Receive on board extras valued at up to US$750. Enjoy up to US$600 on board spending money PLUS Suite guests also receive Beverage Card & Signature Dining Package. (*See T&C's Below)
37 Night cruise departing roundtrip from Sydney onboard Maasdam.
The only ship in the Holland America Line fleet dedicated to EXC In-Depth™ Voyages, Maasdam showcases the world at its most engaging, authentic and personal. Each voyage features fascinating lectures, interactive workshops, cultural performances and memorable shore excursions to explore your destination through the lens of photography, culture, nature and port-to-table culinary experiences. Maasdam’s size also gives her access to many new and off-the-beaten-path ports of call, allowing you to delve deeper into the places and cultures you visit. And being the only Holland America Line ship outfitted with nimble, inflatable Zodiacs, on select port calls you can go further in depth to explore nature, history, culture and more with these agile boats.
Highlights of this cruise:
If you want a snapshot of Australia's appeal, look no further than Sydney: The idyllic lifestyle, friendly locals and drop-dead natural beauty of this approachable metropolis and its attractions explain why the country tops so many travelers' wish lists. But Sydney is more than just the embodiment of classic antipodean cool—the city is in a constant state of evolution. A list of what to do in Sydney might start with the white-hot nightlife, with its new cocktail bars and idiosyncratic mixology dens. Inventive restaurants helmed by high-caliber chefs are dishing up everything from posh pan-Asian to Argentine street food, while the famous dining temples that put Sydney on the gastronomic map are still going strong too.
The famed harbor is among the top sights—home to twin icons the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it is the stepping-off point for some of the city's best cultural attractions and sightseeing. In one day you can sail around the harbor, get a behind-the-scenes tour of the opera house and climb the bridge, with time to spare for people-watching over a flat white at a waterfront café.
Speaking of water, when you plan what to do in Sydney, you will want to include the iconic beaches, where surfers, office workers and tourists alike converge on some of the most gorgeous shoreline scenery anywhere. Bondi, Bronte and Clovelly are all within easy reach of the Central Business District, as is Manly, a charming seaside town located a short ferry ride from Circular Quay. Beyond the city you'll discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the chance to encounter Australia's cuddliest wildlife—a perfect way to round out your envy-inducing Sydney photo collection.
Queensland’s capital, tucked between the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, is often overlooked in favor of its stylish sister, Sydney, and its cultured cousin, Melbourne. But Brisbane, or "Brissy" for short, has recently come out of the shadows to show off its own variety of sun-drenched cool. Brisbane may be a contender for Australia’s hippest city, thanks to its clutch of crafty bars, eclectic restaurants and homegrown fashion. The city's subtropical climate brings joggers and cyclists to the banks of the Brisbane River year round; jacarandas and frangipani bloom in the spring. This is one of the country's fastest-expanding areas in terms of population and employment: People flock here for the affordable lifestyle, the booming economy and the laid-back attitude. When newcomers arrive, creativity follows, as evidenced by the museums and theaters of South Bank and the revived districts such as Fortitude Valley. Fortitude is a good word for Brisbane—a hardworking city on its way to fame and fortune.
Gladstone, Queensland, Australia
Gladstone has an industrial side, but there are plenty of appealing options for the savvy visitor, from impressive lookouts to nearby beaches and beautiful botanic gardens. But it's what’s around the Central Queensland city that will really excite you. This is the gateway to the southern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef, a section of the world-famous attraction that’s far less known and traversed than areas to its north.Here, away from the crowds, you’ll feel like an intrepid explorer, searching out coral cays, deepwater lagoons and secluded beaches. Snorkel with manta rays and turtles at Heron Island; bush walk in the Eurimbula National Park rain forest; float in the vast turquoise lagoon of Lady Musgrave Island. Captain Cook made his first landing in Queensland in 1770, and you can walk in his footsteps in what is now the coastal town of Seventeen Seventy. With so many options to choose from, this part of the country may well be one of Australia’s best-kept secrets.
