malaysian state of Sabah and makes for an excellent base, whether you’re planning on scaling the commanding heights of Mount Kinabalu, exploring the islands and turquoise waters of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, or embarking on a trip into the jungle to encounter Borneo’s fantastic wildlife.
Philippines: Puerto Princesa
Puerto, as the locals call it, is the capital of Palawan province, founded by the Spanish in 1872. The city is the only major metropolis in this otherwise pristine and sparsely populated region, and the main attraction here is the spectacular Subterranean River National Park just to the north.
Indonesia: Ujung Pandang
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.
Papua New Guinea: Alotau
Alotau is the capital of Milne Bay province, on the remote eastern tip of mainland Papua New Guinea. Milne Bay was the scene of heavy fighting during the Second World War, and today you can dive amongst the wreckage left behind. Alotau also serves as a base for visiting the nearby islands, including the fascinating Trobriand archipelago.
Papua New Guinea: Trobriand Islands, Conflict Islands
Arriving in Brisbane
As Queensland's largest city, Brisbane is often used as a gateway to the excellent (although very popular) beaches of Australia's Gold Coast, which lie south of the city, or the more upmarket Sunshine Coast to the north. The modern city, on the banks of the Brisbane River, has plenty of shopping malls and, with great weather, a fantastic café culture. Amongst the steel and glass skyscrapers are some interesting historic buildings, and with plenty surrounding the city there's enough on offer to make for an interesting short stay.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is just a short drive from the city and home to over one hundred koalas, plus a host of other Aussie wildlife.
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 Singapore
So many wonderful hotels. We like a lot of them, but our choice is the Fullerton.
Leave Singapore in style
If you’ve got time and the dates work, take the Eastern and Oriental Express train to Bangkok.
Where to stay in Brisbane
Although not super luxury, we like the Spicers Balfour.
Moreton Bay is home to a great diversity of marine life, with stunning beaches and excellent wreck diving, and offers exciting 4x4 adventures.