Cruise Package includes:
- 32 Night Amazon Explorer cruise onboard Volendam from Ft Lauderdale return
- BONUS! US $75 per twin cabin ONBOARD CREDIT^
- BONUS! Pinnacle Grill Lunch for Two (Specialty dining experience)^
- Main Meals~ and entertainment onboard
- Port charges and government fees
32 Night Cruise sailing from Ft Lauderdale roundtrip onboard Volendam.
The Volendam reflects a graceful combination of classic and state-of-the-art features found on board both the ms Rotterdam flagship and the Statendam-class vessels. Special features include an alternative restaurant, a third staircase for convenient access to public rooms and a children's play room, as well as more of the popular mini-suites with verandahs. The Volendam's predominant theme is flowers -- from the 17th to the 21st centuries -- featured in the ship's artwork and interior design elements. The Volendam has 10 passenger decks and a three-deck oval atrium. The atrium is punctuated by a monumental glass sculpture by Luciano Vistosi. Vistosi, one of Italy's leading contemporary glass artists, combines beautiful red lacquered metal and blocks of bluish-green glass, the appearance of which changes as fiber optic lighting reflects different colors through the glass. Lounges and duty-free shops are conveniently located on Promenade and Upper Promenade Decks. The various public rooms provide both intimate and social atmospheres.
Highlights of this cruise:
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US
Shimmering blue waters, swaying palm trees and soft ocean breezes greet you in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where you'll find yourself somewhere between laid-back island time and the fast pace of a thriving city. In this sun-filled, year-round beach town, pristine beaches are the main attraction, shorts and flip-flops are the daily uniform, and yachts are often the preferred form of transportation. It's a place where you can do as much, or as little, as you desire.
Because of its many canals and waterways, Ft. Lauderdale is sometimes called the Venice of America. It's home to the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, one of the largest in-water boat shows in the world. Visitors can easily get a taste of the area's nautical lifestyle by cruising the Intracoastal Waterway on an old-fashioned paddle wheeler. Other options include hopping aboard one of the popular water taxis or Venetian gondolas that glide down the historic New River, which flows right through town.
While Ft. Lauderdale is often overshadowed by its flashy neighbor, Miami, the port city is expanding rapidly as major developers and high-end resorts build up the beachfront and surrounding neighborhoods. Visitors will find world-class shopping on famous Las Olas Boulevard, celebrated restaurants and a cultural explosion in the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District. It's clear that Ft. Lauderdale is solidifying its place as a sophisticated destination.
Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
This Leeward island has been famously bisected into French and Dutch territories since 1648, and is referred to both as Saint Martin and Sint Maarten. In their respective capitals—Marigot and Philipsburg—there are ancient stone forts and candy-colored buildings lining winding streets. The Dutch side has a slightly larger population but is a bit smaller, at 34 square kilometers (13 square miles), versus the 53-square-kilometer (20-square-mile) Saint Martin.
Named for its founder John Philips, Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side, has some excellent international art galleries, thumping discos and popular casinos. Farther afield are beautiful beaches and a seemingly endless array of nature conservancies. With them come extensive opportunities for adventure—hiking, biking and zip lining—and amazing wildlife sightings in the sea, on land and in the sky. On the French side, there are cafés serving café au lait and pain au chocolat and sidewalk bistros offering chilled rosé and savory crepes. A variety of luxury shops and cosmopolitan boutiques beckon to sophisticated shoppers who love a good bargain—the entire island has no sales tax.
Dominica, an Anglophone island between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, may well be the most unspoiled of the larger Caribbean islands. With few hotels and no mass tourism to speak of, Dominica is called "the nature island” for good reason. One of the most dramatic natural wonders in the West Indies sits at the bottom third of the isle. The Boiling Lake is a flooded fumarole (volcanic fissure) whose water emits sulfurous vapors as it bubbles and boils at around 92 degrees Celsius (nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit). Surrounding the lake is the lush rain forest of Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This vital habitat is teeming with birds, tiny tree frogs and vibrant bromeliads.
