For New Zealand travellers looking ahead to the end of 2022 for a return of international cruise lines, Holland America Line’s November 2022 Circumnavigation of Australia (Sydney to Sydney) ticks a lot of boxes.
The Appeal of this Holland America Cruise
As we look ahead to what cruise holidays may look like as Covid-19 vaccination programs gather momentum, the cruise industry, one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, are starting to announce dates for their return to the seas with new Covid-19 health and safety policies. Putting aside the ports of call on this itinerary, it addresses some of the lingering hesitations with booking a cruise:
Departs Sydney on 12 November 2022 – For New Zealand travellers, the late 2022 departure date has the advantage of letting the our vaccination program roll out and for Holland America Line’s response to the risk of Covid-19 to be tested and refined.
Deposit Only – Experienced cruise clients will be familiar with the process of paying a deposit well in advance of a cruise departure date to secure their preferred stateroom / suite (we discussed this in our article on the Pros and Cons of Last Minute Cruise Specials). Depending on when you book your cruise, generally only a deposit will be required, with final payment not due until 100 days prior to departure.
Close to Home – A circumnavigation of Australia provides the additional comfort of being close to home. By November 2022 the Trans-Tasman Bubble will have been well tested and Australia’s vaccination program even further progressed. A return flight to Sydney is the only air travel required.
Holland America’s Covid-19 Onboard Policies
Holland America is finalising its standard Covid-19 safety protocols, however with its announced return to the seas in August 2021, the policy it is adopting for its first cruise from Greece is currently:
Holland America Line cruises from Greece are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination.
Additional preventive health measures under Holland America Line’s “Travel Well” program will be in place, including health screenings, face mask requirements, physical distancing and capacity controls. The ships now feature enhanced environmental sanitation and air ﬁltration with upgraded HVAC systems and ultraviolet technology. HEPA ﬁlters will be used in key areas as a further safeguard. In addition, medical centres will be equipped with COVID-19 testing and treatment capabilities.
As Holland America’s cruises start to depart again in 2021 with the requirement for all guests to be vaccinated, and with updated cleaning and filtration, we will soon have a clear insight into the effectiveness of these policies, if any Covid outbreaks occur and and how any outbreaks will be handled.
The 35 night itinerary departs Sydney on 12 November 2022 and returns to Sydney on 17 December 2022 (so home in time to be home for Christmas). The full itinerary includes Ports of Call around the Australian coast, days exploring the Great Barrier Reef and is also currently scheduled to stop in Dili, East Timor and Komodo Island, Indonesia. Highlights include:
- Airlie Beach Queensland
- Great Barrier Reef
- The River Reef Region
- Scenic Cruising the Torres Strait
- Dili, East Timor
- Komodo Island
- Western Australian Ports, including Broome and Fremantle
- South Australian Ports, including Adelaide and Kangaroo Island
- Tasmanian Ports of Burnie and Hobart
As with all cruise itineraries the ports visited may change for reasons including weather and the full itinerary can be provided prior to payment of the deposit. (Image Courtesy of Tourism Australia).
The Ship – Holland America’s Noordam
Named for the Northern compass point, Noordam features museum-quality art — from 19th-century oils to contemporary photographs of music greats Dizzy Gillespie and B.B. King. Guests onboard can enjoy regional cooking demonstrations and food and wine tastings with EXC Port to Table programming. Explore the world’s wonders through BBC Earth Experiences. Take yoga or Pilates in the Fitness Center. Savor the sounds of Music Walk™ and the delights of the specialty restaurants.
The Noordam has the capacity to welcome 1,924 guests, however depending on the social distancing requirements in place at the time the final number may be less.
Rooms on the Noordam
The Noordam offers the following room options:
- Signature Suite
- Neptune and Pinnacle Suites
For the New Zealand market, Holland America prices its cruises in Australian dollars so the New Zealand dollar cost of the deposit and the final room cost will depend on the prevailing exchange rate. At the time of writing the lead-in Inside Cabin starts from A$8,739*pp twin share. For a 35 night itinerary with so many ports and potential views of the Australian Coast, an Oceanview or Verandah Suite (pictured) should be considered (and potentially a port side option as that will generally be the land side of the circumnavigation).
Booking Your Holland America Cruise with Fine Travel
At Fine Travel we have the ability to work directly with Holland America’s General Sales Agent in New Zealand, or through one of our wholesale partners should those relationships yield a better outcome for our clients.