Alotau, Papua New Guinea
The sprawling town of Alotau, spectacularly located on Papua New Guinea’s southeastern tip, is an ideal introduction to the relaxed charms of the region. The capital of Milne Bay Province, Alotau is also the main port for the 600 islands that encompass the area. The buzzing harbor, just a short walk from town, is a hive of activity, with ships, boats and canoes transporting passengers and plying their trades.The town was the site of the 1942 Battle of Milne Bay, resulting in Japan's first defeat in the Pacific during World War II. Milne Bay was a major Allied base, and some of the war’s fiercest fighting took place in Papua New Guinea. Although there’s not much to see now, a fascinating Battle of Milne Bay tour combines historic war stories with locals’ tales of how modern warfare changed their world.More broadly, Alotau is an excellent place to gain insight into Papua New Guinea's cultures and traditions; don’t miss the Cultural Festival excursion in which you’ll see everything from warrior dances to gospel choirs to traditional drumming. For even more local flavor, wander through Alotau Market with its mounds of betel nuts, which many islanders chew.
Kiriwina Island, Papua New Guinea
Located in Papua New Guinea’s Milne Bay Province, Kiriwina is the largest of the Trobriand Islands and home to the majority of their 12,000-strong indigenous population. The picturesque island is steeped in history and is famous to many as a site of U.S. occupation during World War II. In fact, various relics of the war, including the remains of an American plane, can still be seen on the island. But Kiriwina is home to far more than history. Here, you’ll find an idyllic traditional lifestyle, incredibly friendly locals and a fascinating social structure that’s based on matrilineal clans, with unique marriage and courtship rituals. Many aspects of life revolve around the cultivation and exchange of yams.There’s also mesmerizing scenery, from crystal-clear waters to jungle-covered cliffs. Hire a dugout canoe, hike to the burial caves, peruse exquisite carvings and explore the coral-filled offshore islands. Be sure to stop and watch a game of Trobriand cricket, an innovative spin on the game. Whatever you choose to do, it’s bound to be an eye-opening experience.
Kitava, Papua New Guinea
The islands in the Trobriand archipelago of Papua New Guinea are known for their white-sand beaches, stunning reef life, crystal-clear waters and welcoming locals. One of the main islands, Kitava is among the world’s most untouched, undeveloped spots on earth with an intact traditional culture. It's also known for its exceptionally healthy, non-Westernized diet, where yams are the core staple food along with fresh fish, papaya, guava and coconut. The yam is also the culture's touchstone staple and highest-value item, so be sure to visit the decorated yam houses where they are stored. Wander the makeshift beach market for one-of-a-kind gifts, from wood carvings to woven blankets, and be awed at the welcoming ceremonial dances. Across the channel lies the uninhabited sand atoll Nuratu Island, which has excellent diving and snorkeling just offshore, and blindingly white beaches that are even emptier than on Kitava. You’re incredibly lucky to experience this—so be sure to take the time to lie back on the sand and soak it all in.
Conflict Islands (Panawal Group), Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is quickly becoming a favorite destination for cruise passengers, and it’s easy to see why when you visit the Conflict Islands. Although the name might not sound inviting (don’t worry, they're named after a British naval ship, not a war), these 21 islands are like paradise on earth: Tropical islets encircle an enormous turquoise lagoon formed by the rim of a sunken volcano, with vibrant coral reefs and rainbow schools of fish below the water. Located about 160 kilometers (97 miles) east of Papua New Guinea in the Coral Sea, the island group is owned by Australian businessman and conservationist Ian Gowrie-Smith, who is dedicated to protecting the ecosystem of the islands (he has an eco-resort on one island; the rest are uninhabited).Just as Papua New Guinea is one of the wildest and most diverse places on the planet, the seas here offer some of the world’s most extensive biodiversity and coral reefs, making for unparalleled kayaking, diving and snorkeling. There are hundreds of coral species and thousands of species of fish and invertebrates such as the sea cucumber. If you ever get bored with watching manta rays float past, lie back on the white sand, look up at the palm trees blowing in warm trade winds or watch the sun set over the lagoon, and dream of owning your own chain of tropical islands.
The gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the tropical north of the country, Cairns sits on the east coast of the Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland. This laid-back city is popular with travelers who depart from here for days of sailing, diving, snorkeling and trekking through nearby parks—a celebrated launching pad especially for those who want to explore the reef, the Daintree Rain Forest and other attractions of this part of Queensland. And what better place to start one's adventure? The residents of Cairns are welcoming, the beach life fantastic and the climate consistently sunny and warm.
Wend your way due east of Cairns, and you'll find yourself on the Great Barrier Reef, the world's longest coral reef and also the world's largest living organism. Famously visible from outer space, it's often been described as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a different sort of wonder—an engineering marvel from the 19th century that passes through rain forests on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites before reaching the village of Kuranda. Green Island, a 6,000-year-old coral cay, is an easy day trip from Cairns with opportunities to snorkel and swim; Port Douglas, an hour north of Cairns, is a favorite with visitors thanks to its top-notch restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. Finally, hop on a six-person cable car known as the Skyway Rainforest Cableway for a bird's-eye view of the stunning natural appeal of the region.
Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia
Airlie Beach is the gateway to the Australia of your dreams. Although the Queensland town offers many antipodean delights such as palm-fringed beaches, a huge man-made lagoon and alfresco dining, there’s a great reason to head straight out of town: This is the jumping-off point for the magnificent Whitsundays, a group of 74 islands that are famous for their timeless natural beauty, white-sand beaches and crystal-clear water.Your options here are pretty much limitless—charter a boat and sail around the archipelago; snorkel or scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef; or snap the perfect selfie on sublime Whitehaven Beach, consistently named among the best beaches in the world. There are many other activities closer to shore—from kayaking to glass-bottom boat tours—as well as hiking through lowland tropical rain forest in Conway National Park, for those who want to keep their feet firmly on the ground. And if you’re simply looking to kick back with a drink in hand and enjoy the magnificent views, head to cosmopolitan Hamilton Island, the largest inhabited island of the Whitsundays, for its stylish restaurants and bars.Note: Stinger (jellyfish) season in the Whitsundays is from October to May; you’re advised to wear a stinger suit in the water during this time.
Waitangi (Bay Of Islands), New Zealand
Historic sites—including the place where the most important treaty in New Zealand's history was signed—winemaking, golfing, sailing and scenic beauty all combine to make the Bay of Islands one of this South Pacific nation's most compelling regions. Located at the top of the North Island, the area has a subtropical microclimate that gives it an abundance of flora and fauna and a lengthy beach season. Comprising 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula, the Bay of Islands requires a few days to fully explore. Visitors with just a day here will have to make a tough choice: cultural immersion, nature appreciation or wining-dining-shopping. Waitangi, home to both the cruise port and the region's historic treaty grounds, is one of three main towns with celebrated sights. The others are Kerikeri, with its historic buildings and vineyards, and Russell, where a notorious seafaring past has mellowed into tidy, day-trip-worthy charm. Those who'd rather experience the Bay of Islands' breathtaking nature can walk amid majestic kauri trees, descend into glowworm caves or spy on whales and dolphins (or even swim with the latter) in one of New Zealand's sunniest and most picturesque playgrounds.
Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand's biggest city deserves more than a layover. Auckland is multicultural and cosmopolitan, with sizeable Polynesian, Asian and Maori populations enriching its history and broadening the palate. Internationally known chefs and fashion designers have made neighborhoods like Ponsonby, Newmarket and Parnell world-class destinations for shopping and dining.