Getting around mountainous Dominica means negotiating winding, twisty roads. The offshore waters are known for some fine diving and whale-watching. With little room to grow, the small capital of Roseau never exploded in size; it still retains many of its colorful colonial-era wooden houses. Street vendors sell everything from fresh fruits and barbecued meats to medicinal herbs and elixirs.
Devils Island, French Guiana
Devil's Island, part of a three-island chain called Îles du Salut, in French Guiana, was home to one of the most infamous—and impregnable—prisons of the 19th and 20th centuries. Opened in 1852, it received worldwide renown in the mid-1890s when French military captain Alfred Dreyfus was sentenced to life imprisonment after being wrongly convicted of selling military secrets to Germany. Although Dreyfus's sentence was commuted after five years, more than 80,000 political prisoners and hardened criminals endured years of mistreatment and abuse among disease-ridden conditions. Few were able to escape, though Henri Charrière, author of the book Papillon, allegedly succeeded by filling sacks with coconuts in order to float to the mainland. The prison was officially closed in 1953. In 1965, the French government transferred responsibility of the island to the Guiana Space Centre, and in recent years, tourism facilities have been added. Devil's Island and its two smaller neighboring islands receive more than 50,000 visitors each year.
Cruising The Amazon River
The Amazon is a river, and a region, of superlatives. It's the world's largest river when measured by volume. With 209,000 cubic meters (55 million gallons) of water flowing into the Pacific each second, it's five times the size of the Congo, the next largest river. The basin it drains is some 7 million square kilometers (2.7 million square miles), making it the largest drainage basin in the world. (By comparison, the contiguous United States is roughly 8 million square kilometers, or 3.1 million square miles.) What most impresses visitors to the Amazon, however, is rarely these numbers. Instead it's the area's cultural and natural riches and the experience of seeing the rain forest extend in every direction.
As you travel along the length of the Amazon, you'll call at villages that are not just geographically remote, but are far from contemporary culture as well. Some 400 indigenous peoples live in the Amazon, as they have for centuries. On the same journey, you can visit the 19th-century opera house at Manaus and the colonial-era churches in Santarém, Macapá and other cities. Biologically the basin is home to some 10 percent of all the world's known animal and plant species. From jaguars to macaws and pink dolphins to glass frogs, the Amazon is an area of astounding and unique biodiversity.
Perched alongside the Rio Tapajós deep inside the Amazon between Manaus and Belém (but 800 kilometers, or almost 500 miles, from both!), Santarém is a muggy but intriguing jungle town and a jumping-off point for a bevy of surrounding attractions. Established as a Jesuit mission in 1661, Santarém suffered from the same rubber boom-and-bust cycle as Pará's capital, Belém. The town later had a moment in the spotlight as the nearest major significant port to Henry Ford's American utopian jungle experiment, Fordlândia, which tried and failed between 1928 and 1945 (its ruins are located 12 hours downriver by boat).
Today, Santarém does a brisk business in tourism thanks to the crystalline waters of the Tapajós River, which account for over 105 kilometers (65 miles) of postcard-perfect river beaches in its environs. Alter do Chão, a Brazilian dream destination of idyllic sands, has been called the Caribbean of Brazil; and Floresta Nacional (FLONA) do Tapajós, a pristinely preserved 2,100-square-kilometer (811-square-mile) piece of Amazon beauty, boasts massive Samauma trees and a few burgeoning eco-tourism enterprises. Both Alter do Chão and FLONA can be experienced as day trips from Santarém. The city itself boasts a pleasant riverfront promenade, a few worthwhile museums (keep an eye out for evidence of the city's little-known past as a refuge for sympathizers to the Confederate cause who emigrated here after the Civil War; their descendants, Confederados, still live here today) and several great restaurants.
Alter Do Chao, Brazil
Not for nothing is Alter do Chão known as the Caribbean of the Amazon. Taken as a whole, the village's white powdery beaches, transparent blue-green waters and hang-loose vibe would make a perfectly convincing addition to the Lesser Antilles. Of course, there are tip-offs that you're still in the midst of South America's River Sea, not least the neighboring rain forest and the pink dolphins—those local mascots—that periodically surface in the water.
This uncommon tropical charm lies at the heart of Alter do Chão's appeal—but the place becomes outright irresistible when you factor in the curiously cosmopolitan inhabitants (expat hippies, herbalists and nature lovers in addition to Brazilians) and the cute little shops, cafés and businesses they've created.
