Holland America Line’s new EXC In-Depth Voyages will take to the seas for the first time later this year.
The programme, which builds on the company’s Explorations Central theme, has been designed to offer guests a more immersive, authentic experience, and is being offered on the 1,258-guest Maasdam. The voyages range from 12 to 239 days and prices start at $1,599 per person, double occupancy for a 12-day sailing.
The first trip departs Fort Lauderdale on 10 September and sets sail for Papeete, Tahiti, via the Panama Canal. Along the way the ship calls at ports on the west coast of South America, sails across the Pacific Ocean to Easter Island, and visits several South Pacific islands during the 34-day voyage. Maasdam then spends October and part of November exploring the South Pacific before heading to New Zealand.
The ship will then journey along the southern coast of Australia, featuring a 16-day holiday cruise departing 21 December. In January, Maasdam will cruise the northwest coast of Australia up to Singapore where it embarks on a 20-day adventure in the Indian Ocean region. The ship will also explore the Spice Islands and ports along the northeastern coast of Australia. The final EXC In-Depth cruise is a 24-day Polynesian Crossing ending at San Francisco, 7 May 2019.
The programme has been divided into six themes to tailor the guest experience: photography; science and nature; arts and culture; food, wine and spirits; history and perspective; and active exploration. Meanwhile, the Maasdam will carry eight zodiac boats, so guests can explore less accessible locations.
Onboard activities will be led by a team of experts covering a range of subjects such as marine life, geology, and history.
Speaking to reporters, Bill Fletcher, senior director of Destination Marketing at Holland America Line, said the company had decided to focus on creating “truly unique” itineraries and that they were selling the EXC concept based on the “local experience” that guests will be offered.
“It takes our destination story one big step further. The only priority [when we designed the programme] was to make it as interesting for our guests as possible. It is such a cool, wandering itinerary. Many of the places we are going have only seen very small, expedition-style ships.”
Fletcher also spoke of the company’s cruises to Alaska, in particular the land and sea options it has available. Holland America Line offers up to three days at Denali National Park, a sprawling area of untouched wildlife, and Dawson City, which forms part of Klondike Gold Rush Country.