You're never far from water attractions in New Zealand—and this is especially true in Auckland where it's not unheard of for downtown workers to go kayaking on their lunch break. The once-gritty port has been transformed into inviting public spaces and buzzing nightclubs, with sailboat charters and regular ferry connections waiting to whisk visitors around the harbor for sightseeing.
Start your day sipping a flat white while you plan your explorations: art gallery crawl, winery tour or volcano hike? It's possible to do all three without losing sight of the Sky Tower, one of Auckland's top tourist attractions, from which you can get a bird's-eye view of the gateway to Aotearoa.
Nuku Alofa, Tonga
Nuku'alofa, the financial and commercial hub of Tonga, is usually visitors’ first taste of the kingdom. Located on the northern coast of Tonga’s largest island, Tongatapu, it’s a charming, idiosyncratic city with a lively infrastructure that combines a slew of pleasant cafés and restaurants with historic churches and long, stunning beaches. It’s an easy city to navigate on foot, and the surrounding island can be explored equally easily with a car or motorbike, both of which can be rented locally. Head to the water and take advantage of some of the world’s finest snorkeling, or venture out to sea on a whale-watching charter between June and November (or watch for free from several local viewpoints). Land options can include a round of golf or a cultural experience such as the Tongan ancient village. On Sundays, when the city shuts down, it’s possible to take a day trip to nearby islands. Visit the upscale eco-resort Fafa or the lower-key Makaha‘a Island; you can reach both by local ferry or even by kayak if you’re feeling adventurous.
Vava U, Tonga
The Vava’u (va-vuh-OO) island group is part of the Kingdom of Tonga—an even larger collection of tropical Pacific Ocean islands. With an ideal year-round climate that’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, diving and sailing, the islands—which are mostly uninhabited—boast a varied set of attractions for visitors that only begin with their famed white-sand beaches lapped by turquoise waters (with visibility down to 30 meters, or 100 feet) and enchanting coral reefs teeming with abundant marine life like tropical fish, dolphins and sea turtles. In addition to these simple but highly memorable watery pleasures, the Vava’u islands offer tropical forests, limestone cliffs and caves to explore, traditional villages to check out and a wealth of activities ranging from sea kayaking and gamefishing to yachting. Not only can you spot humpback whales (between July and October) and take in the unique atmosphere of historic cemeteries, you can also enjoy a hike up Mount Talau. The island’s tourism infrastructure extends to boutique resorts and ecolodges, as well as plenty of cafés and restaurants, particularly in the main city of Neiafu.
Once known as the "Savage Island" due to the unfriendly welcome given to explorer Captain Cook in 1774, Niue is a small South Pacific island known for its large raised coral reef and its tiny capital "city," Alofi. While it uses New Zealand currency (bring it with you, there are no ATMs on Niue) and many of its inhabitants primarily reside on the "mainland," Niue has been a sovereign state since 1974, and it is considerably more welcoming now than in Captain Cook's time. It takes only a few hours to cover the whole island, which is dotted with scenic sea tracks that connect coral reefs, caves, chasms and rain forest. Niue is also well connected with the rest of the world: The entire nation is a free Wi-Fi hotspot, though be warned that the arrival of a cruise ship and its many Internet-using passengers can slow speeds considerably. Coconuts and tropical fruits are a staple in the Niuean diet, and even the local seafood mainstay uga translates to coconut crab. Should your visit to the island fall on a Sunday, you'll find most everything closed for church services, but you can head to the Washaway Café, home to the only self-service bar in the South Pacific—and open only on Sundays.
Savusavu, Vanua Levi, Fiji
Known as the hidden paradise of Fiji, the striking harbor town of Savusavu is located on the south coast of Vanua Levu Island. Backed by green hills and featuring a bustling marina and attractive waterfront, the town was originally established as a trading center for products like sandalwood, bêche-de-mer and copra. Today the town is known for its burgeoning eco-tourism infrastructure, which has spawned several luxury resorts. The surrounding waters mean an abundance of scuba diving and yachting. On land, there are historic hot springs, waterfall hikes, bird-spotting in the Waisali Rainforest Reserve and visits to traditional villages. There are several key landmarks too, including the 19th-century Copra Shed Marina, which now serves as the local yacht club, and the Savarekareka Mission, a chapel built around 1870 by the first Roman Catholic mission on Vanua Levu. Of course, it’s also possible just to relax and enjoy the palm-lined pristine beaches and the town’s assortment of restaurants, cafés and bars.
Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands
In the time before time, the people who would become the Fijians were shaped of wet earth, pulled from the sea on a giant fishhook and given more than 300 islands to live on. Or if you want to be a little more prosaic, the people of Fiji were part of the great Lapita migration, which began somewhere around Taiwan and headed east. The first boats to arrive stopped migrating when they found this maze of islands formed by the earth turning itself inside out with volcanoes.
The new Fijians spent a couple centuries involved in internecine war and developed the bad habit of using clubs to bop all strangers. But strangers kept showing up for the simple reason that Fiji, especially the southeast coast of Viti Levu, was geographically wonderful: the kind of spot that made mariners chuck their anchors and start trying to make a living as a settler. And who knows, maybe the Fijians just had tired arms, but by the time missionaries came, powers had shifted and the bopping had stopped.
Today that southeast corner of the largest island in Fiji, the city of Suva, holds three-quarters of the nation’s population. It’s also shielded by shimmering green mountains opening to a calm sea, a land lush with afternoon rains.
Dravuni Island, Fiji
During the great age of exploration, when sailors were poking into every unknown corner of the globe, nobody went to the islands of Fiji, including Dravuni, some 65 kilometers (40 miles) to the south of the main island of Fiji. Ships would sail up far enough to see perfect beaches, blue-hole reefs and mountains big enough to be called mountains, but not so big you'd kill yourself hauling a cannon up one.
But then the Fijians would appear. Enormous people, faces tattooed in intricate designs, each carrying that one essential of Fijian life: a dark wooden club studded with shark teeth. The cannibal’s best friend.
Most of the stories of head-hunting and cannibalism were set in Fiji, where the greatest honors were given to those who brought home the most enemy heads. Since the residents of the archipelago’s 300 islands had been warring with each other for centuries, they saw in the arrival of representatives of the outside world an exciting (and potentially tasty) development.
But all things must pass, even cannibal rituals. Life on Fiji changed and these days, Fijians still come down to meet ships and they still carry war clubs, but instead of looking for lunch, they’re looking to yell "Bula!" in greeting to as many people as the day allows.
Port Denerau (Nadi), Fiji
Cruise passengers typically get only a quick fix of Fiji's largest island, Viti Levu—the South Pacific nation has a total of 333 islands, many mere specks on a map—but between meeting the local Fijian people, the modern retail complex at Port Denarau and easy access to a range of activities, a single day here can be surprisingly fulfilling. Home to both native Fijians, who are of Melanesian heritage, and descendants of indentured Indian laborers brought here more than a century ago, the country is known for both its scenic beauty and its hospitality (the exuberant greeting, Bula!, will quickly become your new favorite word). Denarau Island, a resort complex not far from the international airport at Nadi, features a Westin, Hilton, Radisson and Sofitel, along with a golf course. This makes Port Denarau a convenient gateway to pampering (a few hours in a spa, perhaps?), adventure (some of the world's best soft coral diving) and abundant nature (both rugged rain forest and cultivated gardens). From sipping kava, an intoxicating ceremonial drink, to letting the sweet chords of \"Isa Lei,\" the islands' traditional farewell song, wash over your body, mind and soul, you'll enjoy this little tease of Fijian life and leave wanting more.
