Holland America Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale aboard the “Veendam”
Many of our travelers are aware we had originally planned on a Southern Caribbean Cruise that was to include Cuba. On June 5th our government placed an embargo on cruising to Cuba. The details are complex and seem to be forever unfolding. The situation has required all cruise lines with Cuba on their schedule to reroute in compliance with the embargo. Holland America has done an exceptional job of reformatting the original itinerary to include the following with a nice emphasis on San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was named by The New York Times as the Number 1 Tourist Destination for 2019. That honor had been held by Iceland for some time but sophisticated travelers have now discovered and appreciated the awesome beauty and history of San Juan.
Day 1: Feb.18, 2020 – Ft. Lauderdale - Fly from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and transfer from the airport to the Renaissance Ft. Lauderdale Plantation Hotel.
Fort Lauderdale started out as a swampy outpost with a fort, built to protect against the Seminole Indians. The swamps were transformed in the late 1800s into a series of canals by scooping out parallel waterways and creating long peninsulas between them. This created more than 300 miles of navigable waterways (twice that of Venice) — hence the city’s nickname “Venice of America.” The abundance of waterways that wind up and down the coast make Fort Lauderdale a boating hotspot, with 42,000 registered yachts.
Day 2: Feb. 19, 2020 – Embark - Transfer from the hotel and embark on the Holland America “Veendam”. Set sail at 5:00 PM.
Day 3: Feb. 20, 2020 - Sea Day - Great time for a little R&R and to orientate yourself with the ship.
Day 4: Feb. 21, 2020 – Grand Turk - 8:00 AM Arrive Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. Depart 3:00 PM
Grand Turk seduces with its soothing turquoise shores, elegant colonial buildings, wandering tranquil donkeys and quiet roads that pave the way for more bicycles than cars. A small island, just seven miles long and one-and-a-half miles wide, this Caribbean gem is part of the Turks & Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory. Colonized in the 17th century by Bermudians, who were later joined by loyalists who had sided with the British during the American Revolution, the island prospered on the salt trade. Many evaporated salt ponds from the period remain and lure flocks of pink flamingos. In Cockburn Town, graceful white 19th-century houses line the coast along Front Street, in the shade of tamarind and frangipani trees. The Turks and Caicos National Museum is the keeper of the archipelago’s rich history, boasting many island relics, including artifacts made by the native Lucayan people, a 16th-century anchor salvaged from a shipwreck and the book written in 1831 by an island slave woman that led to the abolition of slavery in all of Britain’s territories just two years after its publication.
Day 5: Feb. 22, 2020 – San Juan - 1:00 PM Arrive San Juan Puerto Rico. Depart 11:00 PM. This allows ample time to explore this magnificent city and experience its famous nightlife.
As the second-oldest European-founded city in the Americas, San Juan is the beating heart of history and culture in Puerto Rico. A place where the Old World meets the new in fascinating ways, San Juan is also a hub of more modern pursuits, including shopping, dining, and nightlife.
Whether you’re into tropical beaches, historic sites, art museums, salsa music, or something else entirely, you’ll find it in San Juan.
Day 6: Feb. 23, 2020 – St. Thomas - 8:00 AM Arrive St. Thomas US Virgin Islands. Depart 5:00 PM
A splattering of gorgeous tropical islands nestled between the lands of Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands, the USVI have long been famed for their silky-white beaches and wild inland hills of rainforest, cacti groves and banyans.
But this little enclave of America in the heart of the Caribbean chains is much more than just your usual honeymoon hub.
It’s also steeped in an enthralling history that tells tales of British colonists, Dutch sugarcane tycoons, European power struggles and – perhaps best of all – pirates.
Yep, Blackbeard himself is thought to have sailed this way, while old castles and plantations still loom on the hillsides, complete with slave quarters and cannon batteries and more.
Travelers who come here (and there are plenty of them) are in for a medley of beach lazing and snorkeling, scuba diving and turtle spotting, all doused in a (not so) healthy pouring of local rum!
Day 7: Feb. 24, 2020 - Another relaxing day at sea
Day 8: Feb. 25, 2020 - 8:00 AM Arrive Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. Depart 4:00 PM
Originally purchased by Holland America in 1997 for $6 million USD, “Little San Salvador” was renamed “Half Moon Cay by the cruise line due to its 2.5 mile, crescent-shaped stretch of white sand beach. Situated in between Eleuthera and Cat Island, only a small portion of the land has been developed, leaving the rest as a natural wildlife sanctuary.
Two-story ferry boats will bring you back and forth from the ship and you’ll dock near the central downtown area. Here you will find the excursion desk, an expansive outdoor bar, restrooms and a variety of shops, including a jewelry store, t-shirt shop and locally made souvenirs. Wander on down to the beach, start a stroll along one of the nature trails, or do some quick shopping to start your day. There’s plenty to explore here or you can simply grab a free lounge chair and enjoy the view.
Day 9: Feb. 26, 2020 – Ft. Lauderdale & Cedar Rapids - 7:00 AM Arrive Ft. Lauderdale Fl. Disembark, Transfer to the Ft. Lauderdale airport and fly back to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Day 10: Feb. 27, 2020 - Call all your friends who missed the cruise and tell them how much you missed IOWA in February.
- .Round trip airfare Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Ft.Lauderdale, Florida – Cedar Rapids, Iowa
- One night lodging at the Renaissance Ft.Lauderdale Plantation Hotel.
- All Transfers, Airport to Hotel, Hotel to Ship, Ship to Airport.
- Eastern Caribbean Cruise aboard Holland America “Veendam”
- All Taxes and Port Fees
- Platinum Travel Insurance
$2570 pp.Dbl.Oc. Inside Cabin
$2790 pp.Dbl.Oc. Ocean View Cabin
$3760 pp.Dbl.Oc. Vista Balcony Cabin
LENGTH: 719 ft.
WIDTH: 101 ft.
Grandly proportioned and recently enhanced, Veendam combines 21st-century amenities and elegant spaces graced by a multi-million-dollar art and antiques collection. While on board, guests can learn video-editing tips at a Digital Workshop powered by Windows®. Hone their culinary skills at an America’s Test Kitchen cooking show or hands-on workshop. Work out in our state-of-the-art Fitness Center. Or explore fine dining at our specialty restaurants.