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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.
Bahamas: Half Moon Cay
Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman
Far more than just an offshore tax haven, Grand Cayman boasts the staggeringly beautiful white sands of Seven Mile Beach and some fantastic snorkelling in crystal clear waters. The capital, George Town, is a compact and friendly place, home to some interesting architecture and a suspiciously large number of registered companies.
Cozumel first made its name as an off the beaten track destination for divers, thanks to the crystalline waters and low key beach vibe. These days the cat is very much out of the bag, but get away from the craft shops and jewellery stores of the busy port and you’ll find a welcoming island community that is still authentically Mexican.
United States: Key West
Colourful and eccentric, the island city of Key West stands apart from the rest of Florida. A strong Caribbean influence reflects the city’s proximity to Cuba and the Bahamas, and it has long been known as a bohemian hangout, a welcoming and open-minded place that Ernest Hemingway once called home.
United States: 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.
Sint Maarten: Philipsburg
Philipsburg is the gateway to an intriguing little Caribbean island with a dual personality: the Dutch side, St. Maarten, is the livelier of the two, with shopping malls, casinos and more of a nightlife scene, while French-speaking St. Martin is a more refined (and more expensive) affair, with a laid-back, continental air and a host of exclusive resorts and restaurants.
Saint Lucia: Castries
Castries, Saint Lucia’s diminutive capital, is home to some interesting markets and colonial buildings. The island’s highlights are situated elsewhere, however, and we’d recommend either heading south towards Soufrière, where the iconic Piton mountains guard a beautiful bay, or north to the bars, restaurants and beaches of Rodney Bay.
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.
The volcanic French Caribbean island of Martinique is a land of contrasts, from the lush rainforests of the north to the busy streets of the capital, Fort-de-France. There are plenty of lovely beaches geared towards relaxation, and the French influence also means that the cuisine is a cut above the usual Caribbean fare.
Antigua and Barbuda: St John's
Antigua is famously home to 365 beaches - one for every day of the year - and there is an undeniable allure to the many white sand coves dotted along the coast. The capital, St John’s, is worth a look, but if you’ve got time to visit the south coast you’ll find historic Nelson’s Dockyard a lot more interesting.
U.S. Virgin Islands: St Thomas
The busiest and most developed of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas is nevertheless blessed with typically Caribbean good looks. The main town, Charlotte Amalie, is situated on a perfect natural harbour, and in its colonial heyday its warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco and cotton.
Bahamas: Half Moon Cay
Arriving in Fort Lauderdale
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.
Your home from home
Holland America Line's newest and largest ship to date, the magnificent 2,650 guest MS Koningsdam, is the first of the Pinnacle Class ships in the fleet, to be followed by MS Nieuw Statendam in 2018. The new ships combine Holland America’s heritage with the ultimate in 21st century elegance.
What we love
It is great to see a classic line reinvent itself, and Holland America have done just that with Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam - the tradition and nautical heritage are there, along with stylish service, a friendly welcome, cutting edge technology and contemporary design.
|Crew||1,036 International Staff|
Fluid curves and graceful lines, light-filled spaces and breath-taking architecture create an engaging environment on Koningsdam, which rethinks the Holland America style for the contemporary cruiser.
|Year built||2016 (MS Koningsdam) / 2018 (MS Nieuw Statendam)|
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.