Tadine, Mare, New Caledonia
At 42 kilometers long and 33 kilometers wide (26 miles long and 21 miles wide), Maré—pronounced Mah-RAY—is a raised coral atoll and the second biggest of the four Loyalty Islands. Something of a hidden treasure for cruise visitors, it’s less developed and busy than other Pacific islands and ports, and its undulating coastline, long, narrow beaches and rugged coral cliffs offer unspoiled pleasures for visitors. While there are few creature comforts or tourist activities, the island’s sparkling waters are full of exotic sea creatures like giant manta rays and dugongs and offer some of the South Pacific’s best diving. The interior has its own attractions too: sunken pools, gardens and grottoes, and ancient cliffs. The island’s two main towns, Tadine and La Roche, are pleasantly relaxed and incredibly welcoming: Visitors are often greeted with local women singing traditional songs as they walk along a jetty that’s been decorated with palm fronds. Tadine itself offers a few shops and practical amenities such as a gas station and a pharmacy, and it holds a market on Tuesday and Friday mornings. The island also hosts several festivals per year, mostly relating to agriculture and the celebration of Maré’s natural bounty.
Noumea, New Caledonia
Back in the days when European countries were establishing colonies all over the globe, the standard reason for territory-grabbing was riches: gold, silver, cumin. The French took a different approach. They grabbed what was pretty and proceeded to teach the locals how to bake outstanding baguettes. In fact, once they'd gained a foothold, they ignored the palm trees, the lagoons, the beautiful sharp mountains, and began creating mini-Frances wherever they could.
Nouméa is a French city with Polynesian accents, cooled by ocean breezes and set among tropical flowers the size of dinner plates. With one of the healthiest reef systems left on earth, the island’s lagoons, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hold more than 9,000 species of fish and marine life. The Kanaks, the native people to whom the French first gave cooking lessons, already lived lives rich with fish, taro and coconuts fresh from the tree. And, although the two cultures didn’t always get along, they agreed on one thing: Stick with the prettiest real estate you can find.
*Fares are cruise only, per person in AUD, in complete twin room as specified, based on lead categories at publication date, inclusive of all taxes, fees and port expenses (which are subject to change). Offers are based on Promo(s) NF/DF. Onboard spending money is for guests 1 and 2 sharing a stateroom and is offered in the following amounts: cruises 7-11 nights: interior and ocean-view staterooms receive US$50 per person (US$100 per stateroom); lanai and verandah staterooms receive US$75 per person (US$150 per stateroom), and suites receive US$150 per person (US$300 per stateroom); cruises 12+ nights: interior and ocean-view staterooms receive US$100 per person (US$200 per stateroom); lanai and verandah staterooms receive US$150 per person (US$300 per stateroom), and suites receive US$300 per person (US$600 per stateroom). Onboard spending money is in U.S. dollars and is non-refundable, non-transferable, not for cash value, expires at the end of that cruise, and may not be used in the casino. Guests who book a suite category stateroom receive one complimentary Cannaletto dinner and one complimentary Pinnacle Grill dinner per person and a Beverage Card valued at US$50 per person (US$100 per stateroom). Offers apply only to guests 1 and 2 in the stateroom and are not transferable or refundable nor redeemable for cash. Participants may order beverages one at a time and must be 21 years or older for alcoholic beverages. No sharing is permitted. Beverage management reserves the right to revoke the card if misused and to refuse service for any reason, including service of alcoholic beverages to intoxicated guests. Reservations and dining times will be assigned and a confirmation card will be placed in your stateroom upon embarkation day. Offer excludes Specialty Dining Events in the Pinnacle Grill such as Sel De Mer, De Librije, Master Chef’s Table and Sommelier Dinner. A credit card surcharge of 1.1% will apply to direct bookings made through our website or call centre. Travel agents may charge additional fees - check with your travel agent. To be read in conjunction with the Holland America Line Passage contract www.hollandamerica.com which guests will be bound by. Whilst all information is correct at time of publication, offers are subject to change or withdrawal. Carnival plc trading as Carnival Australia ABN 23 107 998 443 as agent for Holland America Line. Offer ends 30 June 2019. Ships’ Registry: The Netherlands.