Scarborough, Trinidad And Tobago
Think of the Caribbean island of Tobago as the little sister to Trinidad, the larger part of this two-part nation and home to the capital, Port-of-Spain. Only 30 kilometers (19 miles) of open water separate the two islands, and Trinbagonians (as they're sometimes called) often fly between them for day trips. But in many ways Tobago feels like a separate country. Its population is more Afrocentric than the ethnically mixed Trinidad, and its dialect is its own. The two islands do share many of the same foods, like the Indian-style roti, a flatbread that's eaten with everything. Curried crab and dumplings, however, is particular to Tobago—the popular (and very messy) dish is something that all visitors must sample and can be found at the island's ubiquitous food shacks. And music played on a tambrin is a sound you will hear nowhere else. The goatskin drum is similar to a tambourine and was invented in Tobago by slaves using the materials they had at hand.
Tobago is far less developed than Trinidad, which makes it a prime destination for nature fans. Rare species of birds make their home on the thickly vegetated volcanic ridge that runs the length of the island. Those who crave water sports show up for the extensive dive scene around Tobago's fine beaches, bays and offshore isles. Fans of popular music who arrive in April for the Tobago Jazz Experience have opportunities to hear favorite performers (2016 brought J. Cole and Lauryn Hill to the stage). And many come simply to get away from it all on this very laid-back island.
The capital of Curaçao, Willemstad, is almost as old as a more famous Dutch settlement—it was founded in 1634, just 10 years after New Amsterdam, later called New York. But while the Dutch control of New Amsterdam was relatively brief, Curaçao remains a part of the Netherlands to this day. Its historic center is a unique mixture of Dutch architecture and Caribbean pastels, its gabled row houses overlooking Sint Anna Bay, a waterway dividing the city in two and connecting the Caribbean to the protected Schottegat Bay. The entire historic center of Willemstad has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While Willemstad's legendary days of yore can be explored at institutions like the Kura Hulanda and Curaçao Maritime Museum, this is a vibrant, living city too. Highlights of this multicultural melting pot might include a stop at its floating market and a visit to a curaçao distillery to taste the famous local liqueur. Natural wonders await as well: Some of the Caribbean’s most stunning diving and snorkeling spots are here. Finally, a meal in Willemstad will let you experience the diversity of the island through the surprising flavors of its cuisine, which reflects European, Caribbean and Latin American influences.
*Conditions Apply: Prices are per person, capacity controlled and listed in Australian dollars twin share including port taxes. Prices may fluctuate if surcharges, fees, taxes or currency change, and may be withdrawn at any time. Prices shown here are not shown in real time. While we endeavour to keep our pricing as up-to-date as possible, the advertised prices shown here may differ from the live prices in our booking system. The prices shown are for a cash payment. Credit card fees of up to 2.5% will apply. Prices are per person twin share based on best available cruise fare, inclusive of all discounts unless otherwise stated. All offers are capacity controlled and can be withdrawn or modified at any time without notice and subject to availability at time of booking. Outside and Balcony cabins may have obstructed views and Suite cabins comprises Junior Suites, Mini Suites and any other type of suite that represents the best value for each cruise. ^Onboard credit is non-refundable, non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash or used in the Medical centre or Casino. Onboard Credit offer is subject to the discretion of Holland America Cruises and may be withdrawn at any time without prior notice. Pinnacle Grill Lunch bonus is non-refundable and is to be arranged once onboard and is subject to availability. ~Specialty restaurants may incur a surcharge. An ESTA visa is required for travel to the USA & Canada and is the responsibility of the passenger to obtain this before travel. All passports, vaccinations and visas are the responsibility of the travelling guest to secure prior to departure from Australia. Some cruise lines reserve the right to impose a fuel levy if the NMEX price reaches a certain level - please check with your consultant at time of booking. Cruise deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions apply. Travel agent service fees not included. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry. Please note only residents with an Australian address are eligible to book Australian rates in Australian dollars. This cruise package is provided by Seven Oceans Cruising, please ask your travel agent to contact us